Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon writer Lucien Soulban believes that gay video game protagonists are still a long way off, and there's a very simple reason why.
Lucien Soulban, lead writer at Ubisoft Montreal, has an impressive list of credits to his name, including Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Far Cry 3 and its amazing pseudo-sequel, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. He's also "openly gay," according to a Shockingly Short Interview on the Ubisoft Blog, and so it was probably inevitable that the question of gay video game characters was bound to come up - specifically when he thinks we'll see "a mid-30s stubbly-bearded brown-haired white guy with a raspy voice who is gay as a lead character in a AAA title?"
"Not for a while, I suspect, because of fears that it'll impact sales," he said. "So either we'll see a bait-and-switch like the original Metroid with Samus Aran where we'll find out damn near after the fact (PS: And Dumbledore was gay), or it'll come out of left field with Rockstar, Valve, Naughty Dog or Telltale, perhaps. But when it happens, I hope it's a serious take on it and not played up for jokes."
That's the real question, he said: When we're going to see a gay protagonist in a AAA property who isn't a one-off joke. "You look at Javier Bardem in Skyfall, his character's sexuality was total shtick to satisfy one scene. Otherwise, he was a narcissist with mommy issues, and a pedophile to boot," Soulban said. "It bothers me when I hear people using his performance as a benchmark for diversity in entertainment, and I have heard it being bandied about
But he added that progress is "happening quietly," citing games like Mass Effect 2 and 3, Fable III, Dragon Age II and Skyrim, which let players engage in same-sex relationships, and the gay characters in Borderlands 2, whose sexuality isn't treated as anything especially remarkable. "Videogames have stopped 'announcing' gay characters," he said. "They're introducing them without much fanfare in an effort to say, 'Yeah, it's there and pretty normal.' Call it, 'We're here, we're queer, and we're busy working'."