BioWare - Making LGBT Inclusive Games
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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