♥ Bioware

Dragon Age 2 has received its fair share of criticism, but in one regard at least, I hope we can agree that Bioware are awesome. (via)

The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.

  1. Very cool. Thanks for posting.

    Such a great and unabashed response. Good on Bioware for hiring writers like David Gaider.

  2. Wow. Just wow. I had planned to wait until Dragon Age 2 had a decent Steam sale before I picked it up, but that post right there makes me want to pay full price for the game, just to support a company that has people so awesome.

    Also, I had no idea that Anders would make the first move in Dragon Age 2. That’s a pretty big step forward from “Allowing LGBT players an option,” where straight players might never even see it. I totally agree that it’s more realistic too, and I’m a bit sad that he said that he probably wouldn’t do something like that again. Speaking as a gay gamer, if I were playing a game, and a female character hit on me, I’d choose the “I’m flattered, but not interested” option and move on. Is it so difficult for a straight male gamer to do the same thing when a male character hits on them? I’m not saying that it should be a part of every game, but if it fits the character for them to make the first move, then that’s what should happen. Still, it was a great post overall, and it was great to see a company take the interests of all of their players into consideration.

    You stay classy, Bioware.

  3. Countervailing winds notwithstanding (and those winds are strong because there’s money behind them), it is heartening to see the green shoots of gaming-for-adults emerge as they push through the dumb dirt all around us.

  4. That was a wonderfully well-written response. I am, however, not glad that he won’t do the first move again. It only makes sense that sometimes someone will make the first move and not the PC (aka you.)

    Oh well.

  5. Also, here’s Rock Paper Shotgun’s take on it.. The comments are definitely well worth a look too, some are hilarious.

  6. I played Origins and was completely obsessed with it. I thought the majority of the characters were well-crafted and interesting. The story was great. I was completely immersed in the game. Enough so that I was actually sad and depressed when it was over. (I miss Alistair and Zevran… /sigh)

    So, of course, I was looking forward to Dragon Age 2 with a great deal of anticipation. After playing for a few days, I was incredibly disappointed with the game. I didn’t like the characters. I couldn’t figure out if there was a story. Hell, I didn’t even like my own character. One thing that was definitely missing was the character interaction I enjoyed so much in the first game.

    Since I wasn’t really interested in any of these characters, I decided that I’d just kinda “play the field” and see just how many characters I could form relationships with. I’m not terribly far into the game (somewhere in act 2), but so far, no one has shown any interest in my character (with the exception of Isabela (a.k.a. Hooters McMonsterboobs), who is so overt and oversexualized that I’m skeeved out and insulted. Ick.), and the opportunities I’ve been given to flirt have been met with reluctance or dismissal. It’s odd.

    Then I get to talking with one of my male friends about the game, and he tells me how weirded out he is by how gay Anders is. This, of course, comes as a surprise to me. Both Anders and Fenris are throwing themselves at him. He’s basically fighting them off with a stick. Meanwhile, I may as well not even exist to these same characters in my game. WTF, man?

    As we discuss it more, it’s interesting to see how the conversation options aren’t very accommodating. In my friend’s case, he can either flirt back or crush the poor dude’s soul. There’s no option for a kind and sincere “thanks, but no thanks” response. In my case, I often find that I don’t like ANY of my responses, no matter who I’m talking to or what the situation may be. As a side note, I hate that what the dialogue wheel says and what actually comes out of my character’s mouth are often wildly different.

    It’s fascinating that this is the direction that the game is taking. I think it’s great that there are a lot of sheltered gamers out there having to deal with homosexual characters. And it’s interesting how different it is based on the gender of your character. I’m not quite sure what I really think about it just yet. I guess I should keep playing and see how things develop.

    Anyway – while I understand the frustration that Mr. Straight Male Gamer is experiencing (i.e., not being catered to), it made me realize that there’s just no way for Bioware to win here. Everyone liked and disliked different aspects of the first game – there was no way for Dragon Age 2 to be the perfect game for everyone. Still, I’m really disappointed by the lack of engaging characters.

  7. I fucking hated that game.

    Hate hate hate.

    I wrote all about it on my stupid little blog, so I won’t rehash it here.

    But props to Bioware for al least doing this aspect of the game well.

    My Hawke ended up in a committed relationship with Anders that had a significant impact on the endgame, which was neat. I tried to make sexy time with Captain of the Guard Whats-Her-Name, but I just wasn’t goody-goody enough for her.

  8. BitterOldPunk said :
    I wrote all about it on my stupid little blog, so I won’t rehash it here.

    Y’know I tried out that cheat thing and then ended up loading an earlier save because I realized that the enemies scaled with you and if you do it early (i.e. before you have late-game gear to spend your ill-gotten gold on) your equipment isn’t scaled to keep up so you end up making things harder on yourself if you cheat.

  9. I enjoyed the discussion on RPS of the Homosexuality Slider, a feature that’d allow the player to select just how gay the game was allowed to be.

    The difficulty here is that while the soft biases of “mostly straight” and “mostly gay” would be pretty reasonable to accommodate with an according bias in the expressed sexuality of NPCs or the sexual politics of the setting (with I guess DA2 being set right at the midpoint), the hard terminal points of Totally Gay and Totally Not Gay get tricky because, you know, Army of Two? How do you assess the hypermasculine homoeroticism of over-the-top musclefest manshoots?

    My conclusion is that the slider should not be a line but rather a circle, and Totally Gay and Totally Not Gay would be one pixel apart.

    In my friend’s case, he can either flirt back or crush the poor dude’s soul. There’s no option for a kind and sincere “thanks, but no thanks” response.

    Well, I haven’t always seen a “let’s be friends” sort of option, but there’s always been a “let’s keep discussing things other than you wanting to bone me without me necessarily telling you to go die alone” dialogue path that I’ve seen. Maybe there’s been one exception, when I was already flirting back for a couple of branches in a row?

    Which, realistically, there’s no reason that the non-affirmative response to any given flirtation would need to be an explicit “let’s just be friends”, so I guess I’m not finding that particularly bothersome. We’ll see if it gets weirder later on or something, I’m a couple dozen hours in so far.

  10. Well, I haven’t always seen a “let’s be friends” sort of option, but there’s always been a “let’s keep discussing things other than you wanting to bone me without me necessarily telling you to go die alone” dialogue path that I’ve seen. Maybe there’s been one exception, when I was already flirting back for a couple of branches in a row?

    That’s been my experience. Unless you mistakenly picked the flirt option to begin with there’s always been a non-drama way to just move past it. Every flirtation opportunity I’ve seen so far looks like it gives 3 options: 1) flirt (heart icon) 2) talk about something else 3) be mean (heart icon with a cross through it)

  11. Interesting and tangentially-related examination of the Sander Cohen character in Bioshock on GayGamer.

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