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"BioWare is like the master of making you feel like the game revolves around the choices you make."

BioWare is a Canadian video game developer based in Edmonton, Alberta and known for developing Western RPGs. Formed in 1995 by three newly-graduated medical doctors, Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk and Augustine Yip, hence the name "BioWare", their first products were patient simulation software. Initially they produced licensed games but they've been creating their own universes since 2005 and are part of Electronic Arts since 2009. For a while, a number of other EA studios were also under the BioWare label. Mythic Entertainment, Victory Games, and EA 2D (incorporating KlickNation) have all been considered part of BioWare at some point. However, those studios have mainly been spun off again (or closed) since then, leaving just the "core" BioWare (meaning the original Edmonton studio and an online-focused studio in Austin).


Some of their RPGs have developed a reputation for being the video game equivalent of door stoppers, in the best sense of that term. You play a BioWare game because of the dialogue trees, the hours spent on developing side characters, understanding the world, and reading the Codex. In short, BioWare has a traditional reputation for creating some of the best stories in video games.

Compare and contrast Obsidian Entertainment, with whom BioWare has a fond relationship. Both companies had close links to Interplay and both specialize in story-driven Western-style RPGs.


Games developed by BioWare:

Cancelled works:

  • Shadow Realms
  • Command & Conquer (2013) note 

Franchise summary pages:

List of tropes persistent in BioWare RPGs:

  • Action Girl: The majority of the recruitable female characters.
  • All There in the Manual: The Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, plus The Old Republic, have an in-game Codex providing background information on characters, locations, species, organizations and technology encountered.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Often subverted. Drow, krogan, geth, qunari and many other examples come to mind. They even manage to make Sith look reasonable. Played straight in other works.
  • Anti-Hero: There's nothing stopping players from taking this route if they wish.
  • Anti-Grinding: This doesn't mean there isn't pointless combat (far from it), just that it has no reward and appears in fixed places.
  • Anti-Villain: A good amount of their humanoid villains, such as Saren Arterius, the Illusive Man, Loghain Mac Tir and Meredith Stannard, certainly qualify.
  • AstroTurf: An employee of BioWare went to the Dragon Age II Metacritic page and gave the game a 10. While this isn't an example of astroturfing (EA described it as the equivalent of voting for yourself in an election), it did inspire a case of astroturfing astroturfing, where fans of The Witcher went on The Witcher 2's Metacritic page, gave the game of zero, and pretended to be BioWare employees.
  • Battle Couple: The PC and his/her love interest.
  • Betty and Veronica: If a BioWare game includes more than one female NPC who can be romanced, it's a safe bet that one of them will be a cute, innocent Girl Next Door while the other will be a more exotic, seductive Femme Fatale.
    • Aerie and Viconia in Baldur's Gate 2.
    • Dawn Star and Silk Fox in Jade Empire.
    • Liara and Ashley in Mass Effect and 3. Notably, both can be interpreted as either the Betty or Veronica in the first game, since Liara is an exotic blue space babe and Ashley is a boring human, but Liara is much more mild-mannered and shy whereas Ashley is loud, brash, and very aggressive. Of course, after Liara becomes the Shadow Broker her Veronica stats go up, whereas Ashley stays pretty much the same throughout the series.
    • Tali and Miranda (or Jack) in Mass Effect 2.
    • Mass Effect 3 adds Samantha Traynor to Liara for the Gay Option.
    • Leliana and Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins are somewhat of a subversion - Leliana (the Betty) turns out to have been a spy and master seductress in her past, while Morrigan (the Veronica) is possibly the most innocent of the party members when you think about it. She owes much of her aloofness and Straw Nihilist / The Social Darwinist tendencies to her mother, who viewed men as tools at best and was grooming Morrigan to be a vessel for her soul.
    • Perhaps the most blatant example of this trope is Merrill and Isabela in Dragon Age II. Merrill is an innocent, cute elf mage, while Isabela is a dusky, buxom, promiscuous pirate girl who doesn't wear pants.
    • Josephine (a graceful, pacifist Antivan ambassador) and Cassandra (a practical, spiritual, and intimidating-looking Seeker who is second in command to the former Divine) in Dragon Age: Inquisition as the straight options for males. Lesbians still have Josephine as the Betty with Sera (a crude, playful, hot-headed roguish elf) replacing Cassandra as the Veronica.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda has both a Betty and Veronica along with a Third Love Interest for both straight males and lesbians. Your idealistic second in command whose stuck between two cultures Cora is the Betty for straight males and the soft spoken logical religious scientist Suvi would also be a Betty but only for lesbians. Meanwhile, both sexual orientations have the hyperactive devil may care asari archeologists Peebee as the Veronica and an option who has aspects of both sides, the roguish yet compassionate turian smuggler Vetra.
    • True to BioWare's commitment to inclusivity, there's also male examples found throughout their games:
      • Alistair, a shy virginal templar, and Zevran, a hypersexual assassin, in Dragon Age: Origins. Dragon Age II gives us Sebastian, a a devout Chantry rogue, vs. Anders, fiery apostate mage rebel, and Fenris, broody Animesque ex-slave elf-warrior. The third game tops it off with Cullen (mild-mannered ex-templar) and Solas (a soft-spoken apostate mage and scholar) as the Bettys to the Veronicas Iron Bull (a Qunari ben-hassrath and all-but-said BDSM practitioner) and Dorian (a vain Tevinter mage necromancer) with Blackwall (a not Grey Warden with a dark past) smacked in the middle.
      • The Mass Effect franchise, taken as a whole, has Kaidan, Jacob Taylor, and Steve Cortez as Bettys up against Thane and Garrus as the Veronicas.
      • The fourth game gives a much better example for one game. Liam, surprisingly despite his hotheadedness, is a Betty due to his honest desire to make sure that everyone feels comfortable as well as Gil, who would love to settle down and have kids one day. Straight females and gay males have Reyes, a shady smuggler who helps out Ryder for his own reasons, as your Veronica. Jaal is smacked right in the middle for his very open behavior, especially once a patch made him a bisexual option.
  • Blood Knight: At least one recruitable (The Black Whirwind, Canderous Ordo, Oghren, Iron Bull, Wrex and Grunt).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Often the same character as the Blood Knight, but not always.
  • Borrowing from the Sister Series:
    • After finding general success with more open worlds in Dragon Age Inquisition, Bioware brought them into its Mass Effect series with Mass Effect Andromeda. However, this addition went poorly. Namely vast but empty and mostly uninteresting open worlds, an excess of Fetch Quests, and dialogue options that end up proving largely irrelevant most of the time.
    • Conversely, the Dragon Age series has adopted Mass Effect's Dialogue Wheel subsystem for Player Character's dialogue selection UI. It has replaced the fully written-out dialogue lines from Dragon Age Origins with up to six dialogue options arranged around a central circle (the eponymous "wheel"), which now consist of a few keywords and are color-coded if they affect the Karma Meter. The rationale behind this was that dialogue wheels are much easier to navigate with a controller (DAO was primarily designed as a PC title, while later installments were Multi-Platform), make it easier to rerecord the PC's voiced dialogue (after DAO, all player characters have been voiced — another thing the series has adopted from ME), and render karma effects of dialogue choices more transparent (DAO had no Karma Meter).
  • Branch-and-Bottleneck Plot Structure: The "complementary branches" variation has long been a part of the so-called "BioWare formula", from Neverwinter Nights to Mass Effect: Andromeda. Mutually exclusive branches are also often employed in their games, ranging in scale from full-blown mutually exclusive main quests (mages and Templars in Dragon Age: Inquisition), to tiny things like dialogue "choices" leading to identical outcomes (and sometimes, even identical statements by the protagonist).
  • But Thou Must!: There is a lot of dialogue in Bioware's games where all the "options" given are basically minor variations on the same response. Perhaps the most egregious case is in Mass Effect, where Shepard speaks the exact same line regardless of the option you pick in one of the early conversations with the Council.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Although there's nothing stopping you from playing a Villain Protagonist, you should be aware that, unlike the good dialogue options, most of the evil ones simply boil down to "Jerkass who does things For the Evulz."
    • Of course, some of those options exist in these games, but Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins, and sometimes Jade Empire avert this. Dragon Age: Origins is particularly good at it, due to a lack of Karma Meter. You can come up with a good, rational reason to do just about every evil thing. To the point where one can measure the development of BioWare's storytelling and karma meter use in their ability to challenge the player with hard choices. The Dragon Age: Origins expac in particular has a choice which seems to have no "correct" answer and likewise the conclusion of Legion's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 gives you a truly difficult decision to make with no correct answer (though one is considered paragon and the other renegade).
    • Their more recent titles generally seem to have abandoned this trope. Renegades in Mass Effect 3 are impatient with politics, love fighting, and are more cynical, but they're not really evil. Later entries in the Dragon Age series have continued Origins' approach.
  • Character Development: A lot in most, if not all of their games.
    • Most background characters, many of who aren't related to quests or the plot, receive some serious fleshing out as well, such as in Mass Effect where you learn why some of your crew mates are xenophobic and can help them work on overcoming it, or get drunk with Dr. Chakwas and learn why she chose to work with Cerberus. Even your often doomed Guest-Star Party Member shows character development prior to or post-death if you talk to or about them. Cullen in Dragon Age is a particularly notable example of the former point, appearing for only about five minutes at the most in the original game, but still getting one of the most extensive character arcs in the entire series, and still never being a party member.
  • Companion-Specific Sidequest: This tradition goes all the way to the original Baldur's Gate, where, for instance, Minsc joined your party on the condition that you help him rescue Dynaheir from a fortress full of gnolls and would leave after a while if you didn't keep that promise. This design paradigm reached its pinnacle in Mass Effect 2, which consisted almost exclusively of companion-specific missions.
  • Darker and Edgier: Their later work tends towards this. Despite sharing somewhat similar design styles, uniformly excellent writing and a signature character style, Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect might have been made by different companies. If one takes the Dark Side path through KOTOR, there's a definite trend, the difference being that KOTOR leaves the option to the player.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: A frequent theme, although games like KOTOR play this trope straight.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Seems to be the prime tenet of BioWare games. At most, two or three companions won't tend towards snarkiness.
  • Deconstruction: Mostly of common character archetypes or plots.
  • Dialogue Tree: This is the reason why BioWare games are considered doorstoppers. Dialogues are plentiful.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? / Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? - You will be doing this frequently.. Gods, wanna-be gods, Eldritch Abominations, Humanoid Abominations, Sith ghosts, Darkspawn, Old Gods, Reapers... yes, even if you're playing a regular Muggle Smuggler, you're going to be busting more supernatural terrors than Peter Venkman.
  • Dysfunction Junction: We call this "a player party." Part of the PC's job in any BioWare game is to manage their party members' various personal issues.
  • Enemy Mine: The main protagonists of several games can be played with this motivation.
    • The Dalish Warden in Dragon Age: Origins can state their sole reason to defeat the Blight is to save their own people.
    • In Mass Effect 2 Commander Shepard is forced to work with the Illusive Man to stop the Collectors.
    • After the Makeb arc in Star Wars: The Old Republic, there are a surprising amount of times the Empire and Republic have to put their war on hold because there's something even worse that's hitting them both (The Dread Masters, Revan, and the now-former Sith Emperor). The Sith Warrior also has a few moments in which they can temporarily ally with Republic forces for their own goals.
  • Evil Is Petty: Inevitably, being evil in a BioWare game will mean "be a rude, selfish jerk".
    • Dragon Age is a bit better about this, what with the lack of a Karma Meter, but gaining the approval of "evil" party members will take you down the path to jerkassery nonetheless.
    • Becomes a Deconstructed Trope by Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which was developed by Obsidian Entertainment. Choosing what in a Bioware game would be the "dark side" option gets you yelled at by Kreia for being a thuggish twat who is making things worse for no reason, and provides fodder for a brutal "Reason You Suck" Speech. And Kreia is a Lord of the Sith, for pete's sake.
    • Renegade Shepard has generally been the victim of inconsistent characterization throughout the Mass Effect series. While s/he generally acts like an ignorant thug, there are some moments at which s/he seems like The Chessmaker, like at the end of ME1, in which s/he and Udina orchestrate the rise of a Human Led Council to replace the one Shepard left to die, securing humanity's position as the galaxy's dominant race. Or in the genophage arc of Mass Effect 3, during which Renegade!Shepard dupes the Krogan into thinking the genophage has been cured when it actually hasn't, and informs the Salarians of this deception, securing both their aid and that of the Krogan.
  • Expy:
  • Feminist Fantasy: BioWare has repeatedly shown a commitment to portraying women in a very positive way in their video games. Fanservice still exists in some of the female characters, but they're still characters rather than objects, and there's also plenty of sexy male characters for anybody who bats for that team. Mass Effect and Dragon Age are probably the best examples. Both have female fighters everywhere, militaries with Gender Is No Object policies, women with incredible amounts of political and economical power (Dragon Age actually has a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of the Catholic Church that is run exclusively by women), and a roughly equal ratio of female to male characters in the PC's squad.
  • Flavor Text: Weapons usually have a description, as do other items (planets in Mass Effect, for instance, have up to three or four paragraphs of description, even if you aren't supposed to stay more than ten minutes on them).
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Averted only in D&D-based games. Mass Effect represents this trope with Combat/Biotics/Tech.
  • Filler: Most of the minigames may qualify.
  • Gay Option: Arguably the Trope Codifier in western role-playing games.
  • Genki Girl: One of the romanceable females will usually be this.
  • Going Through the Motions: Bioware is known for reusing animations in all of their games, so it's common to see characters in different series do the same gestures, such as pointing aggressively at you or folding their arms while slumping back.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: In their games with a set Karma Meter, party members tending more to the "good" alignments often use blue backgrounds and more amoral or Token Evil Teammate characters will be depicted with red backgrounds. The Player Character starts with a gray background that becomes darker blue or red depending on the player's alignment choices.
  • Good Feels Good: Being a Nice Guy in their games can make you feel all kinds of awesome. Being a bad guy often leads to a feeling you need a hot shower and scrub-down with a wire brush.
  • Good Is Not Nice/Good Is Not Soft: Often entirely up to the player, but Mass Effect and Dragon Age allow a lot of freedom with this trope. Paragon Shepard in particular is regarded as a standout example of the latter.
  • Hide Your Gays: Proceeds pretty well from being played straight, to being completely averted.
    • Knights of the Old Republic had it vetoed by LucasArts, though a very subtle female-only romance arc with Juhani managed to sneak in anyway.
    • Jade Empire included gay romance options for male and female player-characters, but hides any same-sex kissing behind a Fade to Black, unless you apply a patch to the PC version of the game.
    • Mass Effect had gay romances scripted and voiced but removed at the last moment, although with some fiddling it's possible to mod them back in—if you're willing to play as a default Shepard, overlook your LI very occasionally referring to you by the wrong pronoun, briefly hearing Shepard's opposite sex voice in a single cutscene and the obligatory sex scene obviously being... not quite right. Nevertheless, the romance will be perfectly imported to Mass Effect 2 and 3, with Shepard and the LI acting as if they were lovers all along.
    • Dragon Age II finally gave equal amounts of options, regardless of gender (outside of one character).
    • Mass Effect 3 is their first game to feature romance options that exclusive to the same gender.
    • The Old Republic has this trope coming back into play now, with similar flashpoints as Dragon Age II had, namely some people complaining that it lacks a same-sex romance option, and others railing against the possibility of such an option in their MMO. Starting from the Makeb arc, bisexual love interests are introduced but nothing serious until the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion. Also during this expansion there are people can hit on regardless of gender.
    • Fully averted in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where the game features all four letters of GLBT. Not only are there gay male, lesbian, and bisexual love interests, there are also four openly bisexual/lesbian NPC's: Leliana, Dagna, Empress Celene, and Briala (the latter two are former lovers who can be reunited depending on your actions), and one of your Inquisition allies, Crem, is a transman. As for queer men, if your Inquisitor doesn't romance Dorian or the Iron Bull, the two will fall in love with each other and will discuss their relationship from time to time. In other words, there is no avoiding queer themes whatsoever in this game.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: A running theme. Baldur's Gate? You're the bastard offspring of the God of Murder, with most of your "siblings" out to kill you. Their Star Wars games? Let's see, amnesiac Sith Lord in their first one (who ends up with a massive Shoot the Shaggy Dog). And the MMO has eight paths where you're probably going to end up watching friends die, watching worlds get destroyed, and Sadistic Choice is standard operating procedure. It gets worse during the Outlander arc. Mass Effect? Yeah, Shepherd is a tired psychological wreck by the third game and most of the endings end with him/her dead. Dragon Age? Yeah, can't even earn a Happy Ending there.
  • Karma Meter: There's usually one of some degree. BioWare used a standard Good vs Evil meter for all d20 games (all of them are licensed). Thus, Jade Empire and Mass Effect are criticized for narrowing moral conflicts down to two choices — heal the kitten vs. kill the kitten, despite Open Palm vs. Closed Fist is more like Altruist vs. Social Darwinist, and Paragon vs. Renegade are more like Idealism Versus Cynicism, Paragon sometimes even acts exactly like a Closed Fist adept would. Thus, there's no Karma Meter at all in Dragon Age, which was replaced by Relationship Values. In general, the PC's good/evil actions is reflected by which characters relationship values will build up the fastest. For example, choosing the heroic and unambiguously "good" choice will lead like-minded, good-aligned characters to approve of your actions, making it easier to build camaraderie, loyalty, romance, etc. with them by opening new dialogue options and plot elements while simultaneously leading the more morally ambiguous members of your group to disapprove, which leads them to shun any efforts of building relationships with them by limiting said choices and quite possibly making them dislike you altogether. So the karmic dichotomy still stands, but only on the characters' front. You can just leave them behind while being morally questionable without repercussion, aside from one flagrant defilement of a major religious figure's remains. Dragon Age: Inquisition builds on this further by hiding the exact numbers for the Relationship Values and by making it so more choices affect the opinions of party members who aren't present.
  • Light Is Not Good: Plenty of examples, especially when a Church Militant is involved.
  • Love Redeems: If your love interest has an evil alignment (or a love interest that switches to the evil alignment), expect this to hit them full force, although in Morrigan's case, the effect isn't seen until two games down the line. By Dragon Age: Inquisition, she's softened not directly because of her relationship with the Warden, but because of her love for her son.
  • Loyalty Mission: Mass Effect 2 is the Trope Namer, but this kind of side quest also came up in Baldur's Gate 2 and Dragon Age: Origins.
  • Mr. Fanservice: At least one romancable.
  • Multiple Endings: Slowly evolved over the games they made.
    • Baldur's Gate finished with the Throne of Bhaal expansion which offered the player character a choice between finishing as a Good God/Evil God/Staying Mortal. Outlined with text epilogues.
    • Jade Empire had different endings based on your Karma Meter, the romantic relationships between yourself and your followers and their Karma meters as well. It also had hidden pasts for two characters resulting in about three or four different endings per follower on top of the three main endings for your own alignment (Good/Evil/Dead/In Love With Hero/Secret Past/Secret past and In love with Hero/Evil with a secret past whilst in love with the hero... and you get the idea). These epilogues were only played after the main ending cutscene, however, which was chosen from 3 possibilities depending on whether the main character was good/evil/an idiot.
    • Dragon Age: Origins had genuinely different ending choices that would change who died and lived (including the Warden) and the fates of various characters over the course of the game were spelled out by epilogue text-cards.
    • Mass Effect 3's lack of this trope was a major part of the fandom's bitter response to it, though the Extended Cut DLC helped differentiate the endings, while adding one wildly different ending which amounts to a Downer Ending.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Boo, the Miniature Giant Space Hamster, makes appearances in the Baldur's Gate series. You can buy a space hamster with a knowing smile in Mass Effect 2.
    • Chiktikka Fastpaws is a raccoon sidekick of a god that Aerie of Baldur's Gate invokes by saying, "faster than Chiktikka Fastpaws!" Chik'tikka vas Paus is Tali of Mass Effect's combat drone. She'll shout "Nothing's faster than Chik'tikka vas Paus!" during combat. She'll also shout "Go for the optics, go for the optics!", which is a reference to the aforementioned Boo and the shout his owner Minsc will say.
    • "How's a dwarf get named Shepard?"
    • Really, every BioWare games after the early ones with nothing to call to has at least one company Mythology Gag in it.
    • Baldur's Gate: "Lord Foreshadow", who was heading to Neverwinter. He reappears as an Easter Egg in Dragon Age: Origins.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Trailers for BioWare games tend to be... misleading. They rarely lie outright, by they tend to give the wrong impression. For example, trailers for Mass Effect 2 made Legion out to be a stone cold murderous assassin with an interest in psychological warfare, when in the game itself, he/it/they are really an adorkably idealistic Shepard fanboy who wants to help the Geth. And if you just went by the advertising, you'd think that the conflict with the Arishok and Isabela's potential untrustworthiness was the entire focus of Dragon Age II instead of just the second act.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: Pretty much every one of their titles post-Baldur's Gate featured one. Mass Effect and Dragon Age manage to hit all kinds of points in the LGBTQ+ rainbow, including same-sex romances options being a standard part of their settings. It's Downplayed with their Star Wars Legends titles, as LucasArts had strict policies against LGBTQ+ content. note  They still sneaked the first lesbian character into Star Wars Legends, with the complete lack of anyone reacting to Juhani's preference for women saying more than anything.
  • The Not-Love Interest: With Relationship Values becoming a major selling point with the party members in various of their games, it comes as no surprised that some of the most popular characters in their games aren't romanceable.
  • Old Save Bonus: Started with Baldur's Gate where a character imported from the first game could have better stats and some items that could be use to forge new gear. Taken up to eleven during the Mass Effect series where an imported character would carry over a huge number of decisions from the first game that would majorly impact the second (and a number of minor impacts too). Expect this to go even further in the third game.
  • Optional Party Member: Despite the fact each of them gets truckloads of Character Development and enough dialogue to fill a novel, only about two of your party members will actually be important to the plot. Generally a male and female lead, who will probably love interests.
    • Not so in Dragon Age II, where almost every cast member has a main plot role, even the optional party members such as Isabela.
    • Mass Effect 3, while you start out with James and either Ashley or Kaiden, it turns out that Liara and EDI become much more major characters. And only Javik is optional in Mass Effect 3, unless Tali or Garrus died in Mass Effect 2.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Played straight with Baldur's Gate II and Neverwinter Nights, but tends to be subverted in many of their other games by having lasting, serious consequences for the player's actions. Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars: The Old Republic do both, with optional encounters early in the game and serious romantic interests later.
  • Planet of Hats: Generally averts this in their games, taking stereotype races or cultures and deconstructing them. Most notably averted in the Mass Effect series.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: In Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Potentially one in Dragon Age.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: BioWare games are quite famous for this. Even their less acclaimed games are still noted for their extremely diverse and odd character groupings. Mass Effect 2 is likely their most famous example.
  • Reconstruction: While there are Deconstructions in it, Mass Effect is generally seen as a Reconstruction of the sci-fi genre.
  • Railroading: There's usually a point around the end of the second/beginning of the third act of a Bioware game where you have to make a major choice, usually picking between NPC factions or a particular Sadistic Choice that dictates the rest of the plot (the Sith or the Jedi in KOTOR, the Mages or the Templars in Dragon Age II, etc.). The player may attempt to find a reasonable compromise, but these are either ignored or handwaved by the characters in the game, as a wink at the player that this would probably be a workable solution if you were dealing with rational actors.
  • Rescue Introduction: BioWare likes this trope for party members:
    • Mass Effect: Ashley, Liara and Tali from the first game. Archangel/Garrus, Legion, Tali (again. Twice), arguably Jack and Grunt from the second game. In retrospect, Wilson is a subversion, since he's the one who coordinated an attack on the facility on behalf of the Shadow Broker. An awful lot of people meet Shepard and the crew as they come in during a Big Damn Heroes moment as well.
    • Dragon Age: Origins: The Warden for Flemeth, and then more conventionally: Sten, Shale and arguably Wynne (if you didn't pick the mage background).
    • The Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening expansion has Anders, Oghren, Sigrun and Justice all traditionally rescued, while Velanna subverts this because the Warden was actually rescuing trade caravans from her. Likewise, Nathaniel is first encountered in the dungeons after being captured during an attempt to murder the Warden.
    • In Dragon Age II, Hawke and family meet Aveline by saving her and her husband from darkspawn. Flemeth again introduces herself after rescuing Hawke and company from darkspawn.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition flips it around if you choose to recruit the Templars, with Cole saving the Herald, but also does things more conventionally with the Herald finding Varric and Solas in the middle of a battle with demons.
    • Baldur's Gate 2: Branwen, Dynaheir, Viconia, Yeslick and Xan in the first game; Aerie, Cernd, Haer'Dalis, Viconia (again!), Mazzy and arguably Minsc and Jaheira in the sequel.
    • Knights of the Old Republic has you rescuing Bastila (or as she'll insist, her rescuing you) from the Black Vulkars. Carth's the one who pulled you from the escape pod wreck and nursed you back to health. And not only do you rescue Juhani from her self-imposed exile in the grove, but as Revan, you also rescued her from slavery.
  • Romance Sidequest: Basically a trademark of BioWare games. Starting with a minor sidequest in the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion to Baldur's Gate and implemented as a major feature in Baldur's Gate 2, after which it became a staple of their games. The only time that tradition has ever been broken since then is with Anthem.
  • Running Gag: Many of their games feature a Guest-Star Party Member at the beginning who'll inevitably end up dying, usually at the conclusion of the first quest.
    • The use of imported saves in Mass Effect allowed for jokes that spanned all 3 games and were based totally on your actions.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Don't get attached to your initial squadmates too quickly, since one of them is gonna bite the dust early on.
  • Sliding Scale Of Linearity Versus Openness: Mostly type V, but some are more of a Type IV.
  • Sociopathic Hero: At least one will be a possible party member, if not the player themselves.
  • Strictly Formula: BioWare games follow a characteristic pattern.
  • The End Is Nigh:
    • BioWare just loves doomsayers. From Manuel in Mass Effect to some crazy old kook in KOTOR...
    • The Doomsday Prophet on Omega in Mass Effect 2 says this verbatim.
    • The titular city is full of them in Neverwinter Nights. Some even say this verbatim.
  • Troperiffic: Dear God yes. A notable example being the Mass Effect series which after only two games, three books and two comic series, has over thirty pages on this site. Mass Effect 3's main page had a good 150 tropes on it before it was even released.
  • True Companions: Usually what the party becomes by the end of the game, though certain members will always despise each others.
  • Tsundere: One of the romanceable females will often be this.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Invoked early, often, and hard. Many a Dark Side / Renegade / Closed Fist action has been thwarted because the dog has been so well-developed you can't bear to go through with kicking it.
    • Mass Effect 2 can be completed in a few hours by just sticking to the main quests. Doing so results in all of your crew dying horribly so most players (unless they're trying for the bad ending) spend hours carefully upgrading the ship and completing squad members' loyalty missions.
    • Same with Mass Effect 3, where rushing through the game can result in major galactic devastation.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Of course, if you can go through with kicking that dog, it's never in small measures.
  • Villain Protagonist: If you decide to be a bad guy. In most games, however, you can't be a fully-fledged evil-doer. You gotta try and save the world.
  • Western RPG: With threenote  and a half (that would be SWTOR) exceptions, all games developed by the studio belong to this genre, earning them the reputation of major Genre Codifiers and Popularizers. On the other hand, the writers like Playing With Tropes from other genres, particularly the Eastern RPG, to mix up the classic recipes.
  • World of Snark: The writers admit to being fond of Joss Whedon, and it shows. Your crew rarely passes up a shot to make a smart-ass comment, and your Player Character can be a full-blown Troll, even on the "good" path.
    • Special mention goes to Dragon Age II on this front with just about every dialogue choice having a snarky option. Pick enough of them and Hawke's incidental dialogue (battle cries, comments outside of normal dialogue scenes, etc) will simply ooze with snarkiness.

Alternative Title(s): Bio Ware Austin