How Kickstarter Got Gay Marriage Into Massive Chalice

By Nathan Grayson on June 6th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

In Double Fine’s Massive Chalice, heroes follow one of (videogame) life’s most well-worn paths: fight demons, fight demons, fight demons. But these heroes age, and their blood slowly ceases its boiling. They grow old and begin to seek out someone else to warm their weary bones. Also, to birth and raise the most powerful combat babies in all the realm because, you know, demons. Still, it’s a rather traditionally minded system at heart, so I had to ask: where do gay couples enter the picture, if at all? Massive Chalice lead Brad Muir was honest: that issue totally slipped his mind… at first. But then Kickstarter backers swooped in to save the day. Hurrah! It is, however, an ending that Muir doesn’t think would’ve been quite so happy had a traditional publisher been in the mix.

To hear Brad Muir tell it, Tim Schafer makes worlds first and systems second. Muir, meanwhile, does it the other way around. He just makes things work, then he worries about the details.

He acknowledges, however, that maybe this time around, he should’ve worried about the details a teensy bit sooner.

“We did not talk about gay marriage until we launched the Kickstarter,”

“We did not talk about [the possibility of gay marriage] until we launched the Kickstarter,” he tells RPS. “We were so focused on pure pragmatic mechanics and how it would work and coupling and all these things that we hadn’t [considered it]. That was something I got kinda blindsided by. That was really unfortunate. It kinda makes me feel shitty that it’s not something I’d thought of. I think it’s sort of hetero privilege that I didn’t see it coming.”

It’s not that Muir doesn’t want his game to embrace people of all codes, creeds, and backgrounds, either. He just made a mistake. But then, that’s why Double Fine opted to bring the idea of Massive Chalice straight to Kickstarter instead of going with a stretch goal and prototype-oriented “pre-order model”: because they know they’re not perfect.

“One of the cool things is we have the opportunity to think about it and address it because we brought it to the community,” says Muir, suddenly grinning. “We brought it to a broader group of people, and then there were some people who brought it up and wanted to talk about it. There’s a raging thread on our forums.”

So hurrah, hugs and well-muscled sexytimes for all. This, Muir figures, is the optimal outcome. Everybody wins, and then they all get married. But what would’ve happened if Double Fine hadn’t fulfilled the conditions to unlock real life’s good ending? The contagious enthusiasm in Muir’s voice wilts a bit as he explains:

“If we had gone with a publisher on this, I really think [it wouldn’t have ended well]. Because you sign the deal, you go underground, you start working on the game, you don’t talk to the community or anybody, and you get so focused on all these other aspects of the game. Just making it work – and all the tactical combat and mechanical things. We might just overlook something like same-sex coupling all the way until we announce the game. And then people say, ‘Hey, what about gay marriage?’ And we’re like, ‘Fuck,’ because we’ve already worked on it for more than a year.”

“If somebody did think about it during that whole thing, they would’ve probably just killed it because it is such a controversial issue. They’d probably not want to have it associated with the game at all. And then they’d give me a PR company line that I’d have to tell in every interview, and it’d be super, super shitty. And then any gay gamers who are coming to the game and playing it and wanting to see themselves represented would just be really disappointed.”

Either way, no bueno. Fortunately, Double Fine was able to reconsider their systems ages before ever implementing them, and the resulting discussion’s given rise to some rather interesting ideas.

“We’ve been talking about ways to actually incorporate gay marriage,” Muir continues. “One of the suggestions was to allow couples – male/female or otherwise – to contribute to the good of the realm via means other than childbirth. So couples could raise children or research technology. That’s one interesting way to handle it. And then if you couple it with the ability to foster children, I think that’s a way you could have same-sex couples in the game. And it’s optional. People can choose to engage it or not.”

“The other option is to be less explicit about it. Maybe these aren’t marriages. Maybe you’re just retiring two heroes in the same keep. Because I really like it when more procedural, systemic games allow the player to kind of use their imagination a little more to fill in the gaps of what’s actually happening.”

Ultimately, though, Muir is keen to point out that Massive Chalice still has a long way to go. Someday, the chalice will be massive indeed, but at this point it’s not even on level with Chip from Beauty and the Beast. But he’s aware now. His eyes and ears are open. And while his absolute foremost goal is to make the best, most enjoyable game possible, he also wants everyone to come along for the ride.

“I don’t know where we’re gonna land on it,” he admits, “but I will say that I want the game to be inclusive. I don’t think that hurts anyone. If you as a gamer feel like you’re more represented in this thing, that’s only gonna deepen your personal story. I really like emergent story stuff, and I think that only stands to improve emotional connections to these heroes. That’s only gonna be a good thing.”

Check back soon for the full interview, in which we discuss plans for everything from ground-level combat to Civilization-style multi-generational mechanics, emergent game systems, whether or not Double Fine’s truly done with publishers, the potential dishonesty of rooting a Kickstarter in ideas instead of confirmed features, Muir’s frightening inability to stop almost killing himself, and ska music.  

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516 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    darkChozo says:

    Huh? The lead on Django is Jamie Foxx.

  2. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    I’m not against black people, in fact some of my best friends are black people, but why does this game need to include them? As a semi-realistic medieval simulator (with added demons and magic), it shouldn’t include any colored folk since they were never in any position of power in the civilized European nations.

    Same goes for any female character in the game that isn’t a baby factory.

  3. DXN says:

    These comments make me sad. :(

    The story is about a nice thing happening. A fun, whimsical fantasy game is being adapted a little so everyone feels included and a minority can get a little representation, in a minor and unobtrusive way.

    You know what a good reaction to that is? “Woo! Yay! Glad the developer got to connect with their audience and find out what they wanted and implement it! That’s some tasty game design process!”

    And instead so many people see this as an opportunity to start flailing their arms around in alarm, and trot out the same old tired nasty bullshit pseudo-scientific nonsense about Nature and Political Correctness and forcing our Big Gay Agenda down your throat and Oppression and poor old you because how terrible for Double Fine to have to Compromise their Artistic Vision for a bunch of uppity radical activists. Despite the fact that they’re perfectly happy to do so and glad to have had it pointed out to them. Despite the fact that THIS IS A FANTASY GAME where they can do what they like and there is absolutely no reason for them to dredge up the prejudices and shortcomings of medieval society and pin them onto their heroes.

    Just… ugh. I’m seriously disappointed in the RPS audience sometimes. Why not just take a nice thing, that makes people happy, and appreciate and enjoy it instead of using it to get another kick in?

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      All I’m asking is that you wash your Big Gay Agenda first.

      You’re right though, it sounded as though they thought it was a cool idea… But there was another side to it where they sounded almost as though they were apologizing for it which seemed a little bit forced to me. I just want them to include this for the right reasons. Most roguelikes I’ve played have had a concept of your previous characters having been ancestors of your current one and I’m enjoying seeing this aspect made more literal, but I’m surprised that the game is as much of a “Sims” style relationship simulator as it now sounds it’s going to be.

      • Saldek says:

        You needn’t worry about the game becoming “a ‘Sims’ style relationship simulator” as there isn’t the slightest indicator that this might be the case.

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          JamesTheNumberless says:

          Of course the game is not a relationship simulator at its core, but it has a relationship model that goes a bit further than just having a pool of breeding resources. Your soldiers form couples and have families and the designers are suggesting that gay relationships might have some meaning in the game.Well that can’t have anything to do with breeding, and I think gay people would agree with me! But does have a lot to do with relationships and gets very complicated very quickly. No, there is nothing bad in principle about having complicated relationship structures modeled in a game but I’d be wary of tacking on complexity to a simple game idea, especially if it interferes with the core mechanic and isn’t just an extra thing you can choose to do, an extra bit of polish or attention to detail that adds some charm to the game.

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            jrodman says:

            No, you’re wrong here as elsewhere.

            Many gay couples procreate.

            I have a lovely nephew from a gay relationship.

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            JamesTheNumberless says:

            You cannot breed a man with another man, or a woman with another women, whatever you can do to produce a child to be raised by a gay couple, you cannot do this. Please continue looking for homophobia in my comments, it’s amazing to see how much you’ve managed to find so far. You don’t actually want to discuss anything, you just want to be able to read your own comments and nod at them. You aren’t even talking about the game.

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            elderman says:

            You cannot breed a man with another man, or a woman with another women…

            … yet. Stem cell science, or another avenue of research, may yet enable people to do this.

            But Double Fine aren’t talking about men and women, they’re talking about video game characters. And it’s a game still in the middle of the design stage. All assumptions are premature.

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            JamesTheNumberless says:

            I have no doubt that we can, and should, do this. But I wouldn’t call it breeding. Maybe in the game it could be possible through magic, that might be cool but I still think simpler and more elegant systems that tie better into the natural world (I am not suggesting homosexuality in unnatural, rather that breeding same sex couples is, and not in the sense that it is wrong! – computers are unnatural but I think they’re kind of cool) make more satisfying, intuitive gameplay that’s easier to balance and more fun to play. that has everything to do with the game and nothing to do with politics. My thoughts on the social issue would be that if you make it impossible for gay couples in the game to have children, then immediately your gay characters are a kind of second class of citizen – or a more disposable asset. I don’t think either of these foster the right attitude towards homosexuals. So you either don’t have them, or you make it possible for everyone to breed with everyone – but you have to decide which of those is best for gameplay. Doublefine shoehorning in gay characters to avoid bad publicity (*IF* that is what they are doing) is ultimately not good for anyone.

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            elderman says:

            Well, then, I think you should back the project and give them your design ideas. Or just tell them something you’d like to see in the game. They’re asking for input.

            But neither you, nor any other interested parties from Kickstarter, are going to make or ruin this game. If Brad Muir is good at game design and if Double Fine are good at game production this will be a good game. It has a strong central idea, though not one that appeals to me. The anxious castles in the air (<– satire alert, [I hope]) you and others are building about how Double Fine incorporates the suggestion to allow same-gendered partnerships into the game are just weird considering how little we (or Brad Muir for that matter) know about Massive Chalice now. I don't see how the news in the RPS post is cause for anything except for a small cheer.

            Why the heck are you so interested in this aspect of the game? If it’s an interest in the game itself, why are you posting here instead of in the Double Fine forums or on the Kickstarter page?

            [Edited by me, elderman, to remove an unnecessary implication.]

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            jrodman says:

            I’m sorry that “produce offspring” isn’t good enough for your preconceived ideas of procreation.

            It’s also interesting to see the common application of sexism to the topic of homosexuality. I said a gay couple produced a nephew and you insist they’re two men. But they’re not.

            So your views have been falsified, but yet instead of accepting that you’re wrong, you try to insist on your already disproven position, combined with making this about how I shouldn’t be talking here because .. I’m not talking about the game.

            As if you were.

  4. Spakkenkhrist says:

    Well I’m glad we got this all sorted out between us.

  5. AlexStoic says:

    Such an interesting topic. If Double Fine wants to include gay marriage or not, I don’t see how it matters. That is to say, neither decision should really illicit more than a shoulder shrug, and if it makes some people happy, why not do it?

    I’m not sure if it really needed addressing, though. The game is about making babies. If this game were based on the Lion King license and you could raise prides of lions I doubt anyone would be asking for gay lions. It wouldn’t matter. When Brad Muir says “Oops, we didn’t think of that” it’s because it has nothing to do with anything.

    So, let’s summarize, because it doesn’t need to be confusing: Double Fine makes a game that is not about being gay. Backers ask if they would add gay people, for fun. Double Fine say yes. Everybody is happy.

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      elderman says:

      I mostly agree, and I think your summary is particularly well put, except, just from having heard Brad Muir talk about the game a bit and followed the Kickstarter and read stuff on RPS, I don’t think the game is really about making babies, either. It’s about a heroic quest that takes several generations to achieve. The rules for creating characters are described as involving inheritance (of traits and of artefacts), but that’s just one part of one half of the game concept.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      F*** yeah, gay lions! There should be a game that’s just about gay lions because that is just made of awesome.

  6. xsikal says:

    If they can find a systemic way to handle a variety of marriages and/or offspring (straight marriages, gay marriages, multiple marriages, bastard offspring, etc.), I say more power to them. The more that people feel included the better, in my opinion. I do think the key word there is systemic though, as it would be really difficult (and, in my opinion, a misuse of funds, in that a lot of funds would end up being allocated to augment a comparatively minor portion of the game) to have to add code to individually support each possible permutation.

    I also think giving the player some sort of control over this orientation (Brad said it would be optional, somehow) would be good too. It’s not necessarily realistic to do so; the idea of choosing sexual orientation is obviously not one that meshes with reality, but, from a game play perspective, it means people could tailor the game more to their liking, which seems like a good thing. If they want, straight players could have only straight heroes. If they want, gay players could have only gay heroes. If they want, either could have a mix of both. Certainly, my planned kingdom of amazons who maintain a dungeon full of male breeders will be fine with the occasionally straight amazon falling in love with her muscle-bound male breeder, even if we do inevitably banish them for their heresy.

    The inclusion of non-hetero marriage and childbearing does kind of throw the vaguely western european medieval-esque backdrop out the window though. While there have obviously been gay individuals throughout history, gay marriage + adoption / surrogate pregnancies seems like more of a sign of the times we currently live in. That’s totally fine — Double Fine is creating the lore for the game, and it is, after all a fantasy world that they can define however they wish. I feel like it’s a potential flaw in Brad’s game design strategy though… they’re making lots of systemic decisions and then are going to have to go and create a world lore that somehow accommodates those decisions. I tend to think it makes more sense the other way; create your world and lore, and let a lot of the details come from that.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      I don’t think sexuality ever made its way into medieval records so blatantly – and this is understandable when you consider it was the church who did most of the writing. Homosexuality is well documented in Europe in the ancient word, and in the modern. So there is no good reason to believe nobody was born gay in the dark ages. It would appear from record that people weren’t so open about it… But again, this is just from record. e.g. one’s death certificate might record that “Sir Fabulous was a bachelor and had no children” but no churchyard epitath is ever going to read: “Here lies Sir Fabulous, knight of the realm. He shunned the quim but loved the bumme”. I can’t see how anyone gets half way through writing a “historical” argument without considering that there’s too much soft detail about the everyday lives of our ancestors that we just don’t know. For all we know Sir Fabulous was actually the landlord of the local gay tavern! (tolerated by the church because they made a lot of money supplying them with beer from their monestaries)

      • xsikal says:

        And this is why it’s pointless to get into these threads. You ignored two thirds of my post (i.e. that gay marriage should absolutely be part of a SYSTEMIC approach, and that approach should allow for other things too like multiple marriages, bastard offspring, and the like, and that control over these relationships needs to be in the hands of the player, so that they get to decide whether or not to pursue same-sex relationships, purely hetero relationships, or a mixture of the two) because it was easier to put words in my mouth and reply to that straw man.

        To your point, I never said there were not gay people throughout history. Obviously, it’s an easier point to respond to, but that does not mean I said it. I simply said that gay marriage + adoption or surrogate pregnancies seemed more like a sign of the times than a historical Western European setting. By the way, MUCH OF HISTORY is a matter of interpretation, mostly due to the lack of a multitude of eye-witness accounts or forensic evidence to the contrary. So, yes, Sir Fabulous could have existed, could have secretly married (probably not by the church, but eh) his boyfriend Peasant Jim, and then the happy duo could have found Lady Coolwiththat to bear Fabulous a son. Sir Fabulous could also have been blue, had wings, and ridden an enormous crocodile into battle. There’s no record of such, but it could have happened.

        Regardless… in the very same paragraph, I pointed out that, given the setting is a fantasy world of Double Fine’s making, the rules and lore can be whatever they want.

        Seriously, I don’t see the point of your reply, given it had little bearing on what I posted. But hopefully, you felt good about making it, at least. In the end, that’s all any of us can really hope for.

  7. Commissar Choy says:

    What the hell RPS comments. What the hell.

    • DXN says:

      For serious. ;_;

      I expected a few “yay!” comments, I got a shitstorm of how this is a terrible terrible thing because IT’S NOT NECESSARY GODDAMMIT HOW DARE THEY. Right, of course, heaven forbid all you sheltered little angels should have to deal with having a particular option in your videogame. Let’s have another pointless, angry, hateful back and forth for hundreds of comments rehashing arguments barely worthy of a 12-year old.

      Just, sigh. There are so many ways the RPS community is awesome, but these kind of issues are really not one of them.

  8. Aeros says:

    The purpose of a good fantasy lore is to combine realistic elements from our society with fantasy elements grounded in magic and the supernatural. If you have a medieval styled fantasy everything is based around roughly what the time period was like politically, culturally etc with your mixture of mythical beasts and magic added in. If you were a gay noble which obviously existed you would have been forced to marry a woman and have an heir to carry on the royal line. Adding in gay marriage, a completely irrational element for the time period and not grounded in the supernatural would detract from the setting. However, for the sake of argument let’s say it IS a fantasy world which completely accept gay marriage and theres no Christian religion saying its bad. It’s still an absolute monarchy and your job as a royal family member is still going to be to create and heir and you would still have to get married for the good of the state not your own selfish desires. You guys are talking like princes and princesses got to choose their marriage for love but thats a bunch of nonsense. You don’t get the same freedoms that peasants do which is ironic because you have the power they don’t but that is how it is.

    Further the only thing we know about the game and what they are selling as the game concept is the core game mechanic plus some vague details. We know its an SRPG turn style combat with magic, ranged, and melee attacks. We know you have some out of combat control over your kingdom. The very specific non-vague core mechanic though was demons are attacking for hundreds of years. Royal families get married passing on their genes to children thus resulting in differing offspring and you can pass down an heirloom artifact to your future generation. You must decide to keep fighting with your best fighters or retire them to raise the next generation. Quite simply a brilliant concept. Adding adoptions makes no sense royal families are going to raise their own children. Plus now you have your best fighter making a child and now not raising them so… he wouldn’t retire? They are completely watering down the core game mechanic for the self admitted purpose of being inclusive to gay people and adding nothing to the game except flavor text to appease people. This is very disappointing. I have no problem with gay relationships being in a game if it fits the lore well and/or fits the game mechanics well and certainly think they should have equality in real life but this added to the game diminishes the quality of the game.

    To clear up some of the ridiculous arguments going back and forth….. a game that has relationships but didn’t include gay relationships is not homophobic, this isn’t real life your rights aren’t being trampled if every game doesn’t include gays. Labeling someone homophobic or gay hating for disagreeing about this being in the game is absolutely silly. If romance was some tiny flavor added to the storyline it wouldn’t change anything to have gay marriage but if its altering the very core essence of the game for political reasons not game mechanics they shouldn’t be adding it.

    • DXN says:

      If you have a medieval styled fantasy everything is based around roughly what the time period was like politically, culturally etc with your mixture of mythical beasts and magic added in.

      A broad range of ‘mixtures’, i.e. of amounts of real stuff to include, is entirely possible, valid and precedented. It certainly isn’t the case that in fantasy the ‘political, cultural’ aspects are reproduced whole-cloth and only ‘beasts and magic are added’. That’s just an arbitrary line you’re drawing.

      Adding in gay marriage, a completely irrational element for the time period and not grounded in the supernatural would detract from the setting.

      Banning gay marriage is what was irrational. It is a good thing both for its beneficial social effects and for its own sake. And it is common for fantasy/speculative fiction to inject ideas that aren’t derived from ‘the supernatural’.

      It’s still an absolute monarchy and your job as a royal family member is still going to be to create and heir and you would still have to get married for the good of the state not your own selfish desires.

      It is arbitrary to say that this must be the case in this piece of fiction. In fact even if you take medieval dynasty-management as the be-all-and-end-all (for no good reason) it was a hell of a lot more complicated than ‘combine man + woman to get child’. Guardianships, adoption, secret bastards, public bastards, consorts, and so on and so forth. Not to mention all the homesexuals who really did exist amongst all this history, whether known or unknown.

      I am quite sure that a game that actually reproduced all the backwards notions that medieval people had in all their ugly reality would be rightly balked at even by you. Good luck rooting for people who see women as chattel, children as property, foreigners as diabolical, heretics as capital criminals, peasants as subhuman, etc.

      You don’t get the same freedoms that peasants do which is ironic because you have the power they don’t but that is how it is.

      Oversimplified and irrelevant. This is fiction. We are not obliged to chain our fiction to the prejudices of the past, which only serves to reinforce and propagate those prejudices, directly or indirectly. We can change things if we choose, and one of the ways we can do that is by exploring and endorsing new takes on things.

      Quite simply a brilliant concept. Adding adoptions makes no sense royal families are going to raise their own children.

      Again: both inaccurate in reference to reality, and arbitrary and unnecessary anyway. As you point out, there’s much we don’t know about this game, but one thing we do know is that this isn’t Crusader Kings. It’s fantasy. It has no more obligation to hew to your ideas about what medieval royal family life was like than, say, Brutal Legend does. By the way, I’m pretty sure most of the families in this game are not royal, and not necessarily even noble.

      They are completely watering down the core game mechanic for the self admitted purpose of being inclusive to gay people and adding nothing to the game except flavor text to appease people.

      The core game mechanic is fighting demons across generations. There are plenty of ways for them to achieve this without excluding gay people.

      By the way, ‘appeasing people’ is pretty much the goal of entertainment. And being inclusive is a good goal even if it did involve changing the game in any particularly significant way, which this doesn’t.

      This is very disappointing. I have no problem with gay relationships being in a game if it fits the lore well and/or fits the game mechanics well and certainly think they should have equality in real life but this added to the game diminishes the quality of the game.

      The last part directly contradicts the rest.

      To clear up some of the ridiculous arguments going back and forth….. a game that has relationships but didn’t include gay relationships is not homophobic, this isn’t real life your rights aren’t being trampled if every game doesn’t include gays.

      Strawman strawman strawman. No one is claiming ‘rights are being trampled’, but we are saying it sucks to always be excluded from everything mainstream. Only a very few games acknowledge that gay people exist. We’re not even talking about making a gay person the focus of a game, here. Just not making them completely invisible. Double Fine are taking the bold steps to be one of the companies bucking the trend even in the face of reactionary arguments like yours. That’s brave and admirable.

      Labeling someone homophobic or gay hating for disagreeing about this being in the game is absolutely silly.

      Not when so many arguments brought out in support of this attitude are homophobic. Dancing around the issue and the word as if it’s some kind of unthinkable, nuclear-level bombshell is what’s silly. Homophobia exists, it’s common, it has come up in this thread, and we are pointing it out (well, we’re not, really – I don’t think any of us have used that word except people squawking and flapping because they’re afraid it might be applied to them).

      If romance was some tiny flavor added to the storyline it wouldn’t change anything to have gay marriage but if its altering the very core essence of the game for political reasons not game mechanics they shouldn’t be adding it.

      Good thing it’s not doing that, then, but just adding in an option to a relatively small part of the game, hey (the big part being, you know, the fighting).

      I mean, christ, can you even imagine how awful it would be to do anything but lifting the tiniest finger towards this issue? JESUS CHRIST I DON’T THINK I CAN COPE WITH SUCH A NOTION.

      ***

      I think you’re wrong about everything you’re saying but I do appreciate you thinking out and writing out some cogent arguments in support of your position instead of just sniping or saying idiotic nonsense, so thank you for that (not sarcasm).

      • iridescence says:

        “I am quite sure that a game that actually reproduced all the backwards notions that medieval people had in all their ugly reality would be rightly balked at even by you. Good luck rooting for people who see women as chattel, children as property, foreigners as diabolical, heretics as capital criminals, peasants as subhuman, etc.”

        A character can’t control the society they’re born into. These ideas have regrettably existed in many human societies (Hell, they still exist in many parts of the world). Giving a player the choice of how to deal with cultural practices that most modern western people are obviously going to find abhorrent is an interesting part of roleplaying.

        I’m not saying every fantasy game needs to be set in a grim-dark, backward and cruel society but also find it unreasonable to expect every fantasy game to be set in a perfect liberal utopia and get offended when it’s not.

        • Aeros says:

          @DXN you seem to have confused not having gay relationships as a game mechanic with “banning gay marriage” in the game. In a game focused on absolute monarchies gay marriage makes not a lick of sense. It is good for inclusion and social effects but bad for gameplay mechanics and lore. They can certainly include and I have seen ideas where they can twist the game mechanics to make it work but none of them enhance the game past having it to have it.

          As for a setting having all the backwards notions of medeival times and the gruesome reality you are pretty much describing Game of Thrones and its fantastic.

          Pretending the core game mechanic is fighting demons is simply ridiculous. There is nothing different or remotely ambitious about an SRPG in which you fight demons. The devs themselves have said the core game is permadeath and mixing bloodlines of royal families and using bloodline relics to charge your characters. None of which matches up with couples that don’t have babies. They are attempting to add this to the game but it is still detrimental to the core gameplay.

          I did not contradict myself. If a gameplay lore and/or game mechanics fits with gay relationships I absolutely support them in the game. They don’t fit either here so I do not. For instance, Mass Effect is set in a futuristic time period in which one could assume there is a great degree more tolerance when it comes to issues of social justice. If a setting is modeled after our past, it makes far less sense. However in many games involving fantasy settings modeled after the past you can still include gay relationships without impacting game mechanics in a negative manner so its still not so bad to have them. In a game about mixing bloodlines and generating babies its just silly.

          @iridescence – This is absolutely another case of I expect every fantasy setting to be a utopia where not only can I play with gay relationships but they are universally accepted by all. If something doesn’t fit into the game and you shove it in where it doesn’t fit for the purposes of inclusion it has a negative impact. It is just painful to watch when games are just plain worse for no good reason. I think a more perfect example was SWTOR when it was insisted that the Empire, an evil organization which openly accepts murder, torture for fun, genocide, rape, slavery and a wide variety of other evils yet it had to include gay relationships and be a society that openly accepts them or its homophobic? That neither made sense nor from what I can tell put same sex relationships in a good light.

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            jrodman says:

            All the gay couples I know in real life made babies.
            Meanwhile in a fantasy setting you think they can’t?

            So .. yeah, going to say you’re just uncomfortable with it.

          • Aeros says:

            Magic male male babies? Not really sure why I would be uncomfortable with that? Its a mind numbingly stupid idea but nope no discomfort. Not sure why you are bringing up real life either? Gay marriage makes perfect sense in real life with real situations and infinite choices. This is a game about marriage and connecting bloodlines. Game mechanics have limited choices and relationships that don’t result in children don’t fit well. Saying that a square peg won’t fit in a triangle hole doesn’t mean you hate squares. It means you are vastly oversensitive about protecting squares it doesn’t matter what simple facts are anymore.

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            elderman says:

            But neither the peg (the game mechanic) nor the hole (the game) exist yet. You’ve imagined them both in a way that cooks up a non-existent problem.

            One of the points Brad Muir makes to RPS as reported in this article is that getting input like this from Kickstarter backers early in the process allows him to integrate an idea he likes but wouldn’t have had on his own. He can do this in a way that would have been impossible through other funding models.

            He says this funding model helps him refine the design of Massive Chalice. He cites this particular idea of characters of the same gender parenting the next generation as an example of the good that can come from this funding model. He doesn’t have a problem with it and he’s actually making the game. Why do you?

          • Aeros says:

            @elderman I sincerely hope that you are either A) Joking or B) Didn’t even bother to watch the kickstarter video.

            The entire premise of this kickstarter is we don’t know the basic game mechanics yet instead of are going to show you this huge central core idea and you will fund us and we will make a game based around that. They have given many details in regards to this gameplay and quite a bit of generic information about the general game which is what is undetermined. Straight from the video…

            Core game – You play an immortal king defending the land from demons over hundreds of years
            You have to nurture several generations of fighters via mixing bloodlines/having babies
            There will be bloodline relics passed down to your children
            You have the strategic of having your fighters keep going or retire him to make babies

            Vague undetermined stuff – Combat is SRPG turn based somewhat like xcom or fftactics
            You control a kingdom and theres some gamplay here

            Tens of thousands of people say that sounds awesome sign me up solely based around that massive idea of bloodlines and procreating. The undetermined things were combat and control of your lands. The game devs in this very interview have said our game design was not made with same sex relationships in mind and they will have to alter it in some way to make it fit. They have openly said this is being added for the sake of inclusion. If you are changing up the core game for inclusion and not game mechanics that is a huge mistake. Brad may be perfectly open to changing up the game to make this happen but that doesn’t change the fact it just doesn’t fit.

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            elderman says:

            I’m not kidding, I’m just having real trouble figuring out what you’re so worked up about.

            I’d watched the pitch video and now I’ve watched most of the design chat posted on as a Kickstarter update yesterday, and I’d also heard Brad Muir talk at length with the Idle Thumbs guys about the game. In the Kickstarter design chat Brad Muir talks about the ideas for inheritance at 15m and the input about same-sex couples at 32m30 for about 30 seconds out of an hour-long video. Based these I think your fears are self-imposed and unfounded.

            You describe the game just fine, though I think you’re weirdly fixated on human biology. This is not going to be a game about Mendelian inheritance or the act of sex. The heros aren’t going to be making ‘babies’, they’re going to be making more heros, with the inheritance mechanic somehow based on family name. I’m not saying there will or wont be implied homosexual relationships, because I have no idea, and neither do you.

            Then the second whole half to the game which is the tactical combat (which is what makes it uninteresting to me).

            Sure, they’ve said they’ll be changing the design to accommodate this idea that they like from the community. That’s what they say works for them with input from the community, that it gives them useful ideas to integrate into the game design. Where, in any of this, do you see Brad Muir or anyone from Double Fine saying that they’re going to have to discard what makes this game cool in the interests of inclusiveness? They don’t say that, they’re focused on the the core design, as you would be at this stage in the process, and they’re taking on board small ideas that they want to include.

            You say “it doesn’t fit”, but you’re not on the design team. Whatever you’re finding troubling in this isn’t from them. There’s no indication that they’re worried or that they’re reorienting the game design to focus on gay marriage. Sure if they were changing up the core concept, that might be troubling, but that’s not what’s happening. Brad Muir says this feature will be optional, not central, to be engaged with or not according to what the player wants.

            So, is there something about this that still bothers you?

            [Edit: I’m probably coming off a bit exasperated here, but I don’t have time to edit for conciseness or tone.]

          • DXN says:

            elderman: Word.

          • Aeros says:

            Is there a particular section of the dev chat you aren’t understanding? They are clearly describing a game about biology, sex, making babies, passing down traits and genetics. I am parroting back exactly what the devs are saying. From what I can tell you then put your fingers in your ears and “lalala” through those parts and say we aren’t making babies tied to their parents we are making heroes tied to their gay houses and neither of us know how it is going to be. I am kind of confused as to how you got to the final conclusion.

            Let’s hit up a quick list of things they discussed from the kickstarter and interviews:

            —The game mechanic is based around heroic bloodlines. Bloodlines = genetics = making a baby and what traits are passed down from the biological parents. Thats simply the definition of the word.

            Bloodline relics = After a parent passes away a powerful item can be passed down through blood relations. Pretty simple core concept.

            Theres a system of quirks and perks passed down from blood relatives. The described recessive and dominant traits. Thats genetics.

            When you want a new hero you retire a male and female hero grants a baby which has the class traits from both parents.

            They say a strategy mechanic is do i want to keep fighting with my favorite hero or retire him to sire a child.

            They compared it to breeding animals or chocobos to get the desired traits out of the offspring.—

            All of that is about biology and genetics and pairing hetero couples to make babies. None of it works with same sex couples which is why they need a separate mechanic to add this in. If you removed these aspects of the game, all we would know is this is an SRPG with demons and we don’t know anything else yet. Not really sure how any of that is going to help if you actually listened to the dev video and said this game has no babies, genetics, or biology!

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            elderman says:

            Well, what you’re getting out of the design video and the Kickstarter pitch certainly isn’t what I’m getting out of it. I wonder what that says about how much our preconceived notions are influencing what we hear.

            For me, a game about biology, sex, and making babies would have babies as characters, would feature the act of sex as a game mechanic, and would somehow depict or model accurate biology. That game sounds domestic in setting and scope. What I hear Brad Muir describing is an epic game about inheritance, tactical combat, and long-term strategy.

            Listen I disagree with you about your interpretation of things in these videos, but I don’t want to go through piecemeal and I’m willing to be wrong about details. Maybe there will be something that distantly models genetics in the inheritance mechanic — I must have skipped the bit about dominant and recessive traits. Where is that? I was in a hurry and was trying to find the relevant bits. Maybe you’ll see babies on screen for an instant or even longer. These are design details that probably, I bet you, remain to be determined through play testing and design iteration.

            If you think all the stuff you described is core to the design and will be in the game, because Brad Muir says so, I’m tempted to ask again what you’re so worried about. But instead, I really want to put your mind at ease. What’s your biggest source of disquiet about the prospect of Double Fine including same-gender couples in this game? Are you really worried about the designers “completely watering down the core game mechanic” after listening to all those videos? Whatever it is, let me know and I’ll post a question about it on the Double Fine forum and escalate until we get a response. I think you’ll find your uneasiness is completely unfounded.

            [Edit] FYI, here’s Brad Muir’s first post in the thread on the forums on this subject. [/edit]

            [Edit2] And here’s Chris Remo posting on the same thread about how Double Fine will approach the inclusion of this feature in Massive Chalice.[/edit]

            [Edit3: the final edit] I don’t of course expect a response to this post, partially because the conversation has long since moved on and partially because I think Aeros and others in this comment section don’t want want to be reassured, they want to have a pretext for disapproving of an idea they find uncomfortable. [/edit]

    • jalf says:

      If you have a medieval styled fantasy everything is based around roughly what the time period was like politically, culturally etc with your mixture of mythical beasts and magic added in. If you were a gay noble which obviously existed you would have been forced to marry a woman and have an heir to carry on the royal line. Adding in gay marriage, a completely irrational element for the time period and not grounded in the supernatural would detract from the setting.

      So, what you’re saying is “I don’t actually know *anything* about the medieval era, because everything I just said was wrong”.

      Thanks for enlightening us about that.

      And can I just say that I don’t know which saddens me more: that so many people feel threatened by the concept of gay marriage in a work of fiction, or that so many people actually, seriously, honestly, believe that “apart from the magic and monsters, fantasy is pretty much what medieval Europe was like”.

      • Aeros says:

        As I have repeatedly explained and you would have seen had you not clipped out part of what I said, I am not threatened by gay relationships in fictional worlds. That doesn’t change the fact that it enhances some fictional worlds where it fits and detracts from other ones where it doesn’t. Mass Effect fantastic game, same sex relationships fit. Torchwood fantastic sci-fi series, same sex relationships fit. Massive Chalice and SWOTR, they don’t fit the lore and/or gameplay mechanics, at all. They have no business in these games. Some of my favorite works of fiction have same sex relationships. That doesn’t change factual information.

  9. b0rsuk says:

    It would be very ballsy if gay heroes *couldn’t* have children. Consequences cut both ways.

    • DXN says:

      Would it be? Muir already mentioned fostering, I think surrogacy, and also using the partnership for non-childrearing means (fun fact, sometimes people get married and don’t have kids and still manage to contribute to society). We’re not demanding a magic handwave to let them have their own kids too, although it would be kinda funny and neat and a nice gesture — and possibly have interesting gameplay implications, giving you more choice in who will contribute to the child’s development. And of course it absolutely would not be any more implausible than all the other demons and magic and so on, which is why all this bluster and FUD about it are so silly.

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    Stellar Duck says:

    Yea, that Hadrian guy never did adopt a son to continue the dynasty! At all! Nor did Nerva, Trajan, Antoninus Pius or any other roman aristocrat. Ever! So how dare they include it in a fantasy game!?

    Also, good grief that was a dire read and a soul sucking task to sort, but I sure got a lot of blocks on the list. Don’t think I’ve had such a go at it since the last article that dared talk about women as if they were more than tits.

    I’d call all these homophobe arses cavemen but I suspect I’d be slighting the cavemen.

  11. DXN says:

    It’s not a dating sim, but it does have an emphasis on the developing lives of your heroes and the way their family contributes to the next generation of warriors. So it’s relevant.

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    Mr Coot says:

    Now, about this game: will it be like The Guild II + expacs ? (That’s wot the description sounds like)

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    cpt_freakout says:

    Holy shit, this thread is terrible. And here I was still hoping that gamers, by virtue of being geeky and different in many ways to mainstream values, would be mostly open to these kinds of things. Instead, they get all defensive of their maleness and of grimdark fantasy when it’s a fucking Double Fine game, where grimdarkwarbloodsex is DEFINITELY NOT going to be a part of it. As for all the nice people arguing with bigots, don’t worry, the most ironic thing will be when their idiocy thins out of their own “dynasty bloodline” in the future and we’re all finally happy together at some point in time :P

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      jrodman says:

      Sorry if it disturbs you, but gamers are highly disproportionately homophobic for their age and income brackets. I encounter less hostility from aging blue collar workers than gamers.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        How many of these encounters with homophobic gamers were online, and how many were in the real world? If it was possible to punch somebody in the face over the internet you’d see a lot less homophobia and a lot less objectionable behaviour in general… Well, except for the odd punch in the face now and then, but those people would deserve it.

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          jrodman says:

          Even for online encounters. Gaming culture is currently openly accepting of homophobia.

  14. merc-ai says:

    This would be an amazing feature, really GameOfThrones-like, IF they can avoid the bullshit part that is “magic babies”. Two men (or two women) cannot make a baby on their own, and let’s leave it at that.

    Such couple would need get another child by different means – adopting an orphan or from unknown surrogate, for example. This would present some very nice opportunities for subtle mechanics like relationship between adopted child and parents or the “natural” parent showing up in some random event.

    Regarding traits, I suppose it is plausible that they would find a child with traits very close to their own, though children having slightly different set of traits from his/her natural parents would be a nice design touch.

  15. Moth Bones says:

    A ‘drive-by’ comment as I’m afraid I’m not trawling through 500-odd comments – Brad Muir and his team deserve praise for their thoughtful, inclusive attitude. Excellent traits in life and in art. I shall keep an eye on this game.

    Oh, and as a reggae fan I find the title ‘Massive Chalice’ highly amusing.

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    elderman says:

    [This was a post that got misplaced. It was supposed to have been a response to another post.]

  17. Rasias says:

    .. why is this even a thing?
    I don’t get it.. why is there marriage at all in every fucking fantasy world..
    So many are talking about, how gay marriage would be unrealistic, then someone says “it’s fantasy, so it’s fine” .. But why not get rid of marriage at all.. then you can just let two heros breed and the rest doesn’t even matter.
    I’m not very informed on this game, but i somehow don’t have the feeling, that a central point of the game is sexuality.. it’s the bloodlines that are important, right? Or can i watch my heros having sex..?
    So.. why bother..