As is bound to happen on internet forums, users will occasionally post thoughts or opinions that are better left to themselves. Such a post was made by Dragon Age 2 player Baltas regarding BioWare‘s latest release and the romance options the game has available. It seems that with BioWare’s inclusion of same sex relationships, Bastal feels like the good ol’ “Straight Male Gamer” has been “neglected.”
To Bastal’s credit, he was very polite and presented his arguments in a fairly concise manner, unlike a lot of people who decide to take their personal opinions to the internet (see: “troll”). In fact, he knew there’d be a few or more who’d respond none too well to his opinion and sought to avoid the degeneration into personal attacks.
“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.”
While he seems to be a perfectly literate and polite fellow, one must wonder about his opinions, especially considering the modern portrayal of homosexuality in the media. Homosexuality is becoming more widely accepted by the common man and because of this, more homosexual people are able to live their life openly loving who they want to. It’s probable that anyone reading this article has come into contact with a gay person at least once in their life. So why Bastal is so uncomfortable with the option to be gay in Dragon Age 2 is a bit surprising.
“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.”
He wrote a decent-sized post and drew the attention of many, including the game’s lead writer, David Gaider. Gaider has previously discussed the inclusion of same-sex romances, and he responded to Bastal, first praising the disgruntled gamer’s manners but calling him ignorant, saying, “an ignorant opinion politely expressed doesn’t make it less ignorant.” This is a lesson Bastal probably needed to learn and whether he knew that lesson or not, Haider proceeded to teach.
“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.”
He sheds a little bit of light on why Dragon Age 2 had included bisexual characters such as Fenris (pictured above), who is a love interest regardless of the protagonist’s gender.
“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.”
Haider stresses that the romances are optional content and that it’s perfectly possible that some gamers wouldn’t find any of the characters interesting to pursue a romance with. He closes with:
“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 I’m sorry if someone didn’t get everything they wanted out of the romances– as I always am. I wish we could do the ideal where there’s something for every desire and opinion, but as usual we make do.”
Both posts are worth a read if you have a few minutes. I’m happy to see that people can express their opinions in a civilized manner. With films such as Brokeback Mountain and television shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race hitting mainstream pop culture, one can see that people are accepting more than just heterosexuality. Video games haven’t made such strides, but it’s refreshing that BioWare is moving the medium forward. Life doesn’t have a “no homosexuality” option, and why should a game that is clearly attempting to bring a dose of reality to interpersonal relationships and dialogue ignore that?
Source: BioWare Forums