by Joseph Leray
A Morrigan appearance in "Dragon Age: Inquisition" is no surprise: she featured heavily in the game's first trailer at E3 earlier this summer. "It's not a cameo," says David Gaider in an interview with Game Informer. "She plays a significant role."
That's the good news: Morrigan was ruthless, caustic, insecure, and sometimes just downright mean, but she was sharply drawn and chracterized, and I always appreciated BioWare's dedication to realistically loathsome characters. The ambivalent -- or bad, depending on your preferences -- news is that she won't be a playable companion.
"I think it is fair for people people to understand that [Morrigan] will not be a party member," says Mike Laidlaw, the creative director on "Inquisition." "That's going to disappoint some people, but I think it's important for us to be upfront about that."
"[Morrigan]" has a human role in this plot, which I think may surprise some people because they might only think of her as a plot device," Gaider says, referring to her plan to conceive a child and imbue it with the soul of the Archdemon at the end of "Dragon Age: Origins." "She has this big plot she's involved in, and while that's true to an extent, I'm taking her to a human place."
"Dragon Age" fans remember Morrigan for her insane demon-baby idea, but my favorite moment is when she asks the Warden to help her kill her adoptive mother Flemeth.
"Loyalty" missions aren't exactly new to BioWare games, but Morrigan and Flemeth's secrecy threw a wrench in the deal: players knew that both witches were trying to manipulate the Warden, but it was unclear how or why. Flemeth saves the Warden's life at the beginning of "Origins," so it seemed ungrateful to kill her because her daughter asked me to (less than politely).
However, Morrigan was convinced that Flemeth would kill her and use her body as a skinsuit if given the chance -- it's been her modus operandi for much of her unnaturally long life.
I like this quest in particular because it demonstrates both the appeal and frustrations of open-ended BioWare role-playing games. Making difficult decisions and living with their consequences is interesting and engaging, but that appeal was limited by "Dragon Age's" strict dialog trees. Without the ability to get straight answers from Morrigan or Flemeth, the Warden has to wing it, which is somewhat less compelling.
Still, Morrigan has always been elusively unknowable, which is largely responsible for her cult status among fans. Everyone has their cannon Morrigan story: she may have fallen in love with the Warden, or escaped with her neo-natal Archdemon, or even just wandered off if rebuked a time too many.
I never got around to playing "Origins"' Morrigan-focused "Witch Hunt" DLC, either, so as far as I'm concerned, Morrigan is still childless and slumming through the Korcari Wilds. How my Morrigan squares with BioWare's "Inquisition" story is up in the air, but Gaider says it'll be taken care of.
"The various states that Morrigan can be in – of which there can be quite a few, because we don’t know when to stop when it comes to making decisions – they’re all recognized" in "Inquisition," Gaider says. "Whether or not they have the ultimate effect like the kind of reactivity someone imagines, that depends on the person. But we do recognize them and it does play a role of varying degrees depending on the surroundings.”
I more or less botched all the save importation stuff between "Origins," the expansion pack "Awakenings," and "Dragon Age II," so who knows which version of Morrigan I'll end up with. I'll find out when"Dragon Age: Inquisition" comes out next year.
For a nice little feature on Morrigan's background, voice acting, and narrative development, do check out her full piece in Game Informer.
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Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter