Lack of Gay Character Options in RPGs "A Shame," Says BioWare Producer

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Lack of Gay Character Options in RPGs "A Shame," Says BioWare Producer

BioWare producer Cameron Lee announced at Gamescom not only that Dragon Age: Inquisition would feature same-sex romance options but that the resistance to including them in games is baffling to him.

dragon age inquisition

BioWare's Cameron Lee, a producer currently working on Dragon Age: Inquisition, had some very specific words at Gamescom yesterday in support of same-sex romance in games. "It's an important topic," said Lee, as reported by VG247. Not only would same-sex romance be included in Inquisition, but resistance to its inclusion within the game industry is puzzling to him. Lee continued:

"It goes back to fantasy fulfilment. Your fantasies may be different to mine in terms of gender, sexuality, race, class, how you look, all these things. We're not going to force you to be a fixed character, that you have to be this male guy that runs through the world and looks a certain way, walks a certain way. We even give you choices of voices.

"So why picking a gender or sexuality is an issue is beyond me. We have the technology to do it, and we have for a long time, so why not let your fantasy be different?"

Inclusion is "at the core of RPGs, and I think it's a shame that more games don't allow you to have that freedom," he added. BioWare, previously infamous for the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy, has actually been generating quite a big of goodwill recently with Inquisition. Their prominent inclusion of the female version of the game's main character, the Inquisitor, in promotional material resulted in fans gifting the studio dozens of cupcakes.

For more on the latest Dragon Age game, check out the most recent trailer, which includes some surprise cameos from other characters in the series. The game, which was recently delayed, is scheduled to launch on Nov. 18 for PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Source: VG247

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Lack of gay characters sucks, but the lack of anyone actually being able to write relationships in games is the reason why we don't have them. Not discrimination.

I'd rather relationships not be mentioned at all than to be written as poorly as Bioware write them.

SMH

Is it too much to ask that creators be able to tell the stories they way the want to without having to be all inclusive of every minority/orientation/political view, etc? I'm honestly getting tired of wondering which activist group gets to pounce on the next new game.

While I'd welcome the content, it has to be made because they want to make it, not to fulfill some sort of token slot for the sake of being politically correct. I'm glad to see that more people are realizing this.

I'd rather play as another race entirely. Dragon Age 2 not letting me play as a psychotic, sexually liberated Dwarf girl like in Dragon Age 1 was rather disappointing, and I'd swap a hundred Anders hit-ons to get that back.

Makabriel:
SMH

Is it too much to ask that creators be able to tell the stories they way the want to without having to be all inclusive of every minority/orientation/political view, etc? I'm honestly getting tired of wondering which activist group gets to pounce on the next new game.

Spoken like someone who has the entire industry catering to them. Most game stories are so rudimentary you could swap out the gender/sexual orientation/race of every character and it wouldn't matter much.

daibakuha:

Makabriel:
SMH

Is it too much to ask that creators be able to tell the stories they way the want to without having to be all inclusive of every minority/orientation/political view, etc? I'm honestly getting tired of wondering which activist group gets to pounce on the next new game.

Spoken like someone who has the entire industry catering to them. Most game stories are so rudimentary you could swap out the gender/sexual orientation/race of every character and it wouldn't matter much.

So then why does it matter? And no one caters to me. I don't expect anyone to. All I care about is that the game I play be entertaining.

So why should they cater to anyone else?

Smilomaniac:
While I'd welcome the content, it has to be made because they want to make it, not to fulfill some sort of token slot for the sake of being politically correct. I'm glad to see that more people are realizing this.

Precisely

Yay, more gayness

I'm happy to be more represented in games

Now if the game itself can be good, we'll be getting somewhere

Nicolaus99:
"resistance to its inclusion within the game industry is puzzling to him"

Many people don't want to see that sh_t. Same goes for pedophilia, bestiality, mutilation and any number of other perversions. Poll the public if you have the courage. No lead in/steering, 1) Want to see more gay. 2) Want to see less gay.

In other words:

image

I'm gonna make a pretty big leap and assume you're an adult, which means this should have been explained to you a while ago. You have to accept that people different from you exist.

Makabriel:
SMH

Is it too much to ask that creators be able to tell the stories they way the want to without having to be all inclusive of every minority/orientation/political view, etc? I'm honestly getting tired of wondering which activist group gets to pounce on the next new game.

While I appreciate your meaning, I think that the Bioware producer is making a very good point.

If this were a story about one specific character with a clearly defined identity, then you would be perfectly right in your assessment: the creator should be able to tell the story they want.

However, the producer is pointing out that an RPG is supposed to be about creating your own character. An RPG asks that you choose a sex, race, age, appearance, area of expertise, combat skilset, fighting style, origin, background, motives, and personality that appeals to you and allows you to better appreciate this fantasy world. Given the massive level of customization that these games often sell themselves with, it seems odd that they would choose homosexuality as a sticking point.

If we are asking people to fully create a fantasy version of themselves (and not just play a pre-defined character) should we not also allow them to actually create a character who alligns with their sexual orientation?

Like I said, not every game needs to do it, but games that sell themselves on customization and role playing should.

Nicolaus99:
"resistance to its inclusion within the game industry is puzzling to him"

Many people don't want to see that sh_t. Same goes for pedophilia, bestiality, mutilation and any number of other perversions. Poll the public if you have the courage. No lead in/steering, 1) Want to see more gay. 2) Want to see less gay.

Alright everybody, it's now official.

Homosexuality is the same as fucking kids, fucking animals and chopping bits off.

Totally the same. No distinction to be made. None at all.

Someone on the internet told me so.

PS. Goodbye Nicolaus.

Lack of gay character options in RPGs "A Shame," says BioWare Producer. I lack integrity and artistic vision is what BioWare Producer really means.

I'd like to have NPCs who are not pansexual as long as you keep yourself on their good side. It 'd be nice to hear some of them say that they aren't gay or lesbian or interested in a serious relationship with your character even if you complete all their favors. Kinda like real life.

I am opposed to them because they were just so damn poor and ham-fisted in DA2.

Makabriel:
SMH

Is it too much to ask that creators be able to tell the stories they way the want to without having to be all inclusive of every minority/orientation/political view, etc? I'm honestly getting tired of wondering which activist group gets to pounce on the next new game.

It really depends on the game. An RPG really runs on fantasy. Not in the sense of elves and dwarfs, but in the sense of I want to be a pirate, or I want to be a wizard. You want to really drip yourself in the world. Having more options can really help you drip yourself in, but also more options helps you tailor your fantasy more to your liking. I mean people don't just want to play the wizard, they want to play the wizard who wears the pointy hat and swears like a sailor. Limited options in a fantasy game won't out right kill the game, but it easily kneecaps it.

Blehh apparently today every RPG has to have at least a female or gay option or the game is 'stiffling' or 'constricting' etc...

The next text (typed while I'm half asleep)will be about the 'mandatory' need for the inclusion of gay or female characters specifically in games from Bethesda and BioWare.

Companies like BioWare or Bethesda have it easier when it comes to the inclusion of female or gay player characters because a lot of their games (if not all of them?) are open world RPG's. The main character in these games (Dragon age games/Elder Scrolls games) are not identified as gay/heterosexual/male/female, but as 'The Warden','The Champion', 'the Inquisitor','The Nerevarine', 'The Last Dragonborn' etc... they are blank slates for the player to fill in.

If an RPG let's you choose your race, gender, etc... then the dialogue has(?) to be 'general' in the sense that otherwise they would have to create/voice tons of new dialogue for every possible race/gender choice etc...
If you play Skyrim or a Dragon age game, how much MEANINGFUL difference is there in the dialogue between male/female, race or sexual preferences? Race is heavilly commented on in Dragon Age games (Elves or more specifically the 'Mage' race), but barely mentioned in Skyrim. For instance:

-I'm a High Elf dressed in Thalmor robes, can I join the Stormcloaks ==> Sure you can help us even though we want to kick every Elf out of here :D

-I'm a Khajitt, yet I can easily enter any City but my caravan trader buddies can't D:

By the way in those games any relationship is mostly extremely 'flat'. Oh you wanna marry someone in Skyrim? Just put a necklace around you, complete a miscelanious quest and tada your married, and there is absolutely no difference between the gender of your mate, nor are any comments made on the choice of your waifu/hubby by ANY of the NPC's (at least in Bethesda games I don't know much about Dragon age, it's been a long time since I played those but I think that in Dragon age Origins/II your party members would talk about your love interest so that's a plus :3)

If you want to have a positive inclusion of different genders/sexualities, then they should'nt be carbon copies of each other. Gay marriages/romance options seem kinda to be there just because it would make for positive PR for the game which is (probably) THE reason for them (upper management etc...) to implement same sex options.

In single player RPG's like for instance Final Fantasy games, you can't choose the gender etc... of the protagonist (except the MMO's of course). You can't choose their personalities and the story revolves around the protagonist and his specific reactions to the events happening around him.
If you want for instance a gay Noctis Lucis Caelum (protag FFXV), then the thought of him being gay should be present in the development of the game since the very beginning. You can't just make a straight Noctis and put a 'gay switch' in the game at the last minute just for the sake of including a gay character. It would seem extremely forced I think.

So in short (long): Open world RPG's have it easier compared to single player RPG's and if the sexualty and/or gender options are basically carbon copies of the regular male/heterosexual protag, then that is kinda 'insulting' to a certain degree because no special effort is put in those other options and are just put there as an afterthought. Why put extra options in a game if they have almost no effect on the overal game?
If a certain gender or sexuality choice would influence the game from the reactions of NPC's/partymembers to even exclusion of quests (which could be overcome by extra questlines, bribes etc...
I think for instance only Orsimer in TES IV could do the Malacath Daedric quest unless you had extremely low personality due to poisons etc... The exclusion of the other races could be overcome due to the use of poisons, wine etc...
Then atleast you have to admit that there was REAL EFFORT put into these options.

==> make the different options MATTER

:D

Sorry if the text here doesn't make much sense or if it isn't completely relevant(it's almost midnight here and i've been wanting to type this for a long time :P)

nathan-dts:
Lack of gay characters sucks, but the lack of anyone actually being able to write relationships in games is the reason why we don't have them. Not discrimination.

I'd rather relationships not be mentioned at all than to be written as poorly as Bioware write them.

Excuse me, but I think we're going to need some ice! nathan-dts JUST preformed an epic burn, and the wound is already festering quite badly!

At least Bioware try; I'll give them credit for that.

But anyway, I AM more in lined with nathan-dts point on the issue: I think we do NEED more options for people who have different orientations and the like, but I think we need to have a few well written romances in gaming before we worry about the specifics. If one of the firsts IS a gay relation, then hey, kill two birds with one stone, I'm all for that. I'm just saying, lets get at least the frickin' PREMISE of an idea right before anything else.

That's nice and all, but what would be even nicer if Bioware could actually write a male romance interest without them being dweeby emos. Off the top of my head I can only think of three - Garrus, Jacob and Zevran, who don't at some point devolve into overly sensitive crybabies with abandonment issues, which they promptly transfer on to the PC. Hell, nowadays gay romances are more mature than heterosexual ones for the female PC.

Mind you, I haven't played SW: the Old Republic enough to fully explore the romance options there, so maybe the TOR team wrote some decent relationships. But when it comes to single player RPGs, BioWare might want to remember that their audiences aren't solely composed of tweens.

Edit: forgot Thane. But then BioWare did everything in their power to bury him as fast as possible.

Nicolaus99:
"resistance to its inclusion within the game industry is puzzling to him"

Many people don't want to see that sh_t. Same goes for pedophilia, bestiality, mutilation and any number of other perversions. Poll the public if you have the courage. No lead in/steering, 1) Want to see more gay. 2) Want to see less gay.

That's entertainment as a business in a nutshell. Hate on Michael Bay all you want but the public clearly wants to see more. Of course, with the rampant politically correct thought police these days, you'll have to make it an anonymous poll. A fear to speak one's opinion truthfully; isn't an over abundance of tolerance grand?

Just ask California about Proposition 8. Even the most naive conservative would never have bet on such an outcome in California of all places.

So just to clarify, homosexuality is on the same level as fucking dogs and three year olds? Do I need to explain what's wrong with that?

And people can't state their opinion that they want a certain minority group to be shoved to the side without being seen as jackasses. I hope you forgive me if they don't exactly have my sympathy.

OT: Guys, he's talking about how he doesn't understand the lack of an option to be gay in RPGs where you customize your own character. What's wrong with that?

Said it before and I'll say it again. Pretty sure the Dragon Age team listened to feedback about Dragon Age II, and then paid very close attention to the Mass Effect 3 event, and went, "Okay, let's not do that."

I hope there's still same-sex romances in this game. My Hawke is still running around with Merrill after all.

A lot of this could be resolved if besides a Create-A-Character there was also a Create-A-Love-Interest. Then apply that love interest to a story line with at least 5 or more missions. Allowing the PC & NPC to bond before they become lovers.

RatGouf:
A lot of this could be resolved if besides a Create-A-Character there was also a Create-A-Love-Interest. Then apply that love interest to a story line with at least 5 or more missions. Allowing the PC & NPC to bond before they become lovers.

Hm...Dragon's Dogma had something sorta kinda similar to this. You customize your own sidekick (AKA mentally handicapped slave...yeah) after you customize your own character (Lots of customization options too). I'd like to see something like this.

RatGouf:
A lot of this could be resolved if besides a Create-A-Character there was also a Create-A-Love-Interest. Then apply that love interest to a story line with at least 5 or more missions. Allowing the PC & NPC to bond before they become lovers.

I don't know how well it would fly, but why not just give the player the power to design every major NPC. I guess it would increase the amount of voice work, but a lot of games already have robust NPC creation systems.

How are you gonna explain fucking a man?

Even if we squash the beef, I ain't touching your hand.

Well I'd rather see them making decent skill systems (DA2 was a step ahead, but a few awesome cookie cutter ones among a dozen of sub par isn't the way to go) and great encounter designs (sneak ahead, place traps, sneak attack squishies > I spawn behind ur doodz, killing all your magez!) with a distinctive enemy roster, but kids these days need dating sim elements in their RPGs I guess.

Who cares about the gameplay you will be doing 70% of the time if you can screw waifus.

Don't the major RPGs already include gay character options? I'm pretty sure I could play a lesbian in Dragon Age and Mass effect obviously, but also Kingdoms of Amalur, Skyrim and Dragon's Dogma. The only RPGs I've played recently where I couldn't are the ones with a predetermined character they're telling the story about(Persona 4, Tales of Vesperia, Witcher 2) and the Dark Souls games(because they don't have shallow romancing options and dialog trees at all in those games). In the games where you choose your appearance and your love interest, I think they're all good about letting you pick whatever gender you like. What's he talking about?

As much I like it how Bioware does make an effort on making LGBT characters, I feel like they've been focusing too much on romances in general to not only where sexuality feels hamfisted, but they're taking too much room on stage from all the other important aspects of their games. People play Bioware games for the world, character development, and story, not romances. I remember in earlier Bioware games that romances weren't advertised or even touched upon, they were just little rewards and easter eggs you could get for taking the time to get to know and connect with your party members. Then there's the issue on having LBGT characters only existing for the PC to experience which makes it feel like these characters are gay for the sake of being gay, and not because it's part of a overall complex and detailed character. It be nice for once to actually have a LGBT party member that you couldn't romance at all so that one trait wouldn't define everything.

You know why is it I never hear anything about Dragon Age Inqusition's gameplay, combat and how the game is going to run, everything is about whether or not there are gay characters in it, I want to see gameplay improvements not romance stuff because that stuff is not my main focus to play an RPG.

Adamantium93:
If this were a story about one specific character with a clearly defined identity, then you would be perfectly right in your assessment: the creator should be able to tell the story they want.

Not only is this statement trite but it's needlessly focused. Of course a creator should be able to tell the story they want, and what does it matter if the story includes more than one specific character or several clearly defined identities?

Adamantium93:
However, the producer is pointing out that an RPG is supposed to be about creating your own character.

Uh, says who? Yes, there's many RPGs that absolutely follow this mantra but that's not how the entire genre is defined.

Adamantium93:
An RPG asks that you choose a sex, race, age, appearance, area of expertise, combat skilset, fighting style, origin, background, motives, and personality that appeals to you and allows you to better appreciate this fantasy world. Given the massive level of customization that these games often sell themselves with, it seems odd that they would choose homosexuality as a sticking point.

No one "chose" homosexuality as a sticking point, it's just been largely deemed irrelevant, and your list of customizable features is misleading to the point of dishonesty. Even your typical Bioware game doesn't include all or even most of these options (or they're such footnotes they're barely worthy of mention). What's more, some of these features are actually required in order to even begin creating the character, their sexuality is not.

Adamantium93:
If we are asking people to fully create a fantasy version of themselves (and not just play a pre-defined character) should we not also allow them to actually create a character who alligns with their sexual orientation?

But we're not (and who is we anyway?). Some RPGs allow players to create the kind of character they'd like to travel the world in as a vehicle, but their options are always going to be limited based on what the developers thought was important to include into the game. Sex and romance is not always at the top of the list of priorities, neither is sexuality.

Adamantium93:
Like I said, not every game needs to do it, but games that sell themselves on customization and role playing should.

Very few games actually do this; most of them are trying to sell the setting, or the combat, or magic, or dragons or whatever is most impressive looking or painstaking. Blank slate characters are not a reliable selling point to people because they are typically only as valuable as the player treats them. Some people dedicate pages of art or slash fiction to their character, some people can't even remember their names.

Agreed. I really do not see any problem with having gay characters/gay romance options in a game. I can understand the argument if every character is bisexual, but even then I have seen games have that and still pull it off well. To me, a big part of RPGs should be about roleplaying and making your own persona as you play. And while obviously not every RPG goes for this route, I think that those that do should allow you to bone whatever gender you please, if they do allow boning at all.

NemotheElvenPanda:
As much I like it how Bioware does make an effort on making LGBT characters, I feel like they've been focusing too much on romances in general to not only where sexuality feels hamfisted, but they're taking too much room on stage from all the other important aspects of their games. People play Bioware games for the world, character development, and story, not romances. I remember in earlier Bioware games that romances weren't advertised or even touched upon, they were just little rewards and easter eggs you could get for taking the time to get to know and connect with your party members. Then there's the issue on having LBGT characters only existing for the PC to experience which makes it feel like these characters are gay for the sake of being gay, and not because it's part of a overall complex and detailed character. It be nice for once to actually have a LGBT party member that you couldn't romance at all so that one trait wouldn't define everything.

You know, I don't get the hamfisted sexuality argument. I mean, I haven't seen that much of Dragon Age 2, but from what I've seen in it the characters don't go "Oh by the way did I mention that I'm gay? Because I'm gay," every three seconds. If a person's sexuality completely defined who they were, you literally should not be able to name anything else about them and they would bring it up every three seconds. And that would be an appallingly bad character. Again I haven't seen much, but I haven't seen anything like that from DA2, or really any Bioware games. Heck, Traynor in ME3 only off handily mentions that she's a lesbian if you go out of your way to woo her (And in the Citadel DLC). I just don't follow your argument.

Would be cool to see a non-romancible gay character though.

fight me in space:
How are you gonna explain fucking a man?

Even if we squash the beef, I ain't touching your hand.

Oh man, I laughed so hard at this.

DMX - Where the Hood at, those were the days (of casual homophobic remarks, unfortunately)

mechalynx:
That's nice and all, but what would be even nicer if Bioware could actually write a male romance interest without them being dweeby emos. Off the top of my head I can only think of three - Garrus, Jacob and Zevran, who don't at some point devolve into overly sensitive crybabies with abandonment issues, which they promptly transfer on to the PC. Hell, nowadays gay romances are more mature than heterosexual ones for the female PC.

Mind you, I haven't played SW: the Old Republic enough to fully explore the romance options there, so maybe the TOR team wrote some decent relationships. But when it comes to single player RPGs, BioWare might want to remember that their audiences aren't solely composed of tweens.

Edit: forgot Thane. But then BioWare did everything in their power to bury him as fast as possible.

I think the only objectively good and believable male romance, especially a gay one, was Sky from Jade Empire. Not only was he not a emo and stereotypical mess but kept his cavalier, roguish attitude throughout the game no matter your relationship with him, you also kind of had to go out of your way to romance him as a male character a bit more than a female one since, just like in real life, relationships between people of the same-sex doesn't really happen often. That single touch made it incredibly realistic and relatable for me.

The problem comes when you make the character's defining trait as gay. I find that the character is just there to make a social commentary and nothings else. I know that this has been mentioned before but look no further than Fallout New Vegas. Veronica was a lesbian and she only mentioned it once or twice and that was it. It wasn't her defining trait it was just a extra tidbit of information to make the character feel more real.

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