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Archetypes/Stereotypes in Dragon Age

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Archetypes/Stereotypes in Dragon Age

Editorial - posted by Monolith on Sun 6 December 2009, 14:43:24

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age: Origins

Escapist's Shamus Young had a look at the NPCs the writers at BioWare came up with and notices that specific archetypes make an appearance in most of their games. Here's the article with the NPCs categorized accordingly.

The Remorseless Killer

Examples: Sten (Dragon Age), Canderous Ordo (KOTOR), Sagacious Zu (Jade Empire)

The product of a warrior culture, the Remorseless Killer is just doing his job. His grim, scorched-earth, genocidal, baby-killing job. Don't take it personally. Most of the time his awful deeds served the greater good. Or seemed to. He thinks. It's all sort of a blur now. Still, he can't help it so it's best not to dwell on the past anyway.

The Mentor

Examples: Wynne (Dragon Age), Jolee Bindo (KOTOR), David Anderson (Mass Effect)

You see son, back in my day [insert plot exposition here].

There's nothing more handy in a big game with a new setting than an old-timer who can fill in the blanks for you while doing a lot of the "I'm too old for this" shtick.

And a fanboy at argues that generic fantasy isn't generic if it mirrors real life social issues.

When I look at that fantasy staple, the elven race as presented by Tolkien, I see beautiful, magical, nature-communing people, yes. But, I also see a statement about a world turning away from those things. Tolkien’s elves were leaving a Middle Earth that no longer had any place for them. The Lios Alfar in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestries have withdrawn behind a veil of mist as their numbers dwindle.

In Ferelden’s elves, I see a different message – but one given layers of meaning because of the vocabulary provided by previous works. These elves aren’t withdrawing. They can’t. Neither Tolkien nor Kay uses the elves – or any other of the races – as a mirror for our own society, and how we treat the poor and vulnerable.


So, why are these elves ‘cliché’? Why is it that the solid background of literature about elves doesn’t give them a place as archetype, a base on which to build new stories?

They are cliché because CD Projekt was faster.

Spotted at: RPG Watch

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