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One interesting little quirk of Dragon Age: Origins was the fact that you couldn't make a human character with dark skin. This weekend, BioWare explained why that's the case.
"I think what you're looking for is in Rivaini," lead writer David Gaider told a curious gamer on the BioWare forums. "The Rivaini are dark-skinned, and while I don't know if we'll ever actually go to Rivain the further north we travel the more common a sight the Rivaini will become. Sorry you felt left out."
Dragon Age: Origins is set in the country of Ferelden, which is modeled after medieval England. Each of the six "Origin Stories" you can choose for your character depict a person that was born and raised in Ferelden. BioWare's reasoning seems to be that it wouldn't makes sense for character to look like a resident of another country.
Added Gaider: "I imagine there's something to be said about us writing what we know, and I suppose it's fair to say that we need to be reminded from time to time that our audience is larger than that. While I've no interest in making Ferelden specifically reflect our own society, that doesn't mean we shouldn't let our players feel that people like them have a place in our world -- whether or not it's a fictionalized version of medieval Europe."