Rogue Legacy by Cellar Door Games has an interesting wrinkle added to its gameplay. The Metroidvania roguelike borrows the idea of successive generations of heroes from the iOS game Infinity Blade, in that each time you die your progeny take up your sword and your cause to fight the good fight. Also like Infinity Blade your offspring inherit your skills and strengths, so you’re never truly starting over when you start over. So far, so standard, but in addition to inheriting stats your children also inherit conditional traits. Your new character might have gigantism, which makes them extra large and confers strength bonuses; or he might have nearsightedness, which reduces your field of view; or he might be gay, and that doesn’t mean a thing. Which means everything.
As the Penny Arcade Report reports, one of the traits your character can wind up with is being gay, and the trait offers no benefits or penalties. It’s a completely neutral aspect of your hero.
Despite this, lead designer Teddy Lee says that they have received some “acidic” backlash from those who have interpreted the gay trait as an implied defect since many of the traits your character can wind up with are detrimental. Lee says that this is not the case and explicitly states that the gay trait is mechanically neutral, bearing no effect on the character’s ability to function.
He says that it was a “gut feeling” and “the right thing to do,” but I wonder if Lee and his team realize the powerful message that they’ve put into their game: neither good nor bad, being gay is simply who one is. That being gay has no inherent effect on one’s skills or talents or ability succeed, but rather only impacts the perceptions of the people who know.
Sounds like they got it right on the nose.
You can read the epic Twitter “controversy” involving some very very angry, truly terrible people here, and follow Cellar Door Games here. Rogue Legacy is available on Steam, GOG.com, Desura, GamersGate, or from Cellar Door Game’s own home page. It is presently for Windows, with Mac and Linux versions to be released in the future.