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FF XIV Reboot Will Let You Marry Cat People As Long As You Aren't The Same Sex.

ffxiv-notgay.jpg
A few character types from Final Fantasy XIV

You may have heard that, following a disappointing launch, Square-Enix is going to re-debut Final Fantasy XIV. According to the company itself, the staff listened to all of the complaints about FF XIV, and have, quite nobly, entirely overhauled the game:

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is not an expansion, it's not an update to the original. We at Square-Enix consider it a completely new game that we've built from the ground up that will give players a completely new experience compared to the original.

A Realm Reborn will have all kinds of new features that fans were clamouring for, including the option to get married. Just not if you want to marry someone of the same gender:

As for same-sex marriage, this is an extremely controversial topic that has been under discussion in the MMO world for the past few years. First we would like to start out with opposite-sex marriage, and then consider the feedback from our players in order to make a careful decision.I can't say whether or not it will be possible at this point in time. I'd like to keep dialog open with our players as we deliberate the matter.

As it is impossible to read minds (...I'm pretty sure...), we can only speculate as to what the producers are looking for in that dialogue with their players, and what the resultant response would be. Will they cave if the homophobes come out in droves? Will they cave if the queer players grovel at their feet for long enough, or get angrier than the homophobes? Are they hoping to drum up press controversy will encourage a greater dialogue about their relaunch?

Having originally planned a most-likely-too-lengthy opinion piece about the matter, this former Final Fantasy XI fiend took a moment to breathe and chilled out a little. This is an MMORPG, I thought, not a real place. And where I live, and am married to a person of the same gender, equal marriage has been law for almost ten years - it is not at all controversial any more. But the rest of the world is different, and straight people get all wound up in knots about this; at least these guys, with all their heterosexual privilege, want to talk about it rather than stay silent and hope no one notices.

But one can't help wondering why this is actually an issue, and even the insinuation that the company might not want to do something gay because it might hurt sales is odious.

One way or the other, in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn thinly-veiled elves will be able to marry cat women - as long as they're not gay about it. If this, or the sort of casual homophobia that considers people of the same gender loving each other "controversial," upsets you, do tell the folks at Square-Enix what you think. You can do it here, or here, or through the Twitter, or whatever else the kids are up to these days.

[pre-text image via: joystiq]

23 Comments

Caracticus said:

I'm not sure if there is an online translator for "japanese translated to english same-gender marriage policy statement", but I'll give it a try:

"Hi. We're cowards who don't deserve your respect, now or in the future, until all the staff involved with decision no longer work at this company, and that's probably something that has to start at the very top... so until there's a new CEO, you should probably just go F*CK YOURSELVES, queers."

ANON said:

I just googled FFXIV and I saw this and to be fair its much easier for you to play a female cat toon or just a female toon in general to get the marriage you are asking for. Instead of asking a company to take a controversial subject head on with a game that involves people of ALL ages/beliefs/etc.

Branovices said:

All companies are cowards when it comes to public opinion, this isn't new. It should make you appreciate the game companies that have decided to be brave and make a statement.

That said, still waiting on SW:TOR, which has made only a literal statement, in its forums, instead of any actual action.

As to "Anon," you're being a jerk. You don't know it, but you are. When you say "all ages," you're implying that there is something horrible or disgusting about gay monogamous relationships that doesn't exist in a straight one. When you say "beliefs" you're implying that bigotry should be a deciding factor for policy.

Wakwazu said:

Gay Marriage shouldn't even be a controversial topic. It's two people that love each other. How does that affect "ALL ages/beliefs/etc."?

I guarantee if you tell a child, before they are introduced to prejudice, that two men can love each other they will be like, "That's cool, can I play Lego's now?" and not be scarred for life.

The Death Penalty, Abortion, Arranged Marriage, and Nuclear Armament are controversial. Gay Marriage is not.

Caracticus said:

ANON, with all due respect, I assume you are not queer because if you were you might know that your suggestion is actually a bit insulting, no matter how well intentioned.

As a gay man, I don't want to "have" to be a female, and I wager that female gamers who want act as a female character and marry a female character don't want to "have" to play as a male.

If other gamers "beliefs" make them avoid a game because it's more fun for ME to play, I "believe" they can go to h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

If the publisher is too cowardly even to just follow in the footsteps of other well-known VERY SUCCESSFUL games that have same-gender marriage options, they may find out that it makes their products less successful.

Anon said:

Yeah I am not trying to be jerk I am just saying that in cases where something is involving a large mass of people congregating into one locaton its best for a company to remain neutral. When these types of things get involved it introduces those "Far winged" groups and creates controversy amongst the community. Nothing spells an MMO's death like a broken community. Instead its best for people of common interest to take the initiative amongst themselves to let it beknown of who they are and what they represent. For instance, I played an MMO called Dc Universe and although Marriage was not a part of the game. Those of LGBT interest created a league called Fabulous Gentlemen and held a marriage ceremony on their own accord. Be proud of who you are but don't demand integration of your beliefs/preference into a community videogame. Instead just be pleased to have a game that you can join with likeminded people and practice these things amongst yourself.
Here is a link to that wedding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSAOCFwbN6o

Caracticus said:

ANON, "not trying to be a jerk" doesn't excuse being a jerk. Most jerks actually probably aren't trying to be jerks, they just are.

Again with the "beliefs".

Why is it that QUEERS are the ones "blamed" for breaking the community? I assert that the 'community' that doesn't acknowledge the reality of same-gender relationships is inherently broken and needs fixing.

ANON, here's what I hope you take away from this: a person getting married to someone of the same gender has absolutely no impact on so-called "same-gender marriage opponents". They would like you to believe it, but it's not so at all. They would like you to believe that same-gender marriage between consenting adults means that other types of relationships will be legitimized, when many of those other relationships have a serious underpinning of non-consentual abuse.

It comes down to this: we all have aspects of reality that are not to our taste. Same-gender marriage opponents have the reasons for disliking same-gender marriage, and those reasons sometimes can never be overcome... but what they are trying to do is basically prevent other people from being happy because they "have a distaste" for it. I don't like Indian food all that much, so I should stop OTHER people from eating it because I don't care for it?

Your backward on this, and I repeat: if you are willing to accept marginalization of things that are not to YOUR taste, YOU have to be willing to accept marginalization of things that aren't to OTHER people's taste, simply based on a majority rule... and I bet there are lots of things in your life that are NOT loved by the majority, INCLUDING JRPGs. Ask your Mom how much she LOVES playing JRPGs and if she says she doesn't like playing them, YOU should stop playing them because the majority doesn't "approve". Problem solved.

Caracticus said:

ANON, "not trying to be a jerk" doesn't excuse being a jerk. Most jerks actually probably aren't trying to be jerks, they just are.

Again with the "beliefs".

Why is it that QUEERS are the ones "blamed" for breaking the community? I assert that the 'community' that doesn't acknowledge the reality of same-gender relationships is inherently broken and needs fixing.

ANON, here's what I hope you take away from this: a person getting married to someone of the same gender has absolutely no impact on so-called "same-gender marriage opponents". They would like you to believe it, but it's not so at all. They would like you to believe that same-gender marriage between consenting adults means that other types of relationships will be legitimized, when many of those other relationships have a serious underpinning of non-consentual abuse.

It comes down to this: we all have aspects of reality that are not to our taste. Same-gender marriage opponents have the reasons for disliking same-gender marriage, and those reasons sometimes can never be overcome... but what they are trying to do is basically prevent other people from being happy because they "have a distaste" for it. I don't like Indian food all that much, so I should stop OTHER people from eating it because I don't care for it?

You're backward on this: if you are willing to accept marginalization of things that are not to YOUR taste, YOU have to be willing to accept marginalization of things that aren't to OTHER people's taste, simply based on a majority rule... and I bet there are lots of things in your life that are NOT loved by the majority, INCLUDING JRPGs. Ask your Mom how much she LOVES playing JRPGs and if she says she doesn't like playing them, YOU should stop playing them because the majority doesn't "approve". Problem solved.

Fred said:

@Anon: Because the gay community isn't part of society, correct? That was sarcasm.

Jay said:

First of all, Anon, the marriage debate is not binary.

There are two sides to this argument, one where heterosexuals marry, and one where there is equal rights to marriage. Right?
Wrong.
There are three. If one side is disallowed marriage, that means (even if it is not discussed) that there exists another option where the first side is disallowed marriage.

In other words, there are three standpoints to make this topic fully explored:
1) Heterosexuals can marry, homosexuals can't.
2) Equal marriage rights
3) Heterosexuals can't marry, homosexuals can.

If you want to be NEUTRAL, you choose the middle ground, one that treats all sides fairly. That's equality.

By treating one side unfairly, they are VERY MUCH not being neutral.


Secondly, what you are advising everyone to do is "be proud of who you are but shut up and stop trying to act like you should be given equal treatment"
so yeah. someone who does that doesn't seem too proud of who they are, do they. Who wants to accept inequality, on ANY level, even if it's just in a video game?
What do you do when you run an MMO and you want to make sure the community is balanced? You strive for equal access to the game's resources and options. Trust me, I ran one. That's why adding in paid-for items destabilise an in-game economy and can feel unfair to the players (even though often they are necessary for profit's sake), and that's why adding in a marriage option and limiting it to only people who fit your lovely little box of what's "acceptable" is the wrong way to go in an MMO.

Charlie said:

Hmm Anon when you say: "When these types of things get involved it introduces those "Far winged" groups and creates controversy amongst the community."

So Anon I do have to ask, if there were a large number of players saying that two avatars of different skin colors could not get married in game then the company should not allow that to take place?

belxephon said:

The link to the forum is broken.

Also, Japan has no same-sex marriage laws. So, it's not surprising that in a Japanese game there is no same-sex marriage. Just another reason why Japanese games are losing players in America.

Hal said:

Thanks belxephon. The link should be working again.

Lance said:

Wind Waker was average though.

Lance said:

"It's such a sensitive and controversial topic!"

Sing me a different tune.

Brett said:

To be fair, this is a Japanese game. In America, the far right is losing the fight to keep people believing that homosexuality is wrong and we get games with a gay option to reflect that. In Japan, it's somewhere between controversial and "people actually want this?". It's controversial to them because the option is mostly wanted by a foreign market they don't understand well, and may cause trouble for them with Japanese customers. It's still bigotry, but it's another culture and you can't expect them to be in the same place as us on social issues.

Mark said:

It really doesn't surprise me that this is an issue for Square-Enix, considering they're no longer the innovative company they used to be. Their credibility is shot after actually releasing the shitshow that was the original FF14, and the only good games they seem to release these days are remakes of games from over a decade ago. As if gay marriage should be an issue, there's a reason why Bethseda and Bioware are making way better RPG's these days.

JTSpender said:

I think we as players should be firm about what we expect from our games, but I think understanding the cultural context and being able to actually talk to potential allies before flipping out at them is important too. I mean, like it or not, but the state of the gay rights conversation in Japan is in a very different place than it is here.

I was actually surprised they chose to address the topic... this wasn't a surprise question in an interview or something, this was a question that their one of their community people picked from player questions on twitter and in the forums during their Q&A after their big end-of-1.0 event which, like, they knew tons of people were going to watch. If they were going to run away from the issue, they could have just avoided the question entirely.

I dunno. I agree that this stuff shouldn't really be up for debate, but... it is, and as I think Hal got to in the end, if people are willing to engage on the topic then we should try to engage, and save the pitchforks for if they decide against us. As an XI player, Hal may be used to the devs totally blowing off player feedback, but the XIV dev team has actually been amazingly receptive to the [sane people among the] player base.

Let me end on a hopeful note, which at the end of the day might be the *real* story here. The Square-Enix community folks and a prominent player were translating the Q&A part of the talk in realtime, and right after it ended someone started a thread in the North American FFXIV forums on the gay marriage issue. (http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/57746-Marriage-feedback-inofficial-Poll) That thread has stayed in the "Hot Topics" section ever since and, maybe surprisingly, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. And the informal poll at the start of the thread has consistently remained at about 3:1 to 4:1 in favor of gay marriage in the game, with about 650 responses at this point. And you have to admit: for an online gaming community, that's not bad.

Briker said:

I just hope that Yoshi-P will actually consider the thread and poll results in Eng. forums about SSM, AT THE LEAST as he has about some trivial stuff like Gobbue or Coeurl mounts. . . .

Also, he seems quite open to it himself, guess he'd just need to convince the higher-ups that it might not be a bad idea to allow the majority of Miqo'te population to marry the same gender, seeing how most of them are heterosexual players to begin with.

Otherwise, they might force the heterosexual player, who is playing a female char, to have a homosexual marriage with a male player playing a male character, for the sake of experiencing the content, but at least no polygons & pixels will be gay. If this happens, I wouldn't know whether to laugh at the irony or just cry. . . .

neon said:

Welp, if I ever needed a reason to not play Final Fantasy XIV, this would be it...

Hataru said:

So wait..... I can marry in my state but I can't marry in a video game? WTF? Just glad gay marriage is legal in Washington. Square, get with the times.

Sami said:

From what I've gathered, the whole gay issue is topsy-turvy in Japan, when compared to the western countries. In Japan girls are swooning over effeminate men, while being muscular and macho is considered a "gay" trait.

Also, to my knowledge Japanese are extremely open to all sort of fetishes, in the sense that they are everyone's "private business", but when it comes to family matters, it's tradition that dictates what is appropriate.

So, if I've understood it correctly, a single Japanese man can have all the gay sex he wants, and that's his private business, but the moment he brings home a boyfriend, it's an abomination.

Can anyone confirm this theory of mine?

Sierra said:

re Sami:
You've actually gotten much closer to contemporary Japanese culture than most.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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