Character Profile: Cole
[DRAGON AGE]: When we last spoke, we talked about the Iron Bull, but you're also the writer for Cole. What can you tell us about him?
[PATRICK WEEKES]: Imagine going through this world knowing that you're different, but not knowing how. Imagine trying to find out the truth about what you are—a mage? A demon?—and never being sure that you can trust the answer, or that your friends will still support you when the truth, whatever it is, comes out.
[DA]: The proverbial being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
[PW]: Exactly. That was Cole's character arc in the wonderful Dragon Age: Asunder, by our lead writer, David Gaider… and now that character arc is done. In this game, we find out what happens next.
[DA]: So, you're taking over a character originally penned by David Gaider. No pressure, obviously.
[PW]: Indeed. Dave is great at creating sympathetic characters, and I loved Cole's arc in the novel. I was guessing at his true nature until the climax of the book. But I couldn't just tell that story again. The character has to grow, for one thing… and also, that arc was tied to Cole not knowing what he is. Once Seeker Lambert whips out the Litany of Adralla, that pretty much narrows Cole down to blood mage or demon, and since he wasn't using blood magic…
[DA]: So, Cole is definitely a demon?
[PW]: Welllllllll… he's definitely somewhere on the Demon-or-Spirit Spectrum of Fade Creatures (which I really hope exists somewhere). A lot of people will always see him as a demon. He would rather be a spirit. He's trying.
[DA]: It sounds like Cole suffers from a very complicated existence.
[PW]: Now that he has accepted his nature, he's less constrained by human limitations. He can sense people's pain, which is actually what he was doing back in Asunder without realizing it, when he found the mages who were terrified and desperate enough to be able to see him. He can find people who are hurting, people in need, and he can help them.
[DA]: Clearly, there is no foreseeable way that could go wrong.
[PW]: Cole remains a work in progress, yes. Anyone who allows him to join the Inquisition (and because there are people whose response to him in Asunder was, "Demon? LOL NOPE," allowing him to join is optional) is going to hear about some weird things happening, with no one quite sure who put all those turnips in the fireplace or why the battlements are covered with loaves of bread.
[DA]: You mentioned that the player can choose not to have Cole join the Inquisition. Are the other followers going to have an opinion?
[PW]: Oh, Maker, yes. Vivienne thinks Cole should be safely banished, and Sera refuses to talk to "it" entirely.
[DA]: As does the Iron Bull, presumably. You said during a previous interview that he had a thing about demons.
[PW]: See, Bull is funny. He does hate demons, but if you're on the team, you're on the team. In Bull's mind, Cole is a weird squirrelly kid who just needs a night of good drinks and bad women to get him sorted out.
[DA]: Well, since you wrote Cole, tell us why you think he would make a great follower.
[PW]: If you want someone who can move around the battlefield undetected, sinking daggers into enemies who never see him coming, Cole is your guy. He can still make people forget him, but he's no longer the scared young man who couldn't stand against Seeker Lambert in Asunder. He knows he's more than human, and he is absolutely deadly when faced with foes who want to hurt innocent people (which safely applies to most of the Inquisition's enemies).
[PW]: Beyond his skill in combat, though… Cole wants to help people who are hurting. He may not always get it right, but he never stops caring. He will walk into the most painful moment of someone's life and offer them comfort without hesitation or judgment. And then he will disappear from their mind and walk away, because it's not about getting thanked, or even remembered. It's about helping.
[DA]: That's very touching.
[PW]: That's how Cole has grown since the events of Asunder. That's where he's going now. I hope people like where it takes him.