Jimquisition: Mass Effect 3 And The Case For A Gay Shepard

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goliath6711:
You realize that is the only saving grace here. I see this exactly as I saw Garrus and Tali suddenly becoming options in Mass Effect 2. Something completely stupid and pointless that I can completely ignore and put out of my mind. But what if I couldn't? What if this was put into a game like Uncharted or Gears of War or Resident Evil?

Except that Tali and Garrus opening as romance options made sense in ME2, and almost precisely because it wouldn't have in ME1.

In the first game, Tali is an engineer you saved from hitmen and took into your motley cre for the purposes of fighting an ultimate evil. Garrus was a cop who knew that something big was going down, but couldn't fight it within the constraints of the law. As such, neither are romance options.

Come the events of Mass Effect 2? Tali already sees you as the person who took her in when most of the galaxy considers quarians to be thieving space gypsies, and you were one of the only friendly faces she knew aboard the rebuilt Normandy. Between that and the relationship (general, that is) that built over the course of ME1 and the events between the games, her becoming a romance option made sense.

As for Garrus...when you find him, he's in the process of committing suicide by mercenary. Virtually every person he cared about in his new life on Omega was dead, and he held himself responsible. He was ready to die on a mountain of corpses when you, a forgotten friend from what must have seemed a lifetime ago, arrives, effectively stopping his suicide attempt, and then saving his life in the process. And, like Tali, you're virtually the best friend he has aboard the SR2, etc, etc.

Jinxey:
Now Jacob has had a relationship with Miranda, it's brought up early on in ME2. I never got any gay vibes of Jacob in ME2. But if the player wills it, he can make Jacob gay. If the player doesn't go down the gay route in ME3 Jacob will be heterosexual, if the player goes down the gay route in ME3 Jacob will be homosexual.

A man with muscles that look like they were carved in marble, and a woman who was genetically engineered to be hot and fit...and all we know is that the relationship didn't work out, and that neither of them likes to discuss it.

I'm not going to tiptoe around it: that's a pretty easy point for Bioware to leverage if they want Jacob to be a romance option for men.

Jinxey:
This might sound stupid but it bugs me that NPCs are not being written as characters with their own motives, beliefs, etc. and instead are around simply to adapt to what the player wants out of them. I think overall that makes a less compelling story, although a much more compelling power fantasy fulfillment simulator.

In DA2, the class you picked determines which of your siblings dies in the tutorial. See the similarity? You're using meta-knowledge of the game that would have no bearing on your first playthrough. You might as well be complaining about how predictable the plot is once you know how the story plays out.

Jinxey:
How many people do you know who would honestly switch their sexuality at the drop of the hat? or go both ways? I know bi-sexuals exist, but almost everyone in a Bioware game seems to be that way and I think the bi-sexual example is being used as a cover for what I view as poor character development.

I'm a bit confused by the distinction you're making here. How does "switch[ing]...sexuality at the drop of the hat" differ from being bisexual?

Mass Effect presents a situation that can't possible be replicated in the real world: you have the chance to approach the same situation twice, each time as a different gender. If you hooked up with Jacob as a male Shepard, would your character accuse him of faking it because, in a parallel universe/alternate save file, you did the same thing as a female Shepard?

That's the thing about being bisexual: a lot of the time, it just means that the person's gender doesn't matter to you. If Jacob was attracted to Shepard when the latter was a male, how is it so impossible that the same couldn't be true for a female Shepard? And in both situations, the opposite could still be true, but is ultimately as irrelevant as a hypothetical scenario.

FedericoV:
Having said all of that, I have one minor issue about same sex romance. Maybe I'm just homophobic as Sterling like to point out but I do not like the fact that in the race to cut corners, Bioware is turning every romancable NPC in to some sort of bi-sexual. I mean, you can have a bi-sexual in the romance cast. You can have a couple of bi-sexual. But not all charachters being bisexual so they are sure to please everyone while cutting corners.

As I mentioned earlier, meta-knowledge from multiple playthroughs. In theory, you'd have one, maybe two romantic partners during the game. You likely won't know what most characters' orientation will be during a single playthrough. I played DA2 as a male first, and I thought that Anders was gay. Second playthrough as female, and I discover that he swings both ways. In my first run, I never knew that, and I had no way of knowing it. I didn't retroactively get the knowledge that he was bisexual from by second playthrough, and it didn't sour the experience of the first at all.

So why does it matter if other characters are, theoretically, bisexual? Unless you plan to interrogate each member of the crew, you won't find out, and by then I think you've got a few more problems to deal with.

goliath6711:
These are the exact points that I'm trying to make. Look at how despite your high paragon status and constant advances, Samara still respectfully turned you down. Doesn't that say more about her character than if she joined the long line of those waiting to bump uglies with you? I'm getting tired of the God Complex that people want to have over games like this. You want complete and total control over what your own character does and how they act, that's fine. But you shouldn't be able to have that same control over the ones that are supposed to have their own personality. I mean honestly, if you met 6 or 7 random people on the street, would you expect all of them to be bi-sexual?

No. Nor would I likely find out, because I wouldn't be pursuing a romance with each of them. That's the crucial thing here: I wouldn't know, nor would I really care to know, if person #5 was bisexual if I already hit it off with person #2. That's what's supposed to characterize romance: happiness where you are, not where you think you could've been.

goliath6711:
It would mean so much more if you had those that turned you down so that the ones that accept you would be that much more special instead of having everyone made available and the only restriction being that you can only choose one to be with.

No. No it wouldn't. Not in the slightest. In fact, that's one of the most caustic things I've heard about romance in recent memory.

Imagine out of those seven people, five were heterosexual (and of your gender), one was bisexual, and one was gay. Now, imagine that upon meeting one of the seven, the two of your hit it off immediately. You seem perfect for one another...and then it turns out that's one of the heterosexual ones. Then eventually you discover that you don't really share much in common interest-wise with the gay person, and you and the bisexual outright hate one another. I'll let you pick the specifics.

Your scenario only does one thing: it gives players the opportunity to experience the crushing reality that actual homosexuals face where gender and orientation can destroy a relationship before it even exists. It doesn't "mean so much more" to find out that the only people in a group that you like will never like you in the same way, nor is it "that much more special" to be faced with going to bed alone or hooking up with someone you don't like as a person.

Do we really still need to discuss this bull crap? Why are people so ignorant!

A dragged out episode this week I felt, but points were argued well. Thank you for you.

maxben:
I don't see why we can't have straight, bi, and gay NPCs with romance options depending on your own character. And I dont see why we cant just have sexual orientation in the character creation screen so you can essentially toggle the gayness on or off.

However, you really need to look at the studies some more. From wiki: "In New Zealand, a 2006 study suggested that 20% of the population anonymously reported some homosexual feelings, few of them identifying as homosexual. Percentage of persons identifying homosexual was 2-3%."

Self-identifying as a homosexual is far lower than those who have homosexual sex and those who have homosexual feelings. This is likely because of the generally taboo nature of homosexuality, or merely that many people dont consider their sexual tendencies as central to their identity. In fact, the "homosexual identity" is a huge problem because its essentially a stereotype which leads to people feeling left out by homosexual groups, and therefore "not homosexuals".

I'm not seeing the particular statistic you cite; would be happy to look at a link. Will note, however, that the article here:

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

across various surveys and studies tends to list bisexuality as topping out around 10%, and in most cases much lower. Even San Francisco, famously gay-friendly, is listed as having a Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual population of only 15.4% as of a 2006 estimate.

Now, of course, I certainly recognize there are any number of ways to skew such results, that different polling pools and different means of questioning are quite likely to provide different results, and even that the communities in which LGBT people find themselves may affect the way they self-self report. The singer Boy George long claimed to be bisexual because he didn't want to admit that he was simply homosexual.

Still, available evidence suggests the likelihood of Shepherd having multiple human crew-members who self-identify as bisexual to the point of being willing to proposition their commanding officer of either gender to engage in a quasi-illicit sexual relationship... would seem to me relatively small. At least, as I've said, without some explanation of how things have changed since our era.

Yes. Just, yes. I don't think I can say anything that anyone else hasn't already brought up, but I just have to agree so strongly with this video.

Alrocsmash:
Homosexuality exists in over 450 animal species. Homophobia exists in only one. Which one seems more unnatural now?

People need to grow up.

Absolutely. There is no need for complaints about the romance options in ME3 with regards to sexuality, it's just a waste of time and air to complain.

I'm still dumfounded by the fact that people are pissed off about same sex romances in Mass Effect 3. Out of all the complaints that people have been flinging out, that is without a doubt the worst.

And to the dude/dudette that said homosexuality it's a mental illness.

kurupt87:

kingpocky:

kurupt87:
snip

I sort of see what you're saying, I just don't see how it leads up to your conclusion. You're saying that femshep isn't really female because she has masculine traits? I know that human sexuality is a complicated and multifaceted thing, but generally if you are with a person who is biologically the same sex as you, (or in this special case for the reasons Jim outlined, an alien who looks like a human of the same sex) it is considered a gay relationship.

Femshep is pretty butch, I'll agree. But a butch woman who is attracted to women is still a lesbian. I'm not really following why you say it's different. If Shepard is a man, no matter which gender you choose, then that would make a relationship between her and Kaidan gay, since it is two masculine people.

OK, broadly speaking there are eight typical sexualities; forgetting the asexuals and those attracted to the androgynous, as well as the entire trans community (complex fuckers that they are).

(a) Male, straight and dominant;(b) male, straight and submissive;(c) male, gay and dominant;(d) male, gay and submissive.(e) Female, straight and dominant;(f) female, straight and submissive; (g) female, gay and dominant;(h) female, gay and submissive.

Shepherd, the character, can naturally be played by: a, c, e and g. The dominants, not the submissives.

a is the default male. e and g are females that are more masculine than they are feminine, they also conform to the idea of the "different" female that being a butch woman immediately conjures up. c is legitimate but runs counter to the gut response of what that "different" gay man is, so runs into ill advised opposition.

-

My point is that playing a butch lesbian is entirely comfortable for the male psyche. It's actually preferable to playing a sexually dominant straight woman, because there the player either has to identify with a bloke being boned by the woman or a woman boning a bloke; neither of which comes naturally to the majority of men (or playing a submissive woman, of either sexuality). Any of those others are, of course, completely normal but they aren't catered for by this game.

The game is for the masculine, whether they be male or female.

-

I'm not saying that femshep isn't female because she has male traits, I'm saying that the story was just not written for a female character.

You may as well say that King Arthur was Queen Arthur. A woman could do all that but if the story doesn't acknowledge how completely counter to the vast majority of women Queen Arthur is then it's all just bollocks really.

True, although that's probably a necessity given how the whole thing works. The writers can only put so much content into the game, and only fit so many choices into the dialogue wheel. It's a good idea for Shepard to have the same choices regardless of gender. Thus, they concentrate the choice into how Shepard goes about doing things. There's not really much space for feminine or masculine, so Shepard acts in ways that are more stereotypically male, because it fits better with the special forces military operative protagonist that s/he canonically is.

You put in that crack at being progressive to piss off progressives who don't like you using the word cunt and all that right?

As for pedos, if they ever consider letting you be a pedo in a non-porn game like Fable or Mass Effect then we can start talking about them. Until then, they're irrelevant and it's a huge leap to go from "let's be inclusive to gays" to "let's be inclusive to [insert type of criminal here]" .

Also bear in mind pedos have already been the protagonists in non-erotic movies (specifically the Woodsman with Kevin Bacon). They weren't glamorized or marketed to. They can be the protagonist and still be handled well.

Interestingly, I notice you try and sidestep a lot of the points I was raising before my responses to the last article got derailed by someone asking me to explain my own thoughts on homosexuality... and things pretty much went in a totally differant direction.

Not to mention in the course of making your own arguement you entirely overlooked Kelly from Mass Effect 2, which is a FAR better counterpoint than trying to pick on people's arguements about Liara since there isn't anything even remotely ambigious about what you can get up to with Kelly. Lesbianism has been a part of Mass Effect... period, it can't be argued at this point, and no amount of semantics about Liara can change that.

That said, I notice the following points, probably should have been addressed before dismissing everything as being small minded:

The issue of writing in general, and forcing writers to include groups of people on demand or be considered a group of bigots. Forcing representation of minority groups in the media virtually never ends well, whether the minority is defined socially, ethically, sexually, or anything else. Indeed I'd go so far as to say everyone on these forums can probably point a finger at at least ONE property that was ruined, or greatly diminished, by forced political correctness.

Bioware can in no way be considered bigoted or homophobic, they have lesbians in Mass Effect, and they have had gay men in other titles ranging from "Jade Empire" to "Dragon Age: Origins" nobody raised this big a stink, because those characters were not being written in against the intentions of the writers due to demand.

Basically, a creator should have the right to create what they want, not be pressured because they decide to include a couple forms of sexuality but not all of them.

In your response you go on about homosexuality not being tied directly to pedophillia. That's great, but your point is greatly diminished by the simple fact that it doesn't touch on central issue of this being a matter of political demand, or of the other sexual deviations (deviation as other than the norm) that by the same logic could demand equal or superior entitlement. I raised questions like those that are into scat, extreme BDSM, or other assorted things, many of which probably have heterosexuals involved in numbers globally that outnumber the entire population of homosexuals of both genders. If you start saying you HAVE to do this, which is what this comes down to, because Bioware made it pretty clear they didn't want to, it opens the door for any group that wants to make similar demands to come forward and do the same exact thing.

The basic point here being that everything else I said unrelated to the issue of Mass Effect 3 aside, there isn't anything fundementally wrong with Bioware choosing to include male homosexual options, the thing that has made this an issue is the massive protests to FORCE them to put this kind of thing into the game, simply because they chose to do so before with other games.

Had these disputes never happened, and Bioware chose to put a gay male option into ME3 on their own because it fit a character they wanted to write, you wouldn't be seeing this as an issue. I for example wouldn't have a whole lot to say about it, my entire stance aside, any more than I did when "Dragon Age: Origins" and "Jade Empire" came out (both of which are games I've played, and "Origins" happens to be one of my favorite RPGs of the current generation).

The point here is that your schtick aside, there are valid points your not choosing to address, and which I think dilute the impact of your statements. I'd also say that I'd be careful in what position you take, when your forming yourself up to be a critic. This issue is MUCH bigger than homosexuality, and down the road if you decide to make complaints about extraneous characters or politics ruining something... anything, what your saying here could come back to haunt you. Being stuck in a position of trying to explain how forced inclusion in something else is a problem, when your saying it's okay with homosexuality isn't going to be easy to argue your way out of as once you start saying it's okay for one group it's hard to say it about others.

Unrelated to homosexuality, think back to the fight between Joss Whedon and the networks that ended with his name winding up being mud for a while. According to some things I read a lot of that revolved around the lack of minority characters outside of bit, supporting roles in the series. The executives wound up telling him flat out he needed to start writing in minority characters with meaningful roles. The last, and perhaps weakest season was allegedly the result of politics with a lot of the sub plots like the demon-fighting principal, and the occasional shift in focus to a young, black girl slayer who had little to do with much of anything, all being the result of forced compromise and additions that he had to make to the plot to satisfy network executives, which eventually lead to a falling out over creative control.

The point being that Joss Whedon isn't a racist as you can see by his casting of things like Firefly where he used the people he wanted to use for the show (but problems with networks, are problems with networks).

The nature of the dispute is one that means it's hard to find referances to with a net search, but it seemed to be mentioned all over the place when it was happening. The point not having anything to do with the ethnicity of the characters, but rather what happens when someone other than a writer/creator forces the writer to make unintended additions to a plotline, fill quotas, and so on. You wind up with hanging or go-nowhere plotlines that lead to things like an otherwise extraneous character having a fist fight with Spike, and then otherwise largely being written (as ineffective, not present, or whatever else) with the major plot events.

I could say more, but I figure this right here presents some perfectly reasonable criticisms on the subject, and really I don't want people to drag things increasingly off subject.

kingpocky:

kurupt87:
snip

True, although that's probably a necessity given how the whole thing works. The writers can only put so much content into the game, and only fit so many choices into the dialogue wheel. It's a good idea for Shepard to have the same choices regardless of gender. Thus, they concentrate the choice into how Shepard goes about doing things. There's not really much space for feminine or masculine, so Shepard acts in ways that are more stereotypically male, because it fits better with the special forces military operative protagonist that s/he canonically is.

Well yeah, that's my point. The story is about a masculine character. Most people that are masculine are male, females that are masculine require characterisation because they differ from the norm. The story does not provide that, which is why Shepard is male. Or, if you insist on putting square shaped femshep into the round shaped masculine hole, you make her as male as you can.

Father Time:
You put in that crack at being progressive to piss off progressives who don't like you using the word cunt and all that right?

As for pedos, if they ever consider letting you be a pedo in a non-porn game like Fable or Mass Effect then we can start talking about them. Until then, they're irrelevant and it's a huge leap to go from "let's be inclusive to gays" to "let's be inclusive to [insert type of criminal here]" .

Also bear in mind pedos have already been the protagonists in non-erotic movies (specifically the Woodsman with Kevin Bacon). They weren't glamorized or marketed to. They can be the protagonist and still be handled well.

But, what about demands of being inclusive of other sexual deviations... "deviation" as something other than the norm. Things that aren't nessicarly criminal.

Once you say that homosexuals are ENTITLED to representation, what about people who are wired for other things that is normal and perfectly natural for them? People who are into the whole "adult baby" thing and can't get aroused otherwise, or scat, or bondage, or numerous other things. You get enough people into one or more of those things to organize, and next thing you know you have it in the games, because Bioware can't very well say "well, the gays are entitled but you aren't". Arguements that it's "differant" with homosexuals don't really apply here, because overall one minority is the same as another.

I think the point being made is that this is about entitlement, even someone with my overall viewpoints (which I will not go into again) couldn't give a crap about the homosexuality present in "Dragon Age: Origins" or "Jade Empire", but that was planned from the beginning and the way the developers wanted to write the story and the characters. In this case they envisioned Mass Effect without any male homosexuality or male homosexuals playing a major role, it's just how the story turned out, and flowed best. This entire arguement is that because Bioware included gay male options in other games, they should have to include them in every product they release with any type of romantic elements at all.

See, had nobody said anything, and Bioware quietly released a gay male addition to the crew in ME3 as a result of their own creative process, nobody would have cared. The problem here is that this all revolves around demands being made by a minority group that they have to be included in the game.

Whether it's sexual, ethnic, religious, or anything else, once you start saying that writers HAVE to include certain groups it's down hill. I very much doubt there is anyone here who can say that they have never seen something they liked ruined by political correctness. It's the same issue as it's always been, it's just gay men are the current focus.

In the end let creators create, when you start creating quotas and corperate checklists, you wind up with exactly the mentality that has been destroying things like video games. Every group is an exception to someone. In the end the creative process has to be a politics and political correctness free zone.

You mean to say that people seriously brought up that "Pedophilia" argument?

In the 21st century? In an website based on rational, RATIONAL thinking?

To those people who honestly still think that pedophilia is part of homosexuality: I hope to whatever high power may exist that you are just fucking removed from this world

Progress does not need your retarded, redundant, and ridiculous ideals in this day and age. People don't need them, Civilization doesn't need them, and Humanity certainly doesn't need them.

Most of all, Society. Doesn't. Fucking. Need you.

Fucking goodness...

I don't particularly like Jim's videos. The way they're presented grates on me. But I have to swallow my pride on this one. Thank you, Jim. Seriously.

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Jim Sterling indeed, one of the best columnist on the Escapist. Give this young man a raise.

Lord_Gremlin:
Considering the ending of this Jimquisition i think I will share my personal opinion.

Well now, I do have a problem with gay people. Aka they are sick in the head and whatever excuse medics came up in USA when they realized they can't cure them did not just made them normal... Look, curing schizophrenia is not easy either. If possible at all.

That said excuses debunked in this video are pathetic indeed.
And pedophilia and homosexuality are indeed vastly different things. That said, both are cases of mental disorder but vastly different ones.


Your personal opinion is based on unfounded medical and scientific facts; normal you say? Beating your wife in the 40's was normal, or perhaps I should go back? The romans and the greek were pretty homosexual and that was normal. Saying, I will give my opinion does not excent you of following the rules, this is not an opinion, this a homophobic comment and it is terrible.

OP: I don't really think Bioware are open and mature to be quite honest, let me give you 2 clear examples. First, you can go Lesbian in Mass Effect 1 and 2 but not gay. Also, the demo

So yeah, open and mature, I don't think so Jim.

Therumancer:

Father Time:
You put in that crack at being progressive to piss off progressives who don't like you using the word cunt and all that right?

As for pedos, if they ever consider letting you be a pedo in a non-porn game like Fable or Mass Effect then we can start talking about them. Until then, they're irrelevant and it's a huge leap to go from "let's be inclusive to gays" to "let's be inclusive to [insert type of criminal here]" .

Also bear in mind pedos have already been the protagonists in non-erotic movies (specifically the Woodsman with Kevin Bacon). They weren't glamorized or marketed to. They can be the protagonist and still be handled well.

But, what about demands of being inclusive of other sexual deviations... "deviation" as something other than the norm. Things that aren't nessicarly criminal.

Once you say that homosexuals are ENTITLED to representation, what about people who are wired for other things that is normal and perfectly natural for them? People who are into the whole "adult baby" thing and can't get aroused otherwise, or scat, or bondage, or numerous other things. You get enough people into one or more of those things to organize, and next thing you know you have it in the games, because Bioware can't very well say "well, the gays are entitled but you aren't". Arguements that it's "differant" with homosexuals don't really apply here, because overall one minority is the same as another.

I think the point being made is that this is about entitlement, even someone with my overall viewpoints (which I will not go into again) couldn't give a crap about the homosexuality present in "Dragon Age: Origins" or "Jade Empire", but that was planned from the beginning and the way the developers wanted to write the story and the characters. In this case they envisioned Mass Effect without any male homosexuality or male homosexuals playing a major role, it's just how the story turned out, and flowed best. This entire arguement is that because Bioware included gay male options in other games, they should have to include them in every product they release with any type of romantic elements at all.

See, had nobody said anything, and Bioware quietly released a gay male addition to the crew in ME3 as a result of their own creative process, nobody would have cared. The problem here is that this all revolves around demands being made by a minority group that they have to be included in the game.

Whether it's sexual, ethnic, religious, or anything else, once you start saying that writers HAVE to include certain groups it's down hill. I very much doubt there is anyone here who can say that they have never seen something they liked ruined by political correctness. It's the same issue as it's always been, it's just gay men are the current focus.

In the end let creators create, when you start creating quotas and corperate checklists, you wind up with exactly the mentality that has been destroying things like video games. Every group is an exception to someone. In the end the creative process has to be a politics and political correctness free zone.

Two things, which I'm repeating here:

1: The difference between the genders involved in a relationship makes a huge difference to whether the audience can relate to a romance. We must agree with that, because if we don't then you must think that the entire subject is meaningless anyway. Thus homosexuality is a bigger difference than personal turn-ons or fetishes which are less about relating to the characters and more about getting off on it, which you constantly presume is the reason for the romance being there in the first place.

---

2: I don't remember there ever being huge drives for Bioware to put gay romance options into Mass Effect. Certainly not ones crawling all over the Escapist like the people saying that the options should be gone now. In fact, it's been demonstrated again and again that they were going to put them into the first game before people even cared about the series at all, but for whatever reason, couldn't. Therefore, there was no minority ever forcing them to put it into the game, but plenty of people are trying to force them not to.

I mean, I've never seen a large group demanding a gay romance in Mass Effect outside of the Bioware forums, which let's be honest, don't count. Maybe a few people did, yeah, but not enough for you to argue that the entire homosexual community has been up in arms and entitled about it.

I think Jim is quite possibly the only crush I have in the videogame journalism profession. Awesome. Not even the guys at GayGamer are as attractive to me as Jim. Watching him talk about this subject is rather a liberating experience.

...I'm not joking either. :|

People couldn't understand the subtlety in the last video? Wow... And just when my faith in humanity was starting to be restored.

Other than that, 100% accurate points Jim. Homosexuality ftw.

galaith100:
Why would you not want Shepard to fuck guys, it only make him more pimp.

Ill just leave this here

"(as if) they're not tough, they FUCK MEN...thats HARDLY gay" - Steve Hughes

Pimp as fuck bro ;)

I'm a straight guy and have no problems with homosexuals or bisexuals. My only gripe is that if Bioware is going to include homosexual romances in the game it needs to be with a new character(s), I'd be more inclined to accept my male Shepard getting it on with another male crew member if that crew member's sexual attraction to me was nonexistent, Mordin not wanting to hook up with my hot Katy Shepard, or their sexual preferences were already established in the past. And yes I know about the gay Ashely and Kaiden hidden content, in which case had this been in the final make of the game Kaiden would have finally been saved.

Callate:
Yeah, by and large I agree. (And last week's entry required clarification for some people? Really? REALLY?!)

Would like to mention a couple of things, though.

It appears that human bisexuality, at least among men, isn't all that common. The studies and surveys cited by Wikipedia rate it as roughly between 2 and 6 percent.

I don't actually know the specifics of how Bioware intends to handle gay or bisexual relationships in ME3, nor, of course, do I have any idea how they will handle the issue in the future. But it has to be said that having every significant human male character you interact with be bisexual to give options is just lazy writing. (Or every female, for that matter, though it stretches credibility slightly less.) I'm perfectly willing to believe that the Xyrg'kkk'l are all culturally bisexual, or that elves have much higher rates of bisexuality, or whatever. I'm even willing to believe that one or two human characters (including the player) are bisexual. But until bisexuality becomes a requirement for entry into the Alliance military, storytelling and character should have a priority over being able to re-use dialogue and textures for sex scenes.

For that matter, if we really want to be inclusive, "we need homosexual options for the PC" shouldn't just mean a couple of people who swing both ways; it's perfectly reasonable, and as far as I know untouched in Bioware's oeuvre, that some NPCs just be homosexual. It would actually be more interesting to my mind to have your strangely magnetic PC be shot down once in a while because your engineering officer just doesn't swing that way.

Other than that, as long as my companions pay attention when I say "no, not interested, thanks", I'm happy to applaud Bioware taking their excellent stories in whatever direction their writers see fit to take them.

Only I'm not going to be playing them because Origin is the devil. Oh well...

I was scrolling down the comments and this one pretty much sums up what I think. It looks like Bioware tried jumping on the bus late on this one, because DA2 had the sex options they really wanted to put on a game but everyone hated DA2 so they didn't have a chance to show it off. (Which can't be true, as for a game that everyone hated, everyone also seems to be familiar with it, so everyone played it. I'm not saying what it is, just what it looks like.) I mean, the fact that homosexual options were only added at the eleventh hour means that I can be wondering just why exactly Shepard didn't hook up with Garrus on the previous game if they both swung that way and I did his sidequest and everything.

But, of course, that's for people with male gay Shepards to worry about. My Shepard is female and she's been with Liara since the first game. In my headcanon she doesn't think she's gay and thinks it's OK because the Asari are genderless aliens, just like the loud-mouthed idiots lambasting the game. Will she realize she's lying to herself? Tune in to find out.

Geo Da Sponge:

Two things, which I'm repeating here:

1: The difference between the genders involved in a relationship makes a huge difference to whether the audience can relate to a romance. We must agree with that, because if we don't then you must think that the entire subject is meaningless anyway. Thus homosexuality is a bigger difference than personal turn-ons or fetishes which are less about relating to the characters and more about getting off on it, which you constantly presume is the reason for the romance being there in the first place.

---

2: I don't remember there ever being huge drives for Bioware to put gay romance options into Mass Effect. Certainly not ones crawling all over the Escapist like the people saying that the options should be gone now. In fact, it's been demonstrated again and again that they were going to put them into the first game before people even cared about the series at all, but for whatever reason, couldn't. Therefore, there was no minority ever forcing them to put it into the game, but plenty of people are trying to force them not to.

I mean, I've never seen a large group demanding a gay romance in Mass Effect outside of the Bioware forums, which let's be honest, don't count. Maybe a few people did, yeah, but not enough for you to argue that the entire homosexual community has been up in arms and entitled about it.

Actually, I have never seen anything remotely implying that was supposed to be a gay, male romance option in Mass Effect. Quite the opposite, with Bioware claiming they had no plans for one.

As far as the entire homosexual community being up in arms, I think your trying to be intentionally obtuse. Bioware's steadfast refusal to put homosexuals into everything, and claims that there would not be any male, gay options in ToR have had people up in arms for a while now. Mass Effect simply being one of the current battlegrounds accross the spectrum of Bioware titles.

Your simply seeing a reaction to a reaction, you had homosexuals and their supporters come out in support of the demand that gay men be inserted into games irregardless of the desires of the writers, and in response you've had those who are anti-gay or oppose this for other reasons which may or may not overlap with an anti-gay stance they also have, also rally, leading to a battleground. Given that on the matter of homosexuality the community in nations like the US is divided almost 50-50 you have to expect it to get pretty loud.

As far as the point about sexual deviations, your simply put wrong. Sexual arousal is sexual arousal, it, like love, is a chemical reaction. We don't understand all of the mechanics behind it, but we know enough to understand why things like castration work on both humans and animals.

In the end someone into the opposite gender, their own gender, and aroused by something like feces, are experiencing the exact same thing... a chemical reaction in the same exact systems. Normal sexual behavior is between members of opposite genders, intended to help propagate the species, and also encourage the genders to work together for their own survival (ie aside from childbirth, sex gives men a reason to want to stay with and protect the weaker gender and so on). Like nearly any biological system it can malfunction for a wide variety of reasons, some starting from birth, others a side effect of later occurances. Harmless or not, anyone who is interested in anything besides normal man/woman relations is a sexual deviant, and there is nothing inherantly wrong with that in of itself. For everyone their own sexual arousal is a natural and healthy seeming part of who they are, because their personality is largely built around their biological signals and imperitives. To someone who isn't wired for a sexual deviation however there is anything from a lack of interest, to disgust, because they just don't have the chemical reactions and built up mentality in support of it. A person who is homosexual, and someone who is into say beastiality, scat, or any one of thousands of other of things are both exactly the same in being sexual deviants whose biology causes them to be attracted to something other than the norm.

Saying that homosexuals are somehow elevated above other sexual deviants is inherantly wrong, they are EXACTLY the same thing, just aroused by a differant abnormal trigger. Once you start saying homosexuals are entitled to representation, the same exact arguement can be made for ANY deviant using the same exact logic. It doesn't seem like an issue now, because nobody is using those arguements, but given time they will come, and with one deviation established as being accepted irregardless of the mainstream, it becomes increasingly difficult to say that others need to be singled out and excluded.

Of course none of this paticularly mattered, everything else I've said in other threads aside, this all comes down to the issue of forced inclusion. Basically saying that creators HAVE to include such people if they are going to include sex or relationships at all, regardless of their original vision or intent. That's simply another face of the corperate mentality that destroys every creative medium it comes into. Right here people who think they are being progressive or accepting are feeding the very same machine they have probably spent a lot of time and energy complaining about.

As I said in an earlier message, this is probably going to come back to bite Jim Sterling in the pants when at some point he claims political correctness, or forced inclusion in the media, has ruined something. The same arguement about entitlement can be used by any of the various gorups that have forced their way into creative works over a long period of time.

Well, that's what you get for using satire to bring a message to a broad audience.
Remember this "People.Are.Idiots.". The problem is, people who understand satire are usually intelligent people who are open-minded. But people who don't understand satire are usually people who aren't as intelligent and aren't as open-minded. So people who needed to get you message couldn't get it.

Also, I find it rather funny when people say "I'm straight, I'm not going to use the option".
So what? You're straight, what does that have to do with role playing. I'm gay, but I play as a straight, or female a lot. Role playing is the reason I like RPG games. I can be all that hings that I can't or don't want to be in real life. You can explore things that you wouldn't like IRL.

Do you want to be a mass murderer IRL? No? Me neither, but you can be in an RPG and enjoy it a lot. Same goes for gay relationships. Or bi, or Solarian x Krogan or whatever you want.

I'm not saying you must do that. I'm just saying that I find it funny how many people play RPG games but don't role play.

Therumancer:
Once you start saying homosexuals are entitled to representation, the same exact arguement can be made for ANY deviant using the same exact logic.

If those other deviations aren't harming anyone, and both parties can give legal consent, then I don't see anything wrong with them asking for representations.

But bestiality can't come even close to homosexuality.
An animal can't give you consent to have sex with them. Neither can a baby or a dead body. An unconscious woman/man neither.

Also, attraction of a male to a female doesn't guaranty safety The truth is actually far, far, far from that. If that was the case, there wouldn't be rape cases. If one side is stronger, there is always the option of it forcing the sex. Males are usually stronger than females.

Just sayin' because you said heterosexuality helps.
My point is, homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality are neutral. They are neither bad nor good. It depends on the person. Just because you're straight doesn't mean you will protect a girl because you get potential sex. And just because you're gay doesn't mean you will got an rape every male that crosses your path.

Also, the word "normal" is a weak argument. It's definition changes trough time faster than any other word. Things that where normal 5 years ago aren't normal now and vice versa. And the word "natural" is even weaker because homosexuality is completely natural.
Humans are part of nature. Everything humans do is part of their nature. So everything humans do is natural. You couldn't do it if it wasn't part of your nature.

Also, almost every species shows signs of homosexual behavior. Either nature isn't natural, or...

The best part of this video is that my brightness is at 100% and I couldn't see that guys face, the one with shepard.

Wow, just read the posts above me, these debates are best left for political debates, not the escapist's forums, and I mean both sides, there is really no point in trying to change someone's mind whether they support homosexuality or are homophobic, in most cases they are just taught that belief system from a very young age. If your trying to get the word out there, a gaming website really isn't the place. I also believe that most people who complain about it are just looking for something to complain about, OH NO GARRUS HIT ON ME WTFGFCH0CGHRC

Jim Sterling:
snip

While I wouldn't ever bring up the paedo argument defence of gay exclusion, the fact that it's illegal carries little water with me. BDSM/S&M is illegal in the UK, jail time illegal. What they say about sex can't entirely be relied upon.

People seriously trotted out the whole homosexuality=paedophilia argument!?! What cave did these people crawl out of?

I was able to grasp the subtlety of your previous video, but I guess some people just need to be smacked in the head with a huge purple dildo. Smack away Jim, smack away.

easternflame:

Lord_Gremlin:
Considering the ending of this Jimquisition i think I will share my personal opinion.

Well now, I do have a problem with gay people. Aka they are sick in the head and whatever excuse medics came up in USA when they realized they can't cure them did not just made them normal... Look, curing schizophrenia is not easy either. If possible at all.

That said excuses debunked in this video are pathetic indeed.
And pedophilia and homosexuality are indeed vastly different things. That said, both are cases of mental disorder but vastly different ones.


Your personal opinion is based on unfounded medical and scientific facts; normal you say? Beating your wife in the 40's was normal, or perhaps I should go back? The romans and the greek were pretty homosexual and that was normal. Saying, I will give my opinion does not excent you of following the rules, this is not an opinion, this a homophobic comment and it is terrible.

OP: I don't really think Bioware are open and mature to be quite honest, let me give you 2 clear examples. First, you can go Lesbian in Mass Effect 1 and 2 but not gay. Also, the demo

So yeah, open and mature, I don't think so Jim.

\You cannot possibly be that anal/pc about that wrex comment, thats even worse than homophobia...

Therumancer:

Geo Da Sponge:

Two things, which I'm repeating here:

1: The difference between the genders involved in a relationship makes a huge difference to whether the audience can relate to a romance. We must agree with that, because if we don't then you must think that the entire subject is meaningless anyway. Thus homosexuality is a bigger difference than personal turn-ons or fetishes which are less about relating to the characters and more about getting off on it, which you constantly presume is the reason for the romance being there in the first place.

---

2: I don't remember there ever being huge drives for Bioware to put gay romance options into Mass Effect. Certainly not ones crawling all over the Escapist like the people saying that the options should be gone now. In fact, it's been demonstrated again and again that they were going to put them into the first game before people even cared about the series at all, but for whatever reason, couldn't. Therefore, there was no minority ever forcing them to put it into the game, but plenty of people are trying to force them not to.

I mean, I've never seen a large group demanding a gay romance in Mass Effect outside of the Bioware forums, which let's be honest, don't count. Maybe a few people did, yeah, but not enough for you to argue that the entire homosexual community has been up in arms and entitled about it.

*snip*

And once again you have missed the point. This has nothing with sexual stimulation, if it did, Mass Effect would be the last place you'd be looking because of how simply unerotic the love scenes are. This is about a romance that players can relate to. Putting in other fetishes or sexual deviancies would just be titillation, as no one has ever failed to relate to a romance plot because of them not being there. Look, let's put it simply:

Things people say:

"This romance plot is well written, but I find it hard to relate to because it is about a heterosexual couple and I am homosexual."
or
"This romance plot is well written, but I find it hard to relate to because it is about a homosexual couple and I am heterosexual."

Things no-one has ever said ever:

"This romance plot is well written, but I find it hard to relate to because it doesn't have enough extended foot-worship scenes."

If you don't agree that the difference in genders and sexuality influences how well someone can relate with the romance sub-plot, then it logically follows that you shouldn't care about it either.

---

And there is plenty of evidence they intended to put homosexual relations into each of the games, namely unused voice recordings:

I know it's not much, but I think that them writing the dialogue and getting the voice actors in is a fair bit of effort for something they never planned to do. And them later saying it was never planned? That's what's known as covering their asses. But nooooo, it was all the work of the magical gays with their invisible campaign. Is it really so hard to believe that the writers wanted to do it too? I mean, if they hated it so much why did they give in? Even if the entirety of their gay user base boycotted the game if the option wasn't put in they'd lose, what? Four percent of their sales?

I have seen no evidence that there was a particularly organised drive to get male homosexuality included in any Mass Effect game, just the same old paranoid ramblings that talk about the 'gay agenda' like homosexuals are some sort of hive mind and obsessed cult rolled into one.

And for that matter, I don't elevate homosexuality above other sexual deviancies, in fact, I think it's a more significant difference than any of those. Which is why I realise it'd be hypocritical of me not to be as generally accepting of them as well.

easternflame:

OP: I don't really think Bioware are open and mature to be quite honest, let me give you 2 clear examples. First, you can go Lesbian in Mass Effect 1 and 2 but not gay. Also, the demo

So yeah, open and mature, I don't think so Jim.

amazing how stupid people are. pedophiles..... seriously????
im not fond of gay people but i dont have a problem with that in a game or in social life as long they dont try to seduce me. but seriously, comparing it with pedophiles....just amazing.

Why does Shepard's sexuality matter? It does not affect cannon, considering that Shepard's entire character can be rebuilt and entirely remade in every sequel. You can change every other aspect of Shepherd, you pick his gender, body-type, and customize every other aspect of him. Why would sexuality suddenly ruin the cannon, when changing every other aspect of him does not.

Jim, my respect for you has literally skyrocketed. Anyone who even attempts to argue your pedophilia / gay point should be ashamed of themselves.

Maybe Shepard, fully knowing that the reaper menace can't be stop, thinks "Screw this, I'll just fuck anything that moves" and embarks on a quest to be the first human to have sex with every known sentient species.

mattttherman3:

easternflame:

Lord_Gremlin:
Considering the ending of this Jimquisition i think I will share my personal opinion.

Well now, I do have a problem with gay people. Aka they are sick in the head and whatever excuse medics came up in USA when they realized they can't cure them did not just made them normal... Look, curing schizophrenia is not easy either. If possible at all.

That said excuses debunked in this video are pathetic indeed.
And pedophilia and homosexuality are indeed vastly different things. That said, both are cases of mental disorder but vastly different ones.


Your personal opinion is based on unfounded medical and scientific facts; normal you say? Beating your wife in the 40's was normal, or perhaps I should go back? The romans and the greek were pretty homosexual and that was normal. Saying, I will give my opinion does not excent you of following the rules, this is not an opinion, this a homophobic comment and it is terrible.

OP: I don't really think Bioware are open and mature to be quite honest, let me give you 2 clear examples. First, you can go Lesbian in Mass Effect 1 and 2 but not gay. Also, the demo

So yeah, open and mature, I don't think so Jim.

\You cannot possibly be that anal/pc about that wrex comment, thats even worse than homophobia...

Really, worse than homophobia? I'm not even going fight you because it would be pointless on that comment.
HOWEVER, being Anal in these cases is important, if Shepard would have said it, it might have been better; Whoever wrote this contradicts the lore and story of Mass Effect and that is disgraceful, I'm sorry, I'm excited about Mass Effect 3, but one has to always stay objective. Besides, being anal wasn't my point, it was to express how bioware are not mature as they would like us to believe.

mike1921:

easternflame:

OP: I don't really think Bioware are open and mature to be quite honest, let me give you 2 clear examples. First, you can go Lesbian in Mass Effect 1 and 2 but not gay. Also, the demo

So yeah, open and mature, I don't think so Jim.

It is not about biggotry, it about the inconsistency with the story and character. Remember in mass effect one where you had to kill Wrex (or convince him) because he wanted to save the facility for the survival of the species? He would have the utmost respect for the queen! why am I the only one to see this?!

Geo Da Sponge:

Therumancer:

Geo Da Sponge:

Two things, which I'm repeating here:

1: The difference between the genders involved in a relationship makes a huge difference to whether the audience can relate to a romance. We must agree with that, because if we don't then you must think that the entire subject is meaningless anyway. Thus homosexuality is a bigger difference than personal turn-ons or fetishes which are less about relating to the characters and more about getting off on it, which you constantly presume is the reason for the romance being there in the first place.

---

2: I don't remember there ever being huge drives for Bioware to put gay romance options into Mass Effect. Certainly not ones crawling all over the Escapist like the people saying that the options should be gone now. In fact, it's been demonstrated again and again that they were going to put them into the first game before people even cared about the series at all, but for whatever reason, couldn't. Therefore, there was no minority ever forcing them to put it into the game, but plenty of people are trying to force them not to.

I mean, I've never seen a large group demanding a gay romance in Mass Effect outside of the Bioware forums, which let's be honest, don't count. Maybe a few people did, yeah, but not enough for you to argue that the entire homosexual community has been up in arms and entitled about it.

*snip*

And once again you have missed the point. This has nothing with sexual stimulation, if it did, Mass Effect would be the last place you'd be looking because of how simply unerotic the love scenes are. This is about a romance that players can relate to. Putting in other fetishes or sexual deviancies would just be titillation, as no one has ever failed to relate to a romance plot because of them not being there. Look, let's put it simply:

Things people say:

"This romance plot is well written, but I find it hard to relate to because it is about a heterosexual couple and I am homosexual."
or
"This romance plot is well written, but I find it hard to relate to because it is about a homosexual couple and I am heterosexual."

Things no-one has ever said ever:

"This romance plot is well written, but I find it hard to relate to because it doesn't have enough extended foot-worship scenes."

If you don't agree that the difference in genders and sexuality influences how well someone can relate with the romance sub-plot, then it logically follows that you shouldn't care about it either.

---

And there is plenty of evidence they intended to put homosexual relations into each of the games, namely unused voice recordings:

I know it's not much, but I think that them writing the dialogue and getting the voice actors in is a fair bit of effort for something they never planned to do. And them later saying it was never planned? That's what's known as covering their asses. But nooooo, it was all the work of the magical gays with their invisible campaign. Is it really so hard to believe that the writers wanted to do it too? I mean, if they hated it so much why did they give in? Even if the entirety of their gay user base boycotted the game if the option wasn't put in they'd lose, what? Four percent of their sales?

I have seen no evidence that there was a particularly organised drive to get male homosexuality included in any Mass Effect game, just the same old paranoid ramblings that talk about the 'gay agenda' like homosexuals are some sort of hive mind and obsessed cult rolled into one.

And for that matter, I don't elevate homosexuality above other sexual deviancies, in act, I think it's a more significant difference than any of those. Which is why I realise it'd be hypocritical of me not to be as generally accepting of them as well.

This is one of many articles on the subject:
http://www.destructoid.com/bioware-explains-lack-of-gay-sex-in-mass-effect-2-170051.phtml

There are others, but I'm trying to be fairly neutral on the subject. The basic point here is Bioware said flat out "no gay sex", it does not fit the atmosphere that they happened to want. Even in that article there was an immediate trend for politically correct backlash in "well, that's just plain wrong for a developer to decide something like that doesn't fit and other choices can fit but that one won't".

It's not just the gays themselves, but also the left wing as a whole, a big part of it is specifically that if you push up one minority group, it becomes much easier to push others up by using that one as an example.

What's more, when it comes to romance saying you can't relate can apply to a large number of deviancies. With the foot fetish for example, the point would be more likely that nobody implied footplay, rather than the lack of any kind of drawn out footplay scene. Ditto for someone saying that none of the relationships were "strong enough" or whatever, someone into BDSM might not expect a full scene, but could say that they either lacked a proper passive submissive, or a partner who took a dominant tone, and thus they couldn't relate to it.

The point here is that it's all down to sexual arousal from something unusual, whether it's a guy coming on to another guy because that's how your wired IRL, or someone mentioning they want to play scat games. It can all be argued romantically with equal force without there needing to be any drawn out sex scene.

Beyond which, the bottom line is that this still comes down to pressure on the creators. The creators say "no, this is not how we see it" whether they cut something or not, they decided that it did not fit, and complaints being made about entitlement, with the creator having to cater to them and not having the right to say "no" if they decide something does not fit within their creative vision.

You (and others to be fair) seem to be fixated on this because it involves male homosexuality, and that's the liberal cause of the moment, and are intentionally not looking at the big picture, and where this ultimatly leads.

To be honest I think any real point in favor of there having to be gay men in Mass Effect is heavily overwritten, by the simple fact that Bioware has had gay men in other games. It's not like the company is saying there will not be gay men in any of their titles ever, just that it doesn't fit into specific ones. Gay men will doubtlessly find other bioware games that will give them what they want, and where it fits in with the creative vision, without having to forcibly insinuate themselves everywhere.

This really is no differant than any other case where political correctness has destroyed a creative work due to forced inclusion.

Bioware's responses to this, like that of other companies, aren't based on the issue of gay men themselves and what that market might cause, but the power of the left wing media. See the potential loss of a few sales to a tiny minority might not bother them, but a one sided presentation through the media which an influance the roughly 50% of the population that have a pro-gay agenda even without being gay themselves is something entirely differant. It's not like there is an equally powerful right wing media within the mainstream that counterbalances it back to zero.

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