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Straight Gamer Calls For ‘No Homosexuality Option’ In Dragon Age 2. Game Maker Responds: Shut It

By now you’ve already picked up a copy of Dragon Age 2 just so you can watch two CGI dudes get it on on the duvet. But not all gamers are so happy that manufacturer BioWare has enabled same-sex sexing.

User Bastal posted this week on BioWare’s web forum that “Bioware Neglected Their Main Demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.” See, it’s not that he has a problem with letting the gays have their video game fun — it’s just that BioWare should’ve offered a “no homosexuality option” to keep gay players from making passes at straight dudes. Excuse me?

To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.

I don’t think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they’re usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forego the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy.

Now immediately I’m sure that some male gamers are going to be like “YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ME! I LOVE DRAGON AGE 2!”, but you have to understand, the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category.

Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans, but it is as if when the designers were deciding on how to use their limited resources, instead of thinking “We have fans who loved Alistair and we have fans who thought Alistair was annoying. We have fans that thought Morrigan was great and we have fans that thought that she was a ****. And we have fans who liked the combat and we have fans who hated the combat but liked the story. How do we make make all these groups happy?” Instead, it is as if they went “We have straight males, straight females, gays and lesbians. How do we make all these groups happy?”

The fact that a “No Homosexuality” option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point.

In every previous BioWare game, I always felt that almost every companion in the game was designed for the male gamer in mind. Every female love interest was always written as a male friend type support character. In Dragon Age 2, I felt like most of the companions were designed to appeal to other groups foremost, Anders and Fenris for gays and Aveline for women given the lack of strong women in games, and that for the straight male gamer, a secondary concern. It makes things very awkward when your male companions keep making passes at you. The fact that a “No Homosexuality” option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point. I know there are some straight male gamers out there who did not mind it at and I respect that.

When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don’t mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call “exotic” choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can’t make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren’t even going for an option most males will like. And the fact is, they could have. They had the resources to add another romance option, but instead chose to implement a gay romance with Anders.

I’m certain that some will declare “That’s only fair!” but lets be honest. I’ll be generous and assume that 5% of all Dragon Age 2 players are actually homosexuals. I’ll be even more generous and assume that the Anders romance was liked by every homosexual. Are you really telling me that you could not have written another straight romance that would have pleased more than 5% of your fans?

Dragon Age 2 did have its faults no doubt, objectively; combat that was fun initially but quickly got tedious as a result of constantly respawing enemies and too many random encounters, not so well disguised re-used environments, a flawed equipment system in which most of the loot you got could not be used. And subjectively, I’ve seen complaints of the new faster combat, the new dialogue wheel and so forth. But truth to be told, I wasn’t happy with every single aspect of Origins either, but still I loved that game. The gameplay elements are only a part of an RPG, theres the story and characters that drive it. If the same amount focus and attention to characters were given for me as there was in Origins, I’m sure that even with all those technical flaws, I would have found Dragon Age 2 a good game, a flawed game, but still good. As it stands right now, with mediocre characters and mediocre gameplay, Dragon Age 2 is a mediocre game and I’d rate it as such.

David Gaider replied in the last thread stating, “There’s a lot of assumption in there, not the least of which is certain amount of privilege (not to mention an assumption that all straight male gamers must like the same thing)”. It’s odd to me that David realized that not all straight male gamers like the same thing, yet thought it prudent to try to include a cast that would be liked by straight male gamers, straight female gamers, gays and lesbians with a development time of 18 months. I just hope that the next game BioWare will get its priorities right or spend more time making the game.

Despite my opinions I fully respect the opinions of those who disagree with me so please let’s agree to disagree in a respectful manner and not let this descend into personal attacks. I respectfully request that the moderators simply remove the trouble makers and trolls who make inflammatory comments rather than locking the entire thread because that’s what the trolls want. Thank you.

David Gaider, the lead writer for BioWare, saw the post. And responded. It is awesome.

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.

Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.

More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you’re better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.

And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all, and you can see that even on this thread.

Would I do it again? I don’t know. I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again– at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part. Even if someone decides that this makes everyone “unrealistically” bisexual, however, or they can’t handle the idea that the character might be bisexual if they were another PC… I don’t see that as a big concern, to be honest. Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.

And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.

And remember that Dragon Age: Origins also featured gay sexytimes. Maybe donate this year’s GLAAD check to your new video game addiction.

By:           JD
On:           Mar 25, 2011
Tagged: , ,

  • 33 Comments
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      I thought video games were meant to be escapist fantasy fun. Just an onerous amount of social issues, baggage, rules, drama and tedium involved in these killjoy games.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The sane Francis
      The sane Francis

      Hahahaha, that bigot gamer sure got told. And the last statement puts it perfectly. The “Bastal” guy wants to be pleased by trying to closet us. Well that isn’t going to happen, so he’ll just need to get over his homophobia. That guy shows the typical straight male privilege attitude, “everything should be catered to me, since I’m a straight man and special, blah blah blah”, anything that doesn’t get catered to them they see as an affront and slight against them. It’s comical, though, how freaked out some straight guys get over something as simple as a game having gay characters. I’ve seen that a lot from these gamers. You must be really insecure in yourself if that is an issue for you. But that’s not surprising coming from hardcore gamers.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James C
      James C

      The people who are complaining have obviously never played the game. The homosexual ending is just ONE of the possible outcomes. Your player is just as likely to end up with a female as a male.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MoHomo
      MoHomo

      haha. Didn’t even read the whole letter, sounded pretty insecure. Every straight guy I know that’s played it actively went out to get the dude in bed.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Bonzitski
      Scott Bonzitski

      People keep complaining about the gays “shoving everything down their throats”. Well, THAT we ARE good at! [Yes, pun intended!] :) And another thing…str8 people [read "homoprobes"] have had THEIR own lives to live and are not doing too well with this marriage thingy. Let US show them how it is done. What if being gay was the norm? Don’t you think str8 people would fight for recognition too!? Just because we have SSA does NOT mean that we do NOT love…SB

      Mar 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TroyC
      TroyC

      “…the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category.”

      Really? Because ‘straight male gamer’ sounds like a pretty specific single category.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kernelt
      kernelt

      I don’t get why the fuck does these looser worry about. If your not gay why even bother going to the option of seeing to dude making out, that is no brained.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brandon H
      Brandon H

      @Kev C: The best escapist fantasy are the ones where you can imagine yourself in the fantastical situations. Theres nothing “killjoy” about Dragon Age, Dragon Age 2, or the Mass Effect Series.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Justin
      Justin

      Where is the no straight sex option in videogames?

      Mar 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • valentine ghost
      valentine ghost

      @MoHomo: Same. The straight guys – i.e, the guys – in my dorm were getting to the tail end of the game, trying to screw as many characters as possible, and they all loved Zevran, even if they did kinda turn away a bit at the actual animation.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greenmanTN
      greenmanTN

      The gamemaker makes an excellent point about straight (or majority) privilege.

      “They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, and everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”

      I don’t think it can be stated much better than that. They view equal rights as “special rights” simply because it’s not about them and it’s ALL supposed to be about them, their sensibilities and their comfort. “I’m sick of these gays shoving it down my throat!” (Interesting word choice there.) “I don’t care but I don’t want to see it! Straight people don’t FLAUNT their sexuality so why do they?!” Somehow the fact that ALL their conversation about their WEDDING, what they did with their WIFE or HUSBAND yesterday, their PREGNANCY issues, all of it IS about their sexuality!

      Mar 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ism3c
      Ism3c

      Yep… blame others for your insecurities and lack of cool.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sceth
      Sceth

      Dragon Age ‘Romances’ are for advantage and plot development, not arousal. The complainer needs to get out and get laid.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve Hutchison
      Steve Hutchison

      The man is playing it wrong.

      Even in Dragon Age 1 there was this option.

      If you talk to the guy using the flirtatious come-on lines, he’ll respond to them, duh. If you don’t, every time, he won’t flirt with your male character and there’s no problem. Seems like this is pretty clearly exactly what he wanted.

      If you use the neutral lines and happen to wander across one of the triggers and he uses a come-on line, then all you have to do is use one of the “no, thanks, I’m not into that” replies.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Smiles
      Smiles

      Bioware, you impress me greatly!

      Mar 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jamie
      Jamie

      “the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”

      F’ing genius.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Bonzitski
      Scott Bonzitski

      @Steve Hutchison: Therefore it’s “their” problem…they think that playing a “game” is innocent enough if no one is watching but, wait until the ending occurs and the closet case feels as if they have been attacked and outed due only to their OWN decisions. They feel “dirty” because they were TAUGHT it [being gay] was bad..SB

      Mar 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Liam
      Liam

      @Valentine Ghost: My SMGs (to use the asswipe poster’s term) who didn’t seduce Zev (or Anders in DAII) played the female characters to get the girl-on-girl action. Most did both.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • caffesilvia
      caffesilvia

      It was an excellent response, and a hell of a lot more literate than the rant that prompted it.

      I will say, I’ve always been suspicious of the idea that gamers are all “straight males.” As a kid, I knew a LOT of gamers and, well, more of them turned out to be gay than any other group I can think of!

      I also know for a fact that there are many gay and bisexual game developers. They’re not often out, since the work environment is sophomoric. But they’re there.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @Brandon H: Did I say killjoy? I meant to say overcomplicated task monkey.

      Mar 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Angela
      Angela

      Props to BioWare for writing inclusionary content, and then sticking by it!

      Mar 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gina
      Gina

      Wow. This guy is basically saying… well, imagine he owned a bar. He is saying: “Let’s not allow gays to drink here because they have their own bars to go to and I’d rather have them not be here in case one wants to hit on me.” ONE game gives more homosexual/bi romance options while NOT cutting out straight romance options and he wants to complain? SERIOUSLY? I don’t know what’s worse, this guy and his video game problems or the moronic women who celebrate their wedding engagements at a gay club.

      I also want to comment on his female gamers bit. The only gamers I know that own an Xbox and play casually (Rock Band and the like) are guys. My girl friends who game are all into the likes of Mass Effect, Halo, CoD, etc. I know better than to make assumptions from that but there are definitely just as many casual male gamers as there are female, if not more. There was no reason for that comparison. (Well, there was no reason for anything he said.)

      Mar 26, 2011 at 12:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      This dividing of men into straight and gay is actually a clever segregationist ploy by homophobes. It’s designed to make gay male sexuality smaller and to thus keep us out of the mainstream. Don’t fall for it.

      My view is that male sexuality, as a concept, is far more complicated than straight and gay. As a concept, it has shades and overlaps that defy the segregationist’s desire to put it into two separate boxes. Conceptually, male sexuality is remarkably psychological, situational, and vulnerable to stigma.

      Of course, I’m not saying that there aren’t men who are completely straight or completely gay in their perception of themselves. What I’m saying is that the concept of male sexuality – and I repeat the word “concept” – is far, far from simple.

      Mar 26, 2011 at 1:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Avenger
      Avenger

      That lead writer is obviously homosexual himself, and slyly included the gay thing to promote homosexuality in amongst heterosexuality.

      Mar 26, 2011 at 1:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam
      TheRealAdam

      @Avenger: Yawn.

      Mar 26, 2011 at 3:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • skzip888
      skzip888

      He forgot about all the Yaoi fan girls out there.

      Leliana was supposed to be a “reluctant” romance option in Origins, but she practically jumped on top of me and I didn’t complain, even though telling her to back off caused me relationship damage with her. That bitch was needy.

      Mar 26, 2011 at 6:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Polyboy
      Polyboy

      @Avenger. There’s plenty of fanservice for straight boys. Do us a favor and crawl back into your hole.

      Mar 26, 2011 at 10:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GaymerChik85
      GaymerChik85

      Um, I assume that they didn’t offer a “no homosexuality” option for the same reason they neglected to add a “no blacks” option. Bioware clearly makes games with human equality in mind.

      Opinions mean nothing, they can be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, they can be embraced or rejected by anyone.

      Keep your beliefs, but do not let hatred, for those who disagree, take root in your heart.

      Mar 26, 2011 at 10:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fingolfin
      Fingolfin

      Looks like he attracted attention from Encyclopedia Dramatica for his crying — http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Bastal

      Mar 27, 2011 at 1:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lookyloo
      lookyloo

      - The complainer says;
      “The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call “exotic” choices.”

      - He goes on with;
      “They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can’t make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren’t even going for an option most males will like.”
      —————————-

      He doesn’t say those romance options aren’t HIS tastes, he says they’re of the “exotic” nature – and, again, assumes he’s speaking for all straight guys by saying those females are NOT “an option most males will like”.

      I’m not saying his use of “exotic” translates to “not-white-american-enough” but, it does seem like a term a racist white guy from the U.S. would use to ‘politely’ describe an asian looking elf lady (Merrill) and a gypsy looking swashbuckling lady (Isabella)

      So, his gay problem is obvious.. But, imo, he seems to have a race, or ‘race-look’ problem as well.

      - On a less serious note:
      I mean sure, Elves were considered exotic at one time.. But it’s 2011.. Human/Elf sex is super common these days.. ;-)

      Mar 28, 2011 at 4:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      I find it supremely arrogant for straight-identifying men to claim that only their preferred options must always be catered to, and with no room for anyone else’s. They act as if they form 100% of the population.

      Memo to straight-identifying guys: you are less than 50% of the population. Most people in this world are not straight-identifying guys.

      Mar 28, 2011 at 8:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Maternity bras
      Maternity bras

      Yes, very interesting and informative! As a “newbie” blogger, even the simplest things others take for granted can seem a mystery to us!

      Apr 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ost
      Ost

      I have two things to say:
      * I’m a straight male
      * I totally had my male character do another dude just for the lols

      Oct 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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