BioWare games have developed a reputation for producing some of the finest player-driven romances in video games. In service to that reputation, the BioWare store is filled with all sorts of bits and bobs designed to entice players to buy things that’ll display their love for a certain character. In its latest merchandise drop, the brilliant bastards at BioWare are capitalizing on that devotion in a genius way with a “romance bundle” dedicated to Dragon Age: Origins’ cheese-loving heartthrob Grey Warden, Alistair Theirin.
The bundle is a beautiful wooden box carved with Alistair’s portrait that contains a necklace, a recreation of the one you can give him to increase his approval of you. The bundle also comes with, according to the item’s description, “a little worn-edged love letter tucked at the bottom compartment, wrapped in a thin leather strap and hiding a secret message for Alistair” — and all for only $60. I have the vapors just thinking of all the dorky but endearing things contained in the letter.
Throw a rock in the gaming community, and there’s a good chance you’ll hit someone who had their sexual awakening at the hands of a BioWare character. The studio produces good, well-written companions that are easy to fall in love with — so much so that, in addition to knowing when to expect the next game, fans equally want to know who they can look forward to romancing. When I was first introduced to BioWare with Dragon Age: Origins in 2009, I taught myself what mods were and how to mod games because I was obsessed with Alistair and wanted to consume every bit of content that featured him whether it was in the game or fan-made.
And that’s just Dragon Age’s Alistair. If BioWare did this for all its companions? Whew! That’s what excites me about this release the most. BioWare knows what it has in these characters and has already proven it will exploit that resource for maximum effect. It sells Garrus Vakarian body pillows for goodness sake. It knows exactly what it’s doing and what fans will pay for. Imagine if the Liara likers of the world could get a missive from her or if, Andraste forbid, the Solas romancers got a message and his wolf-bone necklace? The tortured angst of those Lavellan characters would be enough to power the world for a century. (And let me be clear, the Solas romancers would delight in such angst.) BioWare would never need to release another game again for it will have made a mint. Take my money, BioWare. For this, you’ve earned it.