UPDATE 1/07 11.30AM: David Gaider was criticised on Twitter for his use of the phrase "fully gay". "I meant 'legitimately', sorry," he clarified. "I was trying to be clear - many people consider the bi characters we've done to be 'gay'."
When challenged that "legitimately" had the same effect as "fully gay", and why didn't he just say "first gay companion I've written", he answered: "Many would say, 'No, it's not.' But fair enough - I did not intend to comment on bisexuality, and will leave it at that."
ORIGINAL STORY 1/07 10.30AM: Moustachioed Dragon Age: Inquisition mage Dorian will be the first "fully gay" character lead series writer David Gaider has ever written - and the first "fully gay" male party member in BioWare's long history.
"Dorian is gay - he is, in fact, the first fully gay character I've had the opportunity to write," revealed David Gaider on the Dragon Age website.
"I suppose this aspect of Dorian will make him controversial in some corners, but I was glad to include it. It made writing Dorian a very personal experience for me," Gaider, who is gay, added, "and I'm hopeful that will make him seem like a fully realised character to fans in the end."
The only other "fully gay" characters in BioWare's history are female party member Juhani in Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect 3 non-party members Samantha Traynor and Steve Cortez.
Juhani, incidentally, was written as lesbian but a bug in the code allowed her to be attracted to male player characters as well. Subsequent patches fixed this and made her sexual preference as originally intended.
Nevertheless, the romance between Juhani and the player character is, by BioWare's standards today, relatively unexplored; Juhani tells the player she loves her and needs more time to explore her feelings, but the final battle commences and there's never time to find out what happens next. Presumably the Dorian romance arc in Dragon Age: Inquisition won't stop there.
Incidentally, the blog post doesn't confirm Dorian as a male player character love interest but the Dragon Age Facebook page does: "... Dorian will be a love interest for Male Inquisitors," the official page confirmed.
Dorian's sexuality underlines his chosen role as an outcast among the mage-led society of Tevinter. He feels his society's fascination with perfection is leading to corruption and he seeks to root it out.
"Dorian is an outcast - by choice," wrote Gaider, "but only insofar as he chose not to live according to the expectations of his society."
As for his abilities: he's a powerful mage who commands elemental spells as well as those involving spirits and the dead. In Tevinter, unlike other areas of Thedas - the world of Dragon Age - mages are respected and allowed to train and revel in their power. He's also described as witty and sarcastic.
Earlier this year David Gaider blogged about romances in BioWare games and whether they should be included at all - a conversation that comes up internally, he revealed. Ultimately, though, characters and their relationships - and by natural extension of that, romances - are something BioWare prides itself upon, and to give that up would be to give up a defining feature of the work the studio does. And there are "a lot" of people who enjoy it, he said.