Returning to favorite franchises and games can be incredibly exciting. But it can also be incredibly intimidating. What does it mean to undo years of progress and start again?
This weekend, I moved into New York so I could join my wonderful co-workers at the Kotaku offices. I drove down from New Hampshire and shacked up in New York City. A bit overwhelmed and unsure of what to do during my downtime, I decided to replay the entire Dragon Age franchise.
Now, Dragon Age is pretty badass. I particularly love Dragon Age 2. But I’m very particular about playing RPGs. Once I’ve played through once, that’s my playthrough. If I am going to play again, I’m going to stick to the same choices. It’s just how my brain is wired. This time, I decided I would change things. I would start again and establish a new canon.
Uprooting your whole life is a pretty strange experience. It leaves you disorientated. Undoing a digital history isn’t quite as dire but it can be difficult if you’ve built an affection for “your” story. At first, I didn’t want to say goodbye to my Dalish elf Warden. I felt legitimate anguish at the idea that Hawke and Merrill would not end up in a romantic happily ever after this time around. I didn’t want to let go. I’d become attached.
Nevertheless, I uprooted my old life in the magical realm of Thedas to replace it with another. My human noble Warden set off on their adventure. It was bittersweet at first. Leaping into Dragon Age: Origins shows how much things have changed over the years it took to get to Dragon Age: Inquisition. A strange nostalgia tugged at me and the actual playing felt somewhat of a chore. I still couldn’t really embrace my new life and identity.
Companions were the key. While it slowly became exciting to have new choices and potentialities open to me, the thing that pulled it all together was the various characters. It wasn’t enough to walk a new path. Knowing I wasn’t walking it alone? That made a world of difference. New York or Thedas, it’s all about the people you meet.
I’m still on my quest to slay the archdemon, my previous digital existence tossed into the ether. There’s plenty of fond memories there. Still, I’m eager to see what story emerges this time around. I get a feeling that it’s going to be pretty great.