Old Republic & Skyrim On Same Sex Couples

By John Walker on August 25th, 2011 at 10:52 am.

I'm totally going to gay marry a cat person.

You’d imagine gaming would lead the way on more liberal values, but it’s surprising still how rare LGBT characters are in games. The compromise tends to be Sims-like universal polysexuality, almost no characters deliberately written as anything other than straight, with rare exceptions. One such company that tends to recognise a same-sex relationship is BioWare, which makes the news that The Old Republic won’t be supporting them a little surprising. It seems Star Wars might not have room for gays. However, in better news, we learn today that the realms of Skyrim will not only allow same-sex relationships, but also same-sex marriage.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic attitude is a peculiar one. Back in 2009, as Videogamer point out, a thread was started on the official TOR forums in which LGBT gamers asked why the words “gay” and “lesbian” were banned on the forum. Obviously such a move is usually to remove opportunities for abuse, although clearly has some rather more concerning connotations. This was not helped when BioWare employee Sean Dahlberg posted to the thread,

“As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars.

Thread closed.”

The thread was eventually re-opened and the words allowed. But it seems the attitude has not extended to the content of the game. The MMO’s producer, Cory Butler, said on an (extremely embarrassing) episode of BioWare Pulse (which seems to have since been deleted by BioWare, but is still available to watch here, at around 3 minutes). When asked about the possibility of gay or lesbian relationships he replies very pointedly, “Same-gender relationships are not in Star Wars: The Old Republic.”

With Dragon Age and Mass Effect both including same-sex coupling, it’s clearly not an issue BioWare has across the board – in fact they’re probably the most forward-thinking and inclusive developer out there. So you have to wonder what it is about Star Wars that means the same philosophy cannot be extended there.

Some of those moustaches are pretty gay.

But today Eurogamer brings the news that Skyrim is being far more open-minded. The game will include the ability to form relationships with certain characters, who can then becomes friends or lovers, and even marry you. Build a home and your partner will move in with you. And if that partner is the same sex as you, the game won’t blink an eye. Bethesda’s PR boss, Pete Hines, confirmed on Twitter that you can shack up with whomever you wish. Which presumably also introduces the complexity of cross-species relationships as well as sex.

Twitter user Jadis232 asked Hines,

“Nice interview! Is same sex marriage in Skyrim? I know the option to get married to ppl is in. The subject seems like hush hush.”

Hines replied,

“Not hush hush, just not making a huge deal out of it. You can marry anyone.”

Then adding,

“Sorry, should clarify. Not any NPC, just mean any male or female. Doesn’t matter what you’re playing.”

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318 Comments »

  1. Zeewolf says:

    The reason is probably that they can’t be arsed to code some kind of gender check. People will probably treat you exactly the same if you’re male, female, human or orc.

    • duncanthrax says:

      Definitely. It’s just easy to be politically correct in this case :)

    • Knef says:

      Actually Morrowind had at least one character, Crassus Curio, that was accidentally bisexual. He was supposed to only be flirty towards female players, but somehow the developers forgot to add a sex check and he ended up asking male players to strip for him in order to advance in his quest line.

    • diebroken says:

      Just as long as you aren’t forced to perform a ‘dance of the three snakes’…

    • LionsPhil says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, the only time the (3D) Elder Scrolls games have even vaguely acknowledged marriage is Ahnassi. Any other romance with NPCs is left to your unbounded imagination (you sad, lonely people).

      I hope this news doesn’t mean that Mass Effect has inspired them to scatter horrid little dating sim quests all over the place.

    • thegooseking says:

      I hope this news doesn’t mean that Mass Effect has inspired them to scatter horrid little dating sim quests all over the place.

      Less worried about Skyrim picking up some Mass Effect influences and more worried about TES becoming Fable, myself.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I wonder if the decision was more to do with keeping the number of male and female avatars in the game fairly balanced… An attempt to stop every server being populated with lesbians controlled by young men.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s funny though that Ahnassi’s quest line is one of the best written and most interesting quests in any Bethesda-produced game, let alone Morrowind itself. And there was one mod as well that improved upon it by adding a few extra quests to Ahnassi which completed the experience. But yes, the subtle way with which Ahnassi’s romance was handled meant that I had much more fun with that than I usually do with Bethesda game.

      Though I have to admit that there were other things in Morrowind that were subtle, such as the morally ambiguous nature of everyone. There was no clear cut good/evil path in Morrowind, and even Dagoth-Ur seemed to have a good side to him, as much as the Tribune had a very dark side to them. So the Great House Dagoth mod was one I appreciated, as I wanted to explore that. It’s a shame that Bethesda didn’t allow for that, really, with all the effort they put into making things not so clear cut.

      Later games (Oblivion) were much more clumsy and clear cut with their good/evil lines, they were also far less subtle in relation to everything. The best quest in Oblivion was a player-created companion quest named Ruined-Tail’s Tale. I don’t think it amounts to a romance quest so much as a companion quest, one where you make a damned good friend whom you might (and do) follow through the gates of hell in order to keep safe. If the romances and friendships in Skyrim are subtle like Ahnassi’s and Ruined-Tail’s, then I’ll be happy.

      If they’re more clumsy like those of Dragon Age II (which just seem like a gender-check has been removed) then i won’t consider it any real benefit. I’d love them to get the person who wrote the Ahnassi quest line though to come back and do some romance quests for them. And they should really hire the person responsible for Ruined-Tail’s Tale, too, as RTT is the best writing I’ve seen in Bethesda games and all of their mods bar none.

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens, anyway, but I’m a proponent of relationships if they’re handled like that. And one other thought occurs to me in closing… I wonder how a game would do if the player had to deal with a gay person coming onto them at one point and a potential gay relationship? As a gay person, I’ve had no amount of female characters come onto me in games and it’s something that I’ve just learned to accept due to the demographic, it’d likely shake things up if it happened again. Sure, it’s happened in Morrowind due to a bug (and what a bug!) but it could stand to happen again, just to see how open-minded about such things gamers really are.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Now, I’ve never checked myself, but I hear being gay involves a lot of being arsed.

    • 4xis.black says:

      This is known in design terms as a “win-win situation”.

  2. HexagonalBolts says:

    Don’t forget the gay super mutant that rapes you in Fallout 2…

    But seriously, I think most developers don’t include same sex relations just because they don’t want to create a stir or divert attention from the main focus of their game (the same reason why very few games include killable children) rather than having some moral issue with their inclusion.

    If that’s the case I think it’s fair enough that normally it’s not engaged with, only in more complex and deep games. I mean, much to my disappointment, a large amount of games still don’t engage with anything beyond ‘SHOOT TERRORIST. KILL.’, let alone human emotions, let alone relationships on a deep and meaningful level, let alone same sex relationships.

    • Prime says:

      “Don’t forget the gay super mutant that rapes you in Fallout 2…”

      I almost had but then someone mentioned it again. Cheers. And my therapist said I was doing so well, too…

      The only thing that saves my fragile mind is the thought that maybe supermutants have really weeny peenies, proportionately not in scale with the rest of them. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

    • diebroken says:

      Deus Ex is also another game which features killable children. Damn that Louis Pan kid in Hong Kong was annoying…

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Louis Pan was a bad kid. He deserved that.

    • Tychoxi says:

      Man! FO2 had actual gay or lesbian marriage. yeah they mostly behaved the same way regardless of your gender, but still. New Vegas overdid it a bit though, half your potential companions are homo- or bisexuals! (The other half being asexual)

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      I seem to remember killable children being removed from the UK release of the original Fallout games for censorship reasons (i.e. the game would have been refused a rating by the BBFC). I don’t know if the BBFC’s stance on this has changed but I’m fairly certain they flat-out don’t allow child murder in UK video game releases.

      The problem for developers choosing to leave out gay relationship options is that it’s a ‘safe’ choice until someone asks why: You’ll get into a lot more controversy by trying to justify leaving them out than you would have done for just including them.

  3. Jannakar says:

    One might imagine that there could be some rules coming from LucasArts on what is or is not permissible within their universe.

    The only person being able to mess things up being George Lucas himself, of course.

    • Mike says:

      Actually, I wonder if it’s a pre-emptive move against the problems WoW had in ‘handling’ LGBT guilds. I seem to remember them trying to ban them at one point, then backtracking, and generally getting everyone’s backs up. Maybe they’re trying to slip it under the rug before the game even launches?

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      Do you think that that is the reason KOTOR 2 got such bad treatment?

    • Magnetude says:

      I would also guess this is coming from LucasArts, not Bioware themselves, who seem to warm up to gayness more and more with each game.

      I can imagine it went like this: Bioware ask LucasArts if boys can kiss boys in their new Star Wars game. LucasArts has a quick look on the internet at the Mass Effect ‘Virtual Orgasmic Rape’ furore, and decides it wants none of that bad PR, thank you.

      It’s a shame, but I can understand why they wouldn’t want to be seen to be forcing liberal values (as the rightwing media will see it) on a fanbase that’s stayed with them since the 70s.

    • spanner says:

      Yep, only incest allowed in this galaxy thank you very much.

    • Keymonk says:

      On that topic, I -think- I actually remember someone saying they really didn’t exist in the Star Wars universe. But, thinking of the KOTORs, that’d be sort of odd, wouldn’t it? Hm.

    • Acorino says:

      >>Yep, only incest allowed in this galaxy thank you very much.

      Haha, reminds me of this old webcomic: http://sexylosers.com/002.html

      >>On that topic, I -think- I actually remember someone saying they really didn’t exist in the Star Wars universe.

      Well, they did include black people for political correctness, so what’s wrong with some gayness?

    • vecordae says:

      Star Wars has always been very progressive and forward thinking. Examples like Jar-Jar Binks, Newt Gunray, and C-3PO show that terrible, old-fashioned racial and sexual stereotypes can be made palatable for a younger audience by assigning them to aliens or robots.

    • der jester says:

      Re: the WoW thing. I actually worked in support during that debacle. There was a long debate about it with management since the Harassment Policy specifically stated “used in harassment” it should’ve been a non-issue. They just tried to justify a stupid move by saying “Well we did it to prevent harassment (and gave you a two hour ban to protect you).” It went beyond support management to people higher in the company and finally got resolved. It was such a stupid situation. The initial excuse was the same as BioWare is making “There are LGBT characters in this universe.” I could see Lucasarts saying the same thing since they was to appeal to everyone, not just well educated, well adjusted human beings.

  4. AbyssUK says:

    But horses cannot marry ghosts..? What a crazy game..

  5. Meat Circus says:

    You’d imagine gaming would lead the way on more liberal values

    No. No I really wouldn’t.

    • John Walker says:

      I know it *isn’t*, but somehow I’d expect the newest media to be the more liberal. But then I’m a fool.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Mainstream games are corporate driven and thus inherently conservative, rocking the boat just loses potential customers.

      Further to disabuse you of the belief the newest kind of media attracts the most progressive people you can depress yourself by watching this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb5ev2Dp4I0

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      Id say something about inherently american media, but I doubt the still very religious european counterparts arent much better, really. They just show more breasts.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      The problem with gaming is the appeal it holds with teenagers. Teenagers, despite their protests are not adults and cannot be assumed to be able to deal with life in the same way as one. More teenagers hold extreme views against gender or sexuality because most of them haven’t had to deal with these issues in a mature way yet.

      As a female gamer, I find it almost impossible to identify myself as such in an online game because I can guarantee within 5-10 hours of gaming I will have been cyber stalked by a creepy boy or abused in the nastiest way, solely due to my gender. I could not imagine how bad it must be for a gamer who wants to be open about their sexuality online if they are not straight.

      But you can’t blame these kids, they need to go through the development process, it’s just how their brains work. Neither can you blame the developers – they know their market and if they thought that including lesbian or gay themes into their games would not damage sales, I’m sure it would be in there.

      Finally – what kind of sexuality is included in Old Republic? To me the star wars universe is mostly devoid of sex, beyond the most basic love stories – which I’m sure players will be acting out via text messaging happily enough with the gender of their choice – Will there be specific options to be sexual between male and female avatars, will we really have tonnes of NPC’s actively leading hetrosexual lives or will it be more likely that sex is never really mentioned – in which case there really is no problem here.

      EDIT: Just seen that there will be romance options with NPC’s in the game, which I guess means this is a bit discriminatory, however I’m far more interested now in how they are going to acieve this technically – is it going to be instanced or will you be gazing at the moon with your beau when some other character ghosts straight through you doing the same with the same character!

    • formivore says:

      Wow, that video was really depressing.

      EDIT. Voted for “kill all white people” in the comments. Feel a bit better.

    • V. Profane says:

      There’s an interesting part in the Half-Life ‘Raising The Bar’ book where they discuss one of the cut monsters which was supposed to deliberately draw on the homophobia of teenage boys.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @V. Profane: Presumably it ended up in Left 4 Dead instead.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      @ ReV_VAdAUL: Man, and I thought I had neuroses.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      I’m personally of the opinion that the games industry is one of the most conservative industries there is, and that most gamers are of a conservative mindset.

      Spend any time on gaming sites and the majority of people tend to be quite reactionary and selfish in their outlook – see the cyclical ‘Always online DRM doesn’t bother me because I have a great internet connection, so everyone should shut up’ argument as an example that personally gets up my nose because I live in backwaters Asia. Part of the reason I like RPS is the generally liberal vibe from both the writers and the commenters, but it’s not something I see so often on other sites, and it’ll probably decline with time on the commenters’ side as it gets more popular and the demographics level out. I agree with Sheng-Ji to a point about many gamers being teenagers, but I don’t think it’s a full explanation – some of the biggest slur-throwing trolls I’ve seen have professed to be adults, and some apparently even have children. The thought gives me nightmares, but I’d imagine loads of flaming nasties are much older than you’d think. Except for the 10 years olds singing on COD on Xbox live…

      I don’t see many examples of liberalism from the mainstream industry players either, especially as they’re amongst those leading the charge when it comes to trashing consumer rights. They’re also much more risk averse than either the publishing, music or film industries, hence so many games about shootybangmurderdeath and so few about anything else.

      As I see it the older mediums express way more liberal representation, both due to the time they’ve been around to diversify their output and their audience and the fact they weren’t birthed in an era where everything ultimately came down to a cell in a spreadsheet. Munch, Mozart and Shakespeare didn’t have corporate execs breathing down their neck demanding the equivalents of boss fights and cover systems. Which is why indies, in any of the creative industries, are important even if you personally don’t find their output to your taste.

    • Baboonanza says:

      @Jim
      History actually tells a remarkably different story – radio, film and TV were all hugely conservative and restrictive about content in their early days. Hollywood in particular was almost puritanical about it’s Motion Picture Production Code.

      It is true that these were different times, but it would be fairly naive to expect anything different. And it makes sense – while a new media is attempting to attain respectability and broaden it’s audience it is natural that a certain moral conservatism should win out.

      But like film, TV and radio it won’t last.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Whenever I start to think maybe having reached the 21st century it’s not strictly necessary any more to make a big deal about homosexuality over every imaginable medium, I just look at the genuinely hair-raising comments on any interweb article dealing with gay characters in video games. Even here, on dear old civilized and enlightened RockPaperShotgun. Have you seen some of the stuff on page 3? Holy shit.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      Baboonanza: Think that was directed at John, but it applies to the last bit of what I said too. Good point, brainfart left me stupidly thinking about the older industries after they’d reached some kind of maturity rather than right at the start. You’re bang on. Same also applied to the printing press. And the same also applied to the public’s fear, mistrust and conviction that each form of new media would tear apart the fabric of society.

      I think you’re right about moral conservatism being tied to an ettempt to broaden respectability at the start, up to a point. I also think the accessibility of creation in a medium is also an important factor though – the easier it is for people to participate in creation the broader the range of content. Related to that, I generally find the most special things are endeavours done in large part for the enjoyment of it rather than the pursuit of cash, or as in the early days of TV, radio and books a will to assert moral authority.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think it just depends on what games you play. The gamers I play with are pretty liberal and so are the games, but then so am I (ish). Just like any other media.

    • bildo says:

      @ John Walker

      Well, the media, and most of the people associated with it, in America is pretty much as liberal as it gets around here. Newspapers, television and movies. However, gaming really does seem to be more conservative in nature – as in: violence is not as bad a sex.

      Looks to me that the oldest media in the US is liberal so give gaming about a century. Although, I say there’s way too many libs in the media…maybe it’s time for more conservative fare.

      Also, no problem with GLBT being in Skyrim…however it strikes me as odd that 4 other main entries into the series has flown by…and aside from the bug in Morrowind everyone is assumed to be straight. I don’t see how this is going to be explained into the game world very well, if at all. Such a big change happening with no idea why…it’s a put off for me.

    • eridyn says:

      @ReV_VAdAUL

      Having watched the video you linked to, I was compelled to register an account simply to express the overload of, “Oh dear christ, what the hell?” sentiments which it inspired.

      Thank you for helping to chip away at my lingering naivette and illusions that humanity is intelligent.

    • Wulf says:

      @formivore

      This is kind of funny…

      Not that you’ve said anything inherently funny, not at all, but rather because it came up on a forum the other day. I was ranting (as I do) about how I’m so damn tired of prejudices – whether they be against race, gender, or creed, it just doesn’t matter. To that rant I had a few opponents, and out of curiosity I poked them to discover that a simply theory I had was correct.

      All those who didn’t believe that prejudice was an issue were straight, in good health and of a majority ethnicity (primarily caucasian).

      The problem is is that if you’re a straight, healthy, caucasian person then you’re never going to really experience discrimination or prejudice. And I think it’s also a problem that the majority of gamers also fall into this demographic. Now I’m a gay person who has some functional disabilities, disabilities which aren’t a lot of fun, and verge on what some might consider to be autism unless they understood my situation better. Try doing that through education in the ’70s and ’80s. And try even thinking of mentioning that you’re gay.

      The problem is is that whilst in actual life we might be more open-minded these days, the Internet itself has collapsed back to a state of constant prejudice that we ‘enjoyed’ a few decades back, situations where due to either things you can’t control (such as being gay or disabled), or your ethnicity, or even your lifestyle choices will result in prejudices and mockery. And that’s not a lot of fun. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the Internet would work better if it were rebooted, the slate wiped clean, and in this new Internet anonymity wasn’t permitted, at all. I realise that might cause problems and may not be a good idea at all. But some days I can’t help but wonder, you know?

      Even here on RPS I’ve seen some prejudices. They aren’t common but they are there. It’s just the nature of being anonymous, really, I suppose. What that means is that you can spout hate speech against whatever groups you like and not have to worry about it beyond being banned/edited, and that, of course, in turn is going to make those groups feel more neurotic and less safe. Things are getting better, I’ll say that, the prejudices aren’t quite as bad, but on the Internet with anonymity I’ve seen no small amount of people promoting ethnicity-based slavery, culling of homosexuals, and goodness knows what else.

      And again, many of the people who seem to care least about prejudices, through all my research, are the healthy, straight, and white. They’re in a position where they don’t have to worry about prejudices because they’re enjoying a ‘Master Race’ scenario, they’re not experiencing prejudice and they don’t even fully comprehend when they’re responsible for it, either. And they have the numbers on the Internet, it seems, so complaining about this is like fighting an army.

      But yes, nothing about any of this surprises me, simply because I’ve experienced so much of it on the Internet already. Prejudices are fairly commonplace, here, whether they’re big or small, and whether you find them silly or not, none of that matters. It’s all horrible regardless, and it’s still making people suffer.

    • Wulf says:

      @Bent Wooden Spoon

      It’s something that I don’t think many would understand, but… regarding games with always-on DRM, I don’t buy them because of that, and those are convictions that I stand by. Why? Because friends of mine can’t play them. I see it as discriminatory. If you’re in a part of the world where the Internet isn’t so great (and this even included the UK back in the ’90s, for all those who would care to remember) then you’re screwed.

      Let’s say I have one friend who has a great PC but, due to living in a less developed part of the world, can’t play games that use always-on DRM due to their Internet connection randomly crapping out, or their bandwidth not being reliable. So I ask myself this question: Should I buy the game and enjoy it despite the fact that a friend can’t, thus somewhat rubbing that inability in my friend’s face, or do I make a stand against publishers that use DRM like this and not buy the game with him?

      I have friends from all walks of life and that’s something that’s probably made me frothingly left wing. I’m not afraid to admit that. You can only stand to see so much suffering before you end up that way, if you have a conscience, and then you just remain that way. I did, anyway. The thing is is that there are all sorts of inequalities in this world that I find unsettling, whether they’re big inequalities like people not having food/medicines/housing, or small inequalities such as people in lesser developed areas not living the cushy life that, say, British middle-classes do. And when you have something like always-on DRM and people who support them, what I hear is people saying that inequality is okay, and that rubs me the wrong way.

      I suppose being the sort of person I am, I have been in contact with people from all walks of life. From the poor, the homeless, to those whom are simply less fortunate than myself, to those whom are far, far more fortunate than myself. I know them all. From all brackets of life. And knowing all of these people really gives one a broad band of perception, it allows you to perceive things differently, and understand that what applies to one’s own life does not necessarily (and might never) apply to another person. It’s a modicum of wisdom that I’ve earned, and one that I would, if possible, take and write into the mind of every living human.

    • noodlecake says:

      @Wulf Hmm…

      I am a bisexual Caucasian male who has never felt discriminated against because of my sexuality. I was, however, severely bullied as a kid for being white. I went to a primary school in Chapeltown in Leeds and was one of 2 white kids in the school. Pretty much anyone that wasn’t black got bullied. The asian kids got bullied too. There wasn’t really much that anyone could do about it being that most of the teachers were also white and there were loads of instances where the kids would start shouting about racism if the teachers tried to do anything.

      So yeah. You can be white and be discriminated against. It’s a tad presumptuous to say that no straight white people in England ever get discriminated against for anything. And then there are other things besides sexuality and skin colour. People have been known to lose their jobs when outed as being into bdsm, for example.

      I’m not saying that any of those things are reasons to start picking on asian lesbians all of a sudden or anything. :P

  6. derella says:

    I can only assume that LucasArts made the decision to exclude homosexual romances in SWTOR. Bioware has been inclusive for quite some time now. They even said that in ME3 Shepard could have a man-on-man relationship.

    Kudos to Bethesda, though.

  7. Coins says:

    Well, that’s good news, although Bethesda was kind of leading up to this with the ‘romance’ choices in FO:NV.

    • Azdeus says:

      Surely, you mean Obsidian?

    • Hallgrim says:

      Bethesda still owns the IP though, right? Surely getting Obsidian to create the sequel doesn’t include giving them completely free reign, especially when it comes to topics as absurdly volatile as this one.

    • Wulf says:

      Actually, Obsidian did have free reign. This was due to Obsidian having a chunk of Black Isle under their wing. They’re not Black Isle in its entirety (and more is the pity) but they do have a number of their writers. So it was a wise choice for Bethesda to give their writers free reign. Obsidian’s writers are some of the best in the business, really.

      So no, Bethesda had nothing to do with the relationships in Fallout: New Vegas.

      (One thing that amuses me is how the Fallout wiki refused to add that Arcade was a homosexual romance option to his page, when they noted heterosexual romance options elsewhere. I’m not sure if they’ve changed that, but when I last checked there was nothing about it on Arcade’s page. Yay gamer homophobia.)

    • thebigJ_A says:

      I just checked and it does at least mention that he is one of two openly gay NPCs (along with Veronica). It doesn’t seem shy in talking about it either. Veronica’s page even goes into speculation about which female NPC Veronica had a relationship with (before the BoS ruined it).

      I’ve never actually tried, are sure it’s possible to romance him?

  8. Brumisator says:

    I see nothing wrong with open, free choice polysexuality.
    As I see it, in the gaming medium, you either get games where the player is the focus of all attention, and can do whatever he wants, or you can have the player as only a part of the bigger picture (Fallout, etc.)

    If a very free game like The Elder Scrolls started restricting player choice “sorry this NPC is not gay, please try again”, it’d be a tad annoying.

    • Edawan says:

      sorry this NPC is not gay, please try again”

      Actually this would be great. In real life people are rarely polysexual. They’re either hetero or homo, with the later being more rare. In games, NPCs should have a predetermined preference and not just be open to anyone.

    • John Walker says:

      Surely some should be open to persuasion?

    • Astatine says:

      Fable 3 does this. It’s… umm, “realistic”.

      Notionally, you can tell when an NPC is gay, by flipping up the little info panel while talking to them. It lists some textual “attributes”, including sexuality.

      In practice, you can tell when an NPC is gay by checking his hair for resemblance to strawberry ice cream. >_<

      As a (mostly…) gay guy who isn't turned on by strawberry ice cream hair, I'd rather have the gratuitous polysexuality :-p

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      That sounds a bit creepy John. :P

    • Zhou says:

      Edawan: I would say thats a fairly big claim to make in a field that, to my knowledge at least, is still fairly unclear. Depending on who you talk to “people” are always either hetero, bi, or poly ^^.

      What this comes down to is that in an open world rpg a developer has to make a choice between sexuality models, with certain rammifications, and any choice is going to piss someone off.

      Our perceptions of sexuality are of course coloured and reinforced by our society, so for us (western society) most people are categorised or categorisable as hetero/homo/bi. In another fictional world, who is to say? Hell, even on Earth the picture isn’t that clear in other cultures. As a dev I’m guessing you pick your cultural stance and get on with it :p.

    • wiper says:

      John: it’s reasonable enough that some might be, but even most bisexual people have a preference (I say this as a bisexual man myself), whereas games tend to have characters coded either not to notice your sex at all (lets call this pansexual, for ease of reference), to be heterosexual, or, much more rarely, to be homosexual.

      In fact, in my experience, games which allow you to choose your character’s sex, and with the option for romance, are most likely either to include only heterosexual characters, only pansexual characters, or a mix of heterosexual and pansexual characters – having any purely homosexual characters is far rarer. It’s as though the message in most games is that people are either straight, or they’re sooo promiscuous that they’ll sleep with anybody, giving a whiff of the idea that sexuality is somehow a ‘choice’, and that anyone who isn’t heterosexual will just sleep with anyone. Bioware have been guilty of this in the past: very few of their games include gay characters, including only straight and pansexual people instead.

      Then again, this all ties into the other standard problem, that most games deal with romance by requiring the player character be nice to their prospective partner, which will somehow ‘win’ them the romance. Rather than said prospective romances being swayed by the player’s general conduct (Dragon Age: Origins was one of the few to avoid this, though it still fell into the ‘two straight, two pansexual’ trap). And if anybody is pansexual, they never seem to have any issues with it – the idea that some of the characters are coded as ‘in the closet’ could be interesting, but it never happens: a character who is happily straight, but can be made aware that, er, they actually aren’t? That would be an interesting romance. I imagine it would terrify certain parts of America even more than standard non-heterosexuality would, though. “Game Teaches Players to TURN Good, Honest, God-Fearing Straight People!”. Something like that.

    • thegooseking says:

      Surely some should be open to persuasion?

      Using ‘admire’, ‘joke’ and ‘boast’ to raise someone’s disposition and persuade them to change their sexuality I’d have no problem with. It all gets a bit nasty when you click on coerce, though.

    • Urthman says:

      So you’re saying that you think the game should let you turn a gay character straight by telling him a few jokes? I didn’t know Michelle Bachman’s husband worked at Bethesda.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @thegooseking: Pretty sure alcohol works best. Just sayin’.

    • vecordae says:

      Eh, human sexuality is complicated. Video games really can’t at this point, devote the kinds of time, effort, and attention required to pull it off in a mature and realistic way. So, instead of having Hawke, for instance, navigate the complicated emotional bonds he/she has formed and forging a romance with someone who is fundamentally compatible with him/her, Hawke instead finds the cute one and hits buttons until they get mad rutty.

    • Wulf says:

      I would like to note that Mr. Arcade Israel Gannon is an honest-to-goodness gay character, too. He’s not a pansexual, he’s actually gay, and is written that way. In fact, how homosexuality is handled in New Vegas in general is… amazing. It really is. The thing is is that there’s a perk you can pick up to open up those conversation lines. Now I understand why they did it that way, it’s because it might unnerve their larger but less sexually secure demographic, but it is there.

      The NCR? Fascists, so the gay folk among their ranks are almost terrified to admit it, but you can talk them into letting you know. Whereas people in more liberal areas might be more willing to openly admit it. It was a nice parallel of the Internet today, really. And Arcade was a very subtly written but open gay, and really, Arcade was probably the most open-minded game character I’ve encountered in general. He was always a joy to take with me. Raoul too… he had open-mindedness written all over him. He wasn’t a gay option but you could tell that he was a very tolerant person. I won’t spoil too much there, though.

      But I’d like to see more of what New Vegas did, really. With relationships actually tailored to gay people as much as straight people. Writers can always be hired for this, after all. Pansexuality is nice and all, but… having proper gay relationships available is even better.

  9. Daniel Rivas says:

    “You’d imagine gaming would lead the way on more liberal values”

    Why?

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      New media is generally exclusive to progressivists.

    • V. Profane says:

      Video games are decades old though. We’re not talking about Google+.

    • Starky says:

      Actually as mentioned by someone else above, new media is almost always conservative in the extreme in it’s mainstream productions.

      First radio, then motion pictures, then TV were all ultra conservative at first had very strict codes, didn’t release anything too shocking or edgy, and only over time have they become more liberal in their values (except for some networks). It is because all the major studios are paranoid about pushing the boundaries – they can’t risk getting banned or getting massive public backlash that inks their millions of dollars product.
      Media chips away, year after year bit by bit – until no one blinks an eye any more.

      Hell I remember as a kid there been a big deal made about a character in some soap kissing another male character on screen. It was in the papers and the nation had a massive debate on it (UK).

      Now gay couples, gay kissing and affection in soaps is standard, no one cares no one blinks it is just accepted. Even full on gay sex scenes in TV shows don’t cause any controversy any more.

    • PopeJamal says:

      When you don’t own the IP and you aren’t publishing the game, then you aren’t allowed to make all the decisions. It’s a fact of business. When Bioware asks, “Hey, what about gays?” that is a political issue. Any time you need to try to convince another person to see things your way, or change their mind, you’re using politics in one form or another.

      If either Lucas or EA say “No!”, then their only choices are to either not make the game, or not allow homosexual relationships. In fact, I’m pretty sure they signed a contract that said “Yes, we will make a StarWars MMO for you.”, so in that regard, they probably don’t even have a choice.

      If you’re worried about the plight of homosexuals in society, the correct and effective place to piss and moan about it is your local representatives office, not the internet.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      It’s both, actually, but thanks for your contribution.

    • mejoff says:

      Don’t they kick you out if you piss in the office?

      (also, welcome to Noteverywhereisamerica)

  10. Diziet Sma says:

    The simple answer surely is that it’s something that George Lucas does not approve of and as such cannot be present in Star Wars lore. Can any, better read, reader of RPS state any Star Wars fiction that includes such a relationship, especially in a non-demonised role?

    • matty_gibbon says:

      I was about to ask this very same question. Surely somewhere in the extended universe there is a homosexual or bi character?

    • TheDreido says:

      I think Yoda was bi.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I’m pretty sure Juhani from KOTOR was at least Bisexual – which makes it weirder that TOR doesn’t include same sex relationships.

    • Unaco says:

      There are multiple openly homosexual characters in the Star Wars canon…. Or, at the least someone more read in the Star Wars stuff claims there are in this thread:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?1124-The-Nature-of-SW-TOR

      They reckon this ISN’T a George Lucas decision, but is instead BioWare Austin “Dropping the Ball”.

    • Dubbill says:

      Some googling leads to a married gay Mandalorian couple who have an adopted daughter, earning them huge amount of conservative-bothering points: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Medrit_Vasur

    • El Armonista! says:

      IIRC Juhani and Bastila were open to same-sex relationships in KOTOR 1, and Visas Marr and Handmaiden were in KOTOR 2 (I must admit though that I’m slightly more hazy on that point).

      Granted, both of the situations refer to women who are potentially bisexual, I’m not at all sure if there were men NPCs open to similar relationships with a male PC.

      Either way, it’s right weird to say that the situation doesn’t exist in the context of the Old Republic games.

    • Wulf says:

      @Dubbill

      Thanks for posting that. I would have if you hadn’t. But yes, there are instances of gay couples in the Star Wars Universe. So it is canon and lore. If Bioware wanted they could make an argument from that position just to see where it gets them. I’m not even saying it would get them anywhere, but presenting a precedent to whomever is denying gay relationships might at least have interesting results. Results which I would love to see publicised.

  11. Shiny says:

    It is really tiresome to listen to people banging their drum about real-life hot button social issues being represented according to their preferences in games that are pure fantasy and created solely for the purpose of entertainment.

    And I’m pro-gay rights/marriage. I can only imagine how silly all this sounds to people with a different point of view.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Well, fuck them? I’m not sure what your point is.

    • Shiny says:

      The point is that most games, including all of the ones mentioned in this story, aren’t attempting to advocate any sort of value system at all, liberal or otherwise. Thus, we should not be surprised that they aren’t implementing features that implicitly support one group’s values over another’s. Entertainment for the masses is usually designed not to offend anyone unless it is critical to the integrity of the product (e.g., violence in a blockbuster action movie).

      And the people who are pushing for games to take sides and positions just come off as preachy extremists who can’t leave their politics at the door when it’s appropriate.

    • John Walker says:

      You’re aware that being gay isn’t a political stance, right?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      The nature of privilege means that the privileged groups in society get things generally how they want them and think this is only natural. It is thus perplexing and annoying for them when other groups in society wish to be catered to too.

      So in this case heterosexual relationships in a game are the norm and thus seen as neutral. Homosexual relationships are mildly different and thus annoying to have to consider, even for alleged progressives. These “progressives” are fine in principle with gay people having rights and such but when it means they personally have to make the tiniest sacrifices it gets their back up.

    • Okami says:

      But I’m offended by straight marriage and religion and still most games try to shove gods and straight relationships in my face.

      And violence. I’m offended by violence, why do gamers insist on resolving any conflict by application of force? Surely the idea that the world is a better place if you have a gun and kill a lot of people with it is inherently political, isn’t it?

      So why do game developers feel the need to force their political belief in my entertainment.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I think the point these ‘others’ would respond with is that by including heterosexual relationships but not homosexual ones, the game is already representing a ‘certain point of view’.

    • Prime says:

      “Use Force, Luke…”

      Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

      …and neither could Luke.

    • Stevostin says:

      “You’re aware that being gay isn’t a political stance, right?”

      IMO, everything that comes down to rights involves political stances. There are moral laws – what the community find acceptable. Ancient Greeks found acceptable to have same sex actions with children. Medieval age find unacceptable for a women to show her ankles. In between there are limits, with no absolut right or wrong, and gay sex is one of this things. You may think that people not including gay sex in the limit of what’s acceptable to display are regressive, but I am sure you’re not all in for some necrophile action. Point is : everyone has his limits, the average of all limits being nearly always legalised. Law are voted : this is politic. And I am not even speaking about adoption, marriage, etc. That’s why you have a gay community battling for this.

      In shorter word : being a midget isn’t a political stance. But you’ll never be offered to play a midget or even see one in game. Because Midgets are politically inexistent. Gays do exist, and push. This is ultimately political.

    • Rii says:

      @Okami

      Heh. And yeah, “we’re apolitical” means “we support the status quo”.

    • Shiny says:

      “You’re aware that being gay isn’t a political stance, right?”

      But putting in significant effort (i.e., development time and resources) into presenting gay marriage as normal, acceptable social behavior is a statement on values. Gay marriage is, as I said a current hot button issue and not something that has been accepted by all cultures worldwide for thousands of years. Taking a position on its normalcy/social acceptability is, in the current environment, a political stance. If it were not a political stance, I would wager that a lot of people who are eager to see it portrayed in games would not care so much.

      Doing the same for heterosexual relationships is not a statement on values, as the morality/legality of officially recognized heterosexual relationships is not a contested issue. Therefore, I disagree with Simon Hawthorne’s reply .

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I’m fairly sure little people (apparently the acceptable term, although it sounds incredibly rude to me) are allowed to get married everywhere, and whatnot. The Disability Pride Parade doesn’t get tear gassed a lot, either.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Of course arguing for equality between sexualities and genders is political. But it’s a totalitarian idea (and the same for the inverse); you can’t be a little bit for gay rights. It’s an idea that can only be sated once it is universal.

      The issue is not whether or not these game designers should put gay marriage into their games, but that the question exists at all. It doesn’t have very much to do with games.

    • Saul says:

      Mmm, not allowing gay relationships is a political stance. So is allowing them. And it has plenty to do with games – they exist in th world, so they don’t get to avoid being political.

    • JonasKyratzes says:

      Talking about gay relationships being “allowed” in a game makes it seem like we’re comparing it to gay marriage. But we’re not (not only, anyway) – this is an issue of representation. In the real world, there are gay couples, whether they’re allowed to get married or not. Homosexuality is a normal part of humanity, as ancient as the species itself. If you think about it, pretending it doesn’t exist is nothing short of weird.

    • Starky says:

      @MikoSquiz

      I know 2 dwarves, and they both find “little people” stupid and condescending.

      Then again both of them actually prefer to be called Hobbits, so it might be just them.

    • Johnny99.1 says:

      @Stevostin: Being a midget is no more or less political than being gay surely? It’s less contentious because it’s harder for bigots to argue that midgetry was a choice on the part of the midgets.

      The disturbing thing to me is how riled people get by having the choice put into a game. It’s not even that your main character is definitely gay (although how that would be any more unreasonable than having him be definitely not gay, or definitely not a midget, or definitely white I have no idea) upsets people. Just putting the option in the game angers people.

      None of this is to say that game makers should be obliged to give you the option to play the game as a south asian transvestite heterosexual midget, but not including it is just as much a choice as including it. There is no neutral path, only certain paths look neutral when they conform to what you are used to in your world.

      Oh – and I’ve been a dwarf and a hobbit in games far more often than I’ve ever been gay in a game, so when you say ” you’ll never be offered to play a midget or even see one in game..” I think you might want to think again.

    • Stevostin says:

      “I’m fairly sure little people (apparently the acceptable term, although it sounds incredibly rude to me) are allowed to get married everywhere, and whatnot. The Disability Pride Parade doesn’t get tear gassed a lot, either.”

      This is embarassing. Give it a thought. Do you really consider that our societies, the way they’re build, are more suited, give a better, daily life, to a crippled, or to a gay one ? I mean, if you had to choose for yourself ? Do you think it’s easier to get access to most job when you’re less than 3 feet high, or when you’re gay ? To elevator knobs in public building ? Do you really think, for a minute, than being gay give you more ground to ask for adaptation of the society to your interests than when you can’t reach the sink in the male restroom, including the one of the building paid by your taxes?

      Seriously ?

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      It’s less contentious because it doesn’t have anything to do with whom you fuck.

    • Wulf says:

      Wow…

      And there are your prejudices, right there, by someone who claims to support equality. (I call bullshit on that. Anyone can say they do but you can’t post the opposite, say you do, and then expect people to believe it.)

      I don’t really need or want to say anything more than that.

      (I’m choosing to hold my tongue really because Okami said what I wanted to say but said it better than I could have.)

  12. Colthor says:

    …And in the game?

  13. BobsLawnService says:

    Meh, sometimes it is just not possible to cater to every minority group in every single bit of entertainment out there. I don’t see this as a big deal.

    The potential for interspecies erotica in Skyrim should keep those furries happy though.

    • Jannakar says:

      Yeah, Rule 34 applies. No exceptions.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Pardon my ignorance but Rule 34?

    • Kaira- says:

      Google it, and say goodbye to your childhood memories.

    • Buzko says:

      @BobsLawnService

      Think carefully before googling, especially with safe search off, is the essence of rules 1-34 (and beyond) of the Internet.

    • Kollega says:

      Boring exposition reply: Rule 34 states that there’s always porn for everything. No exceptions. And Rule 35 says that if there’s no porn of something yet, it will be made sooner or later.

    • Wulf says:

      There needs to be a Stop the Bullshit site that deals with crap like this.

      There’s plenty of nightmare porn out there which doesn’t involve furries and is so, so much more scarring because it involves real world, actual people in situations wherein at least one of the people hasn’t consented and is being forced to suffer. I feel that furries are used as a scapegoat to cover this up.

      What furries have as porn is art, and it comes nowhere near the level of nasty normal porn that I’ve seen out there. Anything else is just picking on a group of people just because you can. So let’s cut the bullshit, please. That’s what you’re doing. It’s prejudice plain and simple. Just because you can.

      It makes you no different than gay bashers or any other group of people who’re responsible for hate speech. I’m sure some will hotly hit that reply button with a kneejerk response, but at least think before you do and try to see things from other perspectives.

      (Here’s a book I bought and read recently. It’d be interesting if anyone could point out what’s so scarring about that. Furry porn exists, yes, but that’s not what furry is about, it’s just an aspect of it. Just as porn is an aspect of life in general.)

  14. Evil Otto says:

    “With Dragon Age and Mass Effect both including same-sex coupling, it’s clearly not an issue BioWare has across the board – in fact their probably the most forward-thinking and inclusive developer out there”

    I can smell Lucas’ influence somehow. The Star Wars prequels are a testament to his perception of romantic relationships.

  15. Teddy Leach says:

    I don’t want a relationship with a load of polygons. I just want to stab them.

    • jrodman says:

      while I’m sometimes sad as a gay gamer, having one aspect of my own self entirely absent from so many games (while heteroseuxality is well represented), I feel a much stronger correspondance with this position.

      I usually am tired by romantic or sexual elements in my games. Somtimes it’s because I have to do some stupid quest series to choose which of the various women my (uniformly) male character will date. Yeah, it’s just some pixels and yeah it’s not me, but why am i supposed to be making this choice anyway? It’s unimmersive because it’s a multiple choice of no choices I would make, but it’s also unimmersive because I DONT CARE. “no romantic crap for me please” should be a choice in most of these creations.

    • Hanban says:

      This is a sentiment I can respect.

      But if one includes relationships at all, I think it makes sense to include same-sex relationships as well.

      These are my ‘dollars’. Because my opinions are worth much you see!

  16. Juan Carlo says:

    It’s nice to have gay and lesbian relationships, but I really don’t like the “everyone you meet is bi” model. Not for any reason other than it doesn’t seem realistic and it doesn’t serve for more interesting characters. I want to play a game where:

    1. Characters are either written as gay, straight, or bi–which makes certain characters as unromance-able
    2. There is a certain amount of stigma over homosexual relationships (just because I think it makes for more interesting characters and writing if there’s a certain level of homophobia in the game’s universe). Wouldn’t it immediately make the characters way more interesting if in the next Bioware game, for example, certain members of your party are horrified and even hostile when your character “comes out”?

    Also, just to piss off all the fans who always bitch about homosexuality in Bioware games, in Dragon Age 3 I hope that they make gay sex a requirement in one of the main quests. Like, in order to stop the new blight Hawke has to totally bang Alister in the ass.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      snap :D

    • Jumwa says:

      Call me crazy, but I like the Elder Scrolls approaching to such issues. Racism and homophobia are mostly non-existent or (in the case of racism) low key and seemingly only directed at the beast races.

      It just gets tiresome enough dealing with irrational hate in the real world as is. Having our every fantasy and fiction revolve around the negative gets tedious to me.

    • 1R0N_W00K13 says:

      This is exactly my thought. Homosexuality has a place in gaming, it’s as important in today’s culture as heterosexuality and needs to be represented, but almost every game which acknowledges this at the moment has this concept that if someone is romance-able, they are open to any relationship whatsoever. To do this properly, characters who aren’t homosexual are needed as much as characters who are, and your affiliation both opens and closes romance options to you.

    • Buzko says:

      I’d be interested to see a game where homosexuality was the norm, and heterosexuality was this squicky behaviour adopted only out of duty. Or something. Obviously that could get spun badly, but the norms of this world (or even this point in time) are not the only ones available.

    • c-Row says:

      Also, just to piss off all the fans who always bitch about homosexuality in Bioware games, in Dragon Age 3 I hope that they make gay sex a requirement in one of the main quests. Like, in order to stop the new blight Hawke has to totally bang Alister in the ass.

      You could make it a QTE driven mini-game.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      Of course, it’d be nice to play an RPG where you’re a burly man and the foxy lady is hetero but genuinely isn’t interested in you. Not in a “Oh I’m not interested BUT I LOVE YOU” way but in “she’s nice, you’re nice, but she doesn’t like you” way. Get on with your job and stop thinking about her pants.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I don’t mind the “it’s not a big deal” take on the topic myself, but it’s been done too many times before. In fact, every game I recall more or less takes that approach (not to mention other supposedly “revolutionary” treatments of the topic in sci-fi/fantasy like “Battle Star Galactica.”)

      Like I said, I just think that it would make for a more interesting story, universe, and characters if they complicated things a bit much. Games like this already deal with topics of prejudice and racism, so prejudice over sexuality shouldn’t be too much of a leap.

      But truly good writing is SUCH a rarity in video games anyway that maybe I’m asking too much. Even if a company like bioware would take my advice, the results would still probably be as 1 dimensional and shallow as their other treatments of controversial topics (like racism, for example).

    • Sheng-ji says:

      While I kind of agree that it’s a bit weird that every character will swing all ways in Skyrim, especially with the Elder Scrolls underlying theme of racism, it at least does cater for every choice. What’s interesting to me though is the formation of relationships, not the act of sex. For instance, I live with a person. I make them breakfast every morning, they make my lunch every day. We spend most of our free time together, we have our own interests but mostly they are shared. We have known each other for 15 years, having met on our first drunken night at uni.

      Now have I just described my husband or my best friend? (I live with both) To really know the answer to that you need to know sleeping arrangements with this person, whether we hold hands or kiss and any other of the cringeworthy “romance” options you get in games.

      By all means give us the tools to define relationships with who we want, but don’t force it to be a sexual relationship, that’s all I’m really trying to say.

      Oh and Buzco – that would make for some really interesting story themes – procreation being a problem for that society, they may force all adults on reaching maturity to have sex with the opposite gender to ensure the continuation of the next generation – which to them would be the equivalent of every 18 year old being forced to have a physical homosexual encounter in our society!

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @Simon Hawthorne: I have not got all the way through it yet but Hunted: The Demon Forge seems to be like that.

    • Rinox says:

      Call me crazy, but I like the Elder Scrolls approaching to such issues. Racism and homophobia are mostly non-existent or (in the case of racism) low key and seemingly only directed at the beast races.

      Wait what? Racism pervades the entire TES universe. Maybe it wasn’t as clear in Oblivion as before, but still. The beast races are sentient/intelligent beings that just look differently, so I don’t really see how it’s ‘better’ if the racism is just directed towards them. Khajit and Argonians are widely regarded as thieves, criminals and held as slaves. I don’t see how this is subtle tbh. They rarely ever hold any position of power in Tamriel (maybe that’ll change once we see their homelands).

      Redguards are mocked because of their dark skin too, and the Dunmer are a xenophobic bunch of a-holes to say the least. And Nords are regarded as dumb, hickisch brutes. So yeah, racism…definitely there.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I’d like to see it genuinely come up as an issue. (I’m pretty sure it’s established somewhere in lore that the Khajiiti just do not give a fuck who or what anyone is banging, but I’d imagine the Imperials could be a fair bit grumpier about it, since they’re the closest thing the universe has to Catholics.) Morrowind had racism and slavery, remember?

      EDIT: Graw! Half a dozen posts about racism in The Elder Scrolls between my starting to write that and posting it. Anyway, yes, from “Ahzirr Traajijazeri, the Public Manifesto of the Renrijra Krin”, a hand-to-hand skill book in Oblivion:

      “Fusozay Var Var”: “Enjoy Life”
      Life is short. If you have not made love recently, please, put down this book, and take care of that with all haste. Find a wanton lass or a frisky lad, or several, in whatever combination your wise loins direct, and do not under any circumstances play hard to get. Our struggle against the colossal forces of oppression can wait.

    • El Armonista! says:

      @c-Row

      Pah to your QTE mini-game. I demand it be Kinect enabled, or nothing!

    • Jumwa says:

      @Rinox

      I should’ve been clearer, I was trying to say: it’s pretty low key except in the cases of the beast races.

      Morrowind was obviously a bit different, as the Dunmer were extremely xenophobic. But Oblivion definitely took a different turn.

      If you break down the racism in Oblivion in real world terms even, then yes, it’s pretty darn bad. Though for a fantasy game with such a big racial mix it’s still pretty mild compared to a lot of others I’m familiar with. After all, the Nerevarine can turn out to be an Argonian.

    • Wulf says:

      @Jumwa

      Except that’s not true at all. I’m not sure if you’ve played Morrowind (which I have recently) but in that there’s racism to go around. Between the Ashlanders, the various types of Mer, and even misogyny. (There is so much misogyny. Though a lot of it seems to come from the nords.)

      There is slavery, yes, though that does get abolished thanks to the Twin Lamps. (Bless ‘em.) However, there’s less actual racism there, it’s more that the rich people of Morrowind use them as cheap labour simply because they can, and there’s this whole sense of ‘pretend racism’ surrounding that just to help them justify their use of slave labour.

      Perhaps these are areas of the lore you never really dug into in your questing, but I did, and… yeah, Morrowind has loads of racism, misogyny, and general hate. It’s all over the place. You just have to take the time to stop and talk to the NPCs. There was next to no racism in Oblivion, by comparison, but there was no slavery either. It seems like the Imperials are actually pretty good at dealing with that. Hell, if the Imperials took better care of their poor then I could actually learn to respect them.

      That’s the biggest issue in Oblivion really – the poor. If the Imperials could get a handle on that then Cyrodiil would end up becoming a sort of paradise. There are the beginnings of government subsidy going on there though, what with free newspapers and whatnot. To be honest, and to go off on a bit of a segue, I’d actually like to see this as something to do in a future Bethesda game: Managing the empire but not simply in whom one goes to war with, but in how people are treated. Setting up free medical centres, schooling, and so on, based upon taxes.

      But I digress.

    • Wulf says:

      @MikoSquiz

      You are correct! I’m a big fan of the lore in Bethesda games (especially in Morrowind) and it has come up with both books and NPCs (though I believe it’s mostly mentioned in books). The Khajiit don’t actually have taboos in regards to sex, they don’t work that way, because a Khajiit is a Khajiit, as someone who walks the desert. But you have to understand that a race where bipedal felines are likely having sex with sentient and consenting quadrupedal tigers, then you have to have a degree of open-mindedness.

      I think that’s what it stems from, really. The Khajiiti, as a word, means ‘people who walk the desert,’ so all Khajiiti are the same. In this way they even have a lot of equality, a lot of equality. To be honest, the more I dug into the lore, the more I learned to respect the Khajiiti peoples due to this.

      To be honest, I’d love to see a gay relationship between a Suthay-raht (the Khajiit we commonly saw in Morrowind) and a Phamar (sentient quadrupedal tiger), just to tweak some mental nipples. (Not as in something the player plays, just as prominent characters in the player’s story.)

      But yes, in some ways, the Khajiiti have a model society.

    • Jumwa says:

      @ Wulf

      Morrowind is my favourite RPG of all time, I’ve sunk in hundreds of hours. And yes, I’m aware of the occurrence of racism in that game.

      However, I was speaking of the Elder Scrolls as a whole and where it’s gone now (or seems to be going at least), and as you say, Oblivion had practically none. Morrowind was a very gritty game with an extremely deep and “realistic” setting. All the same, settings with more drastic racism did come to mind than even Morrowind, like in Star Wars for instance, since that’s part of the topic.

      But with Oblivion and the events that have transpired in the first novel, it seems to me they’ve set up the Elder Scrolls to break down those old racial hatreds. I guess we’ll find out.

  17. The Sombrero Kid says:

    they should write the characters with their sexuality in mind – I want every one in my game to be bisexual as little as I want everyone in my game to be straight.

  18. Raziel_Alex says:

    +1 for Bethesda. Growing up is nice.

  19. Tei says:

    My character sex gender is Forever Alone.

    I finished Mass Effect 2 focusing on saving the galaxy. I was surprised to know that while I was fighting the aliens, everybody was in bed with everyone.

    • Similar says:

      Maybe that explains why it’s so often up to one single person to save the universe…

    • c-Row says:

      I was surprised to know that while I was fighting the aliens, everybody was in bed with everyone.

      And in the game.

    • Rinox says:

      :-D

      Actually, it’s not unusual for people in dangerous situations to party and sex it up – Sarajevo nightlife in the nineties comes to mind. Must be that impending doom that makes you go “what the hell”.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      The benefit of this is it prevents the old “You can save the world or your one true love, but you can’t do both mwahahahahaha!” trick that villains like to try on romantically attached heroes.

    • Hematite says:

      @Tei:

      Totally agree. My Shepard (the real Shepard) is an athletic medium-black man with a handlebar mustache and an imaginary sheriff’s star pinned to his chest. There’s no time for lovin’ until he’s done killin’.

      He is a total stud though.

  20. StingingVelvet says:

    In the 80′s everyone openly mocked homosexuals.

    In the 90′s everyone said “I don’t care, just don’t throw it in my face.”

    In the 00′s it seemed like every producer’s mission to make sure his movie/show/game had a gay character and addressed gay issues.

    Hopefully the 10′s will be the decade where it can just stop being a topic anyone cares about. I honestly don’t care who anyone else is fucking/loving/marrying, just who I am.

    • Prime says:

      “In the 00′s it seemed like every producer’s mission to make sure his movie/show/game had a gay character and addressed gay issues.”

      Russell T Davies, we’re scowling at you.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Prime

      Yeah, great example.

    • drakmaniso says:

      I think a lot of LGBT people dream of a world like this (where sexual orientation is just a private matter, not a big social concern). At least I do.

      The problem is, today many suffer because they are not heterosexual. Suicide rate is awfully high among young gays. Things get better, but unfortunately it’ll take more than a decade to solve this.

      So yes, I believe that games, and media in general, have a responsability toward such topics. I understand it can be annoying and feel invasive for many people. But seeing a badass LGBT character in a game can mean a lot for someone who has noone to rely on in real life, which is the case for many teenagers (and some adults too). It’s also an effective way to fight the prejudices against LGBTs, which are still way too common.

    • Ovno says:

      Well you do have to remember Russel T Davies did Queer as Folk, so its not like bringing in gay characters to his other series was really a suprise….

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Drakmaniso

      The problem is whenever there is a homosexual character in fiction now-a-days that tends to be what their whole world is about, which is annoying to me and condescending to you.

    • drakmaniso says:

      @StingingVelvet: Yes, I agree with that. Fortunately, this not always the case. E.g. the TV Show Torchwood, of the already mentioned Russell T Davies, is a great example of bisexual characters that are not focused on their orientation. Willow and Tara (from Buffy) are another wonderful example.

    • Wulf says:

      @drakmaniso

      Well said, really, thank you.

      I think that a lot of the media injecting gay characters into things is just them trying to counterbalance the hate that’s present elsewhere, even in other parts of the media, even today. As you pointed out, suicide rates are still high, and this is because gay people are still catching shit for simply being gay. I know from experience that it’s not as bad as it was in the ’70s and the ’80s, but it’s still bad.

      Sometimes what can help is a role model. Now what a lot of people don’t get (even some of the commentators directly above) is that there are plenty of heterosexual role models, but not that many homosexual ones. Seeing a gay character stand up in a show, openly being gay, and then saving the day can mean a lot to young gay people. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of RTD or his writing (often he gets on my nerves) but I do kind of like what he’s doing with Captain Jack. Especially in the new Torchwood series.

      In fact, in the new Torchwood series more than ever he seems to have figured out what he wants to do with Jack. The show does not revolve around Jack being gay, but it does offer Jack as… well, almost a gay superhero, to put it that way. And that’s great for gay people to see. Because without that it looks like gay people are unwanted, something to be brushed under the carpet and forgotten, where the heterosexual heroes are shiny, and super-important, and the gay people are somehow lesser or inferior.

      So whilst it may be annoying to the likes of StingingVelvet, I think that what’s going on right now is completely necessary and will continue to be necessary for a long time to come. When the world stops hating gays so much, then the media can then stop making such a big deal about gay role models, or gay supperheroes, or simply gays in positions of power where hate doesn’t matter, or where they’re supported. But in a world which does still have so much hate for gay people, it’s still needed.

      And whomever it annoys… well, deal with it? Just keep in mind that it’s helping someone.

  21. 4026 says:

    “Bethesda’s PR boss, Pete Hines, confirmed on Twitter that you can shack up with whomever you wish. Which presumably also introduces the complexity of cross-species relationships as well as sex.”

    Fox News must not be allowed to hear of this.

  22. Kollega says:

    I’m totally with you there, John.

    On topic: there is one thing i really don’t get about this. Why is that medieval fantasy RPGs (Dragon Age, Skyrim) have less trouble with including same-sex relationships than the science-fiction ones (Mass Effect, The Old Republic) when logically it should be the other way around? I mean, isn’t this kind of thing should be more accepted in a space-future than in the medieval era? I’ve heard the argument that since it’s medieval fantasy, it’s social norms may be more accepting than that of the real Middle Ages, but shouldn’t futuristic settings be at least as accepting, if not more so?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Fantasy is generally recognized as ‘past’, so morality, as understood by puritanically minded people, can be lax and people will chalk that up to barbarism. Sci-Fi is recognized as ‘future’ and people want to believe theirs are the views which shape the correct and virtuous evolution of human societies. Even if said views do not include evolution.

      What this means, of course, is that we need more Orc Catholics.

    • Kollega says:

      Except that puritanically-minded people don’t form the entire human population, and most likely not even a half of it. So for the other side, the crazy liberals, the barbarism would be witch hunts with torches and pitchforks, while the correct evolution of the human society would entail more acceptance, making-love-and-not-war, and other such things. And honestly? I have a hard time believing that only puritans play or make videogames, or even that only they finance and market them. This just dosen’t seem realistic. So my argument question still stands.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      There is a difference between beliefs individuals hold and the beliefs that the society these individuals form holds. The gap between the two can be huge. It is the path of least resistance to assume you’re making a product for the world as it was ten or twenty years ago.

      I’d support your argument, though, if you’d just tell me what it was. I only saw a question about not getting something.

    • Kollega says:

      Oh wait… yeah, it’s not an argument, it’s a question :P *facepalm*

      And i see your point about “safety”. Still, it feels more than a little odd that in the supposedly “barbaric” fantasy there are same-sex relationships and no-one is trying to kill the characters for having them – but in the future, they supposedly don’t exist at all.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Medieval persecution of homosexuals had nothing to do with it being medieval. There were societes and times it wasn’t enforced, and there is literature about the subject. And in future to medieval times, i.e. modern times, there were and are persecution of homosexuals in many places – from Nazi Germany to most African countries today. Imagine what ancient Greeks, from states where it was widespread, would have said about homosexuality in future like 1000 or 2000 years later, if they had known it. Maybe the times depicted in the Star Wars series have some cultural connection to Nazis…

    • pH-unbalanced says:

      As a fantasy writer who has spent plenty of time around both fantasy authors and science fiction authors, this doesn’t surprise me at all. It says as much about the type of people who are drawn to each genre as anything else — and I don’t mean their politics. The approach you take to writing the genres is just very different.

      Fantasy gives you more creative freedom — you don’t have to accept any preconditions to your story at all. And you don’t have to spend any time explaining how or why things are different than ‘our’ world, because for the people in that world there isn’t that standard of comparison. Science Fiction is more about extrapolating from present day trends, so you have to engage with how things are now, and how they change (or don’t) so you really have to do the mental work to get ‘there’ from ‘here.’ This means present day prejudices are more likely to be baked in, especially if commenting on them isn’t the point of what the author is writing.

    • Wulf says:

      @pH-unbalanced

      That’s… a very interesting point. Thanks for sharing!

      I’ve made a similar argument myself. Not relating to sexuality but in regards to what we hold as standards in our reality. If I want to write a science-fantasy story about another reality, then I set the standards, because they are my people and my creations. But in Science-Fiction I can understand what you’re saying about it being ‘near earth.’ Unless you’re dealing with far, far future stuff, at which point it becomes science-fantasy anyway.

      To be honest, this is why science-fantasy is one of my favourite genres, because it becomes less about pissing over why something doesn’t work, and more about having the imagination to say why it does. As in your own reality – what you say goes, and no one can really counter that in any meaningful way. People can try to use near-earth standards to disprove the merits of your reality (and they will, because some are just lacking in the creative will to do anything else) but at the end of the day their efforts will just be for naught, because your world isn’t a near-earth world. It’s something completely different.

      If you want to have water flowing up, you can do that, because your reality doesn’t have to obey the standard physical laws or elemental compositions of a near-earth reality. And if you want to do something completely unheard of with your society (kind of as I did with mine) then you can, because it doesn’t have to obey any modern societal standards. And again, you’re not dealing with humanity, which brings up an interesting point – why not aliens?

      Now, aliens are a fun point because with an alien race you really don’t have to be apropos of anything human. You can just create something totally out there. Like the Liir in Sword of the Stars, and the Pkunk in Star Control II (two of my favourite alien races). In the case of the Liir, I’d imagine that they’re completely fine with all sorts of sexuality. Why? They’re psychic! What this means for their race is that whenever they cause pain, they feel it, they feel the hurt, they feel all of it. So the Liir, as a race, in general are very, very reluctant to cause pain. And this has resulted in them becoming an incredibly tolerant and open-minded society, simply because no one understands why you would want to cause suffering like that.

      This is one reason why I wish more fantasy authors would use alien races to show how things could be done differently. Sure, for humans you may have to obey near-earth societal standards, but for aliens it could be completely different. As is evidenced in the case of the Liir. Now, in Mass Effect 2 we have a lot of aliens which all have very near-earth societies or analogies of them. That’s a shame. The first society that didn’t have an analogy of a near-earth society in Mass Effect 2 (the Geth) almost made me jump out of my seat and squeal with joy.

      That’s why the Geth are my favourite race in Mass Effect 2, because (bad guys included) they are the most alien as they don’t obey near-earth conventions for societal standards. They’re actually a truly anarchical super-commune where every unit gets a vote, they’re something that couldn’t work for humans or near-future humans. We’d need a lot of work, evolution, and integrated technology before we could become something like the Geth.

      So, to that end, whilst we can’t use humanity in science-fiction to explore these things, we CAN use aliens.

  23. noom says:

    So I guess what Star Wars is trying to teach us is that a) gayness is not allowed, & b) incest is fine, just as long as you don’t know about it.

    • Unaco says:

      There are, apparently, according to a reader of the literature, plenty of LGB characters in the Star Wars Universe.

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?1124-The-Nature-of-SW-TOR

      So no, Star Wars is not saying that Gayness is not allowed.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep. There are gay relationships in Star Wars, there’s even a gay married couple in there, so this really isn’t a Star Wars thing. In the literature it’s far more open-minded. I think that perhaps Mr. Lucas is afraid that the gaming mainstream will be alienated by the presence of gay relationships in TOR.

      I actually like Star Wars myself. It has a lot of interesting settings and races, and some of it I’m a fanboy of, I won’t deny that. It’s just a shame that the films and games opt for the most boring parts possible. So I’m not surprised that TOR has chosen to be like this, to be honest, as it displays the same sorts of stagnation that the Star Wars films would have the IP wallow in. The books are much better. Much, much better.

      (And this is how I can be a fanboy of Star Wars but not so much the games or films. But KoTOR II was a little better in this regards, it did pull at least a little from the atmosphere of the books.)

  24. Yosharian says:

    Uh. What. The Old Republic doesn’t support same sex relationships… In what way does a fucking MMO support relationships at all?

    • Juan Carlo says:

      That’s what I was wondering. I didn’t think you could usually marry NPCs in MMOs anyway, so what’s the big deal?

      Plus, if you want to have a gay relationship with another human player in game there’s really nothing stopping you.

    • John Walker says:

      It’s good when you don’t know about something to just angrily swear! Good work!

      TOR, like KOTOR before it, and indeed all BioWare games, has the possibility of relationships with the game’s NPCs.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Oh, yeah, that’s a definite double standard then.

      I didn’t realize you could romance opposite sex NPCs.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I’m not aware of this ‘Fucking MMO’ subgenre, but I’d imagine they support fucking.

    • jezcentral says:

      @LennyLeonardo, Please! Are you saying you haven’t heard of Second Life? :)

  25. Dawngreeter says:

    Seeing how Star Wars is based around an order of future-past Catholic ninjas, I’m not surprised.

    • Wulf says:

      Some parts of Star Wars, you mean?

      And frankly, it’s often the least interesting parts, by a wide margin. There are things going on elsewhere in the Star Wars Universe which are much more interesting than them.

  26. Airsoftslayer93 says:

    Was the cat lady in Kotor a lesbian?

  27. Theoban says:

    I’m happy for all those wishing to sex different genders in Skyrim, really. Very happy for you.

    But where’s the love for me? All I want is the ability to slip it to a mud crab. Just one mud crab, with their hot legs and that sexy carapace.

    Bethesda you have let me and my fellow mud crab sexers down

  28. Motsew says:

    Who gives a flying fuck? It’s a game not an equal rights political simulator.

  29. MiniMatt says:

    Honestly at the moment I’d really rather just have games which have *no* reference to sexuality or relationships or any of that guff regardless of whether they’ve got boy pixels or lady pixels underneath their dragonhide thong of defence +4.

    Videogame sex & relationship plots always just seem so unbelievably cringeworthy, it’s like they’re crowbarred into games which are primarily about shooting orcs in the face, copy filed by 12 year olds and then cleaned up by a PR department trying to be all things to all men/women/aliens/orcs.

    I still recall my other half watching me play Witcher, “so you’re going to have sex with her too are you?”, “yes dear, I have to in order to complete my playing card collection.”

    I mean, you’re on a quest to save the universe, it runs over a timespan of say a month. Now I don’t know about anyone else but I can go several months, years even, at my chosen profession (which, admittedly, is not quite so grand as “Saviour of the Known World”) without constantly getting leered at, chatted up by, and jumping into bed with my co-workers. Though I am an ugly fecker :o)

    Just because you’re on a quest to save the world doesn’t mean you have to have sex with everything that moves. Pretend your virtual self is quite happy in a relationship already, just wants to get on with work without jumping the bones of all your co-workers :o)

    • Megadyptes says:

      I was going to post something along this lines, but you saved me the hassle. +1, or whatever it is the cool kids get up to these days.

    • Moonracer says:

      if saving the world didn’t get me laid every night I probably wouldn’t bother.

    • Wulf says:

      It sounds like you haven’t done the relationship bit with Arcade Gannon in New Vegas.

      You should. You really, really should. It’s very well done, it’s frankly one of the better relationships I’ve seen done in a game. Alongside Ahnassi and Ruined-Tail’s Tale. I’d like to see more of that sort of thing, to be honest. Not just about the sex, but forming a bond with a character.

  30. el_Chi says:

    “Not hush hush, just not making a huge deal out of it. ”

    Personally I’d say that’s the most progressive and grown-up treatment of gay relationships.
    Going our of your way to point out how forward-thinking you are by including them gays makes it something novelty, which isn’t quite the same as acceptance.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Edit: I just re-read what you wrote, and realized I misunderstood you. Apologies.

      I don’t get this attitude at all. Multiple developers are already “going out of their way” to write story lines and dialog trees, create NPCs, record voice for the NPCs, etc. They’re just doing it for ONE sexuality, and not asking themselves: “should we pay attention to the 10% (made up statistics ftw) of the population that is not straight?”

  31. Very Real Talker says:

    “You’d imagine gaming would lead the way on more liberal values, but it’s surprising still how rare LGBT characters are in games”

    yeah because a genre dominated by the fetishization of guns and violence just scream liberalism and tolerance for queer people to me.

    Note that I’m not complaining and I’m happy that LGBT people are still not widely accepted in games. But I can’t imagine why would you associate gaming to liberal values

    • Kollega says:

      Action games, mostly FPSes and TPSes, is the genre that is dominated by the fetishization of guns and violence. The medium of gaming as a whole… not so much. It’s like saying that comic books are dominated by saving people from burning buildings and vigilante justice just because it’s what superheroes usually do (not all comic books are even about superheroes, and not all superhero comics are about rescues and vigilantism).

      I do see your point, i’m just saying that it’s shooters, and not gaming in general, that fall under it.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Assuming you mean fetishisation in a sexual context (in the same vein as the ludicrous phrase ‘gun porn’, for example), I have to object. I’ve never seen a game that encouraged you to think sexually about weapons.

      If you’re meaning guns as ‘objects of obsessive devotion’ in a non-sexual context, I can sort of see that, but as I see it, that’s the industry responding to the consumers, not the other way round. To me, gaming is much more responsible for doing this with cars, what with Gran Turismo and its thousand tweakable, tunable, upgradeable real-world photorealistic cars. If this is what you mean, I’d recommend steering clear of the word ‘fetish’ due to its sexual connotation.

  32. Lars Westergren says:

    >BioWare has across the board – in fact they’re probably the most forward-thinking and inclusive developer out there.

    “One of the most” maybe. But it’s a sadly small field.

    I think Obsidian beats for the number one place easily. Bioware almost always include bisexual characters yes, but to me it feels very “token”. It’s the same dialogue choices and same responses, just voiced by a same sex voice actor this time. When Obsidian write outsider characters it feels more believable, the characters more fleshed out. And there is more gay/bi characters in the game than just that one team member you can flirt with, or who react to the fact that same sex relationships exist. (Just remembered – Juhani in Kotor is a nice exception though.)

    • Keymonk says:

      I liked how in FONV Cass handled finding out the main character was lesbian if you had the Cherchez LaFemme (?) perk. She got slightly surprised, a bit flustered and awkwardly explained how she totally doesn’t mind who she ends up in bed with if she’s drunk. Still wasn’t interested, though. I thought it was pretty nice.

    • Hematite says:

      @Keymonk:

      I think New Vegas was the best I’ve seen in that regard. The only minor complaint I can make is that while Arcade and Veronica were gay it was quite obvious that there had been a developer checklist somewhere with that said “Gay characters: male [ ] female [ ]“.

      I demand that in future the number of gay characters is not strictly “one of each”, and also look forward to the day when two companions will strike up a relationship with each other during the down-time when you leave them hanging around at the base.

    • Erd says:

      I think one of the advantages of Obsidian is they don’t write “love” relationships, at least not in the Bioware trend of starting at meet-cute and finishing all the way at happily ever after.

      Also, New Vegas’ cast is a bit like a chocolate sampler. 1 straight male, 1 straight female, 1 gay male, 1 gay female, 1 robot, 1 dog, 1 ghoul and 1 super-mutant.

  33. Zanchito says:

    “As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars.

    Thread closed.”

    Really? Oh, boy, Just like Mr. Ahmadinejad: “There are no homosexuals in Iran”. The power of negation and authoritarism combined! Go Captain Macho!

  34. sakmidrai says:

    I believe Fable did it years ago… Some guys could fall in love with you and you could marry them, also sleep with them and have a wonderful house with them…

  35. LQ says:

    There has been an ongoing poll and discussion on the SWTOR forums about romances.

    Current thread is here:
    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=448772

  36. Stevostin says:

    The only consideration that should be taken into account about deciding about this stuff is whether or not it makes sense with the game design. Does the people in the ES realms deal well with homosexuality, like the ancient greeks did (actually, pedophilia was socially acceptable too) ? Then let’s have a gay relationships in game (same question about pedophilia, necrophilia , hemophilia and stamps collections, of course).

    Oh, and do people wed in that world, by the way ? To one single entity ? Because the point of those fantasy worlds is to experience something different than our boring own world. So each time there’s a code that seems to come straight out of the box from my known world rather than to be specifically invented to create some consistence with the brave new one I am basically buying with those games, I feel flawed.

    So in the Star Wars universe, that’s really obvious. Star Wars world isn’t about gay or lesbian’s cause being advocated. Actually it’s not even about sexuality. So bringing heavily the “you disregard our real world community” really breaks what’s the world is about for everyone. Why not then have rent about never featuring other minorities ? A jedi in a wheel chair, maybe ? An obese wookie ? Some syndicalist droïds, maybe ?

    Of course, ES world should deal with that, because ES is all about do your own choices and let’s face it, I want to choose exactly what biscuit I introduce in what hole. That being said, ES isn’t about doing everything out of the blue : there are strong references to real medieval features (castle, king, sword, unicorn). There are even sort of churches, where you would expect some sort of wedding to occur. But gay wedding is certainly not from any medieval background ( they were burned here in France, which led to the interesting debate or “stoning or burning, what is the most barbaric ?”). So either the idea is to make it “ES specific” gay relationship – in that case you need to give it some context, have gay wedded NPC, statues, books – either it’s taken like the rest from the medieval era and you deal with it like it was.

    Which would probably be the most interesting choice, and still it’s never the one taken by game designers. You can do a movie – a mainstream movie – with a protagonist facing homophobia or racism – either at the core of the plot, or just as a side aspect. You just never have that in a video game. Everything made about gay or blacks or whatever is marketing toward communities – which is easily seen by the fact it’s only about powerful communities : you’re never able to play a midget while you can be a black lesbian. There is no will to actually deal with racism, religious or sexual segregation. Will Prey 2 feature a Christian hero persecuted by agnostic aliens for his faith, even gently ? No. Still, that would have been an interesting experience. That’s where you see videogame still have way to grow up. “Hey, we have gay marriage !” is just what comes after you learn how to play with yourself, I guess.

    • pipman3000 says:

      Yeah it sucks how gaming is always featuring gay black protagonists and things they can relate to while ignoring the very real issue of Christians being persecuted by atheists from other space :\

    • Dawngreeter says:

      “Will Prey 2 feature a Christian hero persecuted by agnostic aliens for his faith, even gently ?”

      I think aliens would have already figured out that agnosticism is a term which is in no way related to theism and would recognize that most human religious people are in fact theistic agnostics.

    • Binho says:

      I had no idea people can’t be prejudiced against majorities. So it’s ok to think all Christians are bigoted morons? That’s not steretyping or prejudice? Have to update by rule book then, as it seems it’s only prejudice if it’s a minority. I’m going to go burn down a church!! Wohoo!

      Anyways, you are being pedantic and picking on the most insignificant part of his argument. I must be on the internet!

  37. rasputinsownbear says:

    This is not enough. We demand a redguard emperor for Tamriel.

    • pipman3000 says:

      (The joke is black people)

    • Wulf says:

      That would be rather amazing. I’d be all for that. I’d love to see the Imperials work out a system of election, too. I mean, as I’ve said before, there’s a lot to respect with the Imperials. They still have a long way to go, but they might just be about getting there. They have people of various races in their royal guard, after all. And yes, that even includes beastpeople (Morrowind!).

      I know it was a joke, but really, that would be an awesome form of natural evolution for them to do. And after Skyrim, it might even be an apt time to try that.

  38. Meusli says:

    But what about water sports? Have they considered adding water sports in yet, because that is where it is at.

    • pipman3000 says:

      Because the water park kept freezing over.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I think if watersports was the way that 20% of the western world had to physically express their love for other people, and they had been stigmatised and persecuted throughout the world for it then yes, I’d probably argue it should be in there.

  39. enobayram says:

    I’m yet to see a game where romance isn’t utterly pointless anyway. If you’re searching for romance with an NPC in a game, you should seriously consider your life. When AI becomes strong enough that we can have meaningful, non-scripted and game changing in a procedural way conversations with the NPCs I can promote it to just pointless from utterly pointless. I don’t understand why people bother the developers with aspects of something that is utterly pointless.

  40. hotcod says:

    Firstly I doubt this is something that game from bioware directly. I’m going to presume that it’s part of the agreement when working with the star wars licence. In fact there is no real openly gay character in all the expanded star wars universe as far as I can recall. Lucas Arts have pretty much said that it does exist but they just don’t want to have to deal with the issues that it can raise… which is a little said but ya laying the blame on bioware for being reductive when they’ve had gay characters in there own IP games and even a race of what is in effect bisexual female aliens seems a bit silly.

    As for what is happening in Skyrim… I hope that it’s not just “any character you can have a relationship with is bisexual” because that is in it’s own way is as reductive and reduces sexuality to being meaningless and little more than titillation. If you can bed any character you like regardless of sex or in this case race then the the sexuality of the player character is in effect a meaningless choice. It has no impact on who the character you are playing is other than what model ends up living in your house. it’s an easy cop out that is placates the issue by demeaning what it can do for character.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2520-Sexual-Diversity

    These guys, as ever, say it all far better than I can… In essence if every NPC you can have a relationship with has there sexuality defined by what the player wants then you lose sexual diversity as a tool to help crate a unique and interesting characters.

    The case study they use in that video pretty much proves the point. The character is, with out his sexuality and the issues involved with it… less interesting… by making his sexuality more ambiguous for the English realise and as such allowing players to define the characters sexuality to their liking (as this would do) the character is, if seen as not being gay, left shallower and far less interesting as a result.

    The only mature way to deal with sexuality is to accept that while it does not define us it is a important part of who we are. To leave a characters sexuality undefined until the player makes a choice about it simply leaves that character as being unconvincing. while their sexuality does not and should done define who they are it is an important aspect of their life that then has to simply has to be glossed over as not being important to who that character is because the writers can not know what it ends up being.

    I guess while I’d much rather see all sexuality accepted as part of games more than it just being out right ignored I don’t want to see it made in to something meaningless to character. Accepting all sexuality as part of the tool box to create interesting characters just seem to me to be more affirming than portraying it as little more than a superficial choice for the player to make.

  41. CalleX says:

    I see my fair share of homosexuality on TV and in media in general. Im glad I dont have to be bombarded mor with it in games TBH.

    • Hanban says:

      Yeah man, I hear you!

      I see heterosexuality all day every day in every aspect of life and I’m totally over it!

      Bring in the furries!

    • pipman3000 says:

      @CalleX

      I kept typing up replies and then deleting them because they’d be considered flaming so I’m just going to say this post is bad and you should feel bad.

    • hotcod says:

      I’m going to ask you to read back what you said to your self but replace homosexuality with “black people” or “female characters” and lets see if that will help you realise what a fundamentally hideous statement you just made.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I’d like to suggest that “homosexuality”, “black people”, and “female characters” are not synonyms. However, you’re absolutely right – this guy is filth.

    • hotcod says:

      No other than they are all minorities that just happen to exist… which is something some people seem to take personal offence too.

      Point I was making is that all those people exist and have as much right to be represented in our media as the typical straight white male.

      God forbid Mr centre of the whole universe has to be exposed to something other than him self in his games! ‘cus clearly games are made purely for his entertainment and as such should only include the kinds of people he deems acceptable.

    • jp0249107 says:

      Being gay may not be a political stance, but it has politicized itself to the point of being as much of one as being a drum-circle banging empty-headed hippie is. I’m not that interested in seeing a REAL man and woman making out hardcore in the street, much less forced recognition of a digital representation of heterosexuality or gays in my video games.

    • Rii says:

      Those bloody gays, always agitating to be treated equally and all, whoever heard of such nonsense?

    • Hanban says:

      @jp0249107

      It’s a bit difficult to know what you really mean by “politicized”. But, what is worth considering is, what would the situation be for the gay community be if they hadn’t become politically active fighting for their rights? Fact of the matter is, being homosexual means that many things that we associate as normal everyday rights in society are denied to you.

      Should they not then have “politicized”? I fail to see where you are supposed to draw the line between actively seeking the same rights, and becoming comparable to a “empty-headed hippie”.

      Privilege, yadda yadda yadda.

    • aircool says:

      Roy from IT Crowd.

      “Oh, I’m very comfortable with my sexuality, I just don’t want to be slapped in the face with their sexuality.”

  42. Berzee says:

    “This is my sister, Mr. Sterling.”
    “My name’s not Mr. Sterling.”
    “No, but my sister’s is.”

    That’s liberality there, that is — true cutting-edge innovation. Who says a man can’t be your sister?

  43. LennyLeonardo says:

    I find the whole ‘no homosexuals in Star Wars’ thing pretty hard to stomach. Fine, write a story that happens not to contain gay characters, that’s not a problem, but to create an entire galaxy where no-one is gay? That’s delivering a pretty strong message if you ask me.

    Anyway, what about C3P0?

  44. Zaxwerks says:

    I think it would be a good idea if at the start of a game as well as being able to customize your character you could also specify general details of what sex and physical attributes you found attractive and what you found unattractive, and then the game could generate any potential romatic interest characters around the variables you defined, ‘cos quite frankly I was more an Alistair man than a Zevran man, I would have constantly been nagging him to get his stupid girly long hair cut and our relationship just wouldn’t have lasted in the long term.

  45. jp0249107 says:

    It’s a shame that we have to insert politics into something that helps us escape from the crap we see on MSNBC and the alphabet networks. I’d rather not be reminded of the intolerance and special treatment being demanded by both sides when I want to relax.

  46. elikal says:

    Thanks RPS for bringing this news. “Many gay Bothans died to bring us this information.”

    Alas, most websites tended to ignore this news about the unexpected move that SWTOR exclude same gender romances. It is indeed sad that video games are the most conservative of all entertainment media. Literature, movie, TV series and even comics have LONG ago moved on to a modern era!

  47. Dionysus says:

    So now the TES modders only have to add functionality for impregnating NPCs and child birthing. Also tentacle rape, a stripping spell, and scripts and animations to mimic various sexual positions (including tentacle variations).

  48. Zogtee says:

    It’s Luke and Leia, guys, not Luke and… No, wait. Fuck!

  49. Zepp says:

    Gay relationships in Skyrim? Damn, that’s news worthy.

  50. v_ware says:

    Guess my characters will be forever alone.

    Or maybe he’ll a relationship with a very butch female trandoshan.

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