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Default BioWare - Making LGBT Inclusive Games

August 5th, 2013, 02:45
BioWare was at GaymerX in San Francisco. David Gaider addressed the importance of heeding the demand for diversity.

Hesitation over tackling LGBT issues, Gaider said, can come from pessimistic assumptions made – both by creators and marketers – about how the audience will react. One of BioWare's earliest gay characters, Juhani in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, was practically snuck into the game. "I think for a long time it was just assumed that nobody would accept it," he said. "That's what the mentality was. It's not like we went and tried to ask permission or anything - we kind of hid it. She never says, 'She was my lover.' She just says, 'We are very close.'"

Gaider tempered assumptions made over EA's bottom line following the (eventual) inclusion of gay romance options in Mass Effect: "It's fair to say that our taking that step affected our sales in no way whatsoever." While some may choose to object and avoid purchasing the game as a result, "I think we have equal evidence of people who bought the games because it included that."

By opting for empathy and inclusion, Gaider said, EA gained new fans that are vocal in their support of those games through forums and social networks. "That's the sort of language that companies listen to," he said. "As developers we are there to make art, but we are also there to survive and make money. In talking about it, they are making their presence heard."
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August 5th, 2013, 02:45
I would rather have no romance in my video games, thanks. It's just silly. I don't need a love interest in a video game…of any type.

I suppose for those out there who eternally dwell in mom's basement and who will never, ever, have live interactions with other humans without money changing hands, it might be interesting, compelling, or desirable.

Not something I need in my games though and not something that elevates RPGs for me.
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August 5th, 2013, 02:52
All for the equality inclusion (even though I'll never see them), but on the fence about romances in general. I remember BG 2, the convos that eventually could lead to romances helped build an attachment to the character. IMO, the romance wasn't the real reward, the dialogue that pulled you closer to the game was. If creating a romance accomplished that fine, but plenty of games without romances manage to pull players in too.
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August 5th, 2013, 03:06
Just shows how out-of-touch Bioware is with its original, RPG audience. Who cares about this? Would be nice to get some real gameplay, something they haven't offered in their games in years.
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August 5th, 2013, 05:46
The only game I've ever had any 'fun' with romance dialogue was Planescape: Torment and Annah's brief kiss. More often than not, I can't be bothered to care for the hackneyed way things are presented.

Whether it's a relationship with a guy, woman, Twi'lek, or slug, just leave it out unless you're doing something revolutionary. And even if it is, I still probably won't care.
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August 5th, 2013, 06:05
Don't make it LGBT inclusive just for the sake of it. It has to match the setting and it has to improve the gameplay. If the setting calls for racism, sexism and whatever else isms, let there be those isms. Then let me play someone who can chose which side of the fence to be.
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August 5th, 2013, 06:26
Originally Posted by Voqar View Post
I would rather have no romance in my video games, thanks. It's just silly. I don't need a love interest in a video game…of any type.
Agreed. And the LGBT thing…so you spend countless development hours catering to 0.001% of your players? Just drop the romance altogether and make good gameplay. The original Mass Effect was fantastic and NOT because of its romance nonsense, IMO.
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August 5th, 2013, 07:05
I have always found Bioware's sense of romance to be 'gamey', which means at some point in any relationship pursuit I found myself debating which path served the relationship compared to which was closer to my role-playing objectives. That was certainly true in BG2 and KotOR.

And in KotOR they did a decent job of not making you care which gender you chose up front in terms of it killing relationship potential completely.

Originally Posted by Brumbek View Post
And the LGBT thing…so you spend countless development hours catering to 0.001% of your players?
Assuming LGBT is ~10% of population, I would say you are off by ~4 orders of magnitude.

As for efforts, right now it is not unfair to say that gaming is by, of, and for white male techno-centric individuals. Therefore heroes are mostly male, hetero, get the girl who is objectified, and so on. Any steps towards being inclusive are a good thing, IMO. And it doesn't take a huge effort - just something that keeps developers from falling to the default that the good guy is ALWAYS a certain archetype.

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August 5th, 2013, 07:10
By opting for empathy and inclusion, Gaider said, EA gained new fans that are vocal in their support of those games through forums and social networks. "That's the sort of language that companies listen to," he said. "As developers we are there to make art, but we are also there to survive and make money. In talking about it, they are making their presence heard."
Doesn't that basically confirm that they're just doing it to get free advertisement?
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August 5th, 2013, 07:45
I am not a big fan of romances in RPGs because romance is a very complicated situation and so far RPGs can't really do it justice. However, I don't mind their inclusion and I am glad that BioWare and nowadays some other companies include LBGT situations.

I am replaying Mass Effect 2 now and finding it just as great as the first couple of times, and the romance options are rather hollow but that's because of the complexity of romances in general.
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August 5th, 2013, 08:36
Yeah, that's Gaider, all right. Using minority awareness as a human shield against all criticism.

Don't like our game? You're probably a homophobe. Don't like our writing? You're likely a bigoted white heterosexual male who needs to check his privilege.
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August 5th, 2013, 08:37
The romances in Bioware games feels like they were written by a 12 year old anyway, and they are more embarrassing than anything. I don't care about romances in my games, but if they are done well I wouldn't mind. They rarely are though.
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August 5th, 2013, 08:38
I can't be the only one sick of reading the same thing from this guy over and over and over….

Is homosexuality the basis of his entire existence or what?
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August 5th, 2013, 10:35
Not sure if he's gay himself or not, but if he isn't, he's certainly got an unhealthy and peculiar obsession with it. It seems to be some kind of crusade of his.
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August 5th, 2013, 11:34
First, sure not all games need "romance". I don't need romances in a shooter or in a simulator. But if you play a game supposed to put you as character in a sort of world, it is natural to assume at least the NPC inhabitants do have relationships, aka "romance". You don't have to care or participate. But entering a simulated world of sorts, lhowever simplified would be unnatural if the people in it had no "life" in the broadest sense.

As gay gamer, I always felt unwell with games essentially being as if gay people don't even EXIST. Many games with charcters are full of hints of straight romance, straight marriage asf. You may chose to ignore that, but it IS there. Much of it. So for me it was like I was invisible, like people like me didn't even exist, or being gay was something so evil, it was never to be mentioned. All characters in games were straight by definition. It sucked to be made nonexistent, I tell you.

I don't need gay characters in all games. But in games were people play a role in some sort of simuated world like RPGs, Adventures asf it would be nice to be able to CHOSE your "sexual" identity. I write sexual in "" because it is not the sex, it is the love, the identity of the heart, not the genitals, which matter. Many games HAVE relationship stories, so I just don't want to be shoehorned into some identity. I guess straight people would find it very uncomforting if EVERY romantic option in games was gay.

Is it important? No. World starvation, cancer cure, world peace and climate change are important. But within the realm of storytelling via games it sucks to be treated like your kind doesn't even exist!
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August 5th, 2013, 11:41
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Not sure if he's gay himself or not, but if he isn't, he's certainly got an unhealthy and peculiar obsession with it. It seems to be some kind of crusade of his.
It is what you can not understand. Yes. If you are constantly shut out, demonized and not mentioned like speaking about gay people is something evil, yes it does make you obsessed in fighting to be accepted like you guys are.

You just twist the issue around.

Several decades ago being black was like that. Did you ever see the Deep Space 9 Episode where Sisko is a writer in 1950ies USA? He wants to write a black starship Captain, but his boss says, there ARE no black starship Captains. And because Sisko is of course agitated, they say he is a troublemaker.

This is exactly the same. We are just making noise because we must. Yes in an ideal world the white straight males would freely give equal rights to blacks, to gays and women. But we all know: you don't, unless we make enough noise. And we will CONTINUE to make noise until it is normal that a hero is black or a woman or gay.
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August 5th, 2013, 11:55
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
Did you ever see the Deep Space 9 Episode where Sisko is a writer in 1950ies USA? He wants to write a black starship Captain, but his boss says, there ARE no black starship Captains. And because Sisko is of course agitated, they say he is a troublemaker.
1950s eh? Are you sure his boss didn't just say there are no starships?
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August 5th, 2013, 12:10
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
1950s eh? Are you sure his boss didn't just say there are no starships?
Being European and not ancientI dunno what time it was supposed to be.

But then, Sci-Fi existed in the 1930ies already. Ed Hamiltons "Captain Future" was written between 1940 and 1944.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Future

Funny, the series was supposed to be set in 1990. Heh.
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August 5th, 2013, 15:14
These days I think it's speaking AGAINST homosexuality that's bound to get you demonized. I have no problem with the inclusion if the setting calls for it, but sometimes I feel that Bioware especially is finding ways of including LGBT relationships just for the sake of it, maybe to be able to say they'e LGBT-sensitive.

In DA2, for example, did most (all?) the NPCs you can be in relationships with have to be potentially gay? I'd have no problem if say Isabel were portrayed as gay or bi, that's the character they chose for her. But Anders was a surprise, it seemed like they were really pushing me to have a gay relationship with him even if that didn't seem to be his character from DA:O. Granted, events between DAO and DA2 could have changed him but that's not what it felt like to me. It really felt like having gay romance just for the sake of having it.

Also, they don't have to include LGBT just because the real world has that and has to be represented. Not everything from the real world has to have a representation just for the sake of representation. I have attention deficit disorder, my friend has asperger's, and while I'd appreciate a sped character, I don't think they should have them in just for the sake of it
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August 5th, 2013, 15:20
I personally prefer romances in rpg's, especially ones that are done well. Anti-romance game devs(won't name names, but I'm sure some will guess who)turn me away from their games causing me to look elsewhere for my rpg fix. Same sex romances don't upset or offend me, as long as they are optional. And I recall one game dev(can't recall his name atm) who said that same sex romances should only exist in games with "dark" settings. I'd have to strongly disagree with that, I know a same sex couple, a pair of lesbians, and I see nothing at all "dark" about them or their relationship. They are happy, nice, caring people.
I prefer games with interesting storylines. To me, romances make the games more interesting. If I have to choose between 2 rpg's that both look interesting, but one has romances and one does not, I'll choose the one with romances. And if anyone wondered, I have real life romance, game romance is not some sort of substitute for real romance, at least not in my case. That said, great game romances can't compare to great real life romances, naturally.
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