To prove to in part that I play games other than Old Republic and the KOTORs, I’ve decided to share with you a few screen captures from Dragon Age Inquisition, first of my flagship Inquisitor (who is on her… 9th iteration? She used to be some white girl and now she’s… not), and then of Virsune and Xeulo, whom I recently made and plan to play through to completion.
I’ve decided to do this in part because Dragon Age is the other game that really influenced Wild Core. So many people have told me it reminds them of Mass Effect, and if that’s the case it’s probably because it started partially because of Dragon Age. I really admire the Bioware style of character-centric writing, though my plots are not quite the same flavor, and I think my tone is certainly different from Mass Effect especially.
This is Revasel Lavellan, her name roughly translating to something like “our freedom” in Elvhen.She is the character I’ve run through this game most, and believe me, her face is the result of careful design and planning and months of perfecting my slider technique. I love Rey a lot, mostly because we’ve been through a lot together and because I first experienced the game through her eyes. It’s hard not to get attached to your first Inquisitor, and I even wrote fanfiction starring her for awhile, but I never really took off as a writer in that fandom in spite of the fact that my character was romancing the (second) most popular romancable companion.
And, you know, also kind of completely hated by a lot of fans.
Solas is the bald elf with the wolfish face behind Rey here, and Virsune literally would not exist if I did not like Solas x Female Lavellan and was not in love with the character of Solas himself. Originally, the idea was to adapt Solas to a Star Wars setting for the sake of running through SWTOR with my friend and doing a quick little romance role play while we did it. That kind of backfired — Virsune is very much his own person now, even if he started out as that guy.
They’re really nothing alike.
They don’t even look anything alike, to be completely frank. Outside of the fact that Virsune has a cleft chin and is actually a red alien with slit pupils and a naturally crepuscular sleep cycle, this is exactly what he looks like. Their personalities are completely different too, save for a mutual interest in history and a similar inclination to be sarcastic under stress or when directly challenged. Virsune is much more pacifistic than Solas, gentler and quieter of disposition, and more inclined toward being naturally polite.
Most of his inability to socialize comes from awkwardness, but in an earnest, fumbling way. Virsune, in spite of being an incredibly pretentious person when it comes to matters of taste, is actually much less defensive and prone to judging others than Solas.
That’s not to say Virsune is a pushover.
He’s a very passionate and determined man, the sort of person who never gives up. Normally, he really is quite patient and long-suffering, and considering everything he’s been through, I don’t think most objective viewers would blame him if he were to suddenly become more bitter or cantankerous.
But he’s not. He’s forgiving and does his best to treat everyone with kindness, though he doesn’t always succeed. Virsune lets others get away with a great deal in regards to the way they treat him, and can rarely be persuaded to defend himself from behavior that he would lambast people for if he witnessed them treating others that way.
No one should ever mistake that forgiveness, and perhaps that streak of self-deprecation, for meekness, though. Virsune is not meek. The one thing he still has in common with Solas, even after all this time, is the ability to obstinately stand for their beliefs, no matter the stakes at hand.
And then there’s Xeulo, who decides that, since his best friend is so utterly and stupidly forgiving, he’s going to hate all the people Virsune should hate for him. He’d never do anything unreasonable, of course. In spite of his professional line of work as a spy and assassin, he knows Virsune would get blamed if he killed anyone, so he’d never overstep his boundaries and do something that would endanger one of the few people he is truly attached to — one of the few people he truly loves.
Xeulo is incredibly complex, and I will openly admit that there are probably going to be a handful of people who really dislike him just because he doesn’t have a conventional understanding of morality. His relationship with Virsune, though, is a cornerstone of the story, and Xeulo comes to develop just as much as his friend, the Code by which he governs himself growing and changing as the events transpiring around him cause his Galaxy to expand.
There’s a reason he’s a point of view character, though.
Xeulo doesn’t see the world through the same forgiving lens as Virsune, and I really think it’s important to have characters of many different sorts in a story. Xeulo is different than Virsune in nearly every single way, but Virsune is one of the people in his life that makes him a better person, even though he himself would admit he is not naturally inclined to any goodness — that at best he’s a quagmire of neutrality. He adores Virsune in part because Virsune is such an innately good person, something he does not share, even if it was something he initially thought of as a weakness.
The ways in which Xeulo is mature, and the ways in which his understanding of the world has been fundamentally warped by his environment, upbringing, and his natural disposition to a certain extent, are the main hallmarks of his character struggle. Watching him transform into the sort of person capable of the things he does at the end of the story from the cold and practical assassin he begins the story as is truly something to behold, and I think he should probably win the award for “most character development” out of my entire cast.