For boys who like boys who like joysticks!

Archives:

« Fallout MMO Still In Works | Main | Homefront Gets A Book Deal »

Dragon Age II Writer Promises "Something For LGBT Players To Appreciate"

DA2hawkeswings.jpgBy 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!

Or something.

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!

49 Comments

Bearfamily said:

As long as its something that is so predictable as:

(Achievement Earned)
ULTRA-HETRO-HAWKE SAVES GAYS!!11

It better not be that the LGBT characters are presented Limp-Wristed as Zevran, no matter how the ingame mechanics made him onpar with the others I dont mean that way, I mean an actual representation that makes me think: Yeah ok they aren't just thowing token inclusions at us.

Hewligan said:

DA did more than just Zevran, I think this gets missed out in DA discussions.
*minor spoiler*
For instance, 15-20 mins into the human noble origin right within the starting zone; you can chat up a same-sex character, your sibling can make mention of your chosen predilection as though he's used to knowing your character's sexuality, you're later seen in bed with who you'd chatted up, all before you've even _seen_ your first darkspawn.

VorpalBunny said:

Hewligan is right in that beyond the romances we were presented, Fereldan had many same-sex romances and same-sex interested parties. It's been much more inclusive than any other title I've ever seen. I can't imagine in a world where so many LGBT persons exist, they'd be completely gone in the sequel.

everythingbeeps said:

I felt like they took a big step back with Mass Effect 2's LGBT subplot, so my expectations are low for Dragon Age 2. It sounds like they're going to do something different from what they did in the first game, and I can't see how it'll be better.

Thorne said:

I'm betting it's lesbians. If so, it had better be one freakin' badass lesbian.

Charlie said:

I loved Zevran and Lelianna in DA Origins and would be a sad guy if the hero couldn't feel the same gender love.

I'm turning over part of the quote in my mind though:

"Some LGBT players liked what we did in 'Origins,' and others didn't."

Did we do something wrong? Do we need to lighten up a bit? I mean... we tend to bite the hand that feeds us sometimes. Like... Bearfamily why would you describe Zevran as limp wristed? He was deadly and charismatic and... Spanish I think... but is there a part of the game where you can point to him being limp wristed? I ask only because if every time we have a gay character we say "you're doing it wrong!" it will make it less likely that gay characters are included.

Limeade said:

The world and (LGBT) inclusive themes of Dragon Age were a huge part of what made the game enjoyable to me. Transpeople brothel joke aside, the world had a wealth of queer characters and acceptance that went beyond anything I have ever witnessed in big gaming before. It definitely livened up the tapestry of diversity -- and showed that the world and its characters can be all the better for it. It enriched a game rather than overpowered it or steeped too far into cartoony stereotypes.

Branka, Hespith, Herran and Wade, Marjolaine and Leliana, Dairren, Iona, Isabella, Nicolas and Julien (from The Calling book), Martina and Feren (from the flash game), Leliana, Zevran, and more. All of them queer characters and outlets of roleplay and representation.

Say what one will about Zevran, but he is a very important and huge step forward in this industry where we're still largely invisible, poorly represented, and passed over instead for hypermasculine heteronormative privilege fantasies. I never viewed Zevran as a negative archetype for gays, because Zevran, quite simply, is not gay. He is *bisexual*. He even admits to preferring women over men. If he fits under any trope or negative representation, then it would be the Depraved Bisexual. If Zevran was heterosexual, he may be called a womanizer or playboy due to his suave charm, flirtatious manner, and frank sexuality. But that he is written as bisexual, he is somehow commentary on a stereotypical effeminate gay man.

If Zevran is not someone's cup of tea or preference for a same-sex romance, it is understandable. Everyone has opinions and they are all valid. It'd just be easier and less offensive to biting the hand that feeds us to say we prefer something else, but appreciate what we've been given and look forward to further diversity in the future. After all, they do not need to cater to us at all and we should encourage as well as critique. Just my two cents.

Hewligan said:

I feel people often seek full representations of themselves, not just a representation of aspects of themselves. So it may be difficult to get widespread appreciation for any character as it will seldom push the majority of people's buttons, there will likely always be an amount of dissonance if someone seeks to project their own personality onto something/someone else.

aarion said:

@Charlie

You're right, we do tend to bite the hand that feeds us as you say. To be fair, it's very difficult to make "accurate" gay video game characters, because of the rather large umbrella that is the LGBT community. Nothing they can do is going to make everyone happy.

For me, I'm just happy that they aren't abandoning gay content altogether, which would be a real slap in the face.

I'd also like to mention that, for PC players at least, mods allowing further gay options are bound to proliferate.

Ophenix said:

I think this article was overly sarcastic.
Bioware did an excellent job in terms of sexual diversity in DA:O.
Some characters were straight, some were bi and some (sadly none of the party members) were gay.
This is how life works people...

I hope Bioware keep creating worlds in which there is room and acceptance towards homosexuality.
I don't really care if the protagonist is straight or gay, male or female, as long as the world the game takes place in doesn't make me feel like it rejects gays all together. E.g. SC2.

Bearfamily said:

"Bearfamily why would you describe Zevran as limp wristed?"

Well because for all the diversity you can tell something is "up" with him the second you meet him? You can tell he is gay despite the fact that you know he is a game character?

Does that not strike you as a bit odd? That the stereotype permeates even into characters created in a world that doesn't exist as a representation of and the inclusion of a demographic that does?

Makto had the same issue, he is just eye-rolling level of terrible decisions and stereotype. I just want to be surprised that a gay guy in a video-game is gay for once.

Hewligan said:

@ Bearfamily

Can't say I can recall any stereotype or nellyness in Zevran's behaviour. He even states that he prefers women.
He was flirtatious, but then he's meant to be a master of seduction; he's fairly uniquely Antivan (Spanish) accented, but then there are few Antivans about; he was eleven, so automatically shorter and slighter than the majority of the characters in the game.
What was his 'straight away' tell?

Bearfamily said:

His voice, his character look in general. Before I even tapped him just for the achievement, I knew he was the "gay" character.

The gays in videogames is spotted a mile off. Well western games anyway. Why cant they just be a normal character that just happens to like men? Not a tank-top wearing, cocktail drinking, STD bag stereotype?

Like I said why is it I haven been surprised once by a "gay" character?

Hewligan said:

My copy of DA didn't come bundled with tank-tops, cocktails or STDs :'(
I'll know not to get the European version next time.

Charlie said:

"Why cant they just be a normal character that just happens to like men?"

Ok that statement reeks of internalized homophobia. Some people can "pass" for straight. Some people cannot. There are people who have "gay accents" are they not "normal?"

Zevran looks and dresses like every elf in the game. His accent is different because he is from a different country.

But which is the "normal" straight character? Alistair or Oghren? Straight people don't worry about how all non-straight people will view hetero's based on those characters. Zevran is only a threat to gay/bi men who expect him to depict their brand of gayness to the world.

Bearfamily said:

Internalised homophobia when I'm actually married to my partner for 6 years and we have been going out 9? Really? But by all means try your pseudo psychology and read into things that aren't there.

By normal character I mean exactly that undistinguishable from any other male character presented to you in any context. Not a stereotype.

Charlie said:

Yes internalized homophobia. Internalized homophobia is usually found in gay men who are embarrassed by effeminate gay men or in gay women who are embarrassed by masculine.

Didn't you refer to Zevran as limp wristed, basically suggesting that he's a sissy?

Is it better for all gay men and all gay male video game characters to be indistinguishable from straight men and straight male game characters? Why?

Briker Ed said:

My straight brother highly disliked Alistair. He said it's because that he was written to be "like a little girl" and "gay", and actually thought that somewhere along the plot he'd be outed. On the other hand, he did like Zevran. He romanced Morrigan (personal note - ugh!) but on each play through he made sure he had Zevran in his party. His word "He's like Puss in Boots from Shrek". Entertaining, and not in a bad way either.
First time through the game I mostly thought that Zevran was the obligatory annoying loudmouth character - not the DA:O gay character (or bisexual w/e). I thought Shale was sooo gay untill I found out IT used to be a female dwarf, which frankly didn't make me think IT is any less gay in ITs behaviour :P
I'd disagree that Zevran was a bad portrayal of a gay/bi male. I didn't like him much, but mostly because the spanish accent threw me off on an elf. There are far far more stereotypical gay characters in video games. Most of which to be found in eastern/Japanese titles where they really get turned into whimsical, high-pitched clowns (IF LUCKY!).

Nexus said:

@ Charlie

It seems to me you're the one with the issues here, if you equate a 'proper' gay guy with an effeminate one. Which you seem to be doing.
Whether one is effeminate or masculine has no bearing on if someone is gay.
Nor does having a preference for either indicate some sort of deep self-loathing.

I am so fed up with people telling gay guys that tend even the slightest bit to the masculine end of the gay spectrum that we must be in denial and self-hating. That we're any less gay than you and that we're 'straight-acting' (hate that word).


I can't speak for Bearfamily and to be honest, I didn't think Zevran was too bad, but the problem is that the effeminate gay man is the one that gets portrayed in media pretty much all the time. So those of us that prefer or feel represented by the more masculine type of gay men, want to see a diferent, more masculine type for once. That doesn't mean we hate the effeminate gay men. It just means it would be nice to see something else for once.

Basically, many of us had wanted Alistair to turn out gay (or bi I suppose in keeping with DA:O's same sex romancable partners) or at least optionably romancable without the need of mods.

Charlie said:

"It seems to me you're the one with the issues here, if you equate a 'proper' gay guy with an effeminate one. Which you seem to be doing."

Nope, the statement that I have a problem with was "Why cant they just be a normal character that just happens to like men?"

I think it's a mistake to equate masculine with normal. I would also think it is ludicrous to equate effeminate as "normal", as you suggest. I think it's a bad idea to assign the word "normal" to any video game character's sexuality.

Bearfamily said:

Because Charlie, pandering to a sterotype does nothing to help us at all, drop the internalised homophobia thing because you are so offbase with that its just making me not take what you are saying serious.

These sterotypes HAVE BEEN DONE AND DIDNT WORK. Do you honestly think Makto is a good example of gay people? I am not equating effeminate with not normal, clearly you have issues with that an I'm certainly not wasting my time to clear those up for you. To attempt to make you see sense about my comment.

Currently:
Making gay character in games means they are readily definable as gay, the character is defined by his sexuality from the get go.

How it should be treated:
Gay characters are designed the same as any other normaly designed character (dont over think the work normal there again). Artists design armour for a gay spartan for halo and its NOT PINK, artists design a gay character for Gears of War and you cant tell he is gay just by looking or talking to him. The characters are treated as equals in all design aspects it just so happens he has a lost husband or boyfriend he needs to chainsaw-gun or shoot aliens to get back. (Dont read too much into the game choices either they were just off the top of my head)

Kenny said:

I liked the GLBT developments in Origins and felt it's a huge step forward (I picked it up for this reason initially only). It was patronizing at times but pulled me in more to care about characters than I have in any other game.

When are we gonna get some seriously R-Rated gay content in video games...? Or at the least not thrown into the mixed up trashbag of tranny-whores and the possibility of waking up after a hot night in the brothel with some livestock and it's bondage kit.
I disliked Zevren and would seldom speak with him at camp and NEVER took him out with me.

Were there actual LGBT that worked on this game?

gia said:

Bioware completely chickened out with Mass Effect 2, practically hiding the lesbian option and completely nixing Thane as the gay male option. As it is, I'm afraid they're going more and more heterocentrist, which is unusual for them, given their roots. For DA2 I am hoping they'll keep the tradition of the first game, and actually give a gay male character, rather than just a lesbian one (because you KNOW that's included not because they want to fair, but because teenaged hetero boys will fall over themselves at the idea of watching lesbian sex). Even so, my hopes are very weak and the more I see, the more I lose them.

Charlie said:

It's not really sensible to equate Zevran from DA: O with Makoto from Enchanted Arms. I disliked Makoto but not because he was lispy or musically inclined. I disliked him for the same reason I disliked Andrew on Buffy: he was cowardly and constantly pestering everyone around him. Zevran, is not cowardly and the bulk of his teasing is hitting on female members of the party (and nearly all characters tease each other so he doesn't stand out in this regard).

Gay video game characters don't need a lisp or a swish (or anything else of that nature that seems to terrify you)to be good gay role models. They also don't need to be void of all "gay identifying traits" to be good role models. It's not a factor.

Beafamily said:

Of course it terrifys me Charlie, just like it seems to terrify you that if a character is void of "gay identifying traits" that its just a homophobe who is trying to normalise gays and make them more straight acting.

Or it could be that people like myself are sick of seeing sterotypes being pandered to adn companies waving th rainbow flag proclaimin:

LOOK HOW PROGRESSIVE WE ARE CAN YOU SEE THAT GAY CHARACTER? YOU CAN OH THATS BECAUSE WE MADE SURE HE WAS GAY :D

This BS of the ONLY type of gay guy in videogames neededing to be the easily spotted negative sterotype is just so far beyond me it actual makes me wonder if all they do is watch that f**king WIll and Grace or another equaly stupid show and just write down notes on what they "think" gay peopel look and act like. Here is a hint, no different to anybody else. So why make the devolopment of a gay character anything else?

"Some BlACK 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."

I changed one word in the quote, does that strike you as odd in anyway? Like there needs to be some sort of special research done to make sure that the content is ok? YOu know a brain in your head would tell you avoid steroypes and just go about the game as usual. One charater likes men / women BIG WOOOP, why should they be DEFINED by their sexuality? Why should how they act and talk need to be presented in an obvious way? Why is it possible to tell from the second you see / hear them that they are gay characters? Are you saying that all gay people act like a sterotype and therefore this is how we should be presented? Because in videogames so far I see little other then this crap, this is not the only type of gay guy but this is the only type of gay guy we see in games.

Charlie said:

You're not selling me on Zevran Dragon Age Origins characters "pandering to a stereotype." Before you knew Lelianna was in a relationship with a woman did she said off the "bi girl stereotype" vibes in your head? I mean she sounds French but all Orlesians do. What about Wade the blacksmith? Is there a manlier profession than being a blacksmith? His partner's accent is more identifiable but that's because it's voice actor Cam Clarke's real voice! Cam being the voice of Leonardo the Turtle, Malygos from WoW, and He-Man from the 2002 He-Man show.

And what traits do Makoto (a character, from another game, you and I both do not like) and Zevran (a character we disagree on) share? They're both blonde but most elves are blonde. They will hit on a dude but for Zevran it's rare.

Bearfamily said:

Never spoke to the barf chick enough she came across as too needy and ignored her. Already stated that I knew Zevran was a gay / bi whatever before i nailed him because of the voice acting and look, the two blacksmiths in Denerim were very obvious too. Things dont need to be that type of "gay" obvious that is nothing but a negative that needa to be let go of. And i consider any gay character that can be identified that easily as being in the same banana boat. Not doing gay representation in gamea any good at all.

Bearfamily said:

That was meant to be "Bard" not "barf"

Hewligan said:

I _think_ I just had a companion come out in a game not mentioned in this discussion so far. But the game normalises the different sexualities like DA does, so you don't get to query them further at this point as being queer isn't seen as being a noteworthy issue in-game.


But back to DA.
I'd be deeply concerned if every single game that big company's churned out _did_ have at least one LGBT companion; because then, the characters could truly be said to tokenistic.

It'd be nice to see a gay or lesbian companion in DA2 as DA:O lacked one, but I don't _need_ to see any LGBT companions in the sequel to enjoy it.

Ultimately I play video games for the story, to work with the given game mechanics to achieve a satisfactory conclusion. If I want to see an accurate representation of myself I'll glance in a mirror, if I want to see accurate LGBT representations that are not myself I'll glance out the window and if I want a video game where the world is exactly the way I want it to be I'll play something like The Sims or Minecraft.

I've been to work meetings of 20 people where I'm the only LGBT person there, and other work meetings of 20 people where 20/20 were LGBT.

We live in a diverse world and DA:Origins established that their world was one in which sexuality isn't a big issue. They didn't need to write the world that way, they didn't need to make 2 of the core companions bisexual.

BA2 will take place in that diverse world but, just as in this one, theres no necessity to have any one group of characters have a proportion of LGBT characters than any other diverse trait. If all the work-shoped DA2 characters transpire to be straight or with no stated sexuality, I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist, because it's not _my_ story, it someone else's.

David Gaider said:

Look, I'm the one who designed Zevran, and I'll say up front that I didn't design him to be "the gay character" or to be representative of what I or BioWare thought of gay or bixesual characters (any more than Leliana is). I initially thought of him as being a cross between Spike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Rochester of Plunkett & Macleane... sort of suave and sexually aggressive, a bad boy type brought up in a very mercenary life. The idea of him being a romance of any kind didn't come up until much later.

Does this excuse the fact that he fits the "Depraved Bisexual" stereotype that someone else pointed out above? I suppose not. But we're not going for a pattern here, and my only point is that we don't make our characters to be a soap box of any kind. I'd resist setting out to make a gay/bi character that's "normal" (whatever that means) just to satisfy what some people might think to be a more acceptable representation of a character... it's exactly what you're saying we shouldn't do in deliberately setting out to make them visibly gay. We're just making an interesting character first and foremost.

And I've never shied away from including LGBT characters elsewhere in the game (some people have listed a few) and I won't in the future... despite the fact that the "all or nothing" attitude expressed in some quarters, with regards to the idea that any gay character must be the "right" kind of portrayal, kind of makes me want to avoid including it at all. The fact is I think it's important to be inclusive of all types of players-- and while I say this I totally agree that we shouldn't lock ourselves into one kind of LGBT character. If we did, and had a pattern of making every such character a certain way, I'd totally agree we'd need to be taken to task for it. I don't think we are, however, and personally I'm quite proud of Zevran and Leliana and would be very happy to keep pushing the envelope in the future.

RD said:

While I really appreciate DA's efforts to include bisexual options (and perfectly honestly probably would not play without them), it would be very refreshing to have a gay/bisexual option that is not a rogue.

For example, Jade Empire: Sky? Rogue. Silk Fox? Rogue. DA? Zevran? Rogue. Leliana? Rogue. ME's bisexually romanceable Asari are both biotics, but they don't really really count.

For just once, I'd like a knight.

David Gaider said:

RD: we don't specifically set out to make them rogues-- I'm not sure why it ends up being that way, to be honest. I don't know about Sky being a rogue per se, but regardless it does seem to be a pattern. Wish I could comment more on the plan for DA2, but I guess you'll see the result for yourself soon enough. :)

SemiColon said:

I've noticed that when we write about queer portrayals in video games there is often a lot of negativity, unjustified criticism, and jumping to assumptions; for example the assumption that LGBT characters would be cut from DA2. I think we ought to try to be a bit more positive; when we act so ungrateful and unsatisfied it is not doing much to encourage the writers and developers to continue to support us.

I, for one, think that David Gaider is right on target with writing queer characters for video games. Zevran was my favourite character in a game, ever. He was a complex character with motivations that did actually reach beyond the "hedonistic bisexual" front that some gamers might have taken at face value. I'm glad to know that Gaider will be writing for DA2 and hope that we get some more characters as interesting as Zevran.

euth said:

While Zev wasn't really my cup of tea as a romance option (or teammate at all, actually), I respect what the devs did with him and actually including the option to woo him with story implications here and there.

I agree to a certain extent with bearfamily though. I'd like to see a character where I was actually surprised by the fact that they were gay.

I remember on the Bioware forums before DA:O was released, people were talking about who the same sex romance options would be. The minute Zevran was revealed, everyone went "Elf. It's the elf." lol...

How much would it have surprised everyone if it was Sten or Oghren?

Charlie said:

@SemiColon

I agree, I feel like we too often bite the hand that feeds us. Maybe because it's only been rather recently that we've had gay characters to play but there's all this stress on those characters having to be "exactly as we would want them to be."

The first video game character I ever remember seeing was a bitchy neighbor in Gabriel Knight Sins of the Fathe... and I remember wishing they had just left him out entirely (even though he worked for the story). But in the sequel The Beast Within the gay guy was sexy and charming so it really isn't fair to say "This character signifies exactly how this publisher views gay people."

Nexus said:

All this stuff about 'biting the hand that feeds us' is such nonsense.
You people do visit non-gay sites, right?
On the net anything and everything is constantly under critique. People act like gay guys are the only one who ever complain about anything. DA:O wasn't loved by everybody. This has nothing to do with it's gay content. You simply can't please everybody.
But acting as if gay guys invented (and are the only ones practising) complaining about things warrants a reality check.

And no offense David Gaider, but I find comments like 'kind of makes me want to avoid including it at all' rather distasteful.
Sure, you didn't have to put any gay content in, but the fact that you did doesn't give you the right to use it as some kind of leverage to get those of us who look for gay content to shut up at the slightest bit of critique.
Though tbh, that isn't aimed at you specificually. I've seen that particular piece of blackmail used in regards to gay content far more than I'd like.

Vade said:

I just can't see why the male gay character always has to be so "gay". I mean really Zevran walks onto the screen and it's like a giant neon sign appears above his head flashing "I like boys", to be honest Leliana being bi was a bit of a surprise, Morrigan always looked like the one to like the ladies.

Imagine the surprise of playing through a game, saving some damsel and then..

"My hero, how can I ever repay you"
"Some money to bring home to my husband would be great!"

It would be awesome! Not to mention wreck the head of some homophobic gamers :)

SemiColon said:

@Nexus

I'm not claiming that gays are the only ones who ever critique or criticise games, nor am I demanding that everyone love DA:O. All I'm trying to say is that constantly nit-picking any queer character that isn't a 100% 'positive representation' or that is a little bit camp or flamboyant is going too far.

I also have a problem with people going too far to remove any depictions of gay 'stereotypes' (which I don't think Zevran is anyway). I mean, people like that do exist. They aren't just some fable made up to make queers seem silly. And 'straight-acting' (for want of a better phrase) gay guys are not the only ones who deserve representation. Although I can understand that you might want more in the way of non-camp queer representation, it's not really fair to criticise the bisexual Zevran for being "too gay".

It seems to me that in the case of DA:O, there are two bisexual main characters; one who is quite sexualised (Zevran) and one less so (Leliana). Of the two straight love interests, one is quite sexualised (Morrigan) and one less so (Alistair). Seems perfectly reasonable and balanced to me.

David Gaider said:

@Nexus:

Is what I said sounding like "you'll take what we give you and shut up about it?" If so, that wasn't my intent. My point is that some of the criticism went beyond "I don't like it" or "I'd like to see something different"... it said what we did was wrong. We had several posters on our forums, for instance, that loudly and adamantly declared that our making Zevran the gay romance and not Alistair was homophobia. It wasn't just that Zevran wasn't their cup of tea, it was that we were bigots because we made the "limp-wristed" Zevran their only option and not the "straight-acting jock" Alistair.

How surprising to discover that a character I personally fount interesting and attractive was "wrong", and that there was a "right" way to do it? Thankfully I refuse to ignore the many, many positive comments-- one fellow even wrote me a very emotional email to tell me that Zevran helped him come out to his gamer brother-- because if I didn't, that would be quite discouraging. It's not that I think these sorts of things should be above critique, or that people shouldn't be allowed to say that they'd like to see something different, but there's a point at which romances cross over from being content (which we have a limited budget for) to being a right which is uncomfortable territory, and really makes it tempting for us to avoid at all. They're not, after all, the point of the project. Thankfully we have a lot of enlightened folks at BioWare or I would find myself very alone in advocating for gay-oriented content.

Bearfamily said:

@SemiColon

Removal of thse particualr types of characters is not what I want. The thought behind creating or devoloping a gay character is the issue. You say that you think sterotype gay characters should exist, thats fine. In response I say, gay sterotype character are ALL that exists. We have no good represntations of gay characeters at all in western games.

By this definition every single game devoloper has free reign to remake or devolop EVERY Black character in to a sterotype just because people who fit that sterotype exist. And that is not fair or true not matter if some people do fit that definition they do not represent every black person at all. The words "gay identifying traits" was mentioned eariler and that they should not be removed from all gay characters. You know what the issue is there? That the steroype is considered to have and be the defualt checklist for a gay character. Thats not true, steroypes exist but they are not all that exists, but thats all we get. There is no "identifying traits" this notion alone is simply lunacy. What traits exactaly? What does that even mean? The ONLY check list looks like this:

Gay character checklist:
[] Is attracted to the same sex soley.

Not look like:
[] Is attracted to the same sex soley.
[] Voice acting in a gay way.
[] Mannerisms in line with gay mammerisms.
[] Flamboyant clothes.
[] MUST be inditifiable as gay, MUST.

What other "trait" makes a person gay? The answer apart from liking men or women is none. Not one thing, nothing else, that one thing and one thing alone defines a gay person and that one thing and one thing alone should be used to make a gay character in a serious way. And in the same way it would look crazy if any thing other then

Black character checklist:
[] Skin colour is black

Would be considered insane because nothign else makes a person "black", but we shouldnt lose the checklist of:

[] Skin colour is black
[] Always carries a chicken-wings.
[] Has a handgun in pants.
[] Is of low I.Q
[] Raps instead of talking.
[] Has no job.

NONE of those things describe a black person the same way none of the other checklist describe a gay person. But I mean we shouldn't exclude the second check list for the black characters there because we dont want to make black characters devoid of "black identifying traits" right? You know people like that exist so devolopers have free regin to go ahead and make characters like that and its ok yeah? And it would be fine if they were ALL like that?

Nothing makes a person gay or lesbian aparat from liking men or women, nothing.

@ David Gaider
I personally do not think you are homophobic in any way, shape or form. Aprat from the bits about Zevran this is more of my feelings on how gay characters in general are in videogames. Obviously you need to keep doing what you are doing and not listen to the people who are just going to go off at you no matter what you do. But I do feel Zevran was not a good example of gay / bi males, those are just my feelings on the issue. Would it have made the new Castlevania any less of a good game if wife was replaced with husband? The sad thing i feel is yes. Gaberial would have looked or sounded different had that been about a gay guy and I wish wrong. For all my ranting thought Bioware are still my favorite company for videogames, along with Lionhead and DA:2 will be a midnight launch for me, I'm not trying to shoot down the only few conpanies with the balls to actually put LGBT content in games, but I just dont want games to end up like trashy TV or internet famers where the only represntation we get is skewed to entertainment value gays and less attention is devoted to the full spectrum of how differnt types of gay people exist, not just one.

Deon said:

I'm glad! I loved Dragon Age for many reasons (I must have loved it, otherwise I wouldn't have replayed it 345345654t6456754 and 6 times) and feeling like I was creating a character who could have been gay or straight or bi was one of those reasons why I loved it.

Can't wait.

Gamescook said:

I guess if there just more LGBT in games to begin with, Zevran and his personality wouldn't really be an issue. As long as there are developed LGBT characters to look forward to, and even hopefully a gay party member, then I'd be willing to give Dragon Age II, as a game, a second look.

I have to admit that I only bought Fallout: New Vegas because they included quite a bit more (really tasteful!) gay content, not because they touched up a few mechanics since last time. That's what gets me to give some games a shot.

As excellent as Mass Effect 2 is, I felt disappointed that early gay-inclusion rumors didn't pan out, and that Bioware at the time kept saying that gay people weren't "PG-13" enough for a game clearly rated "M for Mature". I really hope it doesn't devolve, because no matter what their intentions actually are, the Asari still come off as both pandering to straight guys and as a slap in the face to real lesbians and bisexual women.

Branovices said:

I really liked Zevran, and how is a bad-ass assassin "limp-wristed?" It seems more like you have something against elves and Spanish accents to me.

I also think it's very unfair to say only masculine, "straight acting" gay guys are normal. What does that make gay guys that aren't so "straight acting?" Abnormal? Wrong?

I'm a big, scary, grumpy guy who also happens to have been in a relationship with another man for 9 years; we're High School sweethearts. Do I demand that gay characters be represented to be exactly like me, or what I prefer? No, that would be silly. As David Gaider points out, these characters aren't designed around their sexuality (which is a good thing) so I think you're imagining things that aren't there, in this particular case. You keep referring to a different game and a completely different type of character to make your point, which has little bearing on your current argument.

Thorne said:

@David Gaider - Another way to look at the incessant bitching and moaning about the inclusion of GLBT romance in DA2 is that we do it because we care. Some more sensitively than others but we all have the odd aunt/uncle in the family. DAO was such an awesome game because of the interactions between the characters; romantic and otherwise. Some of the conversations between Zevran and Allistar were the highlights of the game for me. I didn't use Zevran much because I wasn't attentive enough to keep him alive, but he was pretty fun. I greatly enjoyed ME and ME2 even with the lack of gay male romance because it was (to me) a different kind of game and I was able to skip the romance without losing out on anything. I also felt that my actions had direct consequences to the relationships in DAO but no so much in ME2. So, I am holding out on buying DA2 until I know that the relationships (intimate or not) are along the same pattern as DAO and not ME2 because the relationships between characters is what made DAO for me.

g_whiz said:

Wow, a very popular post here. As for DA:O I think a lot of interesting characters and story ideas came together to make a fairly compelling involved story. The character choices on the whole worked for me greatly (and there was nobody on my party I openly disliked for example), and Zevran, his nonchalance about his sexuality and his overall mercinary personality I found neither indicative of him being some cliched queer stereotype. In fact, I thought the posibility for romancing him to be more progressive than a lot of game content we've seen. (Rarely are commentaries about bisexuality considered seriously) I never saw him as the "gay" character just as I never thought of Wynne as the "old, stuffy healer" after spending enough time with both.

I was impressed with the characters and story enough to easily say I want to know more about Dragon Age II. Do I as a huge gay video game nerd care to play as a character that isn't just assumed to be the swarthy heterosexual hero oggling half dressed sorceresses? Yes, but its not a dealbreaker. Often times entertainment media is written to reflect the world the storytellers see and to pander to those that the market dictates will purchace/consume their product. I like it that the universe of DA is inclusive enough to acknowledge that gay, lesbian and bisexual people exist in it, as its sometimes rare to see that in film and television media.

Also, thanks for giving us your insights on the character of Zevran, Mr. Gaider, he was far and away my favorite.

chivisimo said:

I guess the issue I have is that Zevran, though unintentionally, came off resembling a gay stereotype. What I feel is that, since it is the only type of major gay characters that there is, maybe unintentionally as well, am I supposed supposed to be like them? Is there something wrong with me for not being like them, since those are the only kind of gay characters that developers come up with? It's sort of like there's a standard of being gay that is the easiest to recall, a stereotype :).

I give the writers the benefit of the doubt that it isn't intentional at all. Most major gay characters, by chance, were almost stereotypical. It most likely my fault for not meeting the gay standard.

Andre' said:

Wow...those were a whole lot of posts to read. @_@
Ummm, anywasy, quick question and i apologize in advance for the semantics, but,ummm...isn't "recognizing" a person's/charachter's sexuality in the first place based on stereotypes/type-casting? The assumption that so-and-so is a certain "way" because of a demographic that happens to have members that posses a specific attribute. Also, how would having a character like Bearfamily suggests be any diffrent then trading one stereotype for another? I mean suppose content had been included after some time with the characters (which i know it wasn't)that Zevran had like 12 illegitimate kids? or Alistar had like 2 lines that were almost missable where he said that he was in the closet or "I can't drink cause i'll end up butt naked with d*&%$ in my mouth...again. hahaha...anybody seen the wine?". Isn't it not a suprise once someone tells you their sexuality anyway? unless of course you don't believe them.
...I've lost track of my point...
Oh, yeh, so umm what about those characters with unstated (not evasive) sexuality, does that mean that they can't be good LGBTQ representations? Cause isn't the whole idea that we're all equals and that our sexualities do not make us any diffrent from anyone else? Besides, and forgive me if this sounds harsh, I understand that we want a vicarious experience through videogames, but you can't have a relationship with everyone, so why not use your imagination if the game developer went in their own direction. Otherwise, you'd kinda have to pay an artist to give you exactly what you want in any other media (and I'm talking full on development fee's and hands on everything) otherwise you kinda gotta just just take what they deliver. Supporting developers with similar tastes to your or open minds seems like a place to start though..
..to much typing..ugh..

Bearfamily said:

@Branovices

You didnt even read my points about my qualification of "normal" in relation the the characters and you just went off on one at me dispite the fact I cleared up what I meant to another person who did the same. I suggest you read up and see what I meant by "normal characters" again. It has NOTHING to do with how the characters act it's about how they are created. Start with the one and ONLY thing that makes a person gay and go from there if the process dictates.

g_whiz said:

I think the idea here is that everyone's mileage apparently varied about whether or not Zevran was some sort of stereotypical character. We have the luxury of actually getting some insight behind the character design here and discerning that Zevran's fluid sexuality and potential for same sex romancing was not THE sole defining aspect of his character, and thats more than often a positive thing. Some people conform to stereotypes (intentionally or otherwise# while others do not, being gay is a status or aspect of self that shouldn't be the only aspect of self, and the more visibility gay characters get #I hope) the more readily the mainstream audience will see that.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

Twitter Feed

Recent Comments

g_whiz on Dragon Age II Writer Promises "Something For LGBT Players To Appreciate": I think the idea here is that everyone's mileage apparently varied about whether or not Zevran was some sort of...

Bearfamily on Dragon Age II Writer Promises "Something For LGBT Players To Appreciate": @Branovices You didnt even read my points about my qualification of "normal" in relation the the characters and you just...

Andre' on Dragon Age II Writer Promises "Something For LGBT Players To Appreciate": Wow...those were a whole lot of posts to read. @_@ Ummm, anywasy, quick question and i apologize in advance for...

chivisimo on Dragon Age II Writer Promises "Something For LGBT Players To Appreciate": I guess the issue I have is that Zevran, though unintentionally, came off resembling a gay stereotype. What I feel...

g_whiz on Dragon Age II Writer Promises "Something For LGBT Players To Appreciate": Wow, a very popular post here. As for DA:O I think a lot of interesting characters and story ideas came...

GGP Mailing List

Are you gay and working in the games industry? If you are interested in networking with other folks like you within the industry, try joining the Gay Game-Industry Professionals mailing list. Click here for all the details!

Links

The GayGamer Store

  • Help support GayGamer by purchasing your items through our store!

All rights reserved © 2006-2010 FAD Media, Inc.