Dragon Age Writer: Same-Sex Romance is Here to Stay

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Dragon Age Writer: Same-Sex Romance is Here to Stay

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Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider says people who complain about same-sex relationships in the game "don't have a leg to stand on" as long as romances are optional and need to be actively pursued by the player.

I was a little surprised when Zevran of the Antivan Crows invited me into his tent one night during a break from battling the Darkspawn onslaught. But then I thought, hey, he's an elf, I'm an elf and whatshername is all the way over there on the other side of the field. So I took him up on it. And you know what? It was kind of weird. Luckily, he seemed to take it pretty well when I gave him the "just friends" speech the next morning, although it's always hard to tell with that guy.

There are those, however, who aren't quite as laid back about same-sex relationships as the elven assassin; not characters in the game but people who play it and apparently find their presence inappropriate. But that's just too bad, says Gaider, who wrote on the Dragon Age 2 forum that same-sex relationships in the game aren't going away.

"So long as romances of any kind are optional and need to be actively pursued by the player in order to be experienced, [complainers] simply don't have a leg to stand on," he wrote. "Advocating that nobody should be able to have content you don't intend to personally use is largely pointless - outside of a vague notion that such efforts should go towards other things, instead."

"The resources we can devote to a minority of players isn't great, but I imagine to those players it's quite worth it," he continued. "And I would hope that some folks could be sensitive enough to be happy for those players, at the very least out of the selfish notion that they may one day end up in the minority of some content issue and receive the same consideration if nothing else."

All of which sounds pretty reasonable to me. The late, great Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said, "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation," and I think that applies equally well to videogames. If you're that worried about what a player does with his pretend free time in a videogame, maybe you should start thinking about better ways to occupy your own free time in the real world.

Dragon Age 2 comes out on March 8 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

via: Joystiq

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And here I was worried that Bioware was caving under the pressure of being part of a big studio who might want to avoid "real controversy" in their best selling games. I'm glad that Bioware has proven me wrong on that count, very glad indeed.

Keep on with the Socially Progressive Gaming guys!

More proof that Bioware is GOD!

And excatly where is this flak coming from.

I do not own this game, but i am against anyone playing it hypothetically in a way i would not, EVER.
(jk)

Is it wrong and sexist that the first thing that popped into my head was "Yay more lesbian relationships!"?
Though in truth, all of DA:O's relationships were well written and well done, the sex scenes... weren't, but that's besides the point. I found Zevran's in particular to be pretty gripping simply because it reveals a lot more depth than he's initially believed to have.
Also, because he's awesome!

Glad to see Bioware is sticking to their guns. I don't see why some people are so bothered by it, when its an optional thing.

Well good for them.

I don't mind it. To each their own.

Only Bioware games I've really played are Neverwinter Nights 2 and DA:O. For defending something like this, I applaud them; there needs to be more acceptance of LGBT in the world and this may be a very small thing that helps.

So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

Bueno, although I hope they add a character better than Zevran. Did not like him very much, must have been the accent.

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

seriously. i was all ready to sex up Kaidan Alenko, and was really bummed out when I realized I couldn't. ahh, kaidan...

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

No one is forcing them not to they just decided not to do so, besides nothing stops you from roleplay a Homosexual character their simply wasn't any other charactyers for them to sleep with notice how in DA:O the only two party members were bi-sexual none were exclusivly same sex orientated, so for ME series they have not had any characters to make swing both ways.

Good to know that Bioware hasn't given up on them.

Hopefully, with the massive success of Dragon Age 1 and 2 (presumably) and Mass Effect 1 and 2, Bioware will have enough clout to prevent EA from removing the same sex relationships, if any are planned, in Mass Effect 3.

Seems to me that Bioware is being evasive after the fact that they omitted same-sex relationships from both Mass Effect 2 and apparently from the upcoming "Old Republic" game. The point here seems to be saying "look, we still have them in Dragon Age". However that's just the cynic in me.

Without getting into my own thoughts on the actual subject (I've covered that numerous times in other threads), what complaints I've seen about this are mostly based around being propositioned, or dealing with the come-on lines. The homosexual romances are not something that you have to pursue in most cases, but are generally offered. If you say use Zevran in your party or build him up because you like his skill set, it's inevitable he's going to come on to you. That's the issue, especially seeing as there really isn't much you can do about it.

It's worse in other games like "Fable II & III" where you are going to have homosexuals in mad lust following you around everywhere without having had to do anything. Despite my general sentiments about gay-men, I'm not "homophobic" where any mention of guy on guy stuff drives me into a frezy of hate, or I can't deal with it being mentioned somewhere. I wound up re-rolling as a girl simply so I didn't have to deal with 4 dudes asking me to gay marry them every time I wanted to buy something or do building maitnence. No offense but that's obnoxious.

My opinion for a while has been that a player should be able to enter something for their sexual orientation into a game, that will determine the content availible. Basically if you don't want to have people of your own gender making romantic overtures at you, I think it's not unreasonable for the player (the customer is always right) to be able to avoid that. If it's an "M" rated game with sex in it, a guy might want say allow hetero and lesbian stuff, but omit the guy on guy stuff. A girl might want hetero and guy on guy. Some people might pure hetero, or simply no adult elements and the abillity to turn things off.

I think anyone who thinks such content should be forced down people's throats is dead wrong. I also think it's a relatively simple matter to include an option that just doesn't let certain romantic flags be tripped, or would say influance the sexual orientation of the NPCs who spawn in Fable (which really takes it to a whole new obnoxious level).

I love how he handled this. It is extremely professional and makes soo much sense. I would have said something that would be taken as an attack on homophobes and there would have been retaliations to it. So I'm glad that he is in charge of that not me. This actually makes me want to check out this game. Because i know it is handled by a mature group

jamesworkshop:

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

No one is forcing them not to they just decided not to do so, besides nothing stops you from roleplay a Homosexual character their simply wasn't any other charactyers for them to sleep with notice how in DA:O the only two party members were bi-sexual none were exclusivly same sex orientated, so for ME series they have not had any characters to make swing both ways.

Both Kaidan and Ashley were going to be options for same sex relationships but Bioware pulled the plug on it all. The conversations still exist within the game, you just cant do them without a save editor on the PC version.

Gahars:
Good to know that Bioware hasn't given up on them.

Hopefully, with the massive success of Dragon Age 1 and 2 (presumably) and Mass Effect 1 and 2, Bioware will have enough clout to prevent EA from removing the same sex relationships, if any are planned, in Mass Effect 3.

And you have proof of EA's involvment in that despite letting free-for-all foursomes in DA:O to be published by EA.

Plus without any marriage.....

ME3 is unlikly just due to Bioware didn't feel that the Shepard character they wrote was Gay nor any crew members be narrativly bi-sexual to accomodate it (the gay option isn't just related to shepards character)
Plus after two games of hetro-hero, shepard is unlikly going gay in the last game.

Muta Ro:

jamesworkshop:

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

No one is forcing them not to they just decided not to do so, besides nothing stops you from roleplay a Homosexual character their simply wasn't any other charactyers for them to sleep with notice how in DA:O the only two party members were bi-sexual none were exclusivly same sex orientated, so for ME series they have not had any characters to make swing both ways.

Both Kaidan and Ashley were going to be options for same sex relationships but Bioware pulled the plug on it all. The conversations still exist within the game, you just cant do them without a save editor on the PC version.

I think the reason they cut it was because they were using the same script, meaning that if a male Shepard wanted to pursue Kaiden he came off as being too girly. They didn't really seem to have the reverse of that problem when Fem Shep romanced Liara, but I kinda see why they did that, if that's why they did that.

Therumancer:
Seems to me that Bioware is being evasive after the fact that they omitted same-sex relationships from both Mass Effect 2 and apparently from the upcoming "Old Republic" game. The point here seems to be saying "look, we still have them in Dragon Age". However that's just the cynic in me.

In fairness, I suspect that, even if they did want to do so in TOR, Lucasarts wouldn't let them. So you can't pin that one on Bioware.

TragicHero84:

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

seriously. i was all ready to sex up Kaidan Alenko, and was really bummed out when I realized I couldn't. ahh, kaidan...

I was actually kind of peeved about Kaidan. In my ME1 (Male) playthrough I opted to have him survive (He's a single child with no real family, Ash had 2 sisters, purely logical conclusion.)

Either way, meeting him lead to the most uncomfortable, emotional, pseudo romantic dialogue I've ever gone through. It felt like he thought that he slept with the PC or something. Obviously the interaction was written with the assumption that BroShep would save Ash and FemShep would save Kaiden, but the male on male speech was just... uncomfortable. He clearly would have taken it from BroShep, so why it wasn't written into the original is beyond me.

I find the actively pursued part funny. Of all the romances in the game Zevran is the easiest to do the deed with you don't have to actively pursue anything with him just talk,once.

I liked the same sex relationships in DA:O; they were tastefully handled, especially Leliana's (considering her backstory)

But it should not be forced. They should be there because they are right, not because Bioware now has to tick the 'same sex relationship' box. I felt they did this in ME2 with the alien relationships. They felt artificially inserted, and I did not like how they progressed.

So if it makes sense, go ahead. But don't do it because some perverts who decided a game would be a suitable place to get their lesbian porn fix shouted loudly!!

And as long as its only an option and not mandatory for a same sex relationship to occur via the player in the game I'll keep buying your games Bioware.

Muta Ro:

jamesworkshop:

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

No one is forcing them not to they just decided not to do so, besides nothing stops you from roleplay a Homosexual character their simply wasn't any other charactyers for them to sleep with notice how in DA:O the only two party members were bi-sexual none were exclusivly same sex orientated, so for ME series they have not had any characters to make swing both ways.

Both Kaidan and Ashley were going to be options for same sex relationships but Bioware pulled the plug on it all. The conversations still exist within the game, you just cant do them without a save editor on the PC version.

Exactly not in the game.

I don't see why people obssess over about one of the only bioware games ever to not have homosexual relationships.

Bioware isn't a social activist with a point to prove if they feel that being gay or whatever is consistant with the creative force behind a character then they do what they feel best.

Choice, imagine that

YAY Bioware! They also slipped in some nice group sex in DA:O if you fancy that sort of thing.

Sweet! With everything they'd been changing, I'm most assuredly glad that the one thing to remain are a variety of romance options! What else would an RPG be without them?

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

Likely because the characters in Mass Effects have much more polish than characters in their other games. Mass Effect characters are often based on a much stronger fundemental integrity, and so is Shephard, and the more ways you give players to ruin that integrity.

Note that I'm not saying that being gay means you lack "Integrity". I'm talking about the fact that Shephard as gay isn't how the developers imagined the character. Even though the devs give you alot of customization options with Shephard, they still also made the character rock-solid in several ways, even enough so the male/female version of Shephard is very similar.

Now that ME has run for two games already, it's probably too late to change Shephard to be gay. It would ruin everything that has already been established in the character.

They can do S/S romances in another game series, another time.

"So long as romances of any kind are optional and need to be actively pursued by the player in order to be experienced, [complainers] simply don't have a leg to stand on,"

I wouldn't say they have a leg to stand on even if it wasn't optional, but sure.

I always hate when these kind of topics turn into "why can't i have a same-sex relationship in Mass Effect when i can in other Bioware games".

Bioware is NOT required to follow anybody's taste other than their own when it comes to relationships, Complaining that there is no same sex relationship is an attempt to control what Bioware should do with their romances in games.

Just the same as those boneheads who complain about the gay relationships in other Bioware games is trying to control what Bioware should or shouldn't do.

spectrenihlus:
I find the actively pursued part funny. Of all the romances in the game Zevran is the easiest to do the deed with you don't have to actively pursue anything with him just talk,once.

Yeah, but that's ingrained into his character. His whole life (if you believe his backstory), he's been a slave, and while a slave, he basically had three roles: victim, whore or killer. When one defense mechanism doesn't work, he switches to the other. So from the way he's introduced, he knows he can't kill the Warden. And obviously, if the Warden keeps him around and doesn't run him off or kill him, he's not a victim. So the only other way he knows how to behave is as a whore. At least until you build up his trust enough that he can see you as a friend, or if you pursue it, a committed lover.

But in Dragon Age, you can shoot down Zevran or Leiliana the first time they proposition you and it won't come up again. I don't see why in an M-rated game, why just being propositioned by a same-sex partner would be a problem, if your character can just say "I don't swing that way" and be done with it.

A more ideal solution would to just include a radio button in the character creation process: a) I only want opposite-sex encounters, b) I only want same-sex encounters, c) send them both my way, or d) I'm here for bloodshed and booty, not hearts and flowers. Then maybe NPC romantic options don't need to be fixed--e.g. if you played a male PC and wanted to romance Alistair, the radio-button choice would make that an option. I suspect there's other factors at play--prime among them the additional amount of dialogue that would need to be written, acted and recorded--but a gamer can dream.

Provided the people of whatever gender I'm playing are worth romancing: Hooray!

Muta Ro:
So why oh why cant Bioware do this in Mass Effect. Fantasy setting sure you can have same sex relationships but you SciFi setting game, no you can have it D: Why bioware, why doesn't Mass Effect get no same sex love but you can throw aliens at us to love?

There was one same-sex relationship in Mass Effect, even though the partner is from a mono-gendered species. Also, it's not like Bioware needs to make sure there are gay dudes in every game they make. I won't fault Mass Effect 1 or 2 for not having gay male relationship options, and if it happens in 3, it happens and I trust they'll do it right.

I find it both amusing and telling that the majority of complaints against same-sex relationships (almost excusively, against male-and-male) come from male gamers who say "I'm not comfortable with that subject so I don't want to see it ever". Which, to me, translates to "I'm not comfortable with thinking about male homosexuality, but rather than examine why I'm uncomfortable with it I just want games to never ever have any instance or even reference to it".

To the best of my knowledge, none of these games are forcing any male character to commit to, or even explore, a homosexual relationship. So it seems to me that many of these arguments are just an extension of "ewwwww, that's gross". But then again, this is the same demographic who berated a female Mod maker because she was releasing male-specific nude Mods for Oblivion and Morrowind, with the argument that it was "gay". Kids... can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts*.

* Cookie if you get the TV reference.

Thank you, Bioware. Sincerely.

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