Maker’s Breath. Religion, Magic, and the ‘Godless’ World of BioWare’s Dragon Age II (2011)

Kristin M.S. Bezio

Abstract


The core conflict of BioWare’s 2011 digital role-playing game Dragon Age II places the Christianesque Chantry in opposition to both the hierarchical Qunari and the Circle of Magi. In Dragon Age II religious beliefs, particularly those of the Chantry, prove destructive; by demonstrating the chaos of religious conflict, the game guides the player to recognize the danger inherent in extremist devotion to religion, and argues that interpersonal relationships should form the basis of our ethics. In Dragon Age II, the player-character, Hawke, is evaluated by each of his (or her) non-player companions; the mechanic forms the basis for a fundamentally humanist ideological framework in the game’s world, despite the prevalence of a variety of religious beliefs. I suggest that the game retreats from systems of belief as ideal sources of ethical mores, instead turning to human interaction as a preferable means of determining social and personal ethics.

Keywords


Dragon Age II, videogame, ethics, extremism, religion, oppression, humanism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/rel.2014.0.12162