By now, our fears for the gay-friendly future of the beloved Dragon Age franchise are well and firmly entrenched. In our makeshift fortress of RPGs, while under siege from the endless waves of heterocentric games like so many Darkspawn, we Gay Wardens had defended our position with only a scant few titles we could trust. But with the announcement of a human-only Hawke, we lament to find there may be a traitor game on our side of the walls!
Tortured metaphors aside, it does feel like a slap in the face to think that BioWare will be backpedaling on their inclusion of the alien species known as Queer in their next Dragon Age. After all, Origins was their first modern game to allow a full-on romance for either gay or lesbian characters, and (despite Zevran's opportunism) it was certainly welcome. With only the ability to choose protagonist Hawke's sex, it does seem like BioWare is choosing the Mass Effect route, focusing on the story by cutting down variations on the main character. This inevitably brings to mind the fact that Commander Shepard can have lesbian interactions, but not gay ones. So does leaving out half of one's audience still count as inclusive?
In response, ABC quoted Dragon Age 2's lead writer, David Gaider:
"Some LGBT players liked what we did in 'Origins,' and others didn't. The only thing that would really disappoint them is to completely abandon it. We're not doing that. There's some things you don't want to fundamentally change. If we're being inclusive of any group of fans, we're not going to suddenly throw them out on the streets."So that's a relief. We're still a marketable demographic!
However, Gaider wouldn't say for certain whether your Hawke would have the option to be gay, promising only that there would be "something for LGBT players to appreciate." Does that mean a gay side-character? A God of War-esque lesbian scene? A series of quests where you do publicity work for alienated and bullied Darkspawn by telling them 'it gets better?' It's too early to tell, but keep in mind this is also the sequel to the game that featured "female" companions in its brothels as a separate gender. Cuz, y'know, transpeople are hilarious!
It's also possible that the writing has come a long way since Mr. Gaider made those quotes--it seems this ABC article is more of an 'interest piece,' since it headlines the fact that Fable III will allow gay adoption - a feature our talented editor Fruit Brute had covered way back in June. So I, at least, will keep hoping Hawke stays in our camp!