Why Makeb Hits LGBT Players So Hard

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Why Makeb Hits LGBT Players So Hard

Old Republic's "gay planet" mimics real-world frustrations.

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Robert Rath:
I point out these issues not to get up on a soapbox about the state of LGBT rights in America (and certainly not to speak for a community I'm not a part of), but to point out why LGBT persons may be hypersensitive to the dynamics at play in the current SWTOR controversy. The Makeb controversy serves as a microcosm of the emotionally-charged situation of LGBT politics.

image

You may not be in the LGBTQUIAAWTFBBQ community, but you have a firm grasp of the issues. A well written article, I commend you.

Is anyone really surprised Bioware failed again at exclusively same sex relationships?

Robert Rath:
It's a disappointment that the old struggles, and prejudices, and minimization of their needs will even follow them to a galaxy far, far away.

I consider myself part of that community. This made me tear up a little. Fuck. Is it Friday yet? I need a drink.

There's only one word for this situation: Clusterfuck.

jehk:

Robert Rath:
It's a disappointment that the old struggles, and prejudices, and minimization of their needs will even follow them to a galaxy far, far away.

I consider myself part of that community. This made me tear up a little. Fuck. Is it Friday yet? I need a drink.

Same here, and I think I need a drink too. This guy at the very least has a very firm grasp on the issues.

Also, interesting fact: according to Karen Traviss's books in the Star Wars mythos, LGBT rights were already supported by a certain group: none other than the Mandalorians. You heard me right: Boba Fett, one of the biggest badasses of all time, supports our rights. That was before Disney though. Unfortunately it's not widely known fact.

Why can't bioware pull it off as well as Bethesda has done in the last few games... It's just, there. It's not trumpeted, it's not pushed, it's not a binary GAY or NAY at some point in building character relationships... in both new vegas, and to a slightly lesser extent, skyrim, it's just there. There are some characters, well written, great characters. They happen to be l/g/b- you only really find this out if you learn enough about them as a person, talk to them, find out about their past, etc, like how it is for the most part in real life. Veronica and Arcade are probably two of the best written gay characters I've ever seen, especially the backstory with Veronica and Christine at the Brotherhood, and how that gets expanded upon when you meet that character in an expansion.

Bioware, seriously, take notes. Oh yeah, EA. That explains a lot.

an annoyed writer:

jehk:

Robert Rath:
It's a disappointment that the old struggles, and prejudices, and minimization of their needs will even follow them to a galaxy far, far away.

I consider myself part of that community. This made me tear up a little. Fuck. Is it Friday yet? I need a drink.

Same here, and I think I need a drink too. This guy at the very least has a very firm grasp on the issues.

Also, interesting fact: according to Karen Traviss's books in the Star Wars mythos, LGBT rights were already supported by a certain group: none other than the Mandalorians. You heard me right: Boba Fett, one of the biggest badasses of all time, supports our rights. That was before Disney though. Unfortunately it's not widely known fact.

Please don't bring up KT books in a Star Wars thread. I'm still trying to pretending her SW books don't exist and you messing with my delusions, thanks.

OT: Gotta say. Well written article. Though expecting anything out of Bio***cough*EA*cough**ware these day is an exercise in futility.

Well written article that comes from a mind that seems to grasp the issues and problems facing the LGBT community today, problems that seem to be getting more and more frustrating as time goes by. There were many great points in this article, and many that need to be evaluated (I'm still a torch-bearer for BioWare and believe that they really are trying to do the right thing SGRs), but the most annoying thing I read was something I've always known: Disney is a "family-friendly" company.

So, same-sex households/families aren't families? Or are they just not friendly? Sigh.

I'm still hoping for a future, at least in the sci-fi genre, where this is not a debate, not even an issue. I don't understand how it's not just assumed that in the future sexuality is no longer an issue, much less a big issue.

#1reasonwhy you don't give in to outside pressure from "interest groups" to include things in your work, be it religious groups, feminists or LGWhatever.
They finally got what they asked for after years of begging, which was probably not very easy since LucasArts likely had to agree and now they're bitching and crying their eyes out that it "isn't what they expected" or "isn't enough". If anyone talks about "entitlement" in gaming again, point them to this, because if this isn't it I don't know what is.

Especially if it comes from a negligible portion of your customerbase: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/americans-have-no-idea-how-few-gay-people-there-are/257753/ and you can be sure to piss off another part at the same time.

Robert Rath:
Makeb is one of those temporary measures that pleases no one while offending everyone.

Really, it's not just temporary measures. We live in a culture where ANY measure will offend a good chunk of the people involved, but for some reason we seek to compromise. Congratulations! You've now offended everyone involved with a half-assed measure, temporary or not.

As it applies to the game, this is probably true. But as it relates to the real world, I just figured I'd make the point.

redknightalex:

So, same-sex households/families aren't families?

Not by Disney's standards.

This is also an issue for any non-traditional family, including the single parent. Single parents aren't as polarising, but they are discriminated against. I mean, part of the complaint against homosexual pairings is that kids need a mother AND a father, something single-parent households also lack.

It's garbage, but it's the line of thought.

Excellent article. Bioware needs to learn that you go big, or you go home. Stopgap bullshit only makes everyone angry. You'd think professional adults would understand this.

People complaining about Disney: while they probably aren't going to come out in support in a major press release, Disney still offers same-sex Magic Kingdom weddings and openly hires homosexual employees so I doubt they are the ones trying to prevent SGRAs from appearing in the game.

Zachary Amaranth:

redknightalex:

So, same-sex households/families aren't families?

Not by Disney's standards.

This is also an issue for any non-traditional family, including the single parent. Single parents aren't as polarising, but they are discriminated against. I mean, part of the complaint against homosexual pairings is that kids need a mother AND a father, something single-parent households also lack.

It's garbage, but it's the line of thought.

True true. Very much in the garbage POV. As a member of the LGBT community and raised primarily by my mother (parents are divorced), I always found that line of thought to be complete BS. Disney doesn't listen to science, do they?

In a way, this is also rather ironic considering all of the Disney stories that like to kill off one parent or make the main protagonist an orphan. Guess it'll take Disney another 20 years or so to have a LGBT family when we just had our first black princess!

redknightalex:

Zachary Amaranth:

redknightalex:

So, same-sex households/families aren't families?

Not by Disney's standards.

This is also an issue for any non-traditional family, including the single parent. Single parents aren't as polarising, but they are discriminated against. I mean, part of the complaint against homosexual pairings is that kids need a mother AND a father, something single-parent households also lack.

It's garbage, but it's the line of thought.

True true. Very much in the garbage POV. As a member of the LGBT community and raised primarily by my mother (parents are divorced), I always found that line of thought to be complete BS. Disney doesn't listen to science, do they?

In a way, this is also rather ironic considering all of the Disney stories that like to kill off one parent or make the main protagonist an orphan. Guess it'll take Disney another 20 years or so to have a LGBT family when we just had our first black princess!

It's interesting that this came up, since after filing the article I found myself thinking a lot about the term "family friendly" and decided I should've probably put it in quotes. After all, if a kid's growing up with a gay parent, sister, cousin, aunt, how is seeing a gay person on TV not "friendly" to his household? As someone who grew up with divorced parents my mind went to the same place that's been mentioned here - that when I was growing up there were no families on TV that had divorced parents, it was literally considered more acceptable for one parent to be dead than to even hint at a divorce. (The only exception I can recall is Angelica's mother on Rugrats, and that was hardly a sympathetic portrayal of a working mother.)

So yes, I was using Disney's version of "family friendly," and I probably shouldn't have done so uncritically. I did say they were ostensibly family friendly though, since Disney now owns a lot of brands that are PG-13 or R. (In an interesting side note: The day after Osama Bin Laden was killed, Disney attempted to copyright the name "SEAL Team Six" for both movies and videogames. The Navy confronted them about it an they backed off.)

defskyoen:
#1reasonwhy you don't give in to outside pressure from "interest groups" to include things in your work, be it religious groups, feminists or LGWhatever.
They finally got what they asked for after years of begging, which was probably not very easy since LucasArts likely had to agree and now they're bitching and crying their eyes out that it "isn't what they expected" or "isn't enough". If anyone talks about "entitlement" in gaming again, point them to this, because if this isn't it I don't know what is.

Especially if it comes from a negligible portion of your customerbase: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/americans-have-no-idea-how-few-gay-people-there-are/257753/ and you can be sure to piss off another part at the same time.

Yeah no, I think I will still point people to the thing where a couple of months ago a bunch of neckbeards pressured Bioware into making a new ending for ME because the normal one upset their fee fees.

That's an interesting perspective and those are definitely some points worth thinking about. I do disagree with one thing though. Writing a specific set of statutes for hate crimes is risky business. Laws are positivistic by nature and differentiating them based on intent opens up a host of legal and moral issues. Personally I ascribe to a combination of philosophies from Max Weber and Oliver Wendell Holmes, whereby laws outline the crimes and proportionate punishments and it's left to judges to interpret them with regard to criminal intent and the impact that that intent has on the cultural environment.
If you do want to consolidate hate crimes in the law, however, it's better to tie them in with existing anti-discrimination legislation.

I wish the LBGT community would spend more time complaining about bad writing. Bioware romances are freaking horrible and are at best token experiences, homosexual and hetero. Just tacked on so they can say they are there. Why be proud about a token gay character, included just to represent some demographic? LGBT community, you are being patronized; demand more.

redknightalex:
I'm still hoping for a future, at least in the sci-fi genre, where this is not a debate, not even an issue. I don't understand how it's not just assumed that in the future sexuality is no longer an issue, much less a big issue.

If I remember rightly, in Peter F Hamilton's "Commonwealth" universe, the issue of sexuality is, from my memory, not an "issue" at all. The character of Oscar Monroe has the history of same-sex relationships brought up when he is first introduced, but no one bats an eyelid and it's never more fully developed. Which is good. There's nothing more annoying than a person whose entire character revolves around their sexuality. So that's one universe in which sense prevails.

Farther than stars:
That's an interesting perspective and those are definitely some points worth thinking about. I do disagree with one thing though. Writing a specific set of statutes for hate crimes is risky business. Laws are positivistic by nature and differentiating them based on intent opens up a host of legal and moral issues. Personally I ascribe to a combination of philosophies from Max Weber and Oliver Wendell Holmes, whereby laws outline the crimes and proportionate punishments and it's left to judges to interpret them with regard to criminal intent and the impact that that intent has on the cultural environment.
If you do want to consolidate hate crimes in the law, however, it's better to tie them in with existing anti-discrimination legislation.

I held this view for a long time. However, there is a real reason for such laws to exist, which is that the effects of crimes are not quite linear with their frequency. Having something be sufficiently pervasive gives it a huge multiplier in its effect and harm, so there are real reasons to modify rules that have to do with crimes which are likely to be pervasive for some people and not for others. So basically, in the real world, these laws serve a useful function, at least for now.

Really nice article, by the way. Read the first page, thought "huh, normal game website coverage". Someone made a comment about the second page, I went and looked.

Wow. Seriously, wow. This is a very impressive bit of writing, and I think you've done a great job of capturing some of the issues that make these topics a source of complication and drama in the gaming world. I would point out: Disney's pretty tolerant of gay stuff these days, their view of "family-friendly" has necessarily adjusted to reflect the fact that gay parents also take their kids to theme parks. :)

Who would consider Disney "family friendly" if they had family members who were gay?
I'm getting so sick of homophobia, and can't understand why so many people have problems with this issue.
I mean I do KNOW why, just don't understand.
Isn't there a big LGBT event where they completely rent out Disneyland for a day or two and basically make it Prideland? If there isn't maybe we should get started on that.

MasterOfHisOwnDomain:

redknightalex:
I'm still hoping for a future, at least in the sci-fi genre, where this is not a debate, not even an issue. I don't understand how it's not just assumed that in the future sexuality is no longer an issue, much less a big issue.

If I remember rightly, in Peter F Hamilton's "Commonwealth" universe, the issue of sexuality is, from my memory, not an "issue" at all. The character of Oscar Monroe has the history of same-sex relationships brought up when he is first introduced, but no one bats an eyelid and it's never more fully developed. Which is good. There's nothing more annoying than a person whose entire character revolves around their sexuality. So that's one universe in which sense prevails.

That's good to know as he's an author that comes up frequently on my to-read list. My problem was that I could never figure out if I wanted to start with Pandor's Star or The Reality Dysfunction. Always a plus in my book when writers can create a side note of the non-issue "issue" of sexuality and just let the characters be characters. Think it should also apply to the fantasy genre as well but I don't see it there all too often.

(Sorry for the off topic.)

the_real_seebs:

Farther than stars:
That's an interesting perspective and those are definitely some points worth thinking about. I do disagree with one thing though. Writing a specific set of statutes for hate crimes is risky business. Laws are positivistic by nature and differentiating them based on intent opens up a host of legal and moral issues. Personally I ascribe to a combination of philosophies from Max Weber and Oliver Wendell Holmes, whereby laws outline the crimes and proportionate punishments and it's left to judges to interpret them with regard to criminal intent and the impact that that intent has on the cultural environment.
If you do want to consolidate hate crimes in the law, however, it's better to tie them in with existing anti-discrimination legislation.

I held this view for a long time. However, there is a real reason for such laws to exist, which is that the effects of crimes are not quite linear with their frequency. Having something be sufficiently pervasive gives it a huge multiplier in its effect and harm, so there are real reasons to modify rules that have to do with crimes which are likely to be pervasive for some people and not for others. So basically, in the real world, these laws serve a useful function, at least for now.

And that's really where my concerns lie. The temporal functionality of interpretive law is basically how the totalitarian culture of Eastern communism (especially Nazism) was born. Relying on judges to interpret laws is one thing, since that leaves the authority with a democratically amendable legal system, but asking judges to base verdicts on the moralistic intent of the law is too much.
It's not that I think these laws will herald in a Fourth Reich or anything (especially since the LGBT community is in the minority), but you do want to be careful when gauging public opinion against legal action, simply to avoid the mistakes that they made in Germany and Russia. Especially in a nation which is so strongly divided on the issue, it is a good idea for lawmakers not to make any rash decisions.

Zachary Amaranth:

redknightalex:
So, same-sex households/families aren't families?

Not by Disney's standards.

This is also an issue for any non-traditional family, including the single parent. Single parents aren't as polarising, but they are discriminated against. I mean, part of the complaint against homosexual pairings is that kids need a mother AND a father, something single-parent households also lack.

It's garbage, but it's the line of thought.

Of course that line of reasoning negates the fact that a single parent has to do all the work alone. Traditionally speaking, "bringing home the bacon" and caring for the children has been spread between two people, so obviously a second parent takes a lot of the workload off the first parent, whether they're of the same gender or not. We'll leave by the wayside for now the debate in psychology about maternal bonding.

Fine, but of SWTOR's issues, is this really the one that most needs attention right now? Not that I think the free-to-play conversion and Hutt Cartel was a worth while expenditure of resources either.

tangoprime:
Why can't bioware pull it off as well as Bethesda has done in the last few games... It's just, there. It's not trumpeted, it's not pushed, it's not a binary GAY or NAY at some point in building character relationships... in both new vegas, and to a slightly lesser extent, skyrim, it's just there. There are some characters, well written, great characters. They happen to be l/g/b- you only really find this out if you learn enough about them as a person, talk to them, find out about their past, etc, like how it is for the most part in real life. Veronica and Arcade are probably two of the best written gay characters I've ever seen, especially the backstory with Veronica and Christine at the Brotherhood, and how that gets expanded upon when you meet that character in an expansion.

Bioware, seriously, take notes. Oh yeah, EA. That explains a lot.

I just felt I should point this out, since it's a commonly made mistake. Fallout: New Vegas was made by Obsidian Entertainment, and only published by Bethesda. Bethesda's writing has never been of even nearly that quality. Obsidian on the other hand, well...let's just say you should play some more of their games.

You are absolutely right though, that people should definitely be taking lessons from this game.

I think the inclusion of (probably) half-baked same-gender-romances was kind of a panic reaction on Bioware's part. They promised something they weren't able to deliver, so they decided they had to throw people a bone like, right now.

I myself was hoping for full-on romance between my Bounty Hunter and her companion myself, because they were kinda cute together, but as I'm not gay myself I suppose the issue isn't quite as urgent for me as it might be for people with a more personal stake in this.

Anyway, I'm happy the game still exists at all, so I'll keep playing and waiting for the real deal. From the past year I've learned that while Bioware in their current state are prone to screwing things up now and then, they at least try to come through for their community.

I don't play the game so I'm confused on the context of Relationship.

Is a Relationship between two players or between a player and an NPC?

Initially when I heard of this I thought "Whats so hard about letting two people have a 'Relationship' in game that Gender would be coded for?", but now this sounds like an NPC thing.

Fwee:
Who would consider Disney "family friendly" if they had family members who were gay?

Family-friendly is like family values. Just PC language to hide homophobia.

Oh man, this one is loaded. I think Bioware did 1 of 2 things. Either, 1) slammed it in quickly to try and keep a promise (understandable), or 2) were pigeon-holed into this small offering by some larger influence, and put it in knowing there'd be backlash. See, I work in a comparable industry where we are forced into decisions that we know won't work, but people above us tell us we have to do anyway. It's frustrating as hell, let me tell you. Bioware isn't a stupid developer, I'm betting that they were pushing for the inclusion, and this was their consolation prize they *had* put in, because that's all they were allowed to do from the higher-ups.

I'm gonna go ahead and say I think BioWare knew this was going to blow up like it did, they just didn't have a choice in how it was implemented.

In Skyrim, a character could marry an NPC regardless of gender. If there was any controversy about it, it was insubstantial and I never heard about it.

Why is it never like this with Bioware games?

Who cares? Please continue to make improvements to actual gameplay and story, not bend over backwards to appease a minority group for something a majority of players will probably never use.

defskyoen:
#1reasonwhy you don't give in to outside pressure from "interest groups" to include things in your work, be it religious groups, feminists or LGWhatever.
They finally got what they asked for after years of begging, which was probably not very easy since LucasArts likely had to agree and now they're bitching and crying their eyes out that it "isn't what they expected" or "isn't enough". If anyone talks about "entitlement" in gaming again, point them to this, because if this isn't it I don't know what is.

Especially if it comes from a negligible portion of your customerbase: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/americans-have-no-idea-how-few-gay-people-there-are/257753/ and you can be sure to piss off another part at the same time.

Oh god, I am getting involved in this.

One: One of the great problems with democracy is that it gives in to the tyranny of the majority. Just because LGBTQ customers are not the majority does not mean they should be ignored, just because they are a minority does not make them a NEGLIGIBLE amount of people.

Two: Asking to be equally represented is not entitlement. Any more then asking for protection in the eyes of the law. Christ, I wish I could report you (I found your post offensive yet I don't think the mods would necessarily agree with me).

I need to step out because this thread WILL inevitably become even more offensive as people like you flock to it.

I just do not understand why some people find integration hard to understand, why some people want to be treated as equals and not as aberrations. Fucking hell, It would not have taken that much to integrate LGBTQ relationships from the start (Get a few of the lines done twice by some of the characters, one referring to a male partner and the other to a female partner. Done, you now have some bisexual characters and nobody is offended). Instead the LGBTQ community is always thought of as an afterthought.

The problem is that companies and society as a whole treat us like afterthoughts.

And people like you don't give enough of a shit.

It's not my fight because I am queer. Its not someone else's fight cause she is a lesbian, or someone else cause they are Trans. Its all of our fight because we are all human and this shit is offensive to anyone with an ounce of decency and sense.

Fuck the tyranny of the majority.

And before someone says "It doesn't matter how gays are depicted in games" it does. It fucking does. Because if the LGBTQ community is treated like every other community in games and popular media eventually the idea of someone being LGBTQ will be normalised. We will be people again. And not "Others".

After Kotor 2, I honestly doubt 'family friendly' is an apt description of anything Star Wars.
Nevermind all the genocide and the ewok cannibalism and whatnot.

xomocekc:

defskyoen:
#1reasonwhy you don't give in to outside pressure from "interest groups" to include things in your work, be it religious groups, feminists or LGWhatever.
They finally got what they asked for after years of begging, which was probably not very easy since LucasArts likely had to agree and now they're bitching and crying their eyes out that it "isn't what they expected" or "isn't enough". If anyone talks about "entitlement" in gaming again, point them to this, because if this isn't it I don't know what is.

Especially if it comes from a negligible portion of your customerbase: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/americans-have-no-idea-how-few-gay-people-there-are/257753/ and you can be sure to piss off another part at the same time.

Yeah no, I think I will still point people to the thing where a couple of months ago a bunch of neckbeards pressured Bioware into making a new ending for ME because the normal one upset their fee fees.

Oh wow, what a horrible survey.
1. Bisexuals are not even represented.
2. How about considering all those who have had a "homosexual experience" but do not self identify as gay or lesbian?
3. Self identifying as gay in large parts of the US will get you killed or beaten or sent to brainwashing camp. This creates a LOT of closet cases who will not even admit what they are in an anonymous survey, and sometimes refuse to even admit it to themselves.
If the number is 2% in this survey, I certainly believe the 10% estimation

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