Dragon Age 2 To Explore Different Standards of Beauty

As we know, Dragon Age 2 is Bioware’s attempt to etch out a distinct visual style for their franchise–this is the real intention behind the otherwise dubious claims to ‘hot rod’ the art. And with good reason, too: if you take a look at any old Dragon Age Origins screenshot, there’s nothing there outside generic fantasy fare. It could be Lord of the Rings, for all an uninformed bystander knows.

So, how do you give Dragon Age a visual flair? Bioware thinks they can do this by making distinct race archetypes. The Qunari aren’t the only ones getting a makeover–as you might guessed after taking a look at the picture above. Each race is meant to depict a different standard of beauty unique to them. This would, hypothetically, translate to very distinct character models in-game, too. Those who played Origins know that there was little differentiating humans from elves and dwarfs outside of height and ears.

Of course, one should note that the “human” standard of beauty they’re pushing for here is actually only the western standard of beauty. Still, it’ll be interesting to see where they take this, to see what they can draw out from these visual concepts.


  1. Fernando Cordeiro

    I don’t think the “western standard of beauty” would be the right term. Nor the “Caucasian standard of beauty” or the “bald 1,80m guy straight out from a Man’s Health magazine standard of beauty”. I mean, these is simply the beauty standards the developers have themselves – which leads to believe most of them are Caucasians.

    But the Dwarf beauty standard is just messes up! Everyone who read Tolkien knows that Dwarf women also have kickass beards!

    • What race they are has nothing to do with it, so I’m not sure why you bring that up. And what are you proving by saying this is “just” the beauty standard the developers have themselves? That doesn’t change how we classify it, or somehow exonerate it from classification.

      • Fernando Cordeiro

        Well, I brought it up because you brought it up. I’m not debating the classification itself. I was just saying I didn’t see why you bothered mentioning it – especially when you didn’t express what you thought about the fact they were pushing only for the western standard of beauty. You just mentioned it. I’m just trying to pick your brain for a discussion here.

        Should they do things differently? Should they have used other types of standards? I don’t think they could have used more than one beauty standard (I think it contradicts the essence of the term “standard”, but I’m not sure) at the same time, so they had to pick one. If so, it’s natural that western developers would pick a western standard of modern beauty.

        This is another interesting point. They chose a modern standard of beauty. Would the game be more immersing had the developers tried to define a standard of beauty that made sense in the socio-economic reality of DA?

      • I did not bring race up. ‘West’ is not race.

      • Fernando Cordeiro

        Sorry. It was something I’ve inferred myself.
        I assumed western standard of beauty was light smooth skin without imperfections, long straight hair, thin body with 6 pack, symmetrical facial features, and so on – which is something I’ve generalized into a Caucasian category.

        I obviously need some better definitions, I suppose – and we define by contrasting. So please Pat, what is the “Eastern Standard of Beauty”?

      • That’s harder for me to explain since I am not well acquainted with it, but I can give you an example. You know how we always get feminine looking guys in our JRPGs? That’s because those qualities are more valued in that culture than they are here. IE a ‘handsome guy’ over there *can* be wildly different than what we’d consider a handsome guy over here. But we just see it as a feminine guy.

      • Fernando Cordeiro

        By your example, you only tackle a “Japanese Standard of Beauty”. If one assumes that the Western standard does not imply a Caucasian standard, then that should be also valid for the Eastern Standard, that would contain not only Japan, but the Near East, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and North Asian as well.

        I think that would be almost impossible to define, which consequently affects the definition of a broad Western Standard as well.

      • Fern, I said I would give you an example which clearly denotes that the beauty standards can be different. I cannot define it for you in the way that you want because it is cultural, and harder for me to pinpoint it when it is not mine. I know it exists, though, and that’s just one small example of it (as I initially stated).

        The Western standard does not refer to race because it is become so ubiquitous with globalization at the helm. We both probably have it, and neighter of us is Caucasian. We still have to recognize that that standard was Western to begin with, and that prior to that different cultures *may* have had different standards of beauty.

        Of course it should also be said that standards of beauty tend to have commonalities sometimes.

  2. D-K

    Guess I’ll have to go with the Qu’nari to avoid having to wear skin-tight pants..

    Meh, horns kick ass anyway..

  3. Joshua


    You can only be human in Dragon Age 2.

  4. D-K


    Well that kinda sucks..