BioWare’s Heir On Sexism, Racism, Homophobia In Games

By Nathan Grayson on March 27th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

GDC was jam-packed with brilliant talks, and I missed far too many of them because infinity appointments beckoned. One of the absolute best I *did* see, however, was Mass Effect 4 designer Manveer Heir making an impassioned plea to developers for more diversity in games. He gave a talk equal parts well-reasoned and resolute, arguing not that all games should change their icky ways, but that our industry’s predominate pattern needs to shift away from generic leads and hurtful stereotypes. ”I sincerely hope that you are ready for that challenge, because I sure as hell am!” he bellowed before being mobbed by fellow designers. I caught up with Heir afterward to discuss some of his talk’s finer points and how BioWare’s become more sensitive to these issues as time has progressed.

RPS: One of my favorite arguments you ended up dissecting in your talk was the classic scapegoat of, “Oh, my fantasy game takes place in a setting kind of loosely based on Medieval Europe, therefore it must be sexist to be ‘realistic.’” But clearly, that doesn’t always have to be the case since, you know, fantasy.

Heir: I think that we fall into this default that medieval Europe Middle Ages is the baseline of how we start from fantasy, and so therefore we implement things like sexism against women where women are usually like prostitutes and subservient to men and often won’t have fully fleshed out characters and they’re very much oppressed.

I want to question why we always do that. Not why one individual game ever does that, but why most of the time there’s a large pattern that keeps on emerging there. I think a lot of it is the cultural biases that we have. The implicit things that we’re thinking about, we’re not actively thinking about, it’s just that’s our default.

I think if we become more aware of that we can then make someone making a fantasy game go, “Whoa, do I need it to be that way? Why is that?” Because it is fantasy; it’s not required. That is just how fantasy emerged and we just all started copying it with things we were all inspired from, but we could do better, we could rethink that and we could see how that’s problematic and maybe avoid some of the problems. I believe that.

RPS: But then a lot of people hear that and – even with your very deliberate disclaimer – think you’re suggesting that all games should never reference the less savory elements of that time period or infuse fantasy settings with them. And then everyone starts crying wolf over censorship. What can you really do at that point when people just seem to want to react that way?

Heir: Yes, I understand that push back, but I don’t view it that way personally. I think any individual game should have the right to be whatever it wants to be. If it wants to be a game about oppressing women and that culture and it wants to comment on that, that’s fine. It’s more, to me, that every game shouldn’t be that way. We need more representation across the board so you have to take a larger look at everything and see what is the pattern that emerges versus one individual game, but if we do that, we can hopefully improve.

But you know what? If a game… Yes, once you just go hard on the historical Middle Ages and then really try to build realism, that’s fine, but also make sure you understand all the levels of the realism, like who we are. Who are the real women and people of colour that actually existed in the Middle Ages? They didn’t not exist, but they’re not represented even in film and books and things like that often.

RPS: I remember [Ubisoft Quebec narrative director] Jill Murray’s GDC Next talk about that. Making games about women who went against the grain throughout history, especially given that women have been living and existing and doing stuff of their own accord since, you know, the beginning of time. There’s more to history than just the few stories we hear over and over and over again in pop culture.

Heir: I touched on that in my talk where I was like, women in history, there are very powerful women who broke out of the mold. There are a lot of women who did not conform to the standards that you can find if you read historical books. Frankly, there are women that you will never know about because the books are mostly written by men and you don’t get to find some of that. Someone even told me about a Tumblr that was people of color in the Middle Ages that was like, “Yeah, these people actually existed.”

RPS: Right now sexism gets the most vocal focus in the gaming industry, but that’s far from the only issue. Racism and homophobia are still without a doubt major problems that we need to tackle as well. What, in your opinion, is the next step there?

Heir: I think the advocacy track at GDC is a great start here. I think there’s a conversation that’s happening and that conversations are good, it’s important, it’s difficult, it’s uncomfortable and those are all good things. But it’s a start. I think we have all these problems. We have women who feel marginalized at conferences like this.

There was an incident, apparently, at a party where a woman got groped and that’s highly inappropriate at a conference of professionals. I would love to be coming to a GDC where I don’t hear that story. And that’s cultural. We have to combat and rethink our culture as people and our influence on that culture as being makers of the things our culture consumes.

RPS: You argued that if we want to see a system change, well, this is an industry made up of people who design systems for a living. So make a new one, test it, change the rules, etc. How do you apply that mentality at BioWare?

Heir: I think it’s the same things you could do at any company. It’s not specific to Bioware. If you’re working in an organization, first you notice a problem and you assert a discussion on it, an open and honest discussion, with people and see what others think. Maybe you would try to persuade them that you really think that they don’t understand what their problem is. Then you come up with some solutions of like, “Hey, I think you’re actually not realizing that you’re depicting this gay person in a very stereotypical and negative way. Maybe here are some ways that we cannot do that while keeping the core of who this character is.”

You can offer solutions. And frankly you’ve got to keep banging your head at it and try and get more people around you to help. For me, I’m very fortunately surrounded by super smart, very passionate people who think like this and we have these discussions frequently. So at that point it’s just about persuading other people around us. That’s not specific to one company, though. I think – and I hope – I can encourage it through the entire industry.

RPS: BioWare isn’t perfect by any means, though. You’ve evolved a lot over the years – Mass Effect 3 was lightyears ahead of Mass Effect 1′s paltry options for homosexual characters, for instance – but you’re still working in triple-A. So you’ve got your share of male gaze-y female characters and whatnot. Where do you draw the line there? Where do you say, “We can include this in our game. This character being hyper-sexualized (or what have you) makes sense” versus “Hmm, maybe we’re contributing to a problematic pattern here”?

Heir: You’ve got to speak up as a developer any time you see something that you don’t like. I know I always do that. I’m the first person to go, “This is problematic for me and this is why,” and you’ve got to at least bring it up and give someone the chance to fix the problem. Ultimately, we all have bosses in the world so unless you’re a one person studio so you can try to influence it up, sometimes you may change people’s minds and sometimes you won’t. I think if you have the conversation in general, people’s minds will get changed eventually – even if not in some specific instances.

RPS: I feel like indie development has taken a large lead in depiction of characters and cultures outside the traditional videogame mold. Can triple-A – large, creaky, and unwieldy as it is – close the gap any time soon?

Heir: The Last Of Us has won every major award that I can think of this year, it’s widely considered to be the best game that came out last year on the triple-A release. GLAAD just gave them an award for one of their characters – I can’t remember that guy’s name, but he was gay and it was a positive gay representation because him being gay was not the primary focus.

So you don’t have to make games about being gay. You can just make characters who being gay is a part of who they are because that’s not the primary identity of them. So I think we can do things like that. I feel like that’s coming out of the notion of challenging, like well, why does this character have to be straight? Couldn’t he also be gay? It doesn’t have to be important to the story, but it could just be part of his personality and it’s, those people would exist in this world. I believe he’s an evil character so those people should be morally bankrupt, or I believe he’s good. Either way, those people can exist.

RPS: There is a vocal crowd in the gaming community that despises the idea of diversity in games, though. Or at least, they hate how much attention the conversation gets relative to how under-the-radar it used to be. But those people are also acclimated to very simple characters, and I have to wonder if they they think characters who are, for example, gay, transgender, or what have you will be entirely defined by that all the time.

Heir: I think we’re still growing as a medium and when it comes to writing. I think there’s been a major maturation in the last five years of our challenge in writing. Again, Naughty Dogs does amazing work. A lot of studios are starting to do really amazing work with narrative in games, at the triple-A level and at the indie level as well. You’re starting to see them paying more attention – whereas back, I think 10, 15 years ago, it was like, “OK, there’s a princess, go get her.”

We’re telling more cinematic stories now, and we’re taking some of the Hollywood stuff and that can be problematic at times, but I still think that it’s working and we’re doing a good job with that. I think that’s kind of moving away from the really simple characters that used to characterize gaming.

RPS: How has all of this gone for you, both personally and professionally? Have you witnessed change over time? To what degree have you experienced it yourself? I mean, I know I definitely didn’t come up understanding how hostile the gaming industry was to many people. I had to learn it.

Heir: Absolutely. I think dialogue, I look at my own personal views on the world ten years ago and how highly problematic they were. I was coming out of college then, and I would use a lot of very vulgar slurs, not thinking about the effect that that could have on underrepresented people. But I grew up – in part because conversations happened around me and I was listening to them and I found myself thinking, “Well yeah, I actually agree with that completely, but oh, I didn’t realize I was contributing to that problem. It’s not that I was trying to. I’m not against that.”

RPS: Your talk definitely showed that. But at the same time, it was part of something called the Advocacy track. I doubt people who don’t already agree with you are going to show up for that kind of thing. How much do you think these sorts of talks help, really? Or rather, do they bring anyone new into the fold?

Heir: I think it all happens from conversations, so I’m a better person today because of the people that I listened to back when I was coming up and continue to listen to now, whether it’s my friends, my family, or other people. Conversation in conferences and companies and stuff was a big part of that. I do think it can actually change and affect the culture.

RPS: Change has become something of an odd notion in modern society – especially on the Internet. No one ever forgets. If you carve out a persona as a problematic figure or make one big mistake, many people define you by it, rarely allowing room for the possibility of change, learning, or growth. I have to wonder if, witnessing that so frequently on a larger scale, it causes many people who’d otherwise be inclined to listen and grow to instead stick to their guns.

Heir: Yeah, it’s a problem that anything you say will be around forever. I’ve seen that in the world, like mistakes I made or pictures of me doing stupid things in college exist forever. That’s unfortunately the way the world works. You see it in the way politics works and things being dragged up from the past.

But I think rational people can understand that people are growing. We’re growing every day, we’re changing every day and I hope most of us are getting better every day. Me as a person, I can speak for myself, I would try to control the narrative of saying, “Look, if I did do something past, I’d acknowledge it, I would admit that I was wrong, I also use those things that I’ve done and here’s how I can use them. Change.”

I’ve heard and seen a lot of people like that in the industry who have said problematic things that either have changed or are trying to change or at least making an effort. Some will fail and some will succeed, but that’s okay, they’re willing to do the steps, willing to have the conversation around it as well.

RPS: Like Penny Arcade, which at least seems to be trying now, even if its efforts are somewhat misguided.

Heir: Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that. BioWare has involvement with Penny Arcade and PAX and stuff like that.

RPS: A lot of game studios are still predominately staffed by straight white men, which can sometimes lead to a fear of representing more diverse characters and ideas. Like, most devs aren’t bad or even ignorant people, but I think many of them go, “Oh, I can’t speak to that life experience. I might mess it up big time.” So they don’t even try.

Heir: That’s the harder problem because for one we need to diversify the workforce. I didn’t even talk about that. That’s a whole different problem with getting more women, more minorities. It’s almost a catch-22: we only represent certain characters, less people of color, less LGBQT, less women might play games or get into games or at least want to work in games and therefore the cycle continues, so we have to find ways to fix that diversity in the workforce problem and I don’t have solutions for that, to be frank.

The second is, men write women characters all the time, sometimes very, very poorly, but sometimes very well. That usually happens out of research and challenging your biases, running your stuff by people who, maybe, are from that representative and being like, “Am I making a mistake here? Am I thinking about this in a stereotypical way? Is there an assumption I’m making as a man? Am I looking at you with a male gaze?”

I think we can achieve that by – we’re talented people in this industry, we’re really highly talented people. If we can build crazy cover systems and we can build branching narratives or we can procedural worlds, you’re telling me we can’t fix that problem in writing? We just have to make an effort. We don’t often make an effort. It’s the path of least resistance, is how we do it. So I want to challenge the idea that that needs to be the path of least resistance, or even say that it definitely should not be.

RPS: Games also have potential to be a powerful tool for empathy, given that they can allow us to live someone else’s experience. Stepping into somebody else’s shoes can be healthy and educational, but it’s also like… should groups that have already been oppressed or marginalized have to take the responsibility of educating people who, by all means, have treated them terribly?

Heir: No, they shouldn’t have to and there’s also a thing where basically, a lot of those groups probably don’t want to play games where they’re also oppressed when that’s what they deal with in real life. I sit and I talk to all these groups that deserve the ability to participate in fantasy construction. Most of our games are fantastical in some way or another, and so it doesn’t have to be about that impression of it.

It could be empowering or it could just a trait. I haven’t actually played it, but I believe Rogue Legacy has a trait where you’re gay and I think it makes no difference at all. It changes nothing, but you can have it. I was like, that’s hilarious. It’s a funny commentary. It probably takes very little time to do and I think that’s a nice little nod. I’m not saying that’s the full extent that we should ever go to, but that’s one way to go.

RPS: Do you think things are headed in a good direction overall? I’ve asked a lot of people this question during GDC, and responses have been all over the place, from emphatic yeses to, “I barely feel comfortable walking the show floor.”

Heir: I think they’re improving. Slowly. I don’t think we’re anywhere close to good yet. I think we’re not terrible, but we’re probably bad. This is where I would want it. So we’re making small steps, but we could be making so much faster, and I think the conversations start with that. There’s obviously going to be push back, but I think if we keep doing it we’ll keep making those steps. And if we keep being cognisant then we can make larger and faster steps.

I think momentum happens at some point. Then all of a sudden people are like, “Well, yes, why can’t I have another really strong woman character hero? And why can’t she be gay? Why can’t I be a transgender character? Or why can’t I express myself in whatever way I want in a game? Why is my only option binary gender?”

RPS: Thank you for your time.

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546 Comments »

  1. Gunrun says:

    I predict good things from the comments.

    • Kurbster says:

      People are sick of progressive pandering shoved down their throat, and rightfully so

      • Fontan says:

        It didn’t take long.

        • Kurbster says:

          that’s because subtility isn’t in their dictionary

          They had to blow this up into some major problem that needs immediate correction, and in the process they forced people to take sides.

          They could of done minor incremental changes to character creation over the years that would satisfy their concerns with the least amount of backlash.

          • SuddenSight says:

            Who wants to advocate incremental change?

            If there is a problem, let’s fix it! I want my grand kids to shake their heads and wonder how people could be sexist the same way we wonder how slavery was ever a thing.

          • Nevard says:

            yeah, keeping the people who already have everything comfortable should definitely be everyone’s most important priority.

          • tormos says:

            “subtilty isn’t in their dictionary” says the person who had three comments on this article within the first 12 minutes

          • Kurbster says:

            ah, first-world problems

            I hope you people are this passionate about how Islam treats their females

          • hewhosayszonk says:

            “It’s worse somewhere else so I will assume I can continue ignoring the problem in my own society”

          • jrodman says:

            How does “first world problems” apply to those who believe that games should be more inclusive more than those who believe it is “progressive bullshit” ?

          • Nevard says:

            First/Third world terminology is kind of irrelevant these days, being cold war terms that don’t have anything to do with anything we experience today. They encourage ancient and fairly racist stereotypes of the countries you’re talking about too, I think it’d be best if you changed your vocabulary.

          • Kurbster says:

            @Nevard….you can’t be serious….Some countries are more useful and advanced than others. There’s nothing ‘racist’ about that, and the term first-world and third-world describes these differences.

            Are these seriously the problems of liberal academia these days? How to make labels ‘less offensive’?

          • Nevard says:

            Whether a country is a third world country or not has nothing to do with production capabilities and everything to do with their political stance about Cuba during the Cold War. Many countries are categorised as Third World that are extensively developed, you interact with people from the Third World on the internet every day. You are using the word wrong and, from your post, also thinking about the word wrong and in a dangerous fashion.
            Especially when you use it to categorise a people by how “useful” they are.

          • AngelTear says:

            To be fair, “subtility” is in no one’s dictionary, since it’s subtlety.
            And it’s “could have”. There’s no instance I can think of in the English language in which “could of” would be correct.

            I am making grammar points because sometimes I feel discussing content with certain people is a bit hopeless. Hope someone has more patience than me today ^_^

          • Sheng-ji says:

            To be fair, “could of, should of” etc are regional dialects and while not queens english, is not too much different to writing “bairn” when you mean child, “bobowler” when you mean moth or “tranklements” when you mean ornaments.

          • AngelTear says:

            Except that it’s not a local word replacing a more standard word, like in your examples, it’s simply a confusion based on sound similarity between “have” and “of”. When you go and spell it, it’s still “have”. It’s like writing “sauce” instead of “source” on 4chan, it’s simply another word, only, in this case, it’s done knowingly and jokingly.

            It’s never “could of”
            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/could-of-or-could-have

          • SuddenSight says:

            As a fellow grammar nazi, the “correct” way to write “could of” is “could’ve.”

          • Sheng-ji says:

            According to Mark Jones, a linguist at Cambridge University, it is a regional dialect.

            http://linguistlist.org/issues/17/17-1861.html

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Then I’d call lolcats and dogespeak “regional dialects”.

            I know English is a “living language” and very flexible to bastardization, but come on, could of? What’s next, “they’re” being interchangeable with “their”?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @FriendlyFire – but they’re not linked historically to a geographic location. I’d probably just trust the linguist from cambridge uni to be honest.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            “I hope you people are this passionate about how Islam treats their females”
            Of course, but it does not prevent me from pointing out that your argument is a completely worthless fallacy of relative privation. Please stop detracting from the discussion at hand.

          • thesundaybest says:

            What happened to RPS? Wow.

          • Kurbster says:

            Well that was a fun trolling session, guys and gals. But I’m afraid that I’ll have to leave you for now.

            Until the next reddit article…I bid you adieu

          • DXN says:

            Fuck minor incremental changes. Deal with it.

      • Babypaladin says:

        Female gamers are sick and tired of all kinds of the stereotypical charaters that the industry has shoved down their throat in the past, too.

        People are just asking for variety, it’s not like your white male heroism is going anywhere anytime soon.

        • Alexrd says:

          And who’s stopping variety? Why should game designers compromise their artistic vision to appeal to some people who like to throw terms like sexism, racism or homophobia just because their preferences are not being met?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Perhaps they should stop compromising their artistic vision based on what the marketing department tells them. As a lead on a AAA game (Sudeki) who was forced to make a black character whiter, for “sales in target demographics (Japan)” I can promise you, the words “compromised artistic vision” ring loud and clear across the whole industry. If it’s made for profit, the artistic vision has already been compromised. Fact.

          • jrodman says:

            Are you asking for a detailed description of how the variety fails to happen? In this case, you have a large research project before you. If instead you are trying to suggest that exactly as much variety happens as is intended by every creator, then you are deluded.

            Meanwhile, both miss the point Heir is making which is to encourage people to change and include more variety.

          • Damn Rookie says:

            @Sheng-Ji. Couldn’t agree more. This is a point a lot of people seem to miss.

          • almostDead says:

            @Sheng-ji

            Your chosen data point is about getting into Japan…..

            Anyone who has tried to do business in Japan, as I have, knows that market is extremely closed in what its appetites are.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Sorry, I wasn’t clear, this was a white American male in his 50′s who has never been to Japan telling me what to do to appeal to Japanese female teenagers. I do business in Japan a lot, and I promise you, a black character in a video game is not a problem.

          • Slight0 says:

            @Sheng-ji So because you worked on a “AAA” game you can now speak for the industry and declare that artistic vision is being comprised across the board because your game had to be adjusted a bit to meet a country with a slightly more close-minded demographic?

            Your game had multiple female characters one of which appears to be the lead character… Your example is pretty weak. This “sexism, racism, and homophobia” nonsense doesn’t exist in reality. The tone of this whole article belittles people who have differing opinions from the author and seemingly demonizes the entire game industry. It’s quite disgusting to read how they take this moral high ground in an effort to “enlighten” people on an issue that ISN’T REAL.

            There are a SHIT TON of games with female leads and significant female characters. Same with ethnic groups although perhaps slightly less in that regard. Still, there is nothing going on in the industry that warrants this pretentious usage of the terms “racism, sexism, and homophobia”.

            It’s people with this mentality who want to compromise artistic output; they want to control and manipulate the work of others to suit their needs.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Oh don’t even get me started on the endless meetings we had on the clothing the women should be wearing, that was not just for Japan and trust me, people in those meeting, representatives from Microsoft and the heads of Climax Entertainment made some really, really sexist comments.

            Anyway, I worked in the industry for a decade, that was but one example where the artists vision was compromised. You want to know the last game I worked on that I consider untainted by business? Delta Force (the first one) by Nova Logic.

            But if you have a decade of experience, culminating in a AAA project lead role for a console title designed to break that console into new territory, and of significance for the console because it is the first of that genre, and you can name specific examples where artistic vision was maintained despite costing the game sales, then please name those specific examples. We’re all ears!

            No, thought not.

            Now I don’t know if whitening up a character because it was believed it would sell better in Japan was racist or merely a reflection on racism, perceived by Americans or real in Japan, but someone is being racist.

            Anyway, please do list some of these “shit tonnes” of games with a black lead character, I’ll get you started:

            Urban Chaos
            Moonwalker
            Shaq Fu
            Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City
            Spawn
            Akuji the Heartless
            Shadow Man
            Blade
            Beyond Good & Evil
            Men of Valor
            Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
            Marc Ecko’s Getting Up
            Final Fantasy 7
            Ass Creed Liberation
            Remember Me

            14 in 30 years, that’s not even 1 every 2 years! Shit tonnes my ass, 14 would be shameful I we were to look back at the last decade, but this is ever in the history of coloured graphics.

          • Slight0 says:

            I don’t need to have worked inside a AAA game studio for a decade to tell you about whether or not racism and sexism is bending artistic interests because the results are laid before everyone. So far you’ve recounted one instance were perhaps there was some mild racism/sexism coming from your producers/funders. One instance does not define a trend, yet we have plenty of instances to the contrary that can define a trend.

            Tomb Raider, Perfect Dark, Portal, L4D, Zelda, Resident Evil, Starcraft, etc, etc, ETC. (This list could be very long)

            All well known best-selling games with strong, intelligent, deep female leads/protagonists/antagonists/sidekicks/prominent characters that helped defined that game’s dialog and story. None of them contain this “sexist” portrayal of useless damsels in distress or otherwise seconded to white male overlord supremacists blah blah blah. You would be hard pressed to find such games that meet this silly sexist/racist criteria where the artistic output of the game designers was oppressed. For every one you find I will find an opposite ten to match it.

            Get off it already.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            So you don’t need experience to tell me what happens in the games industry. Just another internet loudmouth then, guessing at what happens behind closed doors. Well done!

            By the way, I didn’t ask you to list a shit tonne of games with female characters, I said black lead characters. But FYI, the star of Zelda is Link, a male child, the character in Portal is hardly written at all, you only know she is a female because of the mirror at the start, other than that you literally would not know, and you’re really scraping the barrel if you think Kerrigan is a well written female character. Tell me, what about Kerrigans story is “deep” and “intelligent”? What happens at the end again? She is rescued by Raynor as she was not strong enough to free herself from zerg infestation and he literally carries her into the sunset. Wow, that’s what every little girl should aspire to be, rescued by a man!

            Anyway, I gave you one incidence of a AAA game where the artistic vision was compromised, you reckon you can give me ten, so shoot: ten AAA games where the artistic vision was not compromised, that you can back up with evidence, even anecdotal evidence (I won’t accept marketing material, because you know, they lie):

          • jrodman says:

            If someone is willing to insist that the list of games with strong female leads is long, you know the conversation is not genuine.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Hehe, I know, but it’s so much fun making him squirm! I love how he cites Tomb Raider as “deep and intelligent”, now I loved Tomb Raider, especially the reboot, but lets examine that story:

            Lara is a student on an expedition with an experienced and world renowned archaeologist.
            They are scouring the ocean for a lost civilisation to make a tv show
            Lara tells them that she thinks, with her few years of experience that she thinks they should look in the “Bermuda Triangle” – in quotes because it’s not literally the bermuda triangle, but a trope of it
            The boat captain agrees and despite, presumably being paid by, well certainly not Lara, steers his boat into a powerful storm!

            Exactly what part of that is deep, intelligent? It’s lowest common denominator levels of dumb. I’ve got to question the intelligence of anyone who swallowed that tripe and thought “This is soooo deep and intelligent”

      • Nevard says:

        Incredible

      • Phasma Felis says:

        You are really worked up about this.

      • Blaaaaaaag says:

        Yeah, fuck all this positive change. I’m a privileged white male, and I’ve got what I want. It would be a travesty for anyone with a slightly different perspective to have nice things too. Screw you all, there’s no place for love, or even the most basic level of respect, in this world.

      • dangermouse76 says:

        Name and address Kurbster or your a troll.
        Edit sorry I know your a troll.

        What I mean is do you have the balls to identify yourself……….no, no you don’t do you.

        The new net involves standing by your opinions.

        • AngelTear says:

          I don’t agree with him, but he’s probably not a troll, and rather the kind of people “we” should be trying to have a conversation with, and your rebuttal is way more childish and troll-y than his comments.

          Edit: I read father below, he definitely gets more trollish at times.

          • jrodman says:

            I think internet comments are not really a plausible medium to bridge the gap to “STOP SHOVING THIS DOWN MY THROAT” people. However agreed this approach doesn’t really work at all.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            I don’t agree sorry. You say rebut the argument, and your right. But that has been done here in volume. My point is stand by what you say. That’s not trolling with all due respect.

            I am simply asking that someone associate themselves with their thoughts.
            Daniel Mackie
            Cowgate
            Edinburgh.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            I agree conversation is important BTW. I just think the volume of traffic here has it covered.

          • Ich Will says:

            Posting this in the proper place:

            This is Ryan from Massachusetts (I’m witholding his full name, address and phone number – anyone for pizza?) who’s steam quote is “My greatest dream is a world without Jews.”

            He also prowls the internet with his anti-Semitic stance as: Shekel Goldbergstein, this kills the Rev, Jock FingerDoctor. He plays Brutal legend, Papers please (but didn’t like it) and beat hazard.

            He’s very proud of his 5 killstreak achievement in Cod MW2 but outside of video games, he likes anime, particularly Ro-Kyu-Bu! and something which goes by the godforsaken title “Rapeman” which is predictably manga porn, though he is very keen to point out, there is no rape of children in rapeman. He is actively pirating it if you want a copy.

            His favoured description of gays is “faggots” which pops up nearly 200 times in posts by him on foolz.us

            Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our commenter of the day, Kurbster!

          • AngelTear says:

            Well, as much as I stand behind *my* words, I wouldn’t tell you my real name, let alone my address, I wouldn’t even tell you in which country I’m currently residing, even in a private chat, let alone in a public environment.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            Yes life is complex isn’t it. xx

        • Kurbster says:

          so somehow my comments become more legit if I identify my personal information to the whole internet?

          nice try, NSA

          • Kurbster says:

            I’ll take being a “coward” over completely retarded with my personal information anyday

          • SuddenSight says:

            I’m sorry, dangermouse, but I must agree with AngelTear. The majority opinion may be that Kurbster is dreadfully wrong but that does not give us license to vilify Kurbster – in real life or online. We are a community that will build good feelings and good faith through open, honest communication.

            By attempting to track down and defame Kurbster you might (at best) make life unnecessarily difficult for Kurbster. Much as I disagree with Kurbster’s views, I cannot condone ruining his or her life over it.

            At worst, you might destroy the cult of anonymity on the internet. This might indeed be your goal – and many sites have shown it to have a valuable outcome. But I believe there is value in ideas and communication without requiring identifications. Remember, just as anonymity protects people you dislike, it can also protect people you like.

            So I cannot condone actions like those of Ich Will to attempt to track down and “expose” Kurbster. Even if you don’t like the idea of anonymity on the internet, forcing people out in the open is wrong (at least when the only crime they have committed is hurt feelings).

      • Muzman says:

        Easy way to avoid stuff getting shoved down your throat is keep your mouth shut. Then it won’t say anything stupid.

      • uncleezno says:

        “There is a vocal crowd in the gaming community that despises the idea of diversity in games, though.” Those people, like Kurbster (do you even know he’s spelling curb/kerb incorrectly?), are fucking idiots. I don’t care if that’s impolite, it’s the truth. And they’re going to buy the games anyhow, so why even listen to regressive morons?

      • dethtoll says:

        Your mother and I are very disappointed in you.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Make fun of Kurbster all you want but video games are a consumer driven industry. Want to change them? Stop buying the ones that do not support your vision of the industry or meet your standards for diversity.

          Until and unless you begin doing that not only will nothing change but you are a hypocrite.

          • jrodman says:

            This comment is based on a false premise. No one is insisting that diversity be present in *every game*, so it’s not exactly like you can skip the “ones” that lack diversity. It’s the industry as a whole.

            You can of course seek out those with variety, but I suspect most people here do that already, so I’m not sure who you’re calling hypocrite.

      • chris1479 says:

        Well said Kurbster. I’m absolutely sick of these boorish, snarky, ‘progressive’ humourless diatribes. If I wanted to be lectured and bored stiff I’d go read the grauniad.

      • quarpec says:

        would you say it’s political correctness gone mad???

      • Tinta1 says:

        Actually, “progressive pandering” is virtually non existent in gaming.

        What you’re seeing is the screaming and moaning of entitled man-children who fundamentally can’t accept that game companies are starting to look towards audiences other than themselves.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Someone forced you to read an article clearly titled ‘sexism, racism, and homophobia’ instead of letting you persist in your privilege? Where can i sign up for that?

    • ChrisAlgoo says:

      You pretty much summoned that guy. What other powers do you have?

  2. Kurbster says:

    WHO CARESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    • Inverselaw says:

      *raises hand*

    • Cyphran says:

      Apparently you since you took the time to comment.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      3 comments in 10 minutes, clearly you do!

    • lumenadducere says:

      Everyone that’s not a straight white male. Which, last time I checked, actually made up the majority of the population of the world. So a lot of people.

      If gaming wants to grow and increase its profitability by expanding its markets, companies eventually have to start being more inclusive, or there are going to be far more people marginalized than not. So it makes long-term financial sense as well for AAA to start having more diversity. Too bad modern-day business is almost entirely focused on short-term profits instead of long-term gains.

      • bleeters says:

        “Everyone that’s not a straight white male”

        Also, a lot of straight white men.

        • AngelTear says:

          Last time I checked, Nathan John and Alec were all white and straight, and so seems to be Heir

        • MartinWisse says:

          Indeed. One of the big lies bigots tell themselves is that it’s only “minorities” or “the pc police” who care about this, but in fact there quite a few people who don’t necessarily benefit themselves from a more representative spread of gaming characters, who’d still like to see more people of colour, more women in general and more queer characters in their games.

          I mean, I know what it’s like to be a straight white male, so how about letting me be somebody else for a change?

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Everybody benefits from a world where tolerance and equal representation are the norm. Everybody.

        • bill says:

          And a lot of straight white fathers.

          If you happen to have a daughter at some point, you suddenly realize how the majority of kids fiction gives them a single role-model = pretty princess to be rescued and married by a prince.

      • Jinoru says:

        Just remember those “straight white men” make up most of the people running this world and the industry. This stuff isn’t going to change until the leadership is succeeded by more “liberal” thinkers.

        I for one really couldn’t care less about this issue. Representation of people in the media shouldn’t dictate what we feel about ourselves or the categories we identify personally with.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        The problem that we need to fix is the “long term” bit. This is the reason why companies will not break from the norm. One bad game can see the closure of a game developer/publisher and it’s because of this that the majority of games companies will stick to targeting their current largest demographic, young males, it’s not because they are inherently sexist/racist (in 99% of situations anyway), it’s purely a business decision.
        The industry needs to move to being more inclusive as a whole, this will increase participation in “traditional” gaming (i.e. not facebook, mobile games etc) from females, older people etc and give developers multiple solid demographics to make games for.

        It needs the industry leaders like EA to make these changes as they have the financial capability to persevere with it and prove to the industry that, given enough time, there is a market there. It is perfectly understandable why smaller developers are reluctant to take the gamble as they are more concerned with doing what will keep food on the table for the next 2-3 years rather than trying to influence change in the industry.

        • Kurbster says:

          If developers clearly saw some big huge money pile at end of the SJW rainbow, they would be changing all their projects tomorrow in order to cash in.

          The fact of the matter is that the cost-benefit analysis of spending more effort to fully satisfy new LGBT gamers, at the possible expense of losing more ‘traditional’ gamers isn’t worth it to them right now. And that primarily has to do with the demographics that play games currently. The people who do care about ‘representation’ are still a slim minority.

          So either start buying more games, or get the government to take over the industry. They could care less about profitability, since they can just print more money when needs be

          • deathcakes says:

            You’re funny. In a tragic kind of way, but funny nonetheless.

          • Jeremy says:

            Only in a world of entitlement and ignorance does social justice get the kind of scorn we see here.

          • Kurbster says:

            getting people to develop games just for your feelings, regardless of financial circumstances, seems pretty entitled to me.

          • Jeremy says:

            I’m not sure what you think is happening exactly in this situation to come up with an idea like that. Who is “getting people” to develop a game because of their feelings? This is an ongoing dialogue among many groups of people, and nobody is forcing anyone to make a game to cater to their feelings. Do you really take it as a personal affront to have someone even *consider* a different perspective?

            I can’t speak to your ethnicity or gender, but it would be easy to think everyone else is being sensitive when I am in the most privileged people group in the world. I was born a white man, in a wealthy country, and was afforded the opportunity to go to college and get a degree. That puts me squarely in the 99th percentile on Earth. For me to stand and complain that everyone is being too sensitive would be ignorant and entitled, which is what I was referring to in the above comment.

            We don’t get to tell people how they feel by the words we use, and it requires such little effort to value people for their differences, and to use words that show it, compared to drawing a line in the sand to “protect” a system devoted to catering to the privileged and ignoring those who have no voice. For those of us who do have a voice, and the courage to use it, it becomes our responsibility to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. When I was in college, I used a certain sexuality based slur for everything, to describe anything from how I felt about my classes, to my job, to something I saw on TV. My intent was never to belittle anyone, or devalue them for their sexuality, and yet that’s exactly what I was doing, whether I acknowledged that or not. Like I said, we don’t get to tell people how they feel about the words we choose, and if we hurt people around us, and make them feel of less value because of those words then we would truly be fools to blame them for that.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I’m straight, white and male and I care a whole lot.

        Just to make sure it was noted. Some of us (a lot, I hope) do care.

      • Bedeage says:

        Look this is pretty simple. We all hate EA because they put their profit margin before artistic integrity.

        If there was any money in brown people playing AAA games, they’d be there. There isn’t, so they aren’t.

        Only the rich countries buy AAA games in any serious volume. Middle countries pirate them. Poor countries don’t have the individual wealth to even play them most of the time.

        • pepperfez says:

          Isn’t…isn’t this interview with a guy who works for EA? I think you might be off-base in your analysis.

          • Bedeage says:

            Hah, that’s a reasonable point. On the other hand, do you actually see any completed AAA games from EA that go along with what this Manveer chap thinks? Mass Effect is lazy sci fi, Dragon Age is mildly interesting fantasy, but neither series has ever done anything interesting with characterisation (in my opinion) nor do they fit into the queer fantasies being perpetrated in this thread.

    • tormos says:

      I care

    • Peptidix says:

      I care.

    • Deviija says:

      I care. A lot.

    • dahauns says:

      I’ll happily oblige! *caresses Kurbster*

    • ffordesoon says:

      AND MY AXE

      EDIT: To the folks who said they care, obviously, not Kurbster.

    • Alphus says:

      I care, and I would like everyone who does to respond to this comment (and any future one’s like it)
      Maybe we can show the hateful minority just how small they are.

    • quarpec says:

      people who aren’t a total piece of human garbage, unlike you

  3. Artea says:

    Did anyone else notice how the ‘Investigate’ option is (disturbingly) placed perfectly on Miranda’s behind? Speaking of Bioware, while I welcome more diversity, they would be one of the last companies I trust to handle this sort of subject matter responsibly.

    I also strongly disagree with the idea that video game narrative has taken some kind of huge leap forward in the past 10 years. It has gotten a lot more prominence, sure, but not necessarily any improvement. The interviewee’s answer about how they’re trying to tell cinematic stories and mimicking Hollywood pretty much tells me ‘You’re still doing it wrong and still not taking advantage of the unique ways video games can tell stories!’

    • nrvsNRG says:

      I’d much rather have the entertaining, self aware type dialogue then the sort of heavy, movie type stuff.
      Bulletstorm may not spring to mind with most people, but I’d much prefer that or GTA 5 style, then the “skip instantly” type stuff I experience most of the time.

      • Geebs says:

        Given that Bioware has been doing the same plot for the last ten years, you might have hoped they’d have got a bit better at it by now. Instead they’ve spent that time working on ways to ruin their gameplay.

        Also: given this chap’s status as having worked on the worst of the Mass Effects, it’s very possible that he’s responsible for Kai Leng :-(

        Oh, and the fricking FemShep beauty pageant, too.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Max Payne series anyone? The first 2, fantastic noir storylines told via graphic novel style segments inbetween sizable gameplay sections as well as in game voiceover work (good voiceover work at that). Max Payne 3, average, generic storyline told via game ruining cut scenes every 30 seconds. All the industry (including its fans) is doing is bleating more about narrative. It’s certainly not got any better.

  4. Tei says:

    [edited to be more to the point]

    Public bias shape what is a success or not. Only very few individuals can go against that.

    Like.. if you make a movie without a happy end, it will probably not sell well in USA.

    • Kurbster says:

      tropes were fine up until a few years ago

      Now they hurts everyone’s little feelings, since video game characters magically hurt people IRL now.

      It really is a result of the Beta-fication of society

      • Cyphran says:

        No one is talking about hurt feelings. They’re talking about different point of views. The ability to experience something different than your bubble. That’s what games are about, why is that a bad thing when it includes race and gender?

        • Kurbster says:

          yes, it is a bad thing. Politicization never ends well. It turned hollywood into crap, and it’s turning the game industry into crap, also.

          Entertainment is there to entertain you, not make you feel warm and fuzzy inside that your fake Tumblr gender is being ‘represented’

          • Serenegoose says:

            But your shitty, low-standards, design by committee, demographic pandering prolefeed doesn’t entertain.

          • Bradamantium says:

            Gosh you’re the most insufferable sort of commenter. “WHO CARES” you ask in one comment, crying about how much you care in another. ‘Course, here in particular, I particularly like the assertion that Hollywood has somehow been ruined when there’s still a massive, massive surplus of straight white male-led blockbusters appealing directly to straight white male teens and twenty-somethings. And then hot on its heels is the omnipresent assertion that it’s entertainment, it’s just meant to entertain! as if the default demographic is the only place entertainment exists. As soon as you’ve got a woman or a gay man or an Asian lead, entertainment falls by the wayside, right?

          • araczynski says:

            the games being developed are what’s turning the gaming industry into crap, not any messages they may or may not be carrying. when sheep make f2p IAP shovelware the winners, there is no room for any entertainment/education, its all about psychological manipulation to fleece some kid out of his lunch money.

          • Kurbster says:

            Ah yes, because people who write a crap story involving a straight relationship can’t possibly make a crap story involving a gay relationship.

            Hofefully you’ll realize the crap factor won’t change, and that they are riding the progressive train just to gain more sales

          • Arglebargle says:

            The idea that someone thinks Hollywood ‘turned political’ is dang funny. Hollywood has always been political. Whether you want to follow that path or not, a different question.

          • Muzman says:

            When did politicisation turn Hollywood into crap exactly?. I know it has, but let’s just make sure we’re talking about the same thing.
            You’re expecting a House Un-American Activities Commission for games over gender representation?

      • Serenegoose says:

        You sound like you’re pretty upset about this! Poor baby.

      • Pharos says:

        Well, they were fine in the sense that comparatively few people were bothered enough to stop and think about them.

        Still, well done for deciding that people want to change things because the status quo hurts their feelings. Truly you are a master of human empathy; you’ve nailed my own motivations utterly. Even though I’m a straight white male. Good job, son.

        I’ll never understand the utterly hysterical reaction that this topic provokes in people. I can’t speak for everyone (and we can ignore those facile Tumblr feminists) but I don’t think I’m asking for much. Some female characters that are realistic and three-dimensional is hardly some onerous burden, surely? No need to throw around loaded terms like “strong”; “well-written” is just fine, thank you.

        • Kurbster says:

          There are plenty of female characters who are realistic and three-dimensional

          The problem here is that you want ALL female characters to be realistic and three-dimensional, even then the male characters are not

          • Waterpoet says:

            Man. Now you’re just making things up. Nobody said they want ALL characters to be anything. In fact, the interviewee expressly says that that’s not the case.

          • Pharos says:

            Quotes or it didn’t happen.

            Nah, I’ll save you some time. I want nothing of the sort. Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would be fully fleshed out, but time is limited and writers and devs have to deal with budgets. That’s just being realistic.

            I just want females whose screentime means they ought to be good characters to be well-written.

      • Joshua says:

        Beta-fication?
        Oh god you aren’t one of those pickup artists are you?

      • Waterpoet says:

        *Someone* doesn’t understand the impact that entertainment has on human psychology, or the effect that cultural output has on the shape and behavior of society. Maybe *someone* thinks of himself as the prototypical alpha-male and worries he’s not getting the respect he deserves.

      • quarpec says:

        “It really is a result of the Beta-fication of society”

        and there you have it, mra redpill shithead confirmed. don’t you have rape apologia posts on reddit to wank over or something?

    • Slight0 says:

      “Like.. if you make a movie without a happy end, it will probably not sell well in USA.”

      What the f*** are you talking about? Reading this article and resulting comments have just been false dilemma after false dilemma after false dilemma after false dilemma.

      Like, maybe you’re making some lame joke or something, but sad ending movies happen all the god damn time in the US…. To even begin to make a list here would be like cherry picking fish from the sea.

  5. DatonKallandor says:

    Bioware lecturing people on maturity and inclusiveness. That’s funny. But people taking that seriously are just sad.

    • Dave Tosser says:

      Hey, Miranda’s bum is progressive.

    • weary ghoul says:

      Oh bug off. There’s no need to derail this into being all about your personal hateboner for developer X,Y, or Z. Whether you like BioWare games or not has virtually nothing to do with this article.

      • nzmccorm says:

        It really does though. A Bioware writer has no room to criticize the way that other people write and represent queer characters. Look at the queers of Dragon Age. They’re either fetish objects for straight, predominantly white cisgendered women with Yaoi romance plot lines, laughable joke characters like Wade and Herren or the trans character in the DA2 brothel, or they’re fetish objects for men no different from other video game romances.

        Also the guy is stupid. Being gay is not just a small thing that has “no effect” on how a narrative should go or a character should be constructed and written. Being queer does actually mean something about how you understand yourself and how you engage with society. This is why recognizably queer characters like the ones in FONV are so much better. At the end of the day I do want to see something of myself in queer characters. That’s why queer representation is so important, and it’s massively missing the mark to reduce queer ness to an unimportant detail. That’s not representation, that’s erasure.

        • AngelTear says:

          You’re misunderstanding his words, I think.
          In Rogue Legacy, the fact that being gay has no effect is a good thing because it represents a gay character being for all intents and purposes equal to a straight character. This wouldn’t be so, if there was a deeper plot, because of all the reasons you mention and more (emotional baggage, possible experiences with rejection from peers etc), but Rogue Legacy has *no* plot, only gameplay, and it’s good that a gay character can do pretty much everything a straight character can do, have the same abilities and aspirations etc.

          As for the rest, he may not have succeeded in his games (supposing that he was in fact involved in all those Bioware projects) but, unless this was all PR speech, at least he’s honestly trying, and that’s already a lot.

          • nzmccorm says:

            He still has a pattern of negating queerness as a minor detail though.

            Compare that with actually well-written queer characters. I’ll use the two I like to point to a lot: Arcade and Veronica from Fallout: New Vegas. Queerness is central to how they as characters are constructed. They’re queered not just because they’re homosexual, but that is a factor. Further they’re recognizably queer. I can see a lot of myself and may gay friends in Arcade, and Veronica is similarly recognizable for a lot of people. Their queerness shapes how they relate to their communities, their hobbies, how they dress and act and talk about themselves.That’s a good queer character.

          • weary ghoul says:

            Not all LGBT characters have to be queer, because not all LGBT people are queer. If an LGBT character is cisgender I don’t see how that makes it a bad LGBT character, unless you’re one of those people who think your brand of LGBT is the only valid brand of LGBT.

          • jrodman says:

            What does it mean for an LGBT character to not be queer? I’ve usually encountered this adjective used as an all-inclusive for sexual/gender minorities.

          • pepperfez says:

            @jrodman: My (highly fallible) understanding is that “queer” refers specifically to a rejection of assimilation. The example I’ve heard is that “same-sex marriage” or even “gay marriage” make sense, but “queer marriage” is gibberish, because marriage is a heteronormative institution at its core.

            Again, I’m on the outside looking in, so someone more knowledgeable may please correct me.

          • jrodman says:

            Pepperfez: i’ve seen that sort of thing occaisionally, but I *far* more often hear it as an *all-inclusive*. Like I don’t think straight white male cisgender foot fetishists would feel excluded in the usages I’ve heard.

            That said, I’m very strongly influenced by the patterns of San Francisco these days.

        • weary ghoul says:

          @nzmccorm

          I’m not sure that you’re going to convince me as a bisexual person myself who has played several BioWare games and found nothing particularly offensive in any of them.

          I haven’t played ALL of BioWare’s games, nor have I probably played through every single plotline in the ones I have, so it’s possible I missed something but other than that we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          I do find it vaguely flattering that there are people actively crusading around being outraged on my behalf that the few LGBT characters I do interact with in video games are “yaoi fetish objects for women” that I am demeaned somehow by whether I realize it or not.

          Look, I’ll grant you, BioWare may not be perfect indeed, but when only perfect people/writers are allowed to weigh in on important social discussions I’m afraid the only sound you’ll hear is the cold, empty vacuum of deep space.

          Oh, and for what it’s worth, I actually do consider my sexuality to be an unimportant detail, I view the problem as being that much of society does not agree. Sorry to hear I’m doing it wrong by not thinking of myself as some special other distinct from the rest of human society.

          *also not sure what’s wrong with yaoi anyway, there’s nothing particularly strange about heterosexual women finding young sexy guys having sex with each other to be sexy. Straight guys finding “girl-on-girl” arousing is practically mainstream at this point.

          • nzmccorm says:

            Uh, yeah, you are kind of wrong, sorry. Existing outside of the heteronormative gender binary in a heteronormative society where the gender binary is built into virtually every aspect of life and culture is not a small detail, and negating it in that way is kind of silly IMO and speaks more to your personal privilege than anything else.

          • weary ghoul says:

            I don’t think you understand what I said. It’s not that such things are indeed considered to make little difference, it’s that they should be. A world where no one thinks these things are a big deal is very much a world I would like to live in, but you are correct that it is not a world that exists.

            Also, I fully realize that being a cisgender bisexual white male, while technically a sexual minority, is practically invisible if you want it to be. I am sorry if your situation is much more difficult than mine and I would love nothing more than for society to ease that burden.

  6. skutbag says:

    I like the fact he addressed it as a design issue – you spend all day adjusting blaster cannon XL44 to have +1 or +2 or +2.5 range and you can’t be arsed to add a slider for racial, sexual or whatever characteristics? In a wider consideration of “teh artz” that has always been key for me – if you can’t imagine it in fiction, you won’t be able to do it in real life.

    Complainers be all like “Y’all don’t know what it’s like / Being male, middle-class and white.”

    • Kurbster says:

      adjusting stats is as simple as changing a number in a table

      Adding in different racial, sexual, yada yada….requires new assets, new textures, maybe even new voice work.

      Because something tells me you people won’t be happy with just a simple text box describing your sexual choice

      • Sheng-ji says:

        You people???

        • Rizlar says:

          My troll alarm has been honking loudly. Unfortunately my genuine-racist-and-mysogynist alert klaxon has been broken for a while, so who knows.

          • Kurbster says:

            I wouldn’t of cared if you called me a bunch of feminist and liberal buzzwords, anways

          • Sheng-ji says:

            You’ve claimed not to care about something you actually do care about just a few hours ago as well…

          • Kurbster says:

            @Sheng-ji…congrats, you have a attention span of 2 hours. Have a gold star, and take the rest of the week off because you earned it!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Ha! Was that the best you could do! No harness or muzzle with underslung cheek spikes? No razor collars or paw hooks? No wicked teeth or claws as long as your finger? They just don’t make trolls like they used to!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Alright people, place your bets on who Kurbster is an alt for, I’m thinking one of the butthurt Penny Arcade ones, or one who flounced off promising never to come back – maybe Machinations or NotToBeLiked

          • Bedeage says:

            Kurbster is the voice of the silent majority. Try to remember that when you are bouncing ideas around in the hothouses for teenage angst that are Tumblr/RPS.

          • pepperfez says:

            It’s fascinating that the silent majority is both exceptionally loud and thoroughly outnumbered.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            The silent majority should consider finding representation that comes off as less desperate and over-confrontational.

        • SuddenSight says:

          I can’t look at that phrase anymore without quoting Tropic Thunder to myself:

          “What do you mean, ‘you people’?”

          “What do YOU mean, ‘you people’?”

      • ffordesoon says:

        You’d be adorably quaint if there weren’t an alarmingly large number of folks just like you out there.

  7. Jenks says:

    Problematic count: 7
    You guys must have made an effort to use it extra sparingly during this interview.

  8. Tuckey says:

    They’re just games, who cares

  9. Zenicetus says:

    Well, Bioware guy touched on the main problem, although apparently it didn’t make it into the talk he gave. To take just one aspect of the diversity issue — if you want better female characters in games, then game studios need to hire more female writers. We’ll still be getting games like this as long it’s mainly a boy’s club.

    I was reminded of this because I’ve been re-reading some novels by Alastair Reynolds, who is one of my favorite Space Opera authors. He has “strong” female central characters in many of his stories, but they’re written as if they’re standard male characters in almost every respect. You could swap the gender identity to male in all those stories (except maybe Pushing Ice), and the stories wouldn’t flow any differently.

    Even with that reservation, I’d still wish for a Mass Effect 4 written by Reynolds, because it wouldn’t be the kind of generic sci-fi setting and plot that Bioware likes to crank out.

    • LockjawNightvision says:

      This. You want better-written women and minorities, hire women and minorities to write them. And then the straight, white writers in the room will probably get better too, if they’re worth a damn.

    • RedViv says:

      Both. It’s a self-perpetuating situation, and if you break it up at both points it will just help faster. More female representation in the narrative, more girls and women might want in. More women in games, on average likely better female representation.
      Or as tumblr likes to shorten it: Representation. Freaking. Matters.

    • BarryAllen says:

      You don’t need female writers to have a good female character. Batwoman is a beast and nearly all the issues I own were wrote by men.

      • bleeters says:

        Still, it couldn’t hurt.

        • BarryAllen says:

          The gender doesn’t matter. A good writer is a good writer, giving favouritism to either gender will just call talented people of the opposite gender to miss out.

          • jrodman says:

            That’s just not true. Writers are at their best when they write what they know well. It is genuinely difficult for a man to have as strong a knowledge of a woman’s experience as a woman can.

            That doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed, as a writer, in learning about what you don’t personally experience. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t sometimes hit the scoreboard on something you don’t know as well as others by getting lucky or asking for input etc. But it’s definitely easier, and has a better chance of top success, to make a richer, more full character when writing about things you personally know.

          • Zenicetus says:

            It’s not just a question of “favoritism to either gender,” it’s that women tend to write differently than men.

            The hard sci-fi by male authors like Reynolds, Niven, and the other members of the boy’s club has a different flavor than the hard sci-fi written by female authors like Alice Bradley Sheldon (a.k.a. James Tiptree Jr.) and Ursula K. LeGuin, whether their protagonists are male or female. Or something in-between.

            Diversity doesn’t just mean showing more of Gender A than Gender B when the credits roll, or in the game itself. It means you might get a more interesting, or at least a different twist on characterization and plot development.

          • Reapy says:

            Just want to plus one Zenicetus, women and men write male and female characters differently. It is hard for me to place what it is, just there is a subtle tone where I can usually tell if a man or woman is the author as I am reading, usually a hunch there, and obviously very strong writers have a voice all their own that transcends that, but in general, they are different.

            I would like to see more characters and povs in games for varieties sake alone honestly.

          • bleeters says:

            That implies to me that the gaming industry just doesn’t have a lot of good writers, then.

    • Macaw says:

      More of a factoid and less of an argument; Rihanna Pratchett wrote the characters for Overlord. The lead in Overlord is a silent, brooding, muscular, all-conquering, harem keeper… …or maybe that was a creation of the game company. I am unfamiliar with the contractual and creative details. Rihanna did save the game from itself, by making everyone quite silly.

      It would nice to have a diverse writing team flesh out characters, but you may end up with female writers who create a more devilish male lead. Not a bad thing, but perhaps not what was called for in this discussion?

      White men are the ones who mostly ended up in recorded Western history. If you are of African heritage, do you write The Three Musketeers, the history of black French officers or maybe both?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Dumas

  10. Henchimus says:

    Honestly who gets of on talking such a load of pseudo-intellectual pap seriously? Who really gives a shit? And I am gay.

    Actually, as someone who comes from a liberal, wealthy, educated background, you might even say I play games to ESCAPE the sterile, officious, politically correct society around me. A set of characters that are just the same tired PC drones from one art form to the next is totally off-putting and doesn’t impress me much; especially when Bioware don’t have the courage to break the one taboo that would cost them $$$: have a truly ugly human at the core of their game, male or female.

    GIve me a fat, middle-aged, raving racist bigot protagonist over another of Bioware’s identikit “make your own beige Mary Sue” leads anyday!!

    • araczynski says:

      I agree you should have the option to choose to be that type of a person, but since I generally try to pretend I’m the person I’m playing in the game, I wouldn’t want to equate myself with the same disease I’d want to see eradicated from the gene pool. (the ugly human part aside, even uglies can be hotties to SOMEbody out there).

    • Pharos says:

      GIve me a fat, middle-aged, raving racist bigot protagonist over another of Bioware’s identikit “make your own beige Mary Sue” leads anyday!!

      Uhhh… how is this relevant to the discussion? I’m genuinely curious why you think it might be.

      No one’s saying we can’t have bad people as characters; we just don’t want bad characters.

    • almostDead says:

      Error, Error, all the white, middle aged male and female SJW speaking on your behalf do not like this message. Error.

    • Quiffle says:

      Does anyone else find it a little strange to read an article on diversity, and then quickly come to remember that the publication is mostly comprised of white males? I’m more than certain that there’s a few bronies in the staff but, aha, that doesn’t really count.

      I for one welcome our pasty social arbiters. Thinking, doing, and pushing things for little old minority me and that one vocal guy that complains about how bad they have it all the time. But mostly for him, I assume. :\

      • Nevard says:

        It is a little disappointing that even if you’re extremely generous and include the porp as regular guest writer, we’re only at 25% women and 100% white
        I mean they obviously can’t conjure women from thin air but it seems fairly incongruous considering the site content, there can’t be nobody

        • weary ghoul says:

          I feel obliged to point out that this comment is just about a day out of date considering the recent hiring of the excellent Alice O’Connor (formerly of Shacknews) as an RPS regular.

          Yes, it’s still mostly male and yet I’m not going to criticize them for that because while I value diversity, I’ve never been the “meet arbitrary quotas or you’re eeeevil” type and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

      • Bedeage says:

        It’s White Man’s Guilt all over again. The cycle from admiration of the Noble Savage, to realisation that actually it’s just a savage, to White Man’s Guilt is eternal. Soon they’ll be saying that folk who go transgender are something special, when in fact they’re just something sad.

        • jrodman says:

          You can’t just toss around guilt without supporting the assertion. Yes, sometimes people discussing imbalance comes from a place of guilt which isn’t useful and stupid (though I understand it). However, people who do not suffer from imbalance in privilege discussing imbalance is totally reasonable, and can be productive and healthy, and is necessary.

          So if you just toss around the assertion that it’s guilt without substantiation, you’re just saying “shut up about inclusion”, effectively, regardless of your intention.

          • Bedeage says:

            I thought the assertion was pretty clear. RPS was founded by 3 white middle-class men who live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is further staffed by more white, middle-class men and a couple of ladies with edgy haircuts. RPS makes all its money by covering AAA games full of gender, race, and class bias (other than the money that comes from their monthly White Guilt clickbait articles). I’d happily bet you a hundred quid that all their weekly small-cap indie coverage brings in less revenue than a single Titanfall preview. That’s where the guilt comes from.

            Further to that, with guilt comes blame – and that is turned back on the silent majority who do not read RPS for its post-modern coverage of games made for minimal audiences but instead read RPS to get their sound judgement on the games that most people actually play.

          • Ich Will says:

            Quinns comes to your house, ties you to your office chair and opens the browser to the latest article you don’t want to read. Rob Florence puts matches in your eyes to stop you from blinking and until you can recite the whole article by rote, Jim and John freestyle rap in your ear.

            Their work done, the team move on to the next reader who doesn’t want this sort of article on RPS.

          • Bedeage says:

            You misunderstand me. I find these articles interesting. Not only that but as an enlightened citizen of the post-feminist age, I actually think about some of these issues in my day to day life. Not particularly the gender/orientation stuff (because who really cares about those guys – some of them aren’t even guys any more), but certainly the characterisation of women and the treatment of femininity. On a couple of notable occasions I have even chosen a female avatar.

            RPS is one of the best sites for serious games criticism in the old-fashioned sense – reviews, discussions etc. These interviews they do are also very good. The moralising paternalism (“Oh what shall we do about all these filthy oiks who like page 3 of the Sun?”) is crap; that is my point. It appears to be the message coming across from a number of other people too.

          • jrodman says:

            You haven’t supported anything. You’re just saying that in their position they are PROBABLY feeling guilty, but you haven’t shown that the lines of reasoning or discussion are actually focused on guilt instead of actually talking about the problem. I’m sure guilt does come into it a SOME point, but unless you can show that it’s the FOCUS of the discussion, then your claim has missed the mark, and you’re just making baseless accusations.

            In short, you can’t just say that the motivation is guilt. If that’s a valid point then I can invalidate it by saying your motivation is jealousy and have defeated your argument entirely. But everyone knows that both are ad hominem and silly to boot.

    • ChrisAlgoo says:

      Pack it in everyone, a gay person is tired of PC. Presumably politeness is next on the list of things to get rid of, so be ready!

    • jrodman says:

      TRIUMPH! A gay person now feels so secure in their social position that they believe inclusion of gay people in games is pointless, and “politically correct”, whatever that means. Someone can internalize this nonsense position and not even realize it.

      That shows that the position of gay people in modern society has come a long way.

      Personally I’m a quite privileged gay male but am still aware that “politically correct” is nearly always used as a term of misdirection, and that inclusion of more people into games doesn’t limit their ability for escape, but rather increases it.

    • quarpec says:

      sounds like you need a vacation from all those political correct progressives that are making your life a boring hell. maybe uganda, just to get some perspective before you slag off the very things in society that keep you and yours safe from bigotry?

  11. Taidan says:

    Much, much more diversity and representation in gaming would be good for everybody, whether they know they want it or not.

    Demonizing your own community by writing off complex issues of the representation of gender and sexuality as “Sexism”, “Misogyny” or “Homophobia” is good for nobody, and counter-productive to the issue at hand.

    As much as I want to see developers and publishers get a hell of a lot better as far as diversity is concerned, I want to see the gaming media get better at reporting on it, too.

    • RedViv says:

      Calling things by their name is done to wake people up and tell them what exactly is wrong, not to demonise someone instantly. Few in number and small in mind are the people who openly call themselves any sort of these -ists, really.

      • jrodman says:

        The key is that typically the focus is “this work is sexist” or “this scene is homophobic” or “this scenario is racist”. In fact that’s all you see in this article. That doesn’t demonize anyone.

        Where it gets ugly is “you are a racist”.

        • derbefrier says:

          dont forget that everything is open to interpretation and nothing is absolute. It makes it easier to think that way but these issues are never so black and white. Also when treated as so, people tend to regress to the far extremes of these issues which only farther convolutes the discussion with useless irrelevancies. All i know is Martin Luther King Jr. or any other famous activist never got anything done using hate as their primary weapon of choice against those they disagreed with. You don’t progress by alienating those you disagree with.

          • jrodman says:

            This comment is irrelevant.

            Pointing out that something genuinely seems racist in tone, which is where you start, is not in any way hate. Insisting that such statements are attacks shuts down discussion and perpetuates hate.

          • ffordesoon says:

            “I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’”

            –Martin Luther King Jr.

      • Taidan says:

        …which exactly proves my point.

        I’m talking about “complex issues of the representation of gender and sexuality” (exact quote), you went straight for the extremes and -isms.

        Going nuclear at the first sign of something you’re not happy with is self-defeating at best, and almost as poisonous to the community as the morons who are actually being sexist, homophobic and racist in the first place.

        • RedViv says:

          Why is calling someone out for something they did, so they know they did, “going nuclear” now? How else would you notice? I am not saying to go an a wall-of-text rant for every single misstep – just exactly what jrodman up there describes, telling people when they do something. How else would you do that then saying that hey, this thing here is kind of whateverist? Call it by what it is. Should not see that as immediate yelling and namecalling.

  12. mahasamatman says:

    Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

    Seriously, though, did this get linked somewhere?

    • almostDead says:

      Funniest version of this I ever saw was on Stack Overflow- a story about most hilarious code comments.

      This amazing one was a statement you made then asking people to add to the number of hours people had tried unsuccessfully to refactor the code below.

  13. SRTie4k says:

    I play games to get away from all this crap. Why is it so incessantly important for polarizing topics to be injected in every mainstream piece of media as a central theme?

    • Serenegoose says:

      I mean, the article pretty much opens up with how it doesn’t need to be in every game, but don’t let that get in the way of anything.

      • Kurbster says:

        It doesn’t ‘need’ to be in anything. It should be purely an artistic choice, and not forced in because you think you’re doing society a favor

        • Joshua says:

          Nobody is forcing anybody to do anything.
          These are merely suggestions and recommendations.

          • Kurbster says:

            shaming developers who don’t wish to participate in this is a form of coercion

          • Serenegoose says:

            They can deal with it. It’s a business. If they try and push the same tired shit I’ve seen done to death, I’ll shame them for it. I’m not their self-esteem coach.

          • tormos says:

            Remember, buying things you like instead of things that Kurbster likes is coercion.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            @Serengoose
            The problem is you are shaming someone for making the choice that will keep them in business and allow them to feed their families. That kinda makes you an asshole tbh.

          • Serenegoose says:

            This just in, criticising people now unethical, they have a family to feed. Do not think, just consume, you fucker, you’re putting people out of a job!

          • jrodman says:

            @Smokey the bear: Not really. It shames them for making a choice that they didn’t have to make. It’s not like you only have a single option when making a creative work. It also makes the repercussions of being churlish creators higher, which means the “keep my family fed” decision goes more in the direction that serenegoose wants, which is just good tactics.

            There might be *better* tactics, but this one seems reasonable.

        • SRTie4k says:

          That’s kind of how I see it. The Longest Journey was a fantastic game with an absolutely incredibly realized central female character, one of the most memorable characters in my gaming life (I’m a 30 yo white guy FWIW). The fact that she’s a female and has some amount of sexuality, although not entirely overt, is ultimately unimportant to the story. They don’t shoehorn overtly politicized details in because they didn’t need to to create a believable, likable and ultimately realistic character.

          • Pharos says:

            I entirely approve of April Ryan and agree with you that she’s a great female character. I’m sure, however, that you can think of female characters from other games which aren’t so great. (There are plenty of male characters which are pretty bad too. Sometimes this is because the person who writes the game isn’t good at writing, or isn’t good at writing games.) Sometimes it’s because they’re having the character say or do things that are more informed by gender stereotypes than experience of dealing with actual women.

            Naturally, this extends to other minorities, and I suspect Nathan and Manveer want devs to be proactive about correcting the problem. Even a casual application of common sense will tell you that this won’t be relevant in every “mainstream piece of media as a central theme”, but a lot of them do have female characters.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Yep agreed this is an example of how to write a character, female or otherwise. The point and click/adventure genre as a whole has seen some of the best character writing in video gaming, mainly because dialogue and storyline are 90% of the game (it’s pretty much like playing a book really). Sadly it doesn’t sell well as a genre. It’s actually more difficult to write a complex interesting character that is mindlessly slaughtering things for 90% of the game.

            Also a point and click game, the writer(s) are 80% responsible for determining the quality of the game, Ragnar Tørnquist was the Writer and Producer of The Longest Journey, it was his project.
            You will be unlikely to find a writer in creative control of other games because even though everyone is crying for better narrative in games, gameplay is still more important. Great gameplay with a hammy storyline and generic character will still be fun, great storyline but terrible mechanics will be unplayable and a much worse game. Because of this writing takes second fiddle, good writing staff costs money that is better spent on talented developers in nearly all situations.

        • Alexrd says:

          I completely agree.

    • almostDead says:

      SJW brandish hammers and everything is a nail.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      I hope I’m not coming across as a dick, but I think that you can’t really have better, more intelligent narrative-driven games without facing serious themes. It’s a necessary step to create something that is not just throwaway entertainment, in my opinion (though throwaway stuff has its place as well, mind you).

      • SRTie4k says:

        There are a lot of games that don’t have real world political and social issues shoehorned into them but are fantastic nonetheless. My previous example, The Longest Journey is a great one.

      • weary ghoul says:

        Exactly. Thank you.

        So you don’t have to deal with isms, congratulations, I’m happy for you. And you’re right, it’s not fun. Now let’s try and extend that privilege to everybody else, okay?

        • SRTie4k says:

          How about you try and extend those privileges to everybody on your own time, with your own efforts (or at least the efforts of people who truly care), instead of expecting me to rally for the next cause that I frankly want to escape from in the first place.

          Make change from the inside instead of bitching about it but never doing anything. I’m sure you’ll get a lot more people that support you by doing rather than complaining. And there are 10 million times as many ways to break into the gaming industry as there ever used to be.

          If your message is one that resonates with a large demographic, you’ll find an audience! But don’t try to guilt-trip me because I just happen to be the current target demographic. I’m sick and tired of all these crusades that people expect me to champion for.

          • ChrisAlgoo says:

            It isn’t all about you and your feelings.

          • pepperfez says:

            Speaking as a nasty diversity-loving feminist killjoy, I personally endorse and praise your decision to sit out this crusade. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to no longer have to whinge under every article about women in games and instead skim along to the post about tanks.

  14. Smashbox says:

    Wait. There’s going to be a Mass Effect 4?

    Why?

    • BTAxis says:

      Money? Just a guess.

    • Tritagonist says:

      Because the ‘franchise’ is very ‘popular’ among ‘core-gamers’ as well as ‘diverse demographics’, and a new game will allow BioWare to exploit ‘the strength of their IP’. In other words, there’s money to be made! Which, to be fair, is fair enough for a international corporation.

    • db1331 says:

      Maybe they thought of a new ending for the series, like orange, purple, or teal.

    • Henson says:

      You don’t want a new Mass Effect? A fresh, clean story that captures the wonderful sci-fi from part 1? An 70′s-80′s sci-fi aesthetic RPG made by a new development team?

      Personally, I’d like to see what fresh blood can do with this universe. I loved what it used to be.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        That would be another Mass Effect.
        Since this will have the 4 on the end it will be much more similar to the 3rd and worst game in the series.

      • bleeters says:

        I’d have more confidence in how it’ll turn out if the guys developing it weren’t responsible for the least interesting, most poorly developed dlc pack Mass Effect 3 had, with the writing headed up by the guy responsible for the worst story segments in the game. It’s my understanding the people who wrote the parts of the third game I actually thoroughly enjoyed are now on the Dragon Age Inquisition team.

        Consider me cautiously vaguely-unoptimistic, basically.

  15. SupahSpankeh says:

    I’m all for this, I really am. A bit more depth in games is good, but…

    For the love of god, make it a GOOD game. Remember DAO2? The opposite of that.

  16. hypercrisis says:

    How about we finally see pragmatism rather than the years of finger wagging thus far? Also, i think we have also very selective memories here pretending games until now have always been “save the princess” and just reeks of someone who doesnt really know much about games

    • almostDead says:

      The success of most endeavours relies on people’s short memories and being too lazy or poor to check facts.

    • Dave Tosser says:

      Also, i think we have also very selective memories here pretending games until now have always been “save the princess” and just reeks of someone who doesnt really know much about games

      I genuinely cringe when I see last year’s abysmal Tomb Raider reboot- (which seems a slight too eager to fling a skinny pretty lady onto spikes, anyway) or Remember Me or whatever Polygon are giving inclusiveness marks to today to level out the Totally Reliable Games Journalism Score-o-tron 3000®- being held up as some sort of fluke or rarity or unprecedented event.

      I know the majority of the people who pen reviews of video games on the internet either don’t know about all the obscure nonsense I do because you don’t have as much free time as me to Google “Obscure video games I can not tell my friends at to further my encyclopaedic knowledge of nothing”, or they’re 23 and too young and trendy to give a shit about Laura Bow or The Longest Journey or No One Lives Forever etc etc etc, but let’s not pretend the games industry is entirely historically worthless when it comes to representations of ladies. Because it’s not and we know it. And if we don’t then we should.

      I guess if we looked back at what we’ve had before and said, “More of that, execs”, that’d be useful. Could RPS run a series that’s historical examples of women or blacks or gays that aren’t patronising, aren’t attention-seeking and are just generally well done? That’d be cool, and it’d remind folk of a lot of forgotten games that really shouldn’t be forgotten if this is the current environment of games scribbling.

      I guess this ties into another gripe of mine about how the collective memory of people writing about games in the more mainstream sites tends to be shorter and more selective than it really should be, and how I know about all these cool games and never get a sense of self-affirmation from cool intertextual references embedded in reviews, and how I wish we’d remember Silent Storm when we go bandying 10/10s to X-Com 2012, but that’s not really relevant. RPS is pretty good with that, and I’m just nostalgia-bitten and sad.

      • Rizlar says:

        Yep. It’s good to celebrate games that do these things well. Also makes me want to try NOLF…

        Think the perceived (and real) lack of progress is because these are problems in wider culture and society as a whole. I honestly don’t think games are worse than other media, but perhaps because it’s still being defined as a medium and perhaps because of it’s intrinsic link to the internet, there seems to be a lot of discussion about these issues in games. Which is great! And will hopefully make other media and society as a whole more aware, with more of a will to improve.

        • bleeters says:

          Just chipping in to say that whilst neither of the NOLF games have aged especially well, the’re both absolutely worth trying if the idea of sneak/shoot/gadgeting your way through a funny 60s themed british spy adventure holds any appeal.

      • Noise says:

        Agree completely. I’m not in any way in favor of shallow representations of males or females or anyone, and I’m not in any way against diversity in games, but I have to say that all this talk of misogyny in games and hailing games like Tomb Raider (new) and Gone Home as breaking new ground is a form of rewriting history. Those games have broken no new ground at all. There have been plenty of games with much better representations of women and other issues and the kicker is that a lot of those actually managed to be good GAMES as well – back in the good old days when gameplay was even on page 1 of the list of priorities when designing or discussing games.

    • Lemming says:

      Fucking hell a sensible middle-of-the-road comment!

      I have to agree. It’s like everyone’s forgotten, for example, Mara Jade in Mysteries of the Sith. Was everyone up in arms about playing a woman in 1998? Nope. Was it even significant enough to get a mention at the time? Nope, again.

      • hypercrisis says:

        Just imagine how people would react to learning about Urban Chaos or Fear Effect. Or even further–imagine the response to the TV show BITS!

        At the end of the day its part of the wider problem of the dissolution of journalistic integrity, something which is currently an epidemic.

  17. Melonfodder says:

    “Right now sexism gets the most vocal focus in the gaming industry, but that’s far from the only issue. Racism and homophobia are still without a doubt major problems that we need to tackle as well. What, in your opinion, is the next step there?”

    Wow, right on the money there RPS. Right now the people who are heard are mostly white, heterosexual women (or white heterosexual men being ‘allies’). I guess that’s a start for diversity’s sake, but mainstream media is utterly lazy here to the point of being ineffectual, parroting whatever’s on the wallpaper at the moment. In gaming communities, the homophobia and racism are easily more prevalent problems than sexism – if you’ve gone online recently it’s pretty easy to tell what the most commonly slurs used are, or who the victims for hatecrimes are (albeit playing bigger victim is problematic too). Heir’s answer to your question sounds like bullet-dodging at a politician-tier level.

    But yeah, one step at a time I suppose.

    • Jinoru says:

      Racism and homophobia are far more intense issues outside of gaming than within. There hasn’t been so much offense an those than with sexism and rape culture promulgating about the game culture.

      LGBT and diverse races haven’t been as offended as women have by the games. Lets not make something an issue when it isn’t and may not be.

      • Nevard says:

        That’s because within gaming they don’t exist. That is a big problem.

      • Melonfodder says:

        “LGBT and diverse races haven’t been as offended as women have by the games”
        This is patently untrue, and I’m flabbergasted to read what you wrote to be honest. You know the Call of Duty franchise? Remember the marketing campaign for MW2 and the whole F.A.G.S thing? MW3 had a character shouting about killing cocksuckers – we haven’t even begun talking about the members of the community, but it isn’t rare that they’re talking about hanging and murdering LGBT people.

        You can’t draw a thin line between gaming as an inside world or an outside world, and neither can you do that when it comes to sexism either. The sexism outside of the gaming culture becomes a part of sexism inside gaming culture – and this is true for homophobia and other LGBT issues too.

        But yeah, because gay people can’t hold hands in the street it makes sense to further depresent their problems when discussions on equality pops up in gaming media… right?

        • jrodman says:

          I agree with everything you said, but if you live in a place where gay people can’t hold hands in the street I would suggest moving.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            That’s a hell of a lot of the world who will end up moving! Probably more practical to get people local to us to stop being lowlifes

          • almostDead says:

            Lowlifes must mean religious. Isn’t the correlation between homophobia and religiousity like 1.0.

            Religion is going nowhere.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I know plenty of religious people who aren’t homophobic, so no, that’s another tired old negative stereotype.

          • Melonfodder says:

            It depends on how you define ‘being able to’, I suppose. Just how low are we drawing the line? If they’re not stoned, are they then able to? If they’re just harassed and shouted at, and just sometimes beaten, but it’s technically legal – can they still?

            I don’t believe that a religious person is automatically bigoted, but the connection is undoubtedly there. I’m just uncomfortable around very religious people in general.

          • jrodman says:

            almostDead: Thankfully the answer to your posed question is incontrovertibly no, and the ratio is continuing to slide.

            The problem is the haters get all the press.

            —-

            As for the moving comment, I understand that there are a significant number of backwards places in the world. However, there are, by now, a significant number of not-backwards places. Homosexuality has reached a level of acceptance in the majority of the western world where they’re electable pretty readily, so that passes my litmus test of “mainstream”. If the place where you live is sufficiently regressive as to still make it impossible for two men or women to hold hands in public, I think you’d be happier living somewhere less regressive.

            Unless of course socially regressive is your cup of tea, in which case you should stay there because you’ll be happier. (Not suggesting anyone here is such.)

            I’m really just making a suggestion, based on my experiences, that your life is likely to be better by making such a switch.

            This is probably not a relevant suggestion to some parts of the world where the social continuity does not include such places. I admit to being ethnocentric. Sorry, we all are a bit I think.

  18. dE says:

    I’m in two minds about the GDC. There were a lot of beautiful and important talks, but also those hyper cynical business talks. Like it was almost schizophrenic in places. Talks about being inclusive and talks about abusing people’s weaknesses, just next door.

  19. Mungrul says:

    I can’t stand that Bioware and their employees keep getting credited as being so progressive regarding racial and sexual equality.
    This is the company that brought us the Asari, an entire race of big-boobed, blue-skinned, alien wank-fantasies.
    The way the games portray them, it also appears that an entire phase of their existence is dedicated to being pole-dancers.
    Why does nobody ever call Bioware out on this?!

    • Jomini says:

      Because nobody cares.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        Because Bioware has good “games media” focused marketing. They continually push the idea that they’re inclusive and mature, while what actually produce is juvenile and sexist. But only the former dominates the discussion if the PR is all that’s reported instead of the reality.

    • Jinoru says:

      Because people don’t really think like you do most of the time. People protest by using their money. If its something objectionable they simply won’t buy it.

    • Wulfram says:

      They’re not as a rule bigger boobed than the humans. Because that would take extra work.

    • derbefrier says:

      because people usually don’t look beyond the superficial. critical thinking is hard and not everyone can do it. Its why bumper sticker slogans for these things and why most people take the “either your for us or against us” stance to these hot button issues. Its the same for anything really be it this, politics, religion etc.. Its also why politicians are always so successful in their rhetoric.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Because Liara is fucking awesome, not exactly a big blue wank fantasy. Even Aria is a great character.
      Do people that say this even play games?

      • ViktorBerg says:

        I’m sorry, what? Liara? Not a wank fantasy? That’s what she is, she’s designed to be the ultimate virtual girlfriend material. Doesn’t help that pretty much the only 2 story arcs including her are the Bioware-brand Daddy Issues(tm) and a kidnapped friend, neither of which lead to much character development outside of the usual character tropes. And then people call it progressive.

  20. Laurentius says:

    I’m all for diversity in games because when this is out of the way we can finally concentrate on glaring fact that 90 % game writers are hacks who can write for shit and deserve nothing more then scorn and mockery and Bioware are actually a pargon of terrible writing, like it’s pretty cool for all ME3 inclusivness and yet writing is so horrible and cheesy and ending is just a mess then i can only paraphrase Cave Johnson quote ‘Fire those writers and hire better writers” .

  21. Wulfram says:

    Is Bioware’s Heir the guy who will inherit when Bioware’s King dies?

  22. KawaiiDysphoriaWitch says:

    I really hate how BioWare always tries to set itself up as this bastion of equality and inclusiveness. Having a woman record some alternate lines for your boring male hero character and throwing in some poorly written gay options doesn’t make your games progressive. The romances are still harem anime bullshit, there are still objectified female character designs, and the majority of the characters are still white. BioWare’s writers aren’t willing to do anything that would upset their target audience of straight white men.

    • RedViv says:

      It’s a Land of the Blind, One-Eyed people thing. And they’re growing more and more eyes.

    • Faren22 says:

      You’ve definitely got a point, but as a whole Bioware is making changes to the way they write characters, and that’s definitely a good thing. I don’t think it’s safe to call any game company a “bastion of equality and inclusiveness” at this point, since not enough has changed from the SWM norm yet. I’m also pretty frustrated that it took them three whole games to add a gay character to Mass Effect, and the whole asari life structure bugs the crap out of me.

      Still, at least they’re working on it, which is more than you can say for many, many other companies.

    • Kurbster says:

      Thanks for reminding developers why they shouldn’t care about inclusiveness

      because the people complaining will never be happy

  23. Stellar Duck says:

    “Heir: Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that. BioWare has involvement with Penny Arcade and PAX and stuff like that.”

    That’s probably something you should change.

    It’s hard to take this person and Bioware as a whole seriously as long as that’s happening.

    Fuck PA, as far as I’m concerned.

    • jrodman says:

      While I have a similar position to you regarding PA/PAX, I recognize that the situation as a whole is not entirely clear cut and people can have different reasonable reactions to it. Some individuals in a clear-cut way have a pit of expectations to dig themselves out of, though.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I realise that.

        But at the same time it’s really hard to credit Heirs talk about homophobia and what not while at the same time refusing to comment on PA.

        I know why it’s the case but I don’t think that makes it any more right.

        • jrodman says:

          I view it more as an indictment on the world of corporate PR, but I see your point.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            You’re right, of course.

            I don’t think Heir is terrible or anything, but it sure rubs me the wrong way.

            But then, I do also have a massive distaste for PA(X), so I may be overly judgemental.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Yes, because refusing to deal with someone who does not have exactly the same opinion about everything is a sure fire way to make things better! PA has always been a force of good in the gaming world, and the fact that they can make a joke about women doesn’t change that. What have you ever done?

      Fuck you, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Distec says:

      The interviewer thrusted his own opinion/grudge – on a matter that wasn’t as black/white as many think – into a conversation that didn’t call for it.

      So Nathan Grayson thinks PA is misguided, and that their attempts at making amends are possibly disingenuous. Great. I mean, was that even a question?

      I’m not really a big fan of how Bioware implement relationships in their games in general, let alone how they handle things like homosexuality. And I think they get more credit than they deserve. But even when you set aside “business reasons”, Heir was totally justified in not responding to that little musing.

      IMO regardless of misguided they are, how poorly they may handle criticism, or how volatile the whole “gender” controversy got to be, they’ve probably done more for LGBT issues than most others shitting on them can claim.

      • weary ghoul says:

        I have to admit that our Nathan does indeed do this thing where sometimes a question isn’t really a question but rather a personal-opinion debating point cloaked in the trappings of a question. In which case it becomes this sort of interview-debate-hybrid thing.

        There’s nothing wrong with debate, of course. I’m not against asking difficult questions. I just hope he’s not shocked or offended when his interviewee inevitably gives the vague PR-like response that doesn’t even acknowledge his premise. Because in many cases they could literally lose their jobs for going off on their own into some contentious tangent in a way their employer might disapprove of, and I don’t think an interviewer has the right to really expect that kind of risk-taking from someone.

  24. NotToBeLiked says:

    Poor guy for actually being reasonable on this subject: now people on both sides of the argument will yell at him. He’s a social justice warrior AND a misogynist!
    I think they are actually doing this the best way possible. Both including “minorities” (in gaming at least) and still having the option for your average straight white dude to just play the game like he likes it. A game can be just as good with only a male character as a female one, and forcing the latter in just to please some people will most likely make the game worse. I loathe the people who keep demanding for female player characters in a game because everything else means the developer hates women. Someone’s gender is one of their most defining characteristics and you can’t just swap it willy-nilly when you have even the slightest bit of a story going on. The best situation would of course be to have many different playable characters for each and every game, but unless someone is paying for those (by buying the game because of those options), it’s an unreasonable demand. The vast majority of gamers are male and white, it’s just an economic reality. There are even many more black male gamers than female ones, and for some reason very few people complain about the lack of black characters…

  25. Kurbster says:

    So how much longer will it take for people to start complaining about Madden because the first character you play during each snap is almost always a white male QB?

    • Nevard says:

      You’re right, it would be pretty great if both Madden and the sport it simulated had more women and people who weren’t white in them.

      • Kurbster says:

        http://youtu.be/PeraQHC-8xE

        it’s going to be quite a long wait, mate

        • Nevard says:

          Such a shame the only woman on Earth missed a kick, I guess feminism is over

          • Kurbster says:

            What other position do you think they could play? Kicker is probably the least physically-demanding position there is….except for the *cough* holder.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Kurbster, come and play wheelchair basketball with me before spouting nonsense about female physicality – may help dispel some myths you no doubt hold about the disabled too. Seriously, come be the only male player in a match, we’ll broadcast it and link to your comments here. Then you can tell us all how weak we are. Or are you too scared to put your face and name to your public declaration that your education system has let you down.

          • Kurbster says:

            I don’t need to shout nonsense…the military has my back

            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/01/02/marines-delay-female-fitness-plan-after-half-fail-pullup-test/

            in b4 hurr durr faux news

          • Ich Will says:

            This is Ryan from Massachusetts (I’m witholding his actual address and phone number – anyone for pizza?) who’s steam quote is “My greatest dream is a world without Jews.”

            He also prowls the internet with his anti-Semitic stance as: Shekel Goldbergstein, this kills the Rev, Jock FingerDoctor. He plays Brutal legend, Papers please (but didn’t like it) and beat hazard.

            He’s very proud of his 5 killstreak achievement in Cod MW2 but outside of video games, he likes anime, particularly Ro-Kyu-Bu! and something which goes by the godforsaken title “Rapeman” which is predictably manga porn, though he is very keen to point out, there is no rape of children in rapeman. He is actively pirating it if you want a copy.

            His favoured description of gays is “faggots” which pops up nearly 200 times in posts by him on foolz.us

            Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our commenter of the day, Kurbster!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Ha! Though I think you meant to reply up above right?

          • Ich Will says:

            Oh buggerit, yes, reply fail

          • Kurbster says:

            @Ich Will…oh lookie, someone pulled up my Steam profile

            *golf clap*…your l33t doxxing skills is really paying off now

          • Ich Will says:

            Here’s the thing Ryan, I was confident enough to post that, I mean, equally you could have been a photographer from New Orleans!

            So clearly I cross referenced the information with stuff that, because I’m not completely morally bankrupt, I’m not going to post. I know a shit tonne about you son, stuff that you yourself have published on the internet and it took me like ten minutes to find it. Enough to apply for credit cards in your name. Puts your comment above about being “retarded” with your personal data in perspective doesn’t it.

          • Kurbster says:

            >I know a shit tonne about you son

            hard for me to have a son when I’m a proud virgin

            you can go fuck off right now

          • Ich Will says:

            I was calling you son, because you are young enough to be my son.

            “I know a shit-tonne about you son”

            not

            “I know a shit tonne about your son”

            It’s a British thing – calling young men who aren’t our children “son”

            Anyway we’ve hit the nerve! Now it’s time for you to go away. Forever.

            (I thought you believed that Virgins can have children anyway, like Mary)

          • Kurbster says:

            don’t worry. I only pop around when reddit links to an article. I really have no intention to strike up a serious conversation with a bunch of westerners. I’m more of a japanese-centric gamer now, just so I can avoid this SJW plague.

          • jrodman says:

            Re “son”.

            Americans do this as well. I have heard Australians do so as well. I think it’s pretty universal in English by now, regardless of where it comes from.

      • weary ghoul says:

        Wait a sec, you have to be kidding me about the “white” thing. Maybe you’re a Brit so you don’t know much about the NFL but last time I checked the representation of minority players in the sport was GREATER than in the population as a whole, not less.

        I’m not trying to be harsh or anything but “the NFL needs to be less white” is just a really weird line of argument.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      When are we going to see a black or South Asian face at one of RPS’ Game Developers Conference meet-ups?

      How about someone writing for RPS who is older than 55?

      This might call for a little bible verse, Luke 6:42:

      Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”

      • weary ghoul says:

        I’m not sure that making sure every organization is a carefully-calibrated assortment of tokenisms and quota-filling, is really progress or that it’s a prerequisite to expressing a valid opinion.

        I mean, is that really your argument? RPS is predominantly white and male, so nothing they say on this matter can have merit? That’d be pretty silly.

        • Volcanu says:

          I’d agree with you that tokensim or quota filling is never good. And I dont subscribe to the view that one can only comment on or have an opinion on issues directly relating to people with the same age/nationality/gender/ethnicity/sexuality as yourself. Buuuuuuuut as people have said when it comes to writers for the games industry, is it really true that there are no decent games journalists from (say) ethnic minorities?

          I think it’s reasonable to challenge our beloved ol’ RPS hivemind by saying if you truly believe that games need to represent minorities more (and I really think they are sincere in that belief) then maybe you should get game journo’s from more diverse backgrounds and outlooks to write contributions, or the odd opinion piece that shows their perspective on these issues in a game (or games more generally).

      • ChrisAlgoo says:

        Yeah! It’s impossible to make anything perfect so nobody should try to make things better.

  26. KingMudkip says:

    I feel like there’s this mindset on RPS where if you’re not for sexual diversity in games, then you’re homophobic, and I feel like it needs to be addressed.

    Look, I do not support homosexuality. I do not like to see homosexuality in games. This is not because I am ‘homophobic,’ it is because I am religiously, intellectually, and morally opposed to the practice of homosexuality. But apparently the Hivemind doesn’t recognize those as viable reasons to not want homosexuality in games. So by RPS’s definition, I’m now a ‘homophobe.’

    I’d just like to see RPS stop using charged words like that to refer to those of us who do not support homosexuality. In your own way, guys, you’re being just as intolerant as you accuse us of being. More so, really, since you’re assigning a ‘condition’ to us instead of recognizing the reasons behind our opinions. Heck, by calling us ‘homophobes,’ you don’t even recognize that there ARE reasons behind our opinions!

    • jrodman says:

      To be clear if you “do not support homosexuality” then you’re making a homophobic statement. This really has nothing to do with games or rockpapershotgun. Saying “I do not support homosexuality” means that homosexuality is bad, or at least definitely not as good as heterosexuality, which means you’re prejudiced against it, which is what homophobia is the generally used term to indicate.

      Essentially you are describing yourself as a homophobe, but you are are not happy with the definition of the word. That’s a pretty strange way to express your frisson on the topic.

      • KingMudkip says:

        That’s not true, though. The actual definition of the word homophobia implies that your stance is irrational; you can look it up if you don’t believe me. Furthermore, a phobia is a very specific psychological condition. There has to be a way of saying that a viewpoint is anti-homosexual without implying that those who hold that view have a psychological condition.

        • jrodman says:

          Yes, your stance is irrational. There’s really no rational reason to dislike homosexuals *as an entire class of people*.

          As for “phobia”, in the history of English it has not always been used to refer to the debilitating fear used in clinical psychiatry/psychology. I agree that the term is misleading in effect if not in origin, but that does not change that homophobia as used does not refer to debilitating fear in the clinical sense.

          • KingMudkip says:

            I have nothing against homosexuals. It’s homosexuality itself that I do not support. It’s a fine distinction, I’ll grant you, but that is the distinction that Catholicism makes.

          • jrodman says:

            There are the following problems with this viewpoint.

            * The distinction Catholicism makes is not real.
            * You are not required to follow the beliefs of Catholicism

            Therefore your defense boils down to “I am a homophobe because Catholocism tells me I should be one”. This is not rational with respect to the value of homosexuals as people. If Catholocism told you to avoid supporting black people, or that 3rd sons are evil, that would not make your lack of support for those people rational either, it would just make it dogmatic.

          • Nevard says:

            If we’re bringing up definitions, “Rational” means “based on or in accordance with reason or logic.”
            I am a Christian, I’d love to believe there’s a benevolent presence up there, but no faith-based argument can ever be described as “Reasonable”.

          • jrodman says:

            Reason can certainly be employed in the service of faith. However most (actually I think all) religions have non-reason seed beliefs in their core.

            Now, don’t think I’m being all anti-religion here, because most of us have non-reason/evidence seed beliefs about various things. The only part I really hate is the thing about certain religions where they insist that the beliefs may never be questioned.

            Basically my point starting this though was, I think you can say, from a faith perspective, something along the lines of “My faith teaches me X. Applying that, I look at this evidence and form these thoughts with reason, and am influenced to decide to do Y.” To me, that’s what faith really is. This thing where people operate according to prefab rules just smells like something very much lesser.

          • Muzman says:

            It’s not a fine distinction, it’s an artificial one at best. Define a group by a behaviour and then say it’s not them that’s the problem, it’s the thing we use to define them. I don’t even know what you call that. There’s probably some clever bit of Greek that I’ve forgotten. I’d have to go for comforting dogma used as apologia for intractable cognitive dissonance.

        • Mungrul says:

          “It implies that I am irrational”
          Well I’ve not seen you actually rationalise your stance against homosexuality. Go ahead, rationalise it to us without sounding bat-shit crazy.

          Excuses like belief systems are irrelevant.

          “I don’t support homosexuals because some fantasy beardy deity told me I’d endure eternal suffering if I did” is not rational.

          Look; me, I’m a religiously intolerant atheist asshole. I freely admit it. I get angry at people who live their lives by the tenets of what I perceive to be bedtime stories and fairy tales. But I’m happy with what I am. I embrace it.
          People may not like me for my intolerance, but do I give a fuck?

          So come on, just admit you’re a homophobe.
          You’ll be a lot happier about it, and everyone here will feel justified in hating you, so you’ll have made them happy too.
          Win/win.

    • Kurbster says:

      >I feel like there’s this mindset on RPS where if you’re not for sexual diversity in games, then you’re homophobic

      it’s the mindset of liberalism in general. If you’re not 100% in favor of something, then you’re a bigot and a homophobe and a oppressor.

      You get use to it, eventually

    • Nevard says:

      you literally are homophobic
      there is nothing controversial about calling someone who does not support homosexuality a homophobe

      It is what you are.
      If you don’t want people implying that you are a homophobe then stop being homophobic

      Even if your personal definition of the word was true (it isn’t), there is no rational defence of homophobia

      • KingMudkip says:

        Nope. Look up the actual definition. It implies that I am irrational; I an not. Therefore, not homophobic.
        It’s not my personal definition; it is the definition from the Merriam-Webster site.

        • Nevard says:

          http://i.gyazo.com/b0165853564b9e15c8dc89d276113ff8.png

          And even then, there is no rational defence of homophobia mate.

          • KingMudkip says:

            Okay, you’re not listening to what I’m saying, so I’m done with you.

          • Nevard says:

            You can’t claim that you are being rational when you haven’t actually told us your rationale.
            As there are as yet no rational arguments against gay relationships, you’d require an outstanding argument not to be homophobic. And you don’t have one. Because that argument doesn’t exist.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            Yes, there is.

            Ever since the dawn of life on our planet it was designed to replicate (basically) one of two ways: asexually or sexually. As it just so happens, the majority of multicellular life reproduces sexually.

            Heterosexuals reproduce naturally.

            Homosexuals do not.

            Heterosexuals can further a species, naturally. Homosexuals choose not to.

            So if you look at it biologically, should we have nuclear war/chaos/mass extinction of life on this planet, who’s going to reproduce?

            You need a Man and you need a Woman. Each of whom serve their own purpose–and have their own hormones, thus are different.

            So next time someone appears to be homophobic… they’re acting naturally. They are being naturally aggressive against genetic mutations that threaten the survival of a species.

          • Ich Will says:

            Mr_Blastman, should we be hostile to couples who don’t want children, who can’t have children or who have disabled children too?

            Because, you know, they’re not going to further the human race.

            But as male behaviour is biologically programmed to reproduce as much as humanly possible (literally) shouldn’t straight men be (biologically speaking) really pleased if many other men are gay – less competition, right? I’m so confused, pseudo science seems to contradict itself so much! Mr_Blastman, make sense of these made up facts for me, please!

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            I don’t need to. Biology and natural selection do just fine with it. I’ll keep thinking how I please. Those that don’t like it… go find a corner and cry in it. You have several billion years to worry about all this before the sun devours our planet!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            So you don’t need to be hostile to couples who have disabled children, because natural selection will “do just fine with it” but you do need to be hostile to people having sex with other people if they are the same gender because “I’ll think how I please”.

            Yeah, you’re a homophobe, go cry in the corner yourself if you don’t like the label – or wear it with pride… whatever really!

          • Nevard says:

            It’s weird that you say homosexuals don’t reproduce naturally because I’m like 99% sure they were all born the same way heterosexuals were

            If they’re not natural… where did they come from?

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            Exactly! Let’s be ourselves! Not some fake, sanitized shell of humanity that once was but now is what it is not. Lest we forget Fahrenheit 451. Revel in the diversity! Enjoy the smiles and the hatred for what it is.

          • jrodman says:

            I’m not sure what you’re vaguely alleging is different about humanity than previously. On topic, homosexuality exists throughout the animal kingdom, so by the principles of evolution must have existed for many hundreds of millions of years, much longer than humanity itself.

            Of course, you might not believe in evolution, so there is that.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            Hmm… I’ve said natural selection in several posts already. Now who’s deluded? Yeahhhhh… And guess what? Those homosexual animals more than likely failed to reproduce, purging their genetic code from the population. Homosexually has already been proven to be a genetic mutation. An anomaly. A mis-translation of DNA through a choromosomal abnormality. These are just facts, like them or not. They have nothing to do with a video game.

            But hey, guess what?! I am EQUAL OPPORTUNITY when I game! I will blow up a female gamer, a male gamer and a gay gamer with equal impunity! If they gib, I smile and shoot!

          • Nevard says:

            There are actually evolutionary advantages to homosexuality and mechanisms which allow them to be passed along. True, homosexual intercourse usually doesn’t produce children, but a thing most people who never gained more than a primary school understanding of evolution don’t understand is that it doesn’t have to be your genes that are being passed along to ensure your genome survives as long as they are genes related to yours.

            How do you think ant colonies get by? Only one person in the entire place has any kids! How come they aren’t colonies made entirely of queens? Surely that would be better because they’d have more kids? No?
            That is the kind of argument you are presenting! Let’s give this some more actual thought shall we?

            If your brother has a child, he is passing on a significant portion of your genome. If you are a large social species, more children is not necessarily going to give your offspring an advantage over having better care for your children. Family and tribal units form to protect the young. Couples that do not have their own children and never can are free to provide for the young of the entire group, meaning that the fewer children produced are healthier and have a greater chance of producing children of their own, containing the genes that have a chance of producing more homosexual offspring.

            There is nothing unnatural about being gay, and the fact that it keeps cropping up in the wild isn’t a repeated freak mutation. It’s an evolutionary strategy, and a clearly fairly pervasive and successful one.

          • Muzman says:

            “Those homosexual animals more than likely failed to reproduce, purging their genetic code from the population. Homosexually has already been proven to be a genetic mutation. An anomaly. A mis-translation of DNA through a choromosomal abnormality. These are just facts, like them or not. ”

            No they didn’t. No it hasn’t. And no they aren’t.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            @ Nevard
            “It’s an evolutionary strategy, and a clearly fairly pervasive and successful one.”

            That’s quite possibly the most hilarious excuse I’ve heard in a long time. But that’s okay! We are all free to have our own opinions! When it comes to physics and biology, however, there is black and white.

            Well, okay, there’s still grey in physics because we don’t have a unified field theory… YET. But it will come! Someday I hope…

          • Nevard says:

            Very few things are black and white in genetics I’m afraid. That’s really not how they work at all. Have you ever heard of “recessive” traits? Even secondary school children know that one.
            The “every child is literally halfway between both of their parents” model of evolution has been bunk for literally decades. How do you think you get things like genetic conditions that skip generations and children with hair colour different form both of their parents?
            It’s always telling when people use a subject they clearly have very little understanding in to back up their own misguided bigotry, but when they are presented with education immediately start back-pedalling.

            How DO you explain ant colonies? What are the workers getting out of all this? Are they merely the biggest losers in the game of evolution? And if so, why aren’t they extinct entirely, considering that they never mate?
            Or can it be that the path to the greatest evolutionary success isn’t always based solely around the individual?

            Dwell on that for a while and I hope you will come around.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            Bigotry isn’t misguided. It is a choice. Political correctness is misguided. It is forced. We don’t force people to be bigots. But we cram political correctness down their throats.

            Freedom of choice shall prevail!

            Genetics are computable, permutable. You have countless outcomes but, like quantum physics, those odds can be estimated. What you can’t always estimate is the outcome of natural selection. To do that you’d have to model every possible cellularly divisible outcome, model an entire world and simulate every environment to figure out exactly what determinants of survival at any particular time will give one being a better chance of survival than another.

            We don’t have the computational computer power to do this–maybe not ever! We’re probably better off creating an entirely new universe, sit back and watch what happens. It’d be entertaining to say the least.

          • Nevard says:

            There’s such a thing as wrong choices

          • jrodman says:

            Your claim that evolution selected against homosexuality is demonstrably false. Do you have an argument that is based in reality?

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            It isn’t false. If it were, we’d all be gay. We aren’t. The majority (90%+) of humans are straight. If natural selection determined gays were superior, then straights would vanish.

            Unfortunately, desire for the opposite sex is essential for the survival of most mammals. If they lose the will to breed with similar karyotypes, they will go extinct.

            You amuse me with your ignorance of all this. But that is typical of LGBT supporters. They will come up with anything an everything to ignore reality.

          • Muzman says:

            You don’t understand evolution or natural selection and no actual evolutionary biologist would agree with your position, LGBT supporter or not. Variety is essential to the relative fitness of a population. Variety is selected for in the long term.
            You got your knowledge on this stuff from some selective reading by social darwinists by the looks, who are of little relation to actual biologists, but looking for scientific justification for their favored economics and/or other simplisitic pre-held positions.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            I understand evolution quite well and one thing is clear (to borrow from a video game as this is a video game news website that shouldn’t be arguing this crap), you have perks and flaws as traits. Being gay is not a perk, it is a flaw. It hinders the survival of a species.

            Some people out there want everyone to be “normal,” “equal” and the “same.” But as biology points out, we aren’t all the same and never will be (unless we clone our entire species from a single, selected strand of DNA).

            Also, if it isn’t a genetic mutation–who on earth would “choose” to be gay? Most of them that I know don’t “choose” to be it, they are because that’s who they… are.

          • jrodman says:

            Entirely loony-toons then.

      • Kurbster says:

        Then I am a homophobe

        sue me

      • nrvsNRG says:

        @Nevard

        If a hardcore homosexual act (2 men) pops onto a TV screen, 99% of hetero males would INSTINCTIVELY turn away.
        If a hetero sex act pops onto the screen, gay men wouldnt generally have the instinct to turn away.
        If I instinctively turn away, does that mean I dont support homosexuality, and therefore makes me homophobic?
        Honest question.

        • Nevard says:

          If a hardcore sex act appeared unprompted on your television screen I think most people would instinctively turn away regardless of orientation. Most people don’t actually react all that kindly to “SUDDENLY: PORN” when they are trying to do something else!

          Also no it wouldn’t You don’t need to be homosexual to support homosexuality. A lot of people would think it’d be pretty gross to watch you having heterosexual sex too, even if they were het themselves.

          • nrvsNRG says:

            Lets assume it was a scientific experiment to study responses in human males, and not SUDDEN PORN lol.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I guess we would have to do the experiment rather than just pull “99%” out of our ass wouldn’t we – The one experiment I have heard of shows that most men instinctively look at penises if one is in front of them, hence why they always tend to glance at dogs penises, penises in porn etc etc

    • Stellar Duck says:

      So… what you want is to be allowed to oppose and not have dipicted other peoples sexuality and way of life and not to be called out on it?

      Edit: While saying they’re intellectually, morally and religiously (that part I don’t care about) not alright or however the hell you justify your stance.

      Yea, I hope that’s not happening.

      Funny how people don’t like being called out and feel that they’re being treated harshly. While at the same time saying that they’d rather not see them filthy gays in their games!

      Edited again to remove a needlessly inflammatory word.

      • KingMudkip says:

        Look, my point is that the wording RPS uses is actively hostile to those of us who do not agree with them. That’s all. If they referred to homosexuals as being heterophobic, it would be the exact same thing.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          And your stance is actively hostile and damaging to gays. And you demand to not be called out on harming others.

        • Nevard says:

          Wording that accurately describes bigots as what they are is not hostile.
          And even if it was, it would be deservedly hostile!

          Homosexuality is not inherently heterophobic. Not supporting homoesxuality is inherently homophobic.

        • jrodman says:

          Again, this is not an RPS thing. You’re upset with the WORLD for choosing a term to describe you that undermines your position. Yes, I agree that this was a deliberate choice by whoever coined the term, but really your position deserves to be undermined so it’s not really unethical.

        • jrodman says:

          Also you’re doing a kind of false transference. You write:

          “If they referred to homosexuals as being heterophobic, it would be the exact same thing.”

          By this sentence I infer, what? You think all straight people are being called homophobes? All gay people dislike and try to keep down straight people? I .. don’t really know, but it isn’t making sense.

          if you’re saying that there should be a term for gay people who express or exhibit intolerance, as a rule, for straight people, then well.. I guess heterophobic can do, but I’ve pretty much never met such a person. And I’ve interacted with hundreds of gay people.

          Even in gay comic relief cinema, there’s no steady pattern of straight people being the butts of jokes. Maybe a token awful homophobe gets inserted only to get his/her come-uppance, but there are nearly always other straight characters who have varying representations.

          Also from first principles it’s a bizarre concept. Homophobia stems from ignorance, but until recently pretty much all gay kids have heterosexual parents, and it’s still over 99%. There’s no gay-only schools. There’s no gay-only television. There’s really not going to be any gay people who grow up in ignorance of heterosexuality, in concept, in expression, or in individuals. So there’s just no… Otherness to exist.

          Maybe there’s some vitriolic writer somewhere we can dig up who has been emotionally scarred and deals with it by writing screed about heterosexuals being bad, and that one person can be our poster child for our newly made up word. I’ve never heard of such a person.

        • Noise says:

          I apologise KingMudkip, for these replies, because I was once just like them. They do not understand

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Not supporting homosexuality does not make you a homophobe.
      Not liking to see homosexuality does not make you a homophobe.
      I do not support techno music.
      I do not like to listen to techno music.
      I do not like the way many people who like techno music are dressed and behave.
      But why the hell should I oppose the fact that techno music exists?

      Being opposed to the actual practice of homosexuality is pretty much exactly what being a homophobe is. You do not get to oppose how other people spend their lives (provided they do not hurt others) and claim you are not a bigot.
      And since it seems your opposition is based on religious ideas, your intellectual level is far to low to use it to oppose anything.

    • bill says:

      Why are you opposed to seeing homosexuality in games?

      • frightlever says:

        He already said: “Look, I do not support homosexuality. I do not like to see homosexuality in games. This is not because I am ‘homophobic,’ it is because I am religiously, intellectually, and morally opposed to the practice of homosexuality.”

        Obviously his religion, intellect and morals are wrong, but he did explain his stance. Of them all, religion is the only excuse that holds water. There’s no logical reason to be morally or intellectually opposed to homosexuality. There are valid reasons to be opposed on religious grounds, which is why we should be fairly cautious about promoting religion. I’m not even comfortable when religious people get married. What sort of message does that send out?

        Five seasons of “Six Feet Under” got me over any squeamishness I had about homosexual intimacy. True story.

    • Tinta1 says:

      WAHHH!!! WHY WON’T PEOPLE TOLERATE MY INTOLERANCE?!!! WAHHH!!!

  27. Funso Banjo says:

    Wow, you are like a dog with a bone recently.

    You are so determined to get on the same soap-box you’ve been running into the ground for the last year or so that even when the interview starts to naturally shift away from sexism and homophobia, you can’t let it – you jam the brakes on and ensure a direction that feels forced and unbending.

    I am guessing that this huge sexism angle is something that you’ve agreed on at an editorial level, that it is driving up clicks and ad revenue. So well done on that level. But just a little bit of subtlety can go a long way.

    • Kurbster says:

      It really is just a bunch of journalists who have a bone to pick and like to stir the kettle frequently

      The fact that it has to be brought up all the time, or else people will stop caring, tells all about how much of a non-issue this is for the majority

    • almostDead says:

      They are middle aged white guys.

      They want their lives to have some meaning, and they are reaching the second act.

      • Kurbster says:

        I really want to go back to the Jack Thompson age now. At least then, the entire industry was unified against a specific outside threat.

        Now we have people within the industry trying to cause shit just for their own personal social goals

        • Sheng-ji says:

          “Now we have people within the industry trying to cause shit just for their own personal social goals”

          You could not be more correct. So, how are we going to stop you?

          • Kurbster says:

            I don’t recall saying that I was inside the industry.

            Regardless, age will probably do me in. I’m going on into my 30s, I have a huge backlog, and it’s getting harder for me to get into anything.

            Don’t worry, once the gaming old-timers move on in their life, you can probably have your progressive wetdream you’ve always wanted. Then it’ll become just like Hollywood, where straight, white-guilt video games become instant GOTYs

  28. mattevansc3 says:

    An unpopular opinion but when we see better representation of under represented characters will we also be seeing a better representation of the “oppressors”?

    We are seeing a shift towards better representation of women, homosexuals and other ethnicities but the one’s opposed to them are still represented as one dimensional bullies.

    I support equal rights because I don’t believe your gender, sexuality or ethnicity defines you as a person, limits your ability or should affect how you act. That set of beliefs puts me at odds with the idea of being transgender though, does that make me a bad person? Bioware would probably characterise me as such.

    While I don’t agree with their choices I never have and never will go on a Penny Arcade style tirade, I have no interest in telling individuals that their choices are wrong and I wouldn’t even consider supporting any acts that would limit their rights yet I don’t feel that I would ever be represented as anything other than a bigot in a Bioware game or RPS article and from a story telling perspective that’s an issue.

    We don’t just need a focus on those being under represented because you then towards evangelising them, we need to see a push towards deeper characterisation across the board including those characters that don’t agree with your viewpoints.

    • Kurbster says:

      You know, I am truthfully shocked that there isn’t a call for more Christian representation, considering many of the characters these days seem to be either atheist or part of some fantasy religion.

      It’ll be interesting to see how SJWs handle the unforeseen consequences of them opening up the can of worms

    • Noviere says:

      Do you have any examples of these “oppressed oppressors?” Or is this just a hypothetical worry that racist/sexist/anti-gay characters will be portrayed as bad people?

    • weary ghoul says:

      You know, this probably has nothing at all to do with what you meant, but I would indeed like to see more prejudiced fictional characters who aren’t this one-dimensional puppy-kicking-evil cliché.

      I know that writers do this to be clear where they stand, that we’re meant to disapprove of these characters, but we’re not children and hopefully most people are indeed aware that just because a person holds one or more bigoted attitudes, that does not mean that person doesn’t have other redeeming qualities, or is flat-out “evil”.

      Too often writers make their characters to be these cardboard cut out heroes or villains when real humans are usually much more complex than that.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        That is the crux of my argument, though I want it extended to the “good” guys as well.

        We treat Winston Churchill as a hero because of WW2 but that guy was deeply homophobic and Ghandi was a racist (he hated Africans). Even the best of people can have the worst of prejudices and that’s a notion we should be embracing, not shying away from.

  29. altum videtur says:

    Ooh, ssss ah that is a goooood burn. Yes i like that.

    *ahem*
    Sorry. Stubbing out cigarettes on my forearm gives me a raise sometimes.

    Well then. I fully approve of the “let’s fuck with the misogynistic chucklefuck circlejerk of gaming” crowd idea. Fuckers should learn what its like to be when you’re not welcome.
    Also fully approve of the propagation of genuine diversity. Social issues are to be fixed and although the best solution is total nuclear annihilation, unfortunately i do not have access to atomic bombs yet so that will have to wait. In the meantime inclusion of minorities is a good thing.

    But the pathetic, patronising gushing is hurting the cause. They really ought to get someone with a better command of their frilly little hearts to write and talk about these things.

    • Kurbster says:

      Because the civil rights act came around by murdering every single white, right?

      I love seeing people who think radicalism fixes anything

      • Anabasis says:

        Come on, didn’t the Civil Rights Movement, like, totally cause the “beta-fication” of white America?

        • Kurbster says:

          “if I repeat it the 3rd time, maybe it’ll finally be funny”

          • Anabasis says:

            I assure you, the fact that you used a term like “beta-fication” unironically is very funny.

          • weary ghoul says:

            Repetition isn’t necessarily dulling. For example, you keep doing your schtick over and over throughout this comment section and it’s still funny. To me anyway. But then I do have a pretty dark sense of humor.

          • Kurbster says:

            I’m glad you’re having a laugh

            I had quite a few of them, myself.

      • altum videtur says:

        That is the first time I’ve ever seen someone associate “Total Nuclear Annihilation” with “durn Gaijin wonna kill us all hurr durr”.
        Literally the first time. On the internet.

        You should be a king or something.

  30. perablenta says:

    Movies are not made to satisfy all … what to call it… ” personal preferences ” of certain % of the population nor are books, shows or music. So why should games have to?

    And even if they are made in such a way would it not be better to be able to make a choice in the main menu of a game? Just like with CoD’s infamous airport scene.

    I don’t have a problem with “other” orientations as long as they are not thrown in my face.

    • Noviere says:

      And maybe they can add a “whites only” toggle too. You know, for the people who are fine with “other” races but don’t want them thrown in their faces.

  31. smurftastic says:

    I am someone who cares about LBGT issues. I am not against bringing up these topics.

    What bothers me is how RPS consistently misses asking the hard questions. RPS seems so proud to be talking about these issues.. seems so earnest to show it cares.. but then goes to great length not to ruffle feathers or offend.

    Witness: Bioware’s treatment of sex in Mass Effect is just disturbing and so puerile on so many levels. And yet just one weak+wordy question was asked holding their feet to the fire about talking-out-of-both-sides-of-their-mouths about inclusivity (as many others have pointed out, their character models are beyond sexist, the sex is a strange harem-everyone-wants-me Japanese porn game, etc). Instead it was a mutual circle jerk about how it was so good to bring these issues up and how Bioware is trying etc… Remember last week RPS berated the CEO of Obsidian about the non-existent bug problem in South Park? Why couldn’t they carry some of that to this issue?

    Seriously.. the interviewer is so self-satisfied by asking these questions.. The interviewee is so proud to be talking about these questions.. both so happy that not one down-to-earth question about the actual game this dude worked on could be asked: not one question along the lines of “in what ways did MAss Effect 3 fail in inclusiveness” etc.. Come on. That’s why this interview (and indeed many of these types of articles on RPS) are at best, trite, and at worst, disingenuous.

    • Kurbster says:

      politics aside, gaming journalism is bottom of the barrel when it comes to journalism integrity and etiquette. Alot of these writers would never be looked at seriously by reputable journalist outlets such as Forbes or the Wall Street Journal, because they lack unbiased judgement.

      It reads like someone’s blog because it technically is someone’s blog

      • pepperfez says:

        reputable journalist outlets such as Forbes or the Wall Street Journal

        You had me going for a while – I thought you actually believed the stuff you were writing. This line gives the show away, though.

    • tormos says:

      In the land of the blind, you don’t make fun of the one eyed man for his shitty depth perception

    • Volcanu says:

      Yeah I have to say I felt exactly the same. I was pleased to see Nathan ask about the hypersexualised ME characters but then he didnt push the issue any further when Heir gave him some standard flannel. It all felt a bit too cosy.

      I think Heir’s talk probably raised some good points, and his response hints that PERHAPS he is uncomfortable with certain aspects of Bioware games (I appreciate that Heir does not equal Bioware) but really if you are going to stand on a stage and tell people how it should be done, you should make sure you have your house in order – or at least acknowledge you own failings.

      I wasnt outraged by Mass Effect- but the female character models are all pretty hilarious. Porn star breasts on everyone, Miranda appearing to have applied her ‘clothes’ with a spray can and the way in which any and all of them will sleep with your character in exchange for a few simpering compliments- it’s just laughable.

      I certainly dont think games (always) need a ‘message’ but if Bioware truly believe that it’s important that games avoid stereotypes and have a responsibility not to negatively shape gamers views then what kind of message does ME give? That all women secretly want to sleep with you and will leap into bed with you if you pay them a few compliments? It was ludicrously easy to do – in fact I think I almost ended up in a ‘relationship’ once or twice when I selected dialogue options to comfort crew members.

      I always enjoyed roleplaying in these types of games, and on a ‘Renegade’ play through, my ‘arsehole Shepherd’ went around sleeping with characters before casting them aside for the next one. Which was just an odd thing to be able to do with no negative reaction from anyone else. Try that in real life and I expect that most gals (or guys) would give you short shrift for seeing how poorly you had treated someone else, someone who is quite possibly their friend. It would have been far better to let your Shepherd go around hitting on crew members left right and centre but have them decide that your Shepherd is a sleazy, creepy dick and call you out on it.

      Or the way you can hit on a subordinate officer (Yeoman Chambers) and no one thinks it’s a little bit ‘off’ that the Commanding officer is behaving in this way.

      I wasn’t outraged by these issues in the ME series, I think the vast majority of people would react like I did – with a chuckle and a roll of their eyes at the silliness of it all, but it did strike me that they are far from paragons in this regard. It’s a shame as Bioware did the ‘relationship’ angle so much better back in the BG2 days. Now it’s juvenile in the extreme.

      But who knows, perhaps they will do much better in ME4….

  32. SMGreer says:

    You know, it used to be utterly soul crushing and depressing to read the comments beneath these kinds of articles. Endless moronic retorts and arrogant entitlement being slung about.

    I take great comfort in seeing so many more people applying level headedness and empathy in response to those vulgar comments which now seem to be in the minority.

    We at RPS are a small community, within the gaming community which is itself a smaller community within the world but that positive improvement is a real comfort to see. Idiots will never go away but so long as the smartest and kindest of us outweigh those who choose not to empathise then I think we’ll continue to change for the better.

    So keep up the great work RPS, writers and readers, remain optimistic yet cynical about the industry. I think the future’s looking not so bad.

    • Quiffle says:

      It’s come to me. I think I’ve got it. After a few hundred seconds of thought I think I understand now. Nobody here actually likes games, right?

    • tormos says:

      It is funny, now that you mention it, there are about two people cluttering up these comments with nastyness. I don’t know if this shows a shift in gaming broadly or just in readership (honestly though, do you really think that those people who were TOTALLY LEAVING FOREVER are really gone?), but either way I support it.

      • Nevard says:

        I’m very much optimistic that it is the former.
        It’ll be a long road strewn with more of the same people vomiting bile but I honestly believe the gaming community might one day maybe be a nice place to be.

  33. Tasloi says:

    You can’t rail against one individual game after the other (and it is quite a list at this point) and then act all surprised when people believe you’re advocating for radical change across games as a whole. Alot of the questionable arguments used in the process like “tropes perpetuate x or y” only further solidify that belief. I’m glad he’s using the fantasy argument to call for more diverse female characters though. I use it aswell to justify things like boob armor.

  34. PopeRatzo says:

    RPS is trolling us again.

    You can already be a transgender, gay or bi character in any of your games. I’ve always played Gordon Freeman as a post-op transsexual and nobody has ever tried to stop me. I play Bayonetta as a drag queen and Batman as a gay man (with a backstory about how his years of being closeted encouraged his paranoid isolation and obsession with control).

    What Nathan is really asking for, yet again, is that there be games focused on transgender issues. That’s fine, but at least have the courage to ask for what it is you really want. Don’t say you want “more transgender characters” when there has never been a game which prevents you from playing as a transgender character.

    • tormos says:

      Because having to read every text against itself is, of course, the same thing as being pandered to.

    • Nevard says:

      Anyone can headcanon pretty much any character they like as gay or trans or asexual or secretly a faerie changeling but that doesn’t actually count as representation. If you ask the developers they’d tell you that no, Gordon is as straight a white cis dude as you get.
      It doesn’t need to be a trans narrative, but it needs to have characters that exist of trans outside of the imaginations of trans people desperately longing for representation. And no, the “Dumbledore was totally gay this whole time guys, honest, I mean I wrote literally nothing about it in the book but isn’t it obvious” strategy isn’t good enough either.

      • fish99 says:

        If sexuality is not the focus of the game, does the player need to know the sexual preferences of any of the characters? I can’t see how it would even come up in most games.

        • Nevard says:

          Really? Characters’ sexualities are demonstrated to us all the time without being the focus of the game.
          Your main character keeps a photo of his wife on his desk, spends long periods of the time trying to rescue his wife or is mourning the recent death of her husband. Banter between you and teammates discusses old romantic tangles. An NPC asks you to collect a gift for her boyfriend. There are married couples all over most video game towns but the number of them that are gay are imperceptibly small.

          Nothing particularly sexual about those things, and yet clearly telling you something about the character’s inner workings. Maybe not enough to rule out them being bi, but sadly most people will just assume straight unless given a tottering pile of evidence to the contrary (even two girls making out can just be close friends sometimes, apparently!)
          I imagine most people just assume that sexualities in games aren’t everywhere because, as straight people, they have few reasons to look for them, but these things really are broadcasted constantly in completely unobtrusive ways that could easily be applied to putting more gay people in video games.

          • fish99 says:

            You do have a point, but honestly those kind of scenarios don’t come up in the majority of games I play. I guess I don’t play many character driven games, but off the top of my head Skyrim and GTA do have some LBGT characters.

            If you’re talking more specifically about lead characters, then I can understand when there’s millions at stake, why a big publisher would be hesitant to have a gay lead. Rightly or wrongly they would worry it could cost them some sales. That’s just the world we live in. There’s an article today on the BBC website about a survey showing 20% of people wouldn’t attend a gay wedding, so if that 20% also wouldn’t buy a game with a gay lead that could be the difference between breaking even and a decent profit.

            I’m not saying it’s right.

          • jrodman says:

            The truth is you don’t notice them in most games. It is true they don’t come up in say, Atari 2600 Omega Race, except possibly in cover art. However, they come up in the majority of games with any sort of game with a narrative, which is the vast majority of games. You just tend not to notice because it’s the default to you.

  35. Muzman says:

    Fantasy matters are an interesting one. I remember when Thief 2 had darker folks and women among the guards and there was general revolt in some quarters (I actually think it would be worse now. Many teenage…well, jerks have come of age in the meantime. The ones who buy that white people are an oppressed minority etc…).

    It was PC pandering! Despite the City not being anywhere in particular and mostly resembles places like medieval Florence and Vienna which saw all kinds of folks. (btw, if you’re not old enough, the whole PC! thing is bullshit concocted by Bush The Elder’s crowd because they ran out of external enemies to worry about in around ’91. So they had to come up with a new kind of Red Scare in academia. Keep that whole anti-intellectual populist fire burning. Neo Cons of the English speaking world lapped it up as a great stick to beat the opposition with. A meme for an imaginary threat)

    It is like the first prong of fantasy is medieval Anglo Saxon life and you work outward from there though isn’t it. When it’s a lot more complicated than that even in reality.
    Conan gets forgotten about, but I don’t think anyone batted an eyelid at that.

  36. Mr_Blastman says:

    I registered on this site finally after years just to comment on this article.

    I like sexism.

    I like homophobia.

    I like stereotypes.

    They keep us real. Like it or not, they are this world and have been since the dawn of time. It is in our genes. We have male parts and female parts. We reproduce. We have different hormones. We have different customs. We have different cultures. This is how it has been since the dawn of time. It is in our DNA, it is part of our cellular processes. It blankets all life on this Earth.

    No amount of political pandering will erase this from existence. You can’t make it go away. You can’t sanitize it from existence. It will be as has been. If you don’t like it, find a space ship and leave the planet.

    If you think it can go away, you are deluded. If you think you can make everyone sterile, plain and identical… well you are insane.

    So I’ll continue to be sexist when I want. I’ll value people who choose to reproduce properly if I see fit. And if I want to use stereotypes, I will. That’s my right as an individual. Someone I want us all to be. Ourselves. Individuals and unique. Every one of us.

    And we might not like each other, either. But good news! We don’t have to! Natural selection will sort us all out, anyways.

    • Anabasis says:

      You are a vortex of misinformation and terrible ideas.

    • Muzman says:

      Since squashing individual rights has been around since the dawn of time too I guess you’ll voluntarily be giving that up. Or maybe just oppressing others occasionally because ‘history is solved! this time for sure. We know how everything works now. Not like the last time we knew how everything worked, oh no.’

    • jrodman says:

      “It’s my right to be a terrible human.” This is false.

      It is your right in our idea of a free society for you to have the freedom to express the ideas that you choose to express. The choice to be a horrible person is just your behavior, not a right. Meanwhile, the struggle for happiness IS a human right, which you are stating that you will intentionally choose to work against.

      • Mr_Blastman says:

        Happiness is not and has never been a right for any life on this planet. The only right that life has ever had is to choose when they wake up one day: “Am I going to survive or am I not?”

        The rest is trivial, futile and deluded grandeur of carnal wants absent of necessity. Happiness is not required for survival. Food and reproduction is.

        If you disagree I suppose you should go ask that Bear guy how happiness worked out for him. Those friendly bears happily ate him and ripped him apart.

        • jrodman says:

          The pursuit of happiness is a generally recognized human right. Really.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            No, it isn’t. It is a human pursuit. We are free to pursue happiness but we are not guaranteed it. Survival comes before happiness in the grand scheme of our rock covered in an organic soup.

      • Kurbster says:

        The Declaration of Independence:

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

        you have the right to pursue happiness, not to be automatically given happiness

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Ahh, what does your declaration have to say on the subject of wilfully preventing others pursuing happiness by discriminating against them and subjecting them to hatred?

          • Kurbster says:

            If I tell you that, “no, I don’t want to associate with you because you’re gay”….how am I exactly preventing you from seeking alternative routes to your “happiness”?

            If you want to force the government to accommodate you, then fine. The supreme court clearly states that marriage is a “human right”, and that who should be allowed to marry should be open to interpretation.

            However, you have no right to force the validity of your gay marriage upon any private citizen who doesn’t want to acknowledge it for religious reasons.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Taken in isolation, what you just said is fine, but in context, you are replying to a guy who has out and out stated that he is sexist and homophobic, and worryingly is happy to stereotype people. That is the guy who would not employ a black guy because they are lazy, that is the guy who would abuse a gay man for being “unnatural”. Now, is that OK with you? That he can interfere with the pursuit of happiness of a gay man or a black man just because he holds prejudices? How does that sit with the declaration of independence?

            Further more, you have been very openly anti-Semitic both here and according to Ich Will, who it actually seems is your buddy, elsewhere – do you have the right as guaranteed by the declaration of independence to spread this kind of hatred? I mean, “Jewtube” – what was that about?

          • Faxmachinen says:

            “However, you have no right to force the validity of your gay marriage upon any private citizen who doesn’t want to acknowledge it for religious reasons.”

            You’re wrong. Marriage is a legal contract, and as such you are bound to observe the legal validity of it. You’re free to ignore any other aspect, of course.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            Not in my state and I’ll do my darndest to make sure it never becomes legal here. Marriage should NEVER have been an government issue. Straights/Gays/Aliens/Animals should be required to apply for a Civil Union license, thus guaranteeing them equal treatment under the law. Beyond that, if they want to call it marriage, they should have to go to a church to get the title bestowed upon them.

            If we did this… everyone wins! Sanctity of marriage is preserved and equality of all is granted.

          • Muzman says:

            Which is hogwash because in to the sanctity bit is exactly what gay marriage wants.

          • Mr_Blastman says:

            The constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The only way to do this in the eyes of the constitution while at the same time granting equality is to make the law govern civil unions. Look, under the tax code a straight couple unioned and a gay one would be treated identically. If a straight couple went the extra step to be “married” by a pastor, the law would not care! It wouldn’t care because it only recognizes civil unions.

            The gays have to compromise–and this is where it needs to be. Likewise, straights need to compromise and this is also the fulcrum. I know hard-line conservatives won’t like it, as they want the state to call them married–but there has to be a give somewhere.

            If we give here, everyone wins. Churches get to control marriage and everyone is equal under the law, regardless.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Don’t worry about it guys, this is just Kurbster back again under a different guise!

      • Kurbster says:

        but I’m still here

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Oh gee! Magic. How could you have possibly done that!

          That you actually stopped posting when this guy started, for the first time in hours but magically was hovering over one of his threads confirms it. You’re him!

          Hey RPS, how about an IP ban?

          • Kurbster says:

            I’ll never leave you

            never

          • Ich Will says:

            And I’ll never leave you!
            Hey Ry Ry! (That’s our cute little nickname for you now)

            Mmmmm, I’m masturbating over a picture.

            A picture of you… you know the one!

            I’m a man. How does that make you feel?

          • Kurbster says:

            like this:

          • Ich Will says:

            HAHAHAAHAHAAAA

            Sexual harassment, Jesus Christ man. I thought you were “sick of progressive pandering” but you’re all over it when you’re the one being objectified in a fairly mild way. You really do, what was it, represent the abject failure of your education system.

          • Kurbster says:

            you do know that the entire video was a parody, and I merely just wanted to point out how I just want to oil up and rub our fat cocks together.

            Jewtube doesn’t allow you to specify an ending time

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Jewtube? Really?

          • Ich Will says:

            You’ll be so disappointed – my penis is tiny. Luckily I have a fantastic sports car and we’re going to pop your malteaser in it!

          • Kurbster says:

            oh~ you sure know how to wine and dine a gentlemen

          • Ich Will says:

            What! I’ve stalked you on the internet, I’ve “met” your parents – well, added them as facebook friends anyway, we’ve got cute nicknames. What more do you want?

    • Nevard says:

      Can you unregister again please

    • Kurbster says:

      CIS ALERT CIS ALERT

      PROCEED TO YOUR NEAREST COLLEGE FOR CORRECTIVE SENSITIVITY THERAPY

      • Anabasis says:

        Awww, were your bold libertarian opinions not taken seriously at university?

        • Kurbster says:

          The only LGBT friends you have on the right are libertarians….you sure you want to piss them off?

          fyi, I identify as a paleoconservative

        • weary ghoul says:

          I hate to agree with Kurbster here, but I wonder why it’s popular to pick on libertarians lately. To disagree with them, sure, but AFAIK most of them mean well. Is an ideology that maybe overdoses on personal freedom really so odious?

          Maybe their ideas of how a deeply unregulated society would pan out are kind of naive, but to be honest it’s not any worse than all my collectivist friends who are so eager for another go-round on ideas that have failed horribly every single time they have been attempted…

          • jrodman says:

            Yes, most modern libertarians are odious, and the problem is that Libertarianism as it is commonly practiced in modern circles is an ideology, and a fairly orthodox one at that. Basically the problem is that it imposes a fairly absolutist framework on how to rank political ideas.

            Now, at east least in american circles, strong ideology and politics are not NEW bedfellows, but the libertarians generally take it to an extremely strong degree. It’s not commonplace that you will find for example Republican insisting that slavery should be legal, but a very large portion (a strict majority in my experience) of Libertarians will defend the idea of legal slavery because they believe that contracts between individuals are holy.

            When I say that they believe that contracts are holy, they believe that contracts between individuals somehow ARE (or in milder cases should be) above the law and more important than the law. However the bizarre part is that without the law we do not have a framework for holding people to the contracts. So they have formed a sort of Klein bottle of illogic that is willing to go to clearly harmful conclusion in order to maintain the ideology.

            Certainly there ARE other people (mostly historically), who use the term to refer to something less dogmatic as Liberterarianism, that simply believe strongly in the rights of individuals but do not take it to crazy extremes (like allowing the rights of individuals to destroy the rights of other individuals). However, the modern Libertarians choices of policy support typically amount to “fuck the general good, I’ve got mine” in practice.

            While it might be possible to reclaim the term, I think the battle has already been permanently lost. A new label would be needed if a reality-based political movement with strong for rights for the individual was to ever become influential.

          • mickygor says:

            You will not find a single libertarian that supports the rights of an individual trumping the rights of another. The entire ideology is derived from self ownership, and the concept of individual rights ending where another’s begin. Yes, belief in private contracts above law is innate, but that does not mean that a contract can bind an individual for life. At any point someone can breach a contract handing over complete control of their life because they still own themselves. Such a contract could not be considered binding.

          • jrodman says:

            Yes of course, you can trumpet the ideology all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that when this is actually raised to around 80 libertarians, around 60 of them took the bait and insisted that there’s no good foundation for universal illegality of slavery.

            Even you are using limiting terms like “for life” as if slavery for 10 years might be okay.

          • Tinta1 says:

            It’s because their entire ideology is based on axioms rather than scientific fact, and has a moral code that boils down to a five year old screaming mine.

    • Tinta1 says:

      This is some of the most regressive, disgusting shit I’ve ever heard.

  37. Ashbery76 says:

    The player do not give a shit about a left wing political agenda for story.ME3 tried to shove that stuff down your throat and the story was the worst in the series.

  38. MkMax says:

    i cant remember anything about bioware romances other than “we’ll bang, ok?” that line resumes all the romances Bioware has done so well that my brain decided to delete everything else

  39. sharkh20 says:

    I would make the plea for game developers to just make what they want to make. Don’t go based off of surveys. Don’t go off of demographics. Just make the game you want to make.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Of course. The goal is to make game designers want to make more diverse characters in games.

      • sharkh20 says:

        So what you are telling me is game designers should do what I want them to want to do. In other words, you are saying they should do what I want them to do. It’s the same thing.

        • jrodman says:

          No, this is a discussion – a dialogue – encouraging people to broaden the palette of games that are made. There is no specific directive.

          If I say to my friend “every day you eat only pancakes for every meal. Don’t you think you should try some other food once in a while?” I am not trying to MAKE him eat other food. I believe that eating other food will be better for him and will give him a richer more fulfilling life. I’m mentioning a path available to him that he might not have considered. Yes, there’s some attempt at influence here, but it’s not at all something that can be fairly characterised as “I am trying to make him do what I want.”

          • bill says:

            oooh. Good example. Never thought of using pancakes.

            And pancakes are fine, but if your friend at least is aware that there are other foods out there, and gives it a moment’s thought before choosing pancakes then I think that’s a victory.

          • sharkh20 says:

            Well that isn’t really what the guy I replied to said, but I can agree with what you said. All I am saying is, it is fine to suggest things, but people shouldn’t get all up in arms when someone makes something they want to make. There is a huge variety of people in the world and they all have their own individual thoughts and outlooks. It isn’t about trying new things, it’s about pushing one’s ideals onto someone else that I have a problem with.

          • jrodman says:

            When an entire industry, as a rule, is excluding the majority of the population from the storylines then yes it’s valid and right to get “up in arms” about it.

  40. Michael Fogg says:

    I would definitely like more representation of gluten-free people in games. Society does not appreciate the hardships we face. Think about it: no pizza/pasta for you, EVER. They think we’re just being capricious! I shudder each time I mix a health potion in Skyrim (WHEAT+Blisterwort).

    • Kurbster says:

      I agree with you, goy. I get very offended when I can’t make kosher meat in Rust.

      It’s like another shoah every time I’m forced to kill and eat a bear.

      • Ich Will says:

        Did I tell you that I’m jewish! Well, you’ll see for yourself soon enough.

        • Kurbster says:

          can we play this during our makeout sessions?

          • Ich Will says:

            Oh baby, the elephant dose of etorphine in your system means we won’t be doing much “making out”. I mean you’re being cute now but when I have my hands on you, you’ll start with the fuck off’s again.

          • Kurbster says:

            well aren’t you selfish…that mean only you will be enjoying it

            I wish I’ve never fallen in love with you!!

    • bill says:

      I see no problem with having a character who can’t eat gluten.

  41. LVX156 says:

    First of all, nice straw man there : “There is a vocal crowd in the gaming community that despises the idea of diversity in games, though.” Yep, everyone who has a different opinion, FOR ANY REASON, automatically “despises diversity in games”.

    Secondly, as a bisexual male I have to say I’m so sick of this discussion. It seems like a small subset of games journalists won’t be happy until every character in video games is a black, disabled, gender-fluid pansexual muslim, because anything else would be racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic.

    Listen. Of course I think everyone should have the same rights, but that doesn’t mean you have to force diversity into games. About 2% of people are homosexual. That is not a lot. Yes, yes, sometimes you hear the figure 10%, but that comes from Kinsey’s study of sexuality among prison inmates – many of whom were in prison because they were gay, since homosexual relations were against the law back them. The real figure is around 2%.

    That means that most people aren’t homosexual, therefore they identify more with a heterosexual character. That’s not homophobic. Most people can’t identify with a person who gets turned on by amputees, but you rarely if ever hear anyone saying that it’s discriminatory to not have a protagonist who is an amputee fetishist.

    I am all for diversity, but I’m not for forcing it in just for the sake of it. I don’t want there to be a checklist that every game designer has to check before making a game, to make sure there is a character who is gay, one who is lesbian, one who is bisexual, two who are black, three who are asian, one transgendered, one little person, one disabled character, one autistic character, someone with leftist views, one with conservative views, one who is a muslim, one hindu, one sikh and so on.

    All I really want, to be honest, is for people to not be so fucking offended by everything. I’ve never played a game and thought “this game is nice, but it would be much less offensive if the protagonist liked to suck cock.”

    • Faxmachinen says:

      “I am all for diversity, but I’m not for forcing it in just for the sake of it.”
      While I agree in principle, forced diversity for the sake of it is still a step up from the tripe we see in today’s AAA titles.

    • tormos says:

      Also you seem to be reading an alternate world version of these comments(and this article) where someone proposed a mandatory checklist. Heir was talking to individuals working at companies and encouraging them to produce stuff that had minority representation and, y’know, wasn’t sexist tripe. This doesn’t involve coercion or mandatory behaivior, plain and simple.

    • weary ghoul says:

      FWIW, I think your concerns are valid. Tokenism is not what we should strive for. There should obviously be common sense used here where people aren’t decrying every game that isn’t ham-fistedly stuffed full of minorities as offensive on that basis alone.

    • bj says:

      Just FYI, only 25% of the men Kinsey interviewed were prisoners, so unless over a third of all convictions leading to incarceration were for homosexuality, your reason for dismissing his findings does not add up.

      The 10% figure is for men who were ‘exclusively homosexual’ for a period of at least three years, while the percentage of men who reported having at least one homosexual encounter was around 35%, with around 45% disclosing homosexual attraction but not necessarily acting upon it. Which of these categories is your 2% figure for?

      There were undoubtedly flaws in Kinsey’s methods, but to dismiss the results for reasons which are easily shown to be false is not helpful to anyone. It’s also worth noting that his surveys have been repeated with the flaws accounted for, and near identical results were obtained.

    • bill says:

      I don’t think anyone is forcing anyone to do anything. I don’t think anyone is saying all games need to be diverse. (which would seem rather illogical).

  42. Philopoemen says:

    I come from a law enforcement background, in a progressive predominantly-white society, and the recognition of the rights of CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) and LGBTI (+ Indeterminate) persons is something that my superiors take very very seriously, and I see this article as analogous to that.

    But it reaches the point where in the effort to be inclusive, the pendulum swings too far n the opposite direction, and rather than being treated equally, they get special treatment, which in turn polarises the white-male-majority even more.

    The other side of this “visibility” of race and LGBTI causes (and they have much more active PR machines) is that the largest “minority” of our time is completely ostracised. The group defined as “elderly” is the fastest growing sub-sector, and the respect they once enjoyed is falling away. Games designers like Heir concentrate so much on race, gender, sexuality these days that they forget that their protagonist is a 25-30yr old, and so are most of their friends.

    Given how active 55-60yr olds are in this day and age, why aren’t they included in Heir’s inclusion?The cynical side of me says that they don’t buy games (but they will as the commodore 64 generation ages), but I think it’s more a case of they simply aren’t vocal enough within society itself. and I say that as a 32yr year old white guy.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      “But it reaches the point where in the effort to be inclusive, the pendulum swings too far n the opposite direction, and rather than being treated equally, they get special treatment, which in turn polarises the white-male-majority even more.”

      We need both. Mass Effect is a wonderful choose-your-own-sexuality with a very hands-off approach, but I also want to play as explicitly queer characters to experience the different points of view.

      “Games designers like Heir concentrate so much on race, gender, sexuality these days that they forget that their protagonist is a 25-30yr old, and so are most of their friends.”

      True, but most people have been young at some point in their lives, so I think young characters are easier (or perhaps even desirable) to relate to.

  43. Unknown says:

    I’d like to hear just one example of a game or game developer whose artistic vision was “compromised” because they were “forced” to include more diversity in their game, when they weren’t originally planning to.

    Oh wait, that has never happened in the history of ever.

    • Faxanadu says:

      Yeah, because we wouldn’t “force” (read: pressure) devs into diversity. We’d never do something that dumb.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action

      Oh wait, we would, because we totally would, and the only reason we don’t, is this comment war going on right now.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Wait, what – Affirmative action is why wheelchair gates are put on footpaths, children with special needs get those needs provided by schools giving them access to education and rapists are not allowed to move next door to their victims.

        And you have a problem with this?

        • Faxanadu says:

          Yeah, because that was totally the part you assume I’m against, not the “hey this guy speaks this language or is this nationality or sex and thus gets this job over the better qualified person” -part. Done trolling for the day?

          Edit: Please provide me with the parts from that wiki that speak about wheelchair children with special needs and rapists if you’re not trolling.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            That’s not affirmative action though

            Edit: Responding to your edit: I work within the legal system, my job IS affirmative action in action. I make sure that children have access to education, I make sure rapists are controlled and I sure as hell make sure that I can use footpaths. I access funds set aside for “Affirmative Action” on a daily basis. I’ve never used it in the way you’re suggesting.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Wait… You’re talking about an American thing, I’m talking about a British thing, scratch everything I said!

          • Faxanadu says:

            I’m talking about a global thing, called positive discrimination. Surprised you haven’t heard of it, working with legal whatever and all. Then again, UK is one of the few sensible countries, so maybe you don’t have to know:

            “In the UK, any discrimination, quotas or favouritism due to sex, race and ethnicity among other “protected characteristics” is generally illegal in education, employment…”

            Edit: Okay I read it’s called “positive action” in UK. You guys are always messing around with words. =_=’

      • Unknown says:

        Affirmative action laws simply state that an employer cannot discriminate against certain groups of people in their hiring policies. They don’t force an employer to hire a diverse workforce.

        They also have nothing to do with my comment, so what are you even talking about? Still waiting on that example, by the way…

        • Faxanadu says:

          “They don’t force an employer to hire a diverse workforce.”

          That is EXACTLY what it does. For the love of Steve, it’s called _positive discrimination_.

          • Unknown says:

            Maybe you should read some affirmative action laws or even just the Wikipedia page you yourself linked to, before you start talking about things you obviously don’t understand. If affirmative actions laws forced employers to have a diverse staff, then why are game development studios still mostly white boys’ clubs? Don’t you think the affirmative action police would have cracked down on them by now?

        • jrodman says:

          Affirmative action is a historical term, at least in U.S. politics, around creating quotas for hiring nonwhites. The concept was mostly abandoned by the 1980s as being ultimately nonproductive with arguments lodged against it ranging from the nonsensical to the ideological to the practical.

          The practical analysis is that while it might be reasonable to create some pressure to break down the default of only hiring white men, such lawmaking did little to actually break up the prejudices that fuel it, possibly hardening them. Simultaneously it seemed to not really provide very effective opportunities for those it intended to help. Ultimately there are much more effective places to apply pressure, such as providing money to ensure more equitable access to education.

          • pepperfez says:

            Quotas have basically (totally, I believe) disappeared from affirmative action policies. Typically affirmative action now just counts membership in an underrepresented class as a positive quality for an applicant. Still unpopular in certain sectors, but I’d say a fairly limited and well-directed way to break up unhealthy monocultures.

          • jrodman says:

            In the US? I’m pretty sure the term is taboo and not ever used.

  44. Trumpeldor says:

    I want more games where I can play as a Jewish character. Sure, it was fun being the Maccabees, or the Khazar Khaganate in EU Rome and CK2 SOA, but I want to be a Jewish superhero and save the world. And you’re wrong Cartman, Jews can be saviours.

    edited for capitalization

    • pepperfez says:

      Especially since Israeli security and intelligence are just about the most badass (in both good and bad ways) organizations in the world right now, you’d think some developers would be paying attention.

      • Trumpeldor says:

        I was thinking also of an espionage RPG where I could play as a member of NILI, the Jewish espionage collective that helped the British take over the Mandate from the Ottomans, or a paradox game where I revolt against the Romans as Shimon Bar Kochba in 135 C. E., and fight Hadrian’s legions city-by-city only to be defeated in the end. Actually a recreation of the Entebbe mission to save the hostages in Uganda would be totally awesome, or the mission to bomb Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor in a flight sim.

  45. Stompopolos says:

    If you think games need to represent females and minorities better, do something about it? You know why most games star white men? If you answered anything but “the people who made them are mostly white men” you are an idiot. You want games from your perspective? Make a game then. You think games mis/under-represent whatever it is that 15 year old girls on Tumblr are on a crusade for at the moment? Represent them. You think it’s up to straight white men to make games about black lesbians? Why? If we’re all equal, why do you need help? Have you considered that some of us don’t care what race or gender we play as? That we don’t need every game to specifically cater to us, and that it doesn’t bother us when games that don’t cater to us are released?

    • jorygriffis says:

      Excuse me for assuming you’re a straight white man (you’re definitely doing a good impression of it in this post) but maybe you think you don’t need every game to specifically cater to you because, almost without exception, they all already do.

      • jrodman says:

        In other news, it is totally normal for painters to only paint people who look exactly like them. Also photographers normally photograph only people who look exactly like them. Writers of books too never write anything except about people exactly like them.

  46. SixTwoCee says:

    Every time I see an RPS article complaining about the whiteness of the gaming industry, I click the About Us button at the top of the page. Hypocrisy much?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Please show us where in the article RPS said that everyone should be required to meet a minimum quota of non-white employees.

      Oh, you didn’t actually read it? You just read the headline and went straight for the comment box? Never mind, then.

      • SixTwoCee says:

        I’m just saying, if you want to promote diversity, there’s no better place to start. It really shows in their articles. They make great points about feminism and sexism in the industry, and then there’s usually a sentence or two that’s basically “oh yeah, racism is bad too, someone should totally fix that”.

  47. drek says:

    I’m hoping that Mass Effect 4 will have all kinds of gender identity and sexuality options, just to see what kind of hilarious shit I could pull.

  48. Misha says:

    If you want more transgendered, paraplegic Eskimo Aspergers in video games, then make one, sell millions upon millions of copies and watch AAA developers trip over themselves to copy your efforts.

    Money talks, bullshit walks.

    If it ain’t selling with your target demographic, you’re not making money. If you’re not making money, you’re going out of business.

    Simple as that, and you can emote as much as you want in angst-filled tirades against the inequity of it all, but that doesn’t change anything. Games are what they are because what they are sells. Pandering to your pet issues doesn’t, and devs and publishers have mortgages too.

    And please, don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing against anybody wanting more of this, that or the other in games, because I’m just the same. There are many things I would like to see more of in games, too. They may be different things, but I sure would like to see them. But I’m not likely to see them, because those aren’t things that interest enough people to make good sales.

    That’s why I like the boom in indie development, because those guys are actually making the games they would like to see and trying to find enough, not very many because they’re not making those games to keep a big company afloat, people who’d like to see it too.

    That’s true diversity. People making games they want, selling them to people who would like to play them also. Trying to force/shame/cajole big companies into making games that won’t bring in a profit or trying to force/shame/cajole the buying public to shell out their hard-earned money for games they really don’t agree with or want is never, ever going to work.

    People buy games to be entertained. If they don’t find a game entertaining, they will not buy it. If they don’t buy it, the publisher goes bankrupt. Period. End. Stop.

    If there aren’t enough games with transsexual midgets in them according to RPS, then it’s because not enough people would like to buy them. It’s not some giant conspiracy to “keep minorities down”, it’s simple math. Because if there were a market for them, ALL of the publishing houses would be cranking them out like they were going out of style.

    It’s capitalism. Embrace it.

    • jrodman says:

      You seem to have failed to grasp the article. The person being interviewed is encouraging game makers to broaden their horizons. No one is having anything being forced on them.

      You seem to be angry about this idea being discussed.

      • pepperfez says:

        Until a product has sold one million units, it is Uncapitalist to suggest that product should be made. Otherwise you’ll stifle innovation. That’s just how economics works, man.

        • Misha says:

          Reading for comprehension baffles you, doesn’t it? There’s nothing “uncapitalist”, whatever that might be, about producing something that doesn’t have worthwhile projected sales. It’s just dumb. And AAA companies didn’t become AAA by being dumb.

      • Misha says:

        Angry? What on Earth gave you that idea? If I have a negative emotion at all regarding this beaten-to-death subject it’s “annoyance.” Annoyance at the constant harping about how horrible, horrible it is that companies produce games based on what market surveys and history show will sell. It’s not going to change, you know.

        No company ever became wildly successful selling a product that nobody wanted to buy.

        And I wasn’t actually talking about the interviewee’s opinions which were, in fact, quite reasonable, I should have been more specific. My bad. It was more of a reaction to the endless waving of not-so-bloody shirts in the name of “social justice” (a meaningless buzz-phrase if ever there was one, at least as it’s being used) in the comments.

        No “force?” Depends on what you define as such. You missed shaming and cajoling as well as the not mentioned endless nagging and hysterics. It may not be a very effective force, but it nevertheless is an attempt at forcing companies to do something that is counterproductive. Or are you saying that people are employing their histrionic campaigns of denunciation of companies deemed insufficiently inclusive knowing full well that it has not a whisker of a chance of succeeding? They’d be right, but one would have to wonder if they might not find something else to spend their time on if that were the case. Something productive.

        Am I angry about that? No to that as well. At worst annoyed as I don’t suffer fools gladly, but it’s their time to waste as they see fit.

        There will come a day, I’m sure, where a market for games with wheelchair bound characters of indeterminate sex and sexuality emerges, and at that point companies who like making money will make those games, because companies hate leaving money lying around.

        • jrodman says:

          You have to be pretty “annoyed” to continue to fabricate stuff that isn’t present in the article, the page, or the site. Where’s the “bloody shirt” here? This isn’t about revisiting the Vietnam War here. This isn’t a political party trumping up support to justify killings and so on. Continuing to attempt to classify discussion as ‘force’ is also pretty.. “annoyed”.

          That you drag in “social justice” to a scenario that could only barely said to reflect on it in only the most exceedingly indirect way just highlights the chip on your shoulder all the more. It’s only mentioned in the comments by people who are really unhappy whenever representation for women, gay, or nonwhites are mentioned. Gay Marriage is social justice. Wage equity for women is social justice. Books and movies incorporating women is an equality issue, but not one I would file under that heading for sure. If you think “social justice” is meaningless, or bad, then you’re either misinformed, a bigot, or someone with really odd ideology like “government should not be involved in equality issues”, or “being poor is only a problem for poor people”.

  49. SanguineAngel says:

    This was a good interview and I enjoyed it.

    I hope we don’t stop talking about these things here because I believe they do matter. No one single opinion piece can contain all the answers but it’s important to have the discussion – it’s the only way society will gradually change

    Thank you.

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