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Dragon Age II Is Mature

And for once, that appears to be an accurate use of the word. "Mature" in a game rating tends to mean anything but. But once again BioWare are offering sexual freedom as one of the many ways you're free to define your experience of Dragon Age II. It means if you want to roleplay a gay character, you can.

This was an option they chose to drop from Mass Effect 2. A strange choice, given the original game allowed polyamorous characters, meaning that one couldn't pursue previous relationships. (Although my female Shepard did smooch Liara T'Soni when first seeing her, and then refused to chat to her for the rest of the game.)

When you consider how few games feature gay characters, let alone those that allow you to play as a gay character, BioWare is something of a (rainbow-coloured) flag carrier for the matter. So it's good news to hear that DA2 will continue to allow you to choose your character's sexuality. I played the original Dragon Age as a gay man, partly because I'd never had the opportunity to do so in a game before. And mostly because I was desperately pursuing a relationship with Alistair, whom I fancied. We confessed our love for each other, told each other of our virginal ways, but his heterosexuality meant it remained maddeningly platonic. Somehow I ended up with Zevran, almost by mistake. I was using him - my heart was always with Alistair.

Dragon Age 2 will feature scenes suggestive of sexual activity, including oral sex, according to the ESRB.

"During the course of the game, characters sometimes engage in sexual dialogue (e.g., "Why is it always about sex with you?" and "Sailing is like sex. Do it wrong, and it'll make you sick."). Players can also initiate brief cutscene sequences in which couples (male-female or same-sex) are shown kissing and embracing one another in a bedroom as the screen fades to black. In one cutscene, a woman kneels in front of a male character and appears to perform fellatio—there is no depiction of the sex act; the camera pans out to the rest of the room."

I love that they've plucked out a joke from the game. And it instils confidence in me that the writing is on form.

They also bring us the news that we'll hear the words "ass", "bastard" and "shit". Having spent the weekend playing Dead Space 2, that sounds delightfully tame.

The game is out in only a month and four days. Cripes.

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