Last month, John wrote about same sex relationships in Skyrim and SW:TOR. Specifically the fact that the Elder Scrolls will allow them while Star Wars will not. Now, in what I’m going to refer to as an extraordinary volte-face, BioWare have confirmed that “same gender romances with companion characters” will be in the game. As a “post-launch feature”. The full official quote, which I extracted from The Old Republic’s forum, is below.
In a game of this scope, which allows players to create an avatar and includes romance options, it only seems right that players can retain their real-life sexuality, or experiment a little. BioWare have recognised that in the past so when the absence of same sex relationships was admitted, it felt like this was more a Star Wars thing than a BioWare thing. Matters weren’t helped when a BioWare employee stated that the terms “gay” and “lesbian” “are terms that do not exist in Star Wars”.
Well, at an unspecified point in the future, and perhaps for the price of an expansion pack, there will be homosexual love far far away and a long time ago. It’s not clear whether the plans were always in place or whether the size of the demand has made a difference. And we still don’t know much. Here’s the official line.
“Due to the design constraints of a fully voiced MMO of this scale and size, many choices had to be made as to the launch and post-launch feature set. Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature. Because The Old Republic is an MMO, the game will live on through content expansions which allow us to include content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options.”
What does that tell us? There will be new companions added after launch, whether through free updates, priced content expansions or microtransactions isn’t clear. At least some of these characters will be open to the idea of same gender romances. Since a lot of people are going to be waiting for that content, I wonder whether they’ll explicitly state what it contains: “DISCOVER a new planet to explore, a host of upgradeable equipment, high level instances and a gay Jedi.”
Even if the handling hasn’t been perfect, this does look like a case of listening and reacting to the community. After all, if the content was always going to be there later, why not just say that in the first place? Of course, people are still grumbling loudly and for every reason that you can imagine and some that you can’t.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the official forums. Warning though. This thread lasted for less than 24 hours, became 329 pages long and was then closed “for maintenance”. Presumably that means they’re deleting all the denials of Darwinism (really).