Where Are All the Asians in Thedas?

So. This is probably not going to go anywhere either helpful or fun, but one thing that I — as an asian — noticed is that Thedas doesn’t really have any asian characters. You can create an asian inquisitor, if by “asian” you mean “refugee from neo-tokyo.” But if you do, you aren’t very likely to run into anyone who vaguely looks like you during the game, and that’s… interesting.

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I’m actually almost convinced that Bioware somehow forgot that asians exist. All types of asians. I mean, they like, just introduced black people with Dragon Age 2, so it might take them a while to get around to asians, I don’t know. But it’s not like it’s hard; if it’s in the character generator, I’m sure they could make some slant-eyed NPCs.

I’m not going to ask Bioware about this because frankly they have enough shit to deal with, but I do find it a little discouraging. Asians make up a lot of their players and, well, a lot of the world. I don’t think there is an east asian country in Thedas, but then the question sort of becomes — why? If there’s fantasy France, fantasy America and fantasy Wales, why not China, Japan or literally anywhere else in Asia?

You might wonder “why bother,” but when I was a child playing games I can distinctly recall Yoshimo in Baldur’s Gate being the only identifiably asian character I had run into yet. And it did matter; it made me feel valued. Since Yoshimo, in Baldur’s Gate, we’ve had:

Neverwinter Nights: no black or asian companions.

Neverwinter Nights 2: no black or asian companions.

Mass Effect: no black or asian companions.

Mass Effect 2: 1 black companion, 1 asian companion (sort of — Kasumi is DLC).

Mass Effect 3:1 black companion (briefly), 1 asian companion (again Kasumi).

Dragon Age: Origins: no black or asian companions.

Dragon Age 2: no black or asian companions.

Dragon Age 3: 1 black companion , no asian companions.

So the one asian companion we have had… we needed to pay for. Which is hilarious. In fact, it’s so funny that I actually am having a hard time being mad. “You can have asians in your game, if you’re willing to pay!

 

Jenna Inouye
JKCI is a tech and gaming writer with a passion for antique crystal doorknobs. She also loves talking about games with other people. Add her on twitter or contact her directly.

Jenna Inouye

JKCI is a tech and gaming writer with a passion for antique crystal doorknobs. She also loves talking about games with other people. Add her on twitter or contact her directly.

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