Dragon Age: The Veilguard’s Character Creator Is BioWare’s Most Robust Yet

Dragon Age: The Veilguard Dreadwolf Game Informer Cover Story

As BioWare prepared to show me the character creator for Dragon Age: The Veilguard in its Edmonton, Canada, offices, I expected something robust – it’s 2024, character creators have come a long way, and Bioware has a rich history of good customization. Despite my expectations, I was not prepared for how robust it actually is in Veilguard. Robust enough, even, that BioWare used it to create most of the NPCs in the game, save for mainline characters like companions. Setting hyperbole aside, it is a staggeringly rich creation system, and I look forward to seeing player-created near-replicas of celebrities and monstrous creations that’d be more at home in a horror game. 

But I’m also looking forward to the community’s reaction to the Dragon Age series’ best character creator yet. At the heart of it is inclusivity, Veilguard game director Corinne Busche tells me before letting me guide her through creating my own character. 

Dragon Age: The Veilguard Dreadwolf Game Informer Cover Story

As is usual, there are four races to choose from: Elves, Qunari, Humans, and Dwarves. After selecting Qunari, Busche pages through various presets, explaining the game allows for more detailed looks at each and the ability to choose pronouns with she/her, he/him, and they/them separately from 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 Veilguard’s keynote purple hue, a bright and sunny tropical day, and a gothic night. 

I joke with the team that after spending upwards of an hour creating my Dragon Age: Inquisition character in 2014, I immediately restarted the game after seeing him in the first cutscene; the in-game lighting made my hair color look terrible amongst other issues I had with my Inquisitor. Veilguard creative director John Epler says the team is aware of countless stories like that with Inquisition and its green-hued character creator, adding BioWare worked hard to squash that concern in Veilguard. 

Head and body presets can be selected individually and customized to your liking with 40 different complexions that include smooth, rugged, youthful, and freckled skin tones, skin hues ranging from cool to neutral to warm, undertones to those skin tones, and even a melanin slider. Busche tells me BioWare relied on consultation to represent all people authentically. There’s a Vitiligo slider (where you can adjust the intensity and amount of it) and sliders for your forehead, brow, cheeks, jaw, chin, larynx, and scalp. You can select your undergarments, with nudity as well because “this is a mature RPG,” Busche adds, and use the “Body Morpher” to select three presets for each corner of a triangle and then move a cursor within it to morph your body or head into a mix of these presets. It’s an impressive technology I’d like to see adopted in other games. 

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

Tattoos are just as customizable alongside options for scars and paint. Tattoos, scars, and paint are very culturally relevant to some lineages, BioWare tells me, 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, too. 

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

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

“Rook ascends because of competency, 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 they choose to be and that speaks to the kind of character that we’ve built,” Busche adds. “Someone needs to stop this, and Rook says, ‘I guess that’s me.'”

Ready to begin our Rook’s journey, we select a first and last name and one of four voices out of English masculine, English feminine, American masculine, or American feminine options. There’s a pitch shifter for each voice, too, allowing you to tweak it to your liking further.

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

From here, we’re off to Minrathous, and you can read more about that famed city in our cover story, which is available here.

For more about the game, including exclusive details, interviews, video features, and more, click the Dragon Age: The Veilguard hub button below. 

follow us on: