Bioware writer: I wanted to include a trans character who is not ‘a monster or a joke’

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‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ writer Patrick Weekes has discussed the challenges of creating a trans character for the video game.

He said he wanted to make sure the character, for the award-winning role play game, was written realistically, without being “a monster or a joke” or “someone who is just there to tick off a box”.

In planning the characters for the third game in the ‘Dragon Age’ series, Weekes was keen to include representation of trans people, and eventually created the character of Krem Aclassi, a trans man mercenary lieutenant. He discussed how various team members came together to create the character’s appearance and voice accurately and respectfully.

He also spoke about getting feedback from trans friends in the development of the character, and how important that was.

“They showed me where I was absolutely messing things up and gave me constructive feedback on how to improve,” he said.

“In the first draft, [his commander] was the one who brought up Krem’s binding as a friendly joke. My friends pointed out how incredibly hurtful such a callout was for many trans people in real life.

I rewrote the scene so that Krem is the one who brings it up first. This makes it clear that Krem is comfortable discussing being trans, and the player will not be offending Krem by asking questions about it.”

He mentioned removing a scene in which Krem fights off someone who assaults him for being trans. “My friends noted that this played directly into the sad “attacked trans person” cliché, and while it was plausible, it was an ugly event that could well trigger trans people who have experienced harassment in real life.”

He said the process of creating Krem had been “worth the extra effort.”

“The world of Dragon Age has room for people of all backgrounds and identities, and it was a pleasure to show that in one more way.”