A Deep Dive Into Dragon Age: The Veilguard’s Elaborate Character Creator

When BioWare prepared to show me the character creator for Dragon Age: The Veilguard at its Edmonton, Canada, offices, I expected something solid — it’s 2024, character creators have come a long way, and BioWare has a rich history of great customization. Despite my expectations, I wasn’t prepared for how robust it was on the Vailguard. It’s pretty solid if BioWare uses this to create more NPCs in the game, save for main characters like companions. Hyperbole aside, it’s a staggeringly rich creation system, and I’m looking forward to player-creating near-replicas of famous figures and monstrous creations that would be more at home in a horror game.

But I look forward to the community’s response to the excellent character creation of the Dragon Age series. Inclusion is at the heart of this, Wheelguard game director Corinne Busche tells me before guiding her through creating my own character.

As usual, there are four races to choose from: Elves, Qunari, Humans and Dwarves. After selecting the Qunari, Busche pages through the various presets, a more detailed look at each one explaining the game and the ability to select pronouns including she/her, he/him and separate by gender, select different body types, and more. . You can view your character, referred to as Rook in-game, in four different lighting scenes at any time, including The Valeguard’s keynote purple hue, a bright and sunny tropical day, and a gothic night.

I joke with the team that an hour after creating my Dragon Age: Inquisition character in 2014, I immediately restarted the game after seeing him in the first cutscene; Among other issues I had with my Inquisitor the lighting in the game made my hair color look horrible. VielGuard creative director John Eppler says that while the team is aware of countless stories with Inquisition and its green-hued character creators, BioWare has worked hard to eliminate that concern in VielGuard.

Head and body presets can be selected individually and customized to your liking with 40 different skin tones, including smooth, rough, youthful and freckled skin tones, skin tones from cool neutral to warm, undertones for those skin tones and even melanin. Slider. Busche tells me that BioWare relies on the consultation to officially represent all people. There’s a Vitiligo slider (where you can adjust its intensity and amount) and sliders for your forehead, eyebrow, cheek, jawline, chin, larynx and scalp. You can choose your underwear with nudity because “it’s a mature RPG,” Busche adds, and use the “body morpher” to select three presets for each corner of the triangle and then move the cursor inside it to morph your body. Or go for a mix of these presets. It’s an impressive piece of technology that I’d like to see adopted in other games.

I could go on and on: your height, shoulder width, chest size, glute and bulge size, waist width, how bloodshot your eyes are, how visible your cataracts are, sclera color, how crooked your nose is, how big its bridge is, the size of the nostrils and tip of the nose, And there are as many, if not more, sliders for things like the Rook’s mouth and ears. On the ears alone, I see you can adjust asymmetry, depth, rotation, earlobe size, and even add a cauliflower ear to your rook. Busche says the makeup combines modern styles with Dragon Age fantasy, with more than 30 options including eyeliner intensity, color, glitter, eye shadow, lips and blush.

Tattoos are customizable with options for skin and color. BioWare tells me that tattoos, skin, and color are very culturally related to certain lineages, with unique tattoos for elves for example. You can add tattoos to Rook’s face, body, arms, and legs, and you can adjust things like intensity.

I was most impressed, however, with the hair choices on display; There are a ton, and as someone with long hair, I’m especially excited about the fun options I can make. You can finally dye your hair non-traditional colors and it looks gorgeous. EA’s Frostbite engine uses the Strand system to fully render each style with physics. “Technology has finally caught up with our ambition,” says Dragon Age series art director Matt Rhodes.

After customizing everything and selecting our Qunari’s horn type and materials (there are over 40 options to choose from), it’s time to choose a class from Rogue, Mage, and Warrior – read more about Veilguard’s classes here. Since we built the Qunari, we went with the Warrior. For the final step of the character creator, at least during the demo BioWare shows me, we choose a faction. Of the six options, we choose the pirate-themed Lords of Fortune.

“Rook rises because of potential, not because of a magical McGuffin,” BioWare core lead and Mass Effect executive producer Michael Gamble tells me, in contrast to Inquisition’s destiny-has-chosen-you-characterization.

“Rook is here because he chooses to and that speaks to the kind of character we’ve built,” Busche adds. “Somebody’s got to stop this, and Rook says, ‘I think it’s me.’

Ready to begin our rook’s journey, we choose a first and last name and one of four voices from the English Masculine, English Feminine, American Masculine, or American Feminine options. Each voice also has a pitch shifter, allowing you to tweak it to your liking.

Don’t stress too much about locking your character’s creations before starting the game – the Mirror of Transformation, found in The Lighthouse, Veilgard’s main hub, allows you to change your physical appearance at any time. However, class, lineage, and identity are locked and cannot be changed after you select them in the game’s character creator.

From here, we headed to Minrathaus and you can read more about that famous city in our cover story, available here.


For more information on the game, including exclusive details, interviews, video features and more, click the Dragon Age: VeilGuard Hub button below.

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