It’s certainly a good week to have Dragon Age on the mind, with a new trailer out and a release date set. But Varric was always my plan for the letter V – the sort of character who makes you almost appreciate Bards. Almost.
Varric could likely talk himself out of any situation. And if that doesn’t work, he can always turn to Bianca, his clockwork crossbow. He keeps up almost constant banter through Dragon Age 2, shows interest in all of the different PCs. His loyalty is fascinating, as well: it seems almost absolute, but it is a loyalty to the story of you and your deeds, more than it is a loyalty to you, as the Champion of Kirkwall. He’s a fun character, and confirmed to be coming back in Dragon Age 3 out on October 7!
The Second Son
Varric lives the life an interesting life in the world of Dragon Age. He is a surface Dwarf, and in Dragon Age, most of the Dwarves live underground – to go to the surface is exile. However, he was born on the surface, and has no nostalgia or love for being underground. He doesn’t even have a beard!
His family, like most surface dwarves, has become a merchant family. His elder brother, thus, runs the family firm. That leaves him to be behind the scenes. So while he seems like he doesn’t care, isn’t involved, just tells stories and frequents taverns… he’s quietly collecting information. A talent that he puts to great use for you as the player, or maybe better put a talent he uses for the writers! He does quite a bit to move the story forward, to get the Champion integrated into Kirkwall, settled, and moving forward.
However, none of that is how we are introduced to Varric. Instead, we are introduced to him right at the start of Dragon Age 2, before we even get to meet our new player character. Varric is dragged in, and forced to tell the story of the Champion of Kirkwall. The game plays out as Varric tells the tale, revealing to the shadowy Inquisitors what he knows. What happened. With a mild level of authority; though he certainly embellishes the stories about himself!
This story-telling model is flawed from the start: the Dragon Age games are about player choices, about you being in control of the story. And this holds true in Dragon Age 2. The problem is, that means they CANNOT tell you why you care about the story until right up to the end – because it’s then that you’ve made enough choices for them to reveal what’s been going on. Why Varric has been picked up, why there are Inquisitors and why the weight of the world hangs in the balance.
But none of this is Varric’s fault – his storytelling is excellent regardless of the fact that it may not have been the best way to approach this game.
Dragon Age Inquisition
Varric is just about the only known existing companion coming back for Dragon Age 3 that has been confirmed so far. It make sense: we know he has already been picked up by the Inquisition, that he has been read in on the dangers facing the world. He’s right there in the middle of it. Which is honestly where he wants to be. Well, really, he wants to be through it all, sitting somewhere, telling the story of the Warden, the Champion, and the Inquisitor.
You can see him in action in the new gameplay trailer!