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January 16
2013

SWOTOR & The “Gay Planet”

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pinktext3As you may have heard, Star Wars: The Old Republic recently added same-sex relationships with its Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion. The thing is, you can only engage in said same-sex relationships on one particular planet, which is one of the parts of the free-to-play MMO that you actually have to pay for, and which is only available to higher-level characters. Also, they’re not actual partners/companions, but just people you can flirt with, apparently.

With so many games offering up so many choices as far as customizing and developing your character, this seems like quite a step in the wrong direction. But since I don’t play MMO’s, particularly SWTOR, I’m not sure I’m really the right person to opine on this issue. However, our very own Dryden wrote a well-reasoned piece for Pixels Or Death that I think pretty much says it all.

(I’d also like to think that he would have written it for us if we were actually up and running while this controversy exploded, so this is my way of bringing us all together!)

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About Chris Eades

(Writer) I love Animal Crossing, music games (even though I can't sing or play instruments) and adventure games. And the occasional 40+ hr JRPG when I can find the time! I live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband and our hamster, Ch'p.

8 Responses

  1. avatar Nexus says:

    Yeah…
    I’m glad I had a feeling about how ‘commited’ SWTOR was to the SGRs from the start and avoided it as a result.

    Who are they kidding? This is an insult.
    And it’s not like they didn’t have enough time to do anything decent. The game has been out for a good while now.
    They just don’t want to do anything that’s actually worth anything and just added this bs to keep those interested in SGRs playing their game a bit longer in the delusion that they’ll eventually add something of note.

  2. avatar Diirt says:

    I don’t think its a cop out or an insult, i think it was just done half-assed. Its a shame i was looking forward to having a same sex jedi forbidden romance, and take over the world :)

  3. avatar KC says:

    So…the opposite of gay-for-pay? Pay-for-gay?

  4. avatar Charlie says:

    Woah there! The “one particular planet” element of this that keeps getting blown out of proportion. All news NPCs for the expansion (of any sexuality) are on the planet Makeb. It would be nice to romance companions by either gender (like in Dragon Age 2) but this is a step forward.

    The Pixels or Death blog linked here goes even further into crazy town and uses SWTOR to criticize the fact that gay elements in games have to be chosen. Nearly every element of your player character in an MMORPG is chosen (race, gender, class, dark or light side alignment).

    • avatar Mike Barrett says:

      That’s exactly my point – we can choose to be gay *sometimes* but never get games where the character *is* gay without our input. We don’t get a Final Fantasy where the hero is a girl trying to rescue and marry the princess, but we get plenty with heterosexual romance.

      People seem to really get caught up in the choice thing and ignore the fact that 99% of the time we have no choice in our character’s sexuality. Instead, they’re just straight. Why can’t we have the same situation but with a gay hero, where the canon story is that the person is gay and where the romance revolves around two people of the same sex, i.e. a canonically gay romance?

      It’s not a step forward anymore in the same way that having a token black character on a show isn’t a step for better representation for ethnic minorities anymore. We’ve already done that. Take *the next* step, not the same step over and over again.

  5. avatar Luciano Antoniasse says:

    Well, I don’t want to, but I end up being the devil’s advocate. Aside from the fact that the SGR options could have been there from the start, I totally and strongly disagree with the article.

    I understand that, since the new planet brings the new content, the new romance options start from there. It may be a bit of laziness, but I think people are making too much noise for too little. I don’t see it as a big deal, since they promise with time they’ll spread the options through the rest of the game.

    And the point that I disagree the most is the part where the author demands a strictly gay character. At least for me, this idea is totally absurd. First, the thing I like most in RPGs is choice. Bioware’s games focus a lot on this, I love them for it and, though I did not play any ME, I only see they putting more and more options. Almost everything in an RPG character creation IS choice. From your appearance to your job, skills, being good or evil and even race ARE choices, so why not sexual preferences too? So I don’t think this reinforces the “being gay is an option” thinking, since even being an orc, dwarf, mage or left-handed is an option IN-GAME (well, shame that only Skyrim allows me to be left-handed :( ). It is the PLAYER’S option, not the CHARACTER’S option being gay or not. I even choose what games (when it comes to MMORPG at least) to play based on this things.

    Second, if you want companies to make strictly gay characters, then you will also have to be ok when they force you to play with strictly straight characters. I could only agree with this if a character were canonically gay but the game allowed the option to be straight if the player wants to be. Thus as I don’t want to be forced to play as a straight character, I don’t think it’s fair to force others to play as a gay character.

    • avatar Ashley says:

      You know, I’d love to play a strictly gay character… and I think I’ve been quite okay for most of my gaming life with playing the forced straight characters. I’ll play DA(ha, pun) all day that this is just Bioware acknowledging MMO failure by putting something they promised way earlier behind money since they have one of the worst F2P MMO models around, and of course any new stuff they added at this point would more than likely get locked by actual currency…

      However, the whole argument at the bottom is just seriously flawed. The market for games is inundated with heteronormative stuff, and doesn’t really challenge itself. Indie is growing in actual variety, but still has a ways to go. Bioware, for all it rests on its laurels about being GLBTQ-friendly, could really go a step further in this and their other titles. They have their foot in the pond, but they just need to jump in.

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