SW:TOR Same-Gender Relationships on New Planet Only

jdzappa wrote:

I have to echo Stengah's sentiments here that it seems to be more of a technical/game design issue than political. When I got back into playing SWTOR for a couplemonths I began listening to the TORWARS podcast, and they had an interview with Jeff Hickman about how same sex relationships had been put on a back-burner as Bioware fried much bigger fish.

Except that the decision of what to put on the back-burner is political. They could have said way back when, hey, sorry folks, we're not going to put any relationships in until we can get them all in. But they didn't do that. Sure, there are economic reasons and cases to be made for why that was the right way for them to go (responsibility to shareholders etc.), but choosing not to take a stand (even/especially when it would cost them to take that stand) is at least partly a political call.

bnpederson wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
bnpederson wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
bnpederson wrote:

I mostly thought it was funny. It's not like you're generally given a choice of gender preference in most games anyway, should it even come up.

Every (nearly every?) MMORPG lets you pick gender though.

Okay, sure. I'm not sure what your point is here.

...

What was your point?

That it's a net positive that Bioware is even allowing players to have a choice in their character's orientation, ham-fisted though the implementation may be, and any uproar around it is overall pretty silly.

Well that's playing right into the hands of the anti-gay crowd, isn't it?

juv3nal wrote:

Sure, there are economic reasons and cases to be made for why that was the right way for them to go (responsibility to shareholders etc.), but choosing not to take a stand (even/especially when it would cost them to take that stand) is at least partly a political call.

This, I think, encapsulates my problem with this non-event. There are a million reasons - completely irrelevant to the topic of homosexuality itself - for BioWare to have prioritized this way. But people keep wanting to frame it in the manner of "making a stand" or lacking thereof. Unless we want to just assume BioWare is lying point blank to us, it was "work on getting F2P and the next digital expansion out on time to keep the game afloat" or "add in same gender romance". It's hard to think that political/moral/personal feelings even had a chance to enter into it.

Chairman_Mao wrote:
bnpederson wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
bnpederson wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
bnpederson wrote:

I mostly thought it was funny. It's not like you're generally given a choice of gender preference in most games anyway, should it even come up.

Every (nearly every?) MMORPG lets you pick gender though.

Okay, sure. I'm not sure what your point is here.

...

What was your point?

That it's a net positive that Bioware is even allowing players to have a choice in their character's orientation, ham-fisted though the implementation may be, and any uproar around it is overall pretty silly.

Well that's playing right into the hands of the anti-gay crowd, isn't it? ;)

Well no, the character simply is. They have no choice; their sexual orientation, gender, appearance, and every action is decided by their household deity.

Bloo Driver wrote:

This, I think, encapsulates my problem with this non-event. There are a million reasons - completely irrelevant to the topic of homosexuality itself - for BioWare to have prioritized this way. But people keep wanting to frame it in the manner of "making a stand" or lacking thereof. Unless we want to just assume BioWare is lying point blank to us, it was "work on getting F2P and the next digital expansion out on time to keep the game afloat" or "add in same gender romance". It's hard to think that political/moral/personal feelings even had a chance to enter into it.

I guess my problem with that is that the economic reason is often going to be a political one as well. Homosexuals are always going to be a minority, so if you need to cut either the relationships which appeal to a minority or the ones that appeal to a majority (*handwave* sure there's people interested in playing out the opposite preference in a game), which are you going to do? Sure that's an economic decision. That doesn't make it not a political one.

How they're handling it now, is fine, whatever, if you're going to be upset at Bioware, what you should be upset about is that they didn't launch with gay relationships. Cost/time/resources doesn't wash as an excuse back then because they could have done half as many potential romances, but had options for either preference.

For the record, I'm inclined to give them a pass because their track record still makes them more progressive than the average developer, but earlier on there was a decision made that can't simply be explained by "too expensive." (Though one idea I've heard floated, that Lucasarts wouldn't allow it, but Disney would, I guess holds water, but it seems we'll never know if that was the case)

juv3nal wrote:

I guess my problem with that is that the economic reason is often going to be a political one as well. Homosexuals are always going to be a minority, so if you need to cut either the relationships which appeal to a minority or the ones that appeal to a majority (*handwave* sure there's people interested in playing out the opposite preference in a game), which are you going to do? Sure that's an economic decision. That doesn't make it not a political one.

How they're handling it now, is fine, whatever, if you're going to be upset at Bioware, what you should be upset about is that they didn't launch with gay relationships. Cost/time/resources doesn't wash as an excuse back then because they could have done half as many potential romances, but had options for either preference.

For the record, I'm inclined to give them a pass because their track record still makes them more progressive than the average developer, but earlier on there was a decision made that can't simply be explained by "too expensive." (Though one idea I've heard floated, that Lucasarts wouldn't allow it, but Disney would, I guess holds water, but it seems we'll never know if that was the case)

Sure, but to be clear - what I was referring to (and what this recent wave of outrage is about) was what happened more recently. I agree that it was a bit of a crap move to leave them out entirely to begin with, but the hand-wringing and anger over this just strikes me as needless and silly.

My main in SWTOR was an extremely twinky little Chiss. Even watching him from behind couldn't keep me interested in this game. A gay planet won't, either, and it wouldn't have if it was there from the start. I like the social implications of doing this, but this is not what was missing from the game.

juv3nal wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

This, I think, encapsulates my problem with this non-event. There are a million reasons - completely irrelevant to the topic of homosexuality itself - for BioWare to have prioritized this way. But people keep wanting to frame it in the manner of "making a stand" or lacking thereof. Unless we want to just assume BioWare is lying point blank to us, it was "work on getting F2P and the next digital expansion out on time to keep the game afloat" or "add in same gender romance". It's hard to think that political/moral/personal feelings even had a chance to enter into it.

I guess my problem with that is that the economic reason is often going to be a political one as well. Homosexuals are always going to be a minority, so if you need to cut either the relationships which appeal to a minority or the ones that appeal to a majority (*handwave* sure there's people interested in playing out the opposite preference in a game), which are you going to do? Sure that's an economic decision. That doesn't make it not a political one.

How they're handling it now, is fine, whatever, if you're going to be upset at Bioware, what you should be upset about is that they didn't launch with gay relationships. Cost/time/resources doesn't wash as an excuse back then because they could have done half as many potential romances, but had options for either preference.

For the record, I'm inclined to give them a pass because their track record still makes them more progressive than the average developer, but earlier on there was a decision made that can't simply be explained by "too expensive." (Though one idea I've heard floated, that Lucasarts wouldn't allow it, but Disney would, I guess holds water, but it seems we'll never know if that was the case)

I do see your point Juv3nal, but SWTOR wasn't the average Bioware game. Let's take a look at Dragon Age 1 - where you had two companions who were interested in hetero relationships only (Allister and Morrigan), and two that if I remember correctly swung both ways (Zevran and Leiliana). Now, to recreate this in SWTOR you have to create 4 different relationship plots for each class - and there are 8 classes. Furthermore, Bioware clearly stated that they didn't want to just make every romanceable character bi since that would be a major story cop-out. Having dabbled with seveal classes, I could see some characters plausibly being made bi, but it wouldn't make sense for the vast majority of them.

Now I can understand the argument that for the sake of fairness Bioware should not have included any relationship. But given the amount of resources spent on this game's storyline, I still think it was mostly an economic decision.

i don't know which is worse not having them in the game or having them in the game but segregating them to their own planet? At least with not having them in the game you can say hey their just lazy but putting them in the game and basically saying ok you guys go over to your special little corner to play, that just seems worse somehow.

Part of the issue is that there were some really derisive comments from Bioware community managers before the game launched, that were later retracted, but which left a very bad taste in the mouth of the gay and gay friendly community of SWTOR. This was followed with a walk-back where same-gender romances were promised within one or two major content patches. SWTOR subsequently began going down in flames, so I don't believe that Bioware's *intent* was bad, but the resulting weak gesture seems more insulting than just doing nothing.

Is this for relationships between players or relationships with NPCs? I still don't understand the technical hurdle here. Did they have to record a bunch of additional gendered audio? SWTOR seems plagued by bad business decisions. They really would have been better to just not support this than how they did it.

complexmath wrote:

Is this for relationships between players or relationships with NPCs? I still don't understand the technical hurdle here. Did they have to record a bunch of additional gendered audio? SWTOR seems plagued by bad business decisions. They really would have been better to just not support this than how they did it.

The issue, per BioWare, is that in order to retroactively fit same gender romance onto the existing companions like they mentioned, they'd need to go back and re-record a bunch of sound files and change some stuff around involving how companions talk and progress as your character goes through maps. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because I am not actually a programmer, but it seems a little iffy to me, tbh. It sounds as easy as flipping an eligibility flag, since the romance dialogue trees wouldn't need to be changed in most cases. ... I think, anyway. I don't remember all of the dialogue itself, but it seemed relatively gender neutral on the pronouns.

But in any case, I'm willing to accept the "this took way more manpower than we thought" explanation as valid, if shortsighted and a little dumb.

edit

Part of the issue is that there were some really derisive comments from Bioware community managers before the game launched

They don't like their customers very much, do they? Look at how they circled the wagons and sniped at people criticizing the ME3 ending.

Malor wrote:
Part of the issue is that there were some really derisive comments from Bioware community managers before the game launched

They don't like their customers very much, do they? Look at how they circled the wagons and sniped at people criticizing the ME3 ending.

I think said community manager was fired, actually. Either fired or publicly reprimanded.

jdzappa wrote:

Furthermore, Bioware clearly stated that they didn't want to just make every romanceable character bi since that would be a major story cop-out.

Why would it be a story cop-out? Would it really have been so hard to make every romanceable character a potential interest for every player? Hell, you don't even have to make them Bi, just make it so that whatever gender the player is, that's their orientation.

Valmorian wrote:

Hell, you don't even have to make them Bi, just make it so that whatever gender the player is, that's their orientation.

How would you know the difference? #InvisibleMinority

CheezePavilion wrote:
Valmorian wrote:

Hell, you don't even have to make them Bi, just make it so that whatever gender the player is, that's their orientation.

How would you know the difference? #InvisibleMinority

Indeed. It's always baffled me that people have no problems whatsoever swallowing that the main character in their fantasy epic can be "the chosen one" regardless of whatever class, gender, race, or personality the player picks, but for some reason having NPC sexual preferences be determined by the same isn't realistic?

So my take on this story was that it's not a "planet full of gay NPCs", but more like "hey, this planet has some gay NPCs, just like all our futures planets will have".

To me, it's been the reporting that has blown this into "planet gay - the only planet that will have any SSR options".

McIrishJihad wrote:

So my take on this story was that it's not a "planet full of gay NPCs", but more like "hey, this planet has some gay NPCs, just like all our futures planets will have".

To me, it's been the reporting that has blown this into "planet gay - the only planet that will have any SSR options".

I keep repeating this, but the only responses I get (online or elsewhere) are usually, "Yeah but, gay planet."

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Valmorian wrote:

Hell, you don't even have to make them Bi, just make it so that whatever gender the player is, that's their orientation.

How would you know the difference? #InvisibleMinority

Indeed. It's always baffled me that people have no problems whatsoever swallowing that the main character in their fantasy epic can be "the chosen one" regardless of whatever class, gender, race, or personality the player picks, but for some reason having NPC sexual preferences be determined by the same isn't realistic?

Two reasons, I think: the main character usually has far less personality than the NPCs, and the main character is supposed to be your chance to play the role you want.

I think the reason that just making all the romanceable characters bisexual is a cop-out is because it removes meaning from making a bisexual NPC. Games generally don't change the class, gender, race, or personality of NPC's according to those choices of the player for their main character, so why should sexual identity be treated as something to just arrange around the player's choices? I guess it's not realistic in that there are all these things about NPCs I don't choose, but then there's this one thing I do--and we're not just talking armor styles or weapon proficiencies here, we're talking a major part of a person's identity. Making sexual orientation switch around for those reasons just makes every NPC into Margret Cho.

If the creators of the game are going to write sexual identity into the game, I think there's something to be said for asking them to put the same care into deciding on an NPCs sexual identity as they put into crafting the rest of the NPC's personality.

Bloo Driver wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

So my take on this story was that it's not a "planet full of gay NPCs", but more like "hey, this planet has some gay NPCs, just like all our futures planets will have".

To me, it's been the reporting that has blown this into "planet gay - the only planet that will have any SSR options".

I keep repeating this, but the only responses I get (online or elsewhere) are usually, "Yeah but, gay planet."

Now I can't help picturing Jupiter, but with its bands colored in a rainbow flag configuration.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

I keep repeating this, but the only responses I get (online or elsewhere) are usually, "Yeah but, gay planet."

Now I can't help picturing Jupiter, but with its bands colored in a rainbow flag configuration.

Count yourself lucky. I'm having trouble shifting the Galactus slashfic out of my head.

Given the Transformers had a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of stance, we can only wonder about Unicron and that rather well-clipped mustache.

Bloo Driver wrote:

Given the Transformers had a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of stance, we can only wonder about Unicron and that rather well-clipped mustache.

I'm reasonably certain you're thinking of Wreck-gar:

IMAGE(http://www.tfw2005.com/transformers-news/attach/4/0/5/9/7/Wreckgar1_1285049919.jpg)

Who I can only imagine was designed by someone saying, "Alright, let's make a transformer version of Freddie Mercury with a healthy splash of Mongolian. Delicious!"

No, I was going with planet jokes.

Unicron's face has a sort of mustache... thing... ridge... who knows with those types.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I think the reason that just making all the romanceable characters bisexual is a cop-out is because it removes meaning from making a bisexual NPC.

I have yet to see an RPG where an NPC's sexual preference was anything OTHER than a feature to make it possible to romance them as a PC. Given that, I see no reason why they wouldn't cater to every player in this way.

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

I think the reason that just making all the romanceable characters bisexual is a cop-out is because it removes meaning from making a bisexual NPC.

I have yet to see an RPG where an NPC's sexual preference was anything OTHER than a feature to make it possible to romance them as a PC.

I have (minor Mass Effect 3 spoiler) and it was awesome!

"If you let dude Jedi's marry other dude Jedis, what's to stop them marrying Wookies or Ewoks? WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?"

< / slippery slope >

CheezePavilion wrote:

I have (minor Mass Effect 3 spoiler) and it was awesome!

That bit has almost nothing to do with sexual preference per se. It's a comedy bit in an RPG. Would it have mattered which two characters were caught in such a situation? Do you ever see those two characters romantically involved in other situations other than that one?

Furthermore, the number of RPG characters with no discernible sexual preference at all dwarfs the number where it's relevant. I still see no real reason to not allow for the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender.