Bioware Receives Cupcakes as a Thank You for Female Inquisitor

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Bioware Receives Cupcakes as a Thank You for Female Inquisitor

Fans thank Bioware for promoting the female Inquisitor in their promotion of Dragon Age: Inquisition with cupcakes.

Back in 2012 Bioware received a large batch of cupcakes as a form of protest for the three endings available in Mass Effect 3. Fans were outraged that the endings seemed to be carbon copies in different shades of color, so they sent cupcakes reflecting that. It was a bittersweet treat to receive. But now Bioware employees can see cupcakes without experiencing post-traumatic stress.

Project CupcakeQuisition came to fruition because fans wanted to express their gratitude to Bioware for making the default character featured on the promotional material for their newest game Dragon Age: Inquisition female, for playing as other female characters in their E3 demos, and for their inclusiveness of the LGBTQ community in general. The depictions of the character were gender neutral at first, but the E3 trailer confirmed the character was a Female Inquisitor. As a result, fans banded together and a few weeks later Bioware received a special delivery.

One of the leading participants of the cupcake project blogged about her reasons why she helped send the Dragon Age team 22 dozen mini cupcakes on July 4th. One of the reasons listed was how despite Mass Effect having the option to be either female or male, Male Commander Shepard was always seen as the real Shepard, "It's just frustrating to always be the afterthought. Especially when even the company that has built its reputation on inclusiveness still puts a white male face on every game."

In a forum thread about that very topic, Bioware developer Allan Schumacher got involved and mentioned he was taking that feedback back to his team. Then the trailer for E3 was shown, making fans feel like they were listened to, " We wanted to show how much this mattered to us, and so after weeks of organizing, cupcakes happened. And the response from the devs has been greater than we imagined. "

Source: Tumblr

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"OH MY GOD FEMINISTS ARE NEVER HAPPY LITERALLY NOTHING EVER DONE TO INCLUDE WOMEN IMPROVES ANYONE'S LIVES WHARGAHBLARGHA"

It's good to remember sometimes that just because every form of progress doesn't satisfy somebody, steps forward like this do satisfy most people. It's just that the news cycle and social media scenes amplify distaste a lot louder than satisfaction.

*original opinions*
EDIT: read through the article now, I guess it's a nice gesture that they are advertising the female inquisitor.

Pardon my earlier comments, shouldn't jump to conclusions based on the title, I will better myself.

Well, cupcakes are always welcomed. But wasn't their a similar trailer with a male character?

Sigmund Av Volsung:
So... including a basic option into an RPG with character creation warrants cupcakes?

I'm sorry, what? I'm not one to use this term, but this is "Social Justice Warrior" territory right here. A female character in an RPG is not a 'fun extra' or 'cool additional content', it's the bare minimum in a game that warrants role-playing.

Yes it's nice, but this is just strange.

From what I can tell from reading the article, this isn't about the fact that there is the option, it's that the default for their promotional material is female:

Esmeralda Portillo:
Project CupcakeQuisition came to fruition because fans wanted to express their gratitude to Bioware for making the default character featured on the promotional material for their newest game Dragon Age: Inquisition female, for playing as other female characters in their E3 demos, and for their inclusiveness of the LGBTQ community in general. The depictions of the character were gender neutral at first, but the E3 trailer confirmed the character was a Female Inquisitor. As a result, fans banded together and a few weeks later Bioware received a special delivery.

EDIT: Glad you read the article and changed your original post.

So when are they sending these cupcakes to their local soup kitchen like they did with the last batch on the grounds of,"We don't know what might be in them"? Ya can't throw one thing out and dismiss it one time because you didn't like the response of the original ending(s) and then turn around and go all-out thanking everyone involved just because it was a positive cupcake.

It's an rpg that's founded on the basis of your character, BW's story and how you go about it, this really shouldn't be as big of a deal as it is...Beyond maybe the advertising being of a female front-and-center, but ME3 had a better middle ground as far as I'm concerned having both Sheps on the box art.

And even after watching that trailer you couldn't really understand it was a woman except for the boobplate. Even the art they cut to at the end was pretty much gender-neutral.

Allspice:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
So... including a basic option into an RPG with character creation warrants cupcakes?

I'm sorry, what? I'm not one to use this term, but this is "Social Justice Warrior" territory right here. A female character in an RPG is not a 'fun extra' or 'cool additional content', it's the bare minimum in a game that warrants role-playing.

Yes it's nice, but this is just strange.

From what I can tell from reading the article, this isn't about the fact that there is the option, it's that the default for their promotional material is female:

Esmeralda Portillo:
Project CupcakeQuisition came to fruition because fans wanted to express their gratitude to Bioware for making the default character featured on the promotional material for their newest game Dragon Age: Inquisition female, for playing as other female characters in their E3 demos, and for their inclusiveness of the LGBTQ community in general. The depictions of the character were gender neutral at first, but the E3 trailer confirmed the character was a Female Inquisitor. As a result, fans banded together and a few weeks later Bioware received a special delivery.

EDIT: Glad you read the article and changed your original post.

Sorry about the initial post. I've been watching a documentary today that made me a bit more fired up :/

In any case, yes, it's a nice gesture.

I may be getting too cynical and jaded because my first thought was that they did this as some kind of PR maneuver. This gender controversy in gaming industry is for some reason pretty big (I honestly don't give a shit about it) and it's an easy way to score some positive points. We're talking about it. And other gaming websites will too. It's free advertisement. Well, minus the cost to make the cupcakes. So yeah, I don't believe that fans were behind this.

Adam Jensen:
I may be getting too cynical and jaded because my first thought is that they did this as some kind of PR maneuver. We're talking about it. And other gaming websites will too. It's free advertisement. Well, minus the cost to make the cupcakes. So yeah, I don't believe that fans were behind this.

you could claim the same thing with fan dissent, except replace the conspiracy starter with a rival company

So I completely missed the fact that it was a female. My Dragon Age character is always a female so I guess it didn't register in my brain as anything special when I saw the trailer the first time. Plus, I'm a guy so I don't notice these types of things as acutely as girls.

All that being said, I've always felt that the Dragon Age team listens very well to their fans. They tried something different with Dragon Age II and when it didn't work out, they did their best to fix what they could. The DLC that did come for the game addressed a lot of complaints and even went so far as to make fun of the original game itself. And then we're always hearing about how their making adjustments to the third game. Oh, you don't like the idea of only playing as a human in the game? Fixed. Open world and more exploring? Done. Female on the cover art instead of generic white dude number five-hundred thirty-two? You got it.
I'm really hoping that they manage to pull all of this off with the final game. Dragon Age remains untainted to me because I enjoyed the sequel, but I'm still leery of BioWare after Mass Effect 3. This game will repair my trust or utterly break it depending on how it goes.

OH MY GOD! get over yourselves! If you hand out prizes to whoever showcases a female character then you're part of the problem! You're swinging too far in the other direction.

This is really bizarre to me, and more than a little frustrating.

Bioware has clearly had gender options in their games at least since I booted up Baldurs Gate 2 as a PC gaming tyke in 2000, but they're getting a pat on the back for advertising it as the default now that sexism in vidja gayums is a hot topic.

I've heard nothing but vitriol for their depiction of female characters and approach to relationships these past few years because of the anger surrounding this topic, and now that they've pandered (intentionally or otherwise) to their pettiest critics on the most superficial level in a way that doesn't change what they've been doing for over a decade, they've earned their cupcakes of inclusiveness approval?

I really hope they make female inquisitors wear a chainmail bikini.

These people have too much time and money on their hands. That said, I don't how showing the female in the trailers that no-one really gives a shit about is a step in any direction at all.

Oh wow. This is way too funny. These people are literally gifting a company for pandering to them. They're literally rewarding a conpany for exploiting their sensibilities. Paying for the product wasn't enough. They need to show just how loyal they are to this company. This is comedy gold. Holy Christ these are some really, really unintelligent people we're dealing with here.

Well. Come for the cute cupcake story, stay for the inexplicably depressing comment threads, I guess.

So, Bioware fucks up ME3's ending, and people ship them cupcakes. Bioware puts a feMC in their trailer... and gets cupcakes for it.

Is this just the common response for everything BW does? and Didn't Mass Effect 3 do the same thing? I know at least one trailer for it starred femshep.

Seriously, cupcakes to Bioware again? I seem to recall they were sent 400 cupcakes for the Mass Effect 3 ending thing back when it was first released, and now as a reward for doing what they did back then? I mean, Femshep showed up in the commercials for ME3, why didn't they get a batch of cupcakes then?

Clearly the answer is every time Bioware does a thing they should get punishment/reward cupcakes so they can think about what they did/be proud of their work.

Did they eat them this time? As I recall, they donated away the last batch.

I honestly was under the impression FemShep was the face of mass effect series, at least after Me2 and most definitly for Me3. In forums it was common to big up femshep, on commercials and trailers I remember it being Femshep,etc...

To point I felt like a naughty rebel for sticking with MaleShep and even enjoying Hamils voice acting.
Just goes to show how hanging out on the net distorts my vision of reality.

Elberik:
OH MY GOD! get over yourselves! If you hand out prizes to whoever showcases a female character then you're part of the problem! You're swinging too far in the other direction.

So people aren't allowed to engage in negative feedback OR positive feedback? What the flying hell are people SUPPOSED to do then?! And "Whoever showcases a female character?" The hyperbole surrounding these arguments strikes again. Can you even show me one other case of this happening?

Elberik:
OH MY GOD! get over yourselves! If you hand out prizes to whoever showcases a female character then you're part of the problem! You're swinging too far in the other direction.

"Swinging too far in the other direction" is warranted, as gender equality (or appropriately approximate equality) hasn't been achieved just yet. The whole "77 (or so) cents to a dollar" ratio exists in the job market, which could be due to statistical biases and/or sexism. And then there are instances of greatly disproportionate representation, from protagonists in media to representatives in governments.

Holy crap people really need to calm the hell down. It's a nice gesture by fans who aren't usually acknowledged in gaming thanking Bioware for acknowledging them.

Fucking chill.

UberPubert:
This is really bizarre to me, and more than a little frustrating.

Bioware has clearly had gender options in their games at least since I booted up Baldurs Gate 2 as a PC gaming tyke in 2000, but they're getting a pat on the back for advertising it as the default now that sexism in vidja gayums is a hot topic.

I've heard nothing but vitriol for their depiction of female characters and approach to relationships these past few years because of the anger surrounding this topic, and now that they've pandered (intentionally or otherwise) to their pettiest critics on the most superficial level in a way that doesn't change what they've been doing for over a decade, they've earned their cupcakes of inclusiveness approval?

I really hope they make female inquisitors wear a chainmail bikini.

Did you read the article? Because the praise that people giving Bioware is because they were making the female inquisitor the face of the game. Every game that Bioware makes, they have the tenancy to make it so that the male character is the one who gets the most attention in the advertising. For Inquisition it's mainly been the female character who's been the face, and people

This is the internet. Arguments here always turn sour no matter how hard you try. I tried to make a thread about sexy female characters done right and I still got someone who complained about me acting like a Social Justice Warrior. And you can talk about what a game does wrong and still like it overall. It's like what Jim said in his "isms" video. You can like a video game, love it even, but still talk about what it does wrong. And Mass Effect is one of my favorite game series ever and I love the characters in it, I think the female characters in it are some of the best I've ever seen. That doesn't mean they're perfectly represented (Miranda's rear). I think what a lot of people forget is that calling something sexist does not equal "Worst thing ever". It can, but it doesn't by default. It helps that when we're talking about flaws, we tend to not focus on the good stuff. It's the general attitude, and frankly it's a massive breath of fresh air. You can only see the same white heterosexual man so many times before it gets irritating and boring. Also, how is this pandering? Is acknowledging criticism and changing your work because of it pandering? In that case, the different races coming back is also pandering.

And now I get the impression you're just trying to irritate people. Please don't.

How stupid is that? DA has always had female characters.

Xman490:
The whole "77 (or so) cents to a dollar" ratio exists in the job market, which could be due to statistical biases and/or sexism.

It's the first one, mostly. According to the bureau of labor statistics the actual number is somewhere around 81 cents, but it has nothing to do with women being paid less for the same work, and has a lot more to do with men occupying the very highest paying jobs, not being paid more across the board. Women actually earn more than men in professional occupations (ones requiring a college/uni degree) and benefit more from higher education - which they also have more of than men.

spartan231490:
How stupid is that? DA has always had female characters.

The point is that they are using the default female model in promotional material. This is a fairly rare thing for games that let you design your own character. Usually it's generic mcwhitedude. Skyrim, Mass Effect, even games like Dark Souls all use recognizably male characters in the promotional material I've actually seen.

You see that Ubisoft? Playable female characters ARE possible! And they are appreciated by the community! And they cause more people to be more likely to buy the game! And they give good PR!

...

TAKE THE GODDAMN HINT ALREADY!

Didn't they do this for ME3 as well? I know femshep is on the cover of my copy.

Risingblade:
Didn't they do this for ME3 as well? I know femshep is on the cover of my copy.

They did a mix, iirc ... my metal case has FemShep on one side and MalShep on the other, big N7 on the outer sleeve.

I think it's kinda cool that fans sent Bioware devs some prezziez.

Here's hoping DA:I doesn't suck. ;)

Elberik:
OH MY GOD! get over yourselves! If you hand out prizes to whoever showcases a female character then you're part of the problem! You're swinging too far in the other direction.

Sort of bringing the "do you want a cookie?" thing full circle.

Wow, so many people who miss the point in this thread. Or just want to complain and bring others down.

For everyone going "Hnnnng", I personally think that, in light of the "300 Cupcakes For ME3's Ending", this is the damned funniest thing I've read all week. xD

All together a lovely story.

AT first glance I though that it's a relatively small gesture from BioWare to advertise the protagonist as a woman, but then I thought about it bit.

It is actually quite good to know that they are not only accepting that it won't hurt to include more diverse protagonist in their marketing, but also that their main playerbase isn't just males. And while that seems like a "well, obviously" kind of thing, and that they should have been doing this for a while, here we see definite signs of actual important progress, because it isn't like a small part of the showcasing that doesn't matter, but a large piece of marketing, and maybe this could actually set a standard and have other developers think "huh... so people still buy games that are or can be associated with female player characters and main characters, we could do the same". And then the fanbase responded by actively showing that BioWare was doing the right thing by them, who are the consumer and therefore the people with the most important opinions.

It can't really be argued that this isn't a step in the right direction, even if it is late in coming, and the positive response from players might show the developers that this is the right way.

erttheking:
Did you read the article? Because the praise that people giving Bioware is because they were making the female inquisitor the face of the game. Every game that Bioware makes, they have the tenancy to make it so that the male character is the one who gets the most attention in the advertising.

Wrong. Almost every game of Bioware that EA has published has given male protagonists more attention in advertising, and it's really stretching it with dragon age origins or awakening considering you don't even see the characters face on the box.

Do yourself a favor and look at the box art of bioware games between 1996 and 2005. In many cases they didn't have character art at all, and virtually none of them featured a default protagonist.

erttheking:
This is the internet. Arguments here always turn sour no matter how hard you try. I tried to make a thread about sexy female characters done right and I still got someone who complained about me acting like a Social Justice Warrior.

The implication made by such a title is that the majority of sexy female characters are done wrong and if your opening line is criticism and the following rhetoric matches what's in this post I can't blame someone for making the SJW call, even if I won't.

erttheking:
And you can talk about what a game does wrong and still like it overall. It's like what Jim said in his "isms" video. You can like a video game, love it even, but still talk about what it does wrong.

I have rarely seen rational people claim that others 'hate' a videogame for simply criticizing it on it's own merits. But as you've already pointed out, they turn sour. Criticisms become thinly veiled insults and it's difficult to take anyone seriously when they make claims like "bioware hates/discriminates against women" because maleshep is in the trailer instead of femshep, ignoring that the depiction in pre-rendered trailers is irrelevant to the player's own experience with the game.

erttheking:
That doesn't mean they're perfectly represented (Miranda's rear).

And what on earth is wrong with Miranda's rear, or the showing of it? Miranda was a sexual character, she flaunted it - called it a weapon - and was very arrogant and forward about how her body was designed to be perfect. It's what made her question her own personal worth, doubting whether any of her accomplishments were really her own or just a result of her engineering. That's why it didn't matter if you played a maleshep or femshep, whether the player wanted to see her buttocks or not, it couldn't be ignored. It was a part of who she was and neither the character or bioware wanted the viewer to forget it, because she couldn't either.

And I'm tired of seeing these deliberate choices being boiled down to "male gaze, bluh" by people who don't actually take the time to examine the characters, or just taking it too seriously in the first place.

erttheking:
I think what a lot of people forget is that calling something sexist does not equal "Worst thing ever". It can, but it doesn't by default.

How convenient, "it's not the worst thing ever - until it is". What can people expect to gain from pursuing a dialogue where the position of anyone who pulls the "ism" card can range from "I love the rest of the game, but this bit bothered me a little" to "this is literally mecha rape zombie hitler, kill it with fire"? Navigating that kind of mine field these topics become takes a lot more work than simply dismissing the opposition on the count of the latter group - which, so long as they exist and speak the loudest - never allowing the conversation to advance.

erttheking:
It's the general attitude, and frankly it's a massive breath of fresh air.

But it's not. I just got done saying Bioware has been allowing players to make male and female characters, but they've also allowed many races (as in the actual plethora of dnd starting races from human to half-orc), and every color under the sun for over a decade. The only thing that's changed (Besides EA, who I really can't stress enough are bad for games) is that this hot topic of sexism has dug it's claws in, judged every piece of gaming media that comes out and found them wanting on superficial grounds, completely ignoring the contents of the game and the options available to the player.

erttheking:
Also, how is this pandering? Is acknowledging criticism and changing your work because of it pandering? In that case, the different races coming back is also pandering.

I did say it may or may not have been intentional, I think the reaction reflects more on the gaming community than Bioware, but yes: People complain about female protagonists not getting representation, Bioware makes the decision to represent their newest protagonist as being a female, thus the people are appeased, thus pandering. But my major complaint was that it was superficial and that any criticism or argument raised in the first place was a deliberate choice to ignore that the "default" character is irrelevant to what the player chooses from in the game.

erttheking:
And now I get the impression you're just trying to irritate people. Please don't.

You didn't get the impression until you finished your post? That's okay, I didn't really feel like posting a response until I'd finished it either

Just figured I would step in and clarify a few things, since I was one of the main organizers of this.

First and foremost, this WAS done as a genuine thank you to BioWare for giving the female protagonist choice a LOT of coverage at E3. Yes, we've always been able to choose male or female in the actual game. We know this. This wasn't the point. The point was that BioWare had only showcased the male version of the protagonist for DAI up until this point. For ME3, FemShep's trailer came very late in the game, almost like an afterthought, and she was the backside of the game cover you could flip over. But most folks think of Shepard as the male version.

We had a thread on BioWare's forum asking "Could we please see more of the Lady Inquisitor?" The thread got big. Some BioWare devs actually conversed with us. Then, at E3, Lady Inquisitor got a trailer all to herself (the first for DAI), and then one of the demos they showed in several of their (publicized) interviews featured a female Qunari mage.

We thought it was wonderful and unexpected representation at a large stage like E3 to acknowledge the female protagonist option like that. We were surprised and happy by it, and enough of us were surprised and happy enough that we wanted to DO something to acknowledge that. So, we grouped together, pooled resources, and did this little Cupcakequisition.

We chose cupcakes for two reasons: 1. They were extremely economical in that we could purchase a LOT to try and make sure most the team got something and 2. Yes, for the irony to counteract the ME3 ending cupcakes. Those ME3 cupcakes were sent to show severe disappointment, and were donated by BioWare to a local youth charity because they felt properly chagrined and scolded by the action. Whereas these cupcakes were ones of praise and just general thanks, and, yes, they were accepted and eaten. They were also accompanied by 8 pages of personal message to BioWare from the individual members of the group who made this happen.

If you choose to see this as a publicity stunt, or a "social justice warriors go bananas" event, or an insincere or stupid act - that is your prerogative. I am sorry that you feel that way. But to us, it was just a genuine way to say "thank you" in a yummy way to a team that makes games we appreciate and that we felt went the extra mile at E3 to really show respect to female gamers. That's really what all this boils down to.

Thank you kindly,
DragonRacer

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