Dorian Pavus is my favorite character in the Dragon Age series. He’s my beau in BioWare’s fantasy world, and I hope he gets to play some kind of role in the next game, even if it looks like the Inquisitor won’t be returning in a protagonist role (to the detriment of the personal nature of their story, I’d argue). In the seven years since Dragon Age: Inquisition launched, Dorian has always seemed a popular character, and is largely considered one of the breakout gay characters in the AAA video game space. But as it turns out, all that praise for him and his storyline didn’t materialize a popular romance, or a frequent mainstay in player’s party.
In an interview with TheGamer, David Gaider, the lead writer on Dragon Age Inquisition, revealed that Dorian’s romantic route was the least explored across the game’s player base, according to statistics BioWare saw. Gaider says the numbers mattered less to him than the character’s impact, and he said he received more personal mail from fans regarding Dorian than any other character he’d written.
“According to the telemetry, Dorian wasn’t an active companion in very many peoples’ parties,” Gaider says. “He was also the least-romanced of the romanceable NPCs, percentage-wise. I don’t think numbers really matter to those who loved him, however. He struck a chord with a lot of people. I think I received more personal mail from fans about Dorian than any other character I’ve written, including ones for whom Dorian was a vehicle for them to come out to friends and family, or for whom Dorian’s story allowed them to process trauma from gay conversion therapy they’d experienced. So it’s clear those who love him love him a lot. I’m always glad when anything I’ve written manages to touch someone, so I’m tickled that a character who was such a personal project also turned out to be such a success.
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Dorian’s story in Inquisition centers around a magical take on conversion therapy, with his father attempting to change his sexuality with a dark ritual. The storyline is still accessible to players who don’t romance him, but his identity being so core to his character, he’s only romanceable by male characters, which statistically puts him at a disadvantage compared to romances like Iron Bull or Josephine, who are options to the player regardless of gender or race. But it’s still surprising to hear that he ranks lower than characters like Blackwall, who I almost never hear of people pursuing, or Solas, who has more specific parameters than anyone else in the game.
Whatever the case may be, if Dorian is part of the next Dragon Age, I hope that I’ll at least see his relationship with my Inquisitor develop in a meaningful way. But it’s going to sting having to watch it from afar, as the Inquisitor doesn’t seem to be returning as a playable character this time around. Despite that being thematically consistent with the apparent conflict of the game, which is against former party member/surprise antagonist Solas from Inquisition.