According to Dragon Age series lead writer David Gaider, the Baldur’s Gate 3 playerbase’s general dislike of the game’s companion Lae’zel is not founded in any criticism of her actual character, but rather based on an inherent sense of misogyny supposedly found across both genders in all fandoms.
A Githyanki fighter who puts her pride in her race above almost all else, Lae’Zel first meets the player while both are in captivity under the Mind Flayers, the two eventually teaming up to free themselves from their predicament.
One of the earliest companions available to meet in Larian Studios’ critically-acclaimed RPG, Lae’Zel is considered by many players to be less a ‘partner’ and more the digital representation of ‘that one player who joins the table and refuses to cooperate even one bit’, replete with a habit of suggesting the party take the most brutal and violent routes possible regardless of whether or not doing so would be advantageous.
Abrasive, judgemental, and at times outright racist, Lae’Zel’s combative personality has led to her becoming a bit of pariah – half-seriously and half-as-a-meme – among the game’s playerbase.
Yet, despite critics regularly raising such points when explaining why they dislike the hostile heroine, the aforementioned Gaider instead believes that their rejection of Lae’Zel is yet another example of typical ‘fandom misogyny’.
The man who crafted the core Dragon Age series’ main story and setting would offer his disingenuous opinion on the Baldurs Gate 3 playerbase in response to a round of criticism being leveled toward the Githyanki on Twitter.
“Lae’zel is the RPG party member equivalent of ‘the show gets really good after season 4’,” tweeted @PleasantKenobi on August 15th, kicking off this specific round of discourse. “I’m glad she has an arc, but im not putting up with her s–t for 10 hours for her to eventually maybe stop being an ass.”
Agreeing with @PleasantKenobi, fellow Twitter user @BlackSalander then replied, per a record of their now-deleted tweet provided by GamesRadar, “I’m confident if Lae was a guy people would be swooning about him being so edgy and such a bad boy.”
Taking note of @BlackSalander’s assertion, Gaider would join the conversation on August 17th and declare, “Can confirm. The Dragon Age fandom consistently gave WAY more latitude and forgiveness to male characters as opposed to female characters, in every game. It is very much a Thing.”
Slightly disagreeing with the writer’s take, independent journalist Peter Pischke would then counter, “true, but I think the audience demographic was different back in 2009,” to which Gaider would retort, “It was the same way for DA2 and DAI, not just DAO. Fandom has always treated male characters with more forgiveness – full stop.”
[Disclosure: Pischke has a working relationship with Bounding Into Comics and is considered a friend by this article’s author.]
As the discourse proceeded to unfold in his mentions, the Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical scribe would eventually move to mute the conversation – but not before offering his final “few comments” on the entire matter.
“1) I meant the ENTIRE fandom, not just the dudes,” he ultimately explained. “2) Yes, I get it’s a generalization. But you, personally, liking a female character or disliking a male one 100% invalidates it. 3) I didn’t think this was news to anyone, tbh.”