SW:TOR Same-Gender Relationships on New Planet Only

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
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!

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.

Don't go moving those goalposts on me!

To address what you're saying, though, it doesn't matter that it's only relevant for a small number. Allowing the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender means they can't represent anyone. One of the ideas that makes including homosexual romance in a game a noble thing is that it says to homosexual gamers "hey! you're represented in this game!"

Now, I'm straight, so I'm just trying to imagine things here, but isn't it more meaningful if someone is represented by a romance that was designed to represent them? If romanceable NPCs have their sexual preference changed to suit the gender of the PC, then they're not really gay or straight or bisexual characters: they're just 'romanceable' characters.

And to me, that seems like a loss of meaningfulness from the inclusion of same-sex romance options.

Valmorian wrote:
I still see no real reason to not allow for the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender.

There can be value in giving NPCs a life outside the PC's involvement.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Valmorian wrote:
I still see no real reason to not allow for the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender.

There can be value in giving NPCs a life outside the PC's involvement.

Sure, there CAN be, but there doesn't necessarily HAVE to be, and for most NPCs their life outside of the PC's involvement never showcases their sexual preferences to any degree whatsoever.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Don't go moving those goalposts on me!

I'm not setting goalposts for you to reach, I was expressing that sexual preference simply isn't really relevant in virtually any RPG. That bit in Mass Effect would have exactly the same impact regardless of whether it was two men, two women, or a man and a woman. The embarrassment of it is not dependent upon the sexual preferences of the two participants.

Edit: Contrast this with a character that was written such that their sexual preference was an important touchstone in that character's past. Perhaps they were persecuted for being gay, or maybe a jilted suitor of the wrong gender is out to get them. In THOSE cases, then certainly their sexual orientation would be relevant.

I guess my whole point is that retconning of a character is incredibly common in all fiction, why not use that to broaden a player's options for romance when in the vast majority of cases, literally no elements to the characters past that have been revealed would actually need to be changed?

Allowing the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender means they can't represent anyone.

They would represent a love interest. These are games, and arguing that a character isn't REALLY gay or straight because their orientation is dependent upon the PC's gender is a little strange. They aren't REALLY anything, they're fictional creations.

The only time I could see an NPC's gender preference being pre-determined in a game as a positive is if their gender preference were somehow important to the plot. Hell, for the vast majority of the characters in games (even big RPGs) the characters sexual preferences are unknown or completely unimportant. I don't see why making a number of potential romance partners able to be valid regardless of gender being a negative.

Valmorian wrote:
Allowing the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender means they can't represent anyone.

They would represent a love interest.

Well, but "love interest" isn't a sexual orientation.

These are games, and arguing that a character isn't REALLY gay or straight because their orientation is dependent upon the PC's gender is a little strange. They aren't REALLY anything, they're fictional creations.

I do not agree that it's strange. I mean, if you're going to go with that logic, they're not REALLY even a love interest. They're just digital porn puppets.

Valmorian wrote:
Sure, there CAN be, but there doesn't necessarily HAVE to be, and for most NPCs their life outside of the PC's involvement never showcases their sexual preferences to any degree whatsoever.

The brief vid Cheeze linked absolutely showcases the sexual preferences of the NPCs involved. ME3 also added two NPCs who were explicitly gay. In both cases, they made for richer characters that, in a small way, helped build this illusion that the ME universe goes on without the PC. There would have been value in making all the NPCs attracted to the PC, but there's also a value in giving the NPCs identities, of which sexual preference can be a part, because that's part of real peoples' identity, no matter what that preference is. If a developer want's to go the other way, that's fine, but I'd argue there is some fun in not getting your way. I haven't had a dude Shepard who I felt would try putting the moves on the lesbian crewmember, but I hear it's pretty funny, and I can't wait to try.

I do get what you're said earlier, about the mutability of an NPCs sexuality--that your wooing of an NPC in a certain way only defines that NPC for that playthrough. Unfortunately, though, most don't see things that way--to a lot of people, if an NPC can be romanced by both genders, they are Bi, even though you're totally right, and I've said the same: only in a playthrough where that NPC has a gay relationship are they gay. Alas, that's a nuanced view not commonly shared.

As an aside or not, though, I'll say that I appreciate Bioware putting the relationship dynamics in their games because, even though they don't perfectly replicate the experience of a real relationship, they're the only developer trying at that level. It's a nice little break amidst all the carnage and whatnot.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I do not agree that it's strange. I mean, if you're going to go with that logic, they're not REALLY even a love interest. They're just digital porn puppets.

Let me try and rephrase it: An NPC that is interested in, say, men in one playthrough is "really" oriented towards men as much as an NPC that is interested in men in EVERY playthrough. It's simply arbitrary to say that the character must be immutable to "really" have a trait.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

The brief vid Cheeze linked absolutely showcases the sexual preferences of the NPCs involved. ME3 also added two NPCs who were explicitly gay. In both cases, they made for richer characters that, in a small way, helped build this illusion that the ME universe goes on without the PC.

Sure, and there's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it's necessary for every character.

My viewpoint is that having more options as a player is a good thing.

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

I do not agree that it's strange. I mean, if you're going to go with that logic, they're not REALLY even a love interest. They're just digital porn puppets.

Let me try and rephrase it: An NPC that is interested in, say, men in one playthrough is "really" oriented towards men as much as an NPC that is interested in men in EVERY playthrough. It's simply arbitrary to say that the character must be immutable to "really" have a trait.

Why is it arbitrary?

CheezePavilion wrote:

Why is it arbitrary?

Because the same characters are written by different authors in other fiction, often given differing traits and re-imaginings and yet those characters are not said to "not really" have those traits in the treatments they get. (excepting, perhaps purists who rail against creative license?)

Why should a character have to have a given trait in every depiction of them?

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Why is it arbitrary?

Because the same characters are written by different authors in other fiction, often given differing traits and re-imaginings and yet those characters are not said to "not really" have those traits in the treatments they get. (excepting, perhaps purists who rail against creative license?)

Why should a character have to have a given trait in every depiction of them?

I think because it's done to create that new story. You've got the old story and the new story. The character 'really' has the old trait in the old story, and 'really' has the new trait in the new story. I don't think just changing the sex of the main character counts as a different story when it comes to most games.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I think because it's done to create that new story. You've got the old story and the new story. The character 'really' has the old trait in the old story, and 'really' has the new trait in the new story. I don't think just changing the sex of the main character counts as a different story when it comes to most games.

Right, and every time you play through the game, that's a new story. There's more than just changing the sex of your character when you replay a game. I've played through Dishonored 3 times now and played it differently each time. I wouldn't have been disappointed if the characters I interacted had been different on different playthroughs.

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

I think because it's done to create that new story. You've got the old story and the new story. The character 'really' has the old trait in the old story, and 'really' has the new trait in the new story. I don't think just changing the sex of the main character counts as a different story when it comes to most games.

Right, and every time you play through the game, that's a new story. There's more than just changing the sex of your character when you replay a game. I've played through Dishonored 3 times now and played it differently each time. I wouldn't have been disappointed if the characters I interacted had been different on different playthroughs.

There's a big difference between a story with some options and a re-imagining.

CheezePavilion wrote:

There's a big difference between a story with some options and a re-imagining.

Not seeing why that's relevant to my point? I'm still waiting for a good reason not to broaden PC choice with respect to romance options. I've tried to demonstrate repeatedly that most NPC's gender preferences are not even relevant, so how could the mutability of one through different playthroughs be a problem?

At this point I think I may just have to let it drop though, because I can't think of any other way to explain my point.

Valmorian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

There's a big difference between a story with some options and a re-imagining.

Not seeing why that's relevant to my point?

Because you based your point on re-imanginings. You can't then go cite to something that has a lesser level of difference than a re-imagining.

I'm still waiting for a good reason not to broaden PC choice with respect to romance options. I've tried to demonstrate repeatedly that most NPC's gender preferences are not even relevant, so how could the mutability of one through different playthroughs be a problem?

Because when an NPC becomes a romance option, their gender preferences *do* become relevant.

Valmorian, if I was to play ME3 as FemShep, but still be able to romance the gay shuttle pilot (I forget his name), the "gay" character trait becomes immediately less meaningful. Instead of him being a gay character in this universe, he becomes a universal romance port for the player character. If you're female, and you play as FemShep, you can only be a good friend to that character in the context of that universe. That's far more impactful than saying, "Romance for everyone who can make the right dialogue choices!"

As straight MaleShep, I was still a good friend for Mr Gay Shuttle Pilot. At least, I feel like I let him down gently, when it came to that decision point.

McIrishJihad wrote:
As straight MaleShep, I was still a good friend for Mr Gay Shuttle Pilot. At least, I feel like I let him down gently, when it came to that decision point.

This is also an important point. The whole idea, if you're going to include relationships in a game, should be to create, if not realistic interactions, then at least interactions cognizant of the possible options. Even as FemShep, you aren't really afforded the opportunity to make a pass at the gay shuttle pilot. As BroShep, you don't have the opportunity to, say, make a pass at Joker, and be rejected. If we're going to get down to what an RPG, or other heavily character/story-based games should be doing in the context of relationship options, the options should be far more open than they are. There is definitely an audience that could benefit from some eye-opening perspective with regards to how it feels to see your romantic options limited to a very small set of hard-to-identify people.

NSMike wrote:
Valmorian, if I was to play ME3 as FemShep, but still be able to romance the gay shuttle pilot (I forget his name), the "gay" character trait becomes immediately less meaningful.

I guess I just view RPGs more as games than as stories. I've never really been impressed with stories in RPGs to be honest, so I don't really have the expectation that NPCs in them are going to be impactful.

If you want to include rejection of romantic advances in the game, then sure, it's important what sexual preference the character has. I just don't really see the big deal if they just make it fluid so you have the option, but I guess that's just me and most people want to have it the other way?

CheezePavilion wrote:
Because you based your point on re-imanginings. You can't then go cite to something that has a lesser level of difference than a re-imagining.

Still not seeing it. It sounds like you're saying that there can't be bigger differences in playthroughs because... I'm not sure?


Because when an NPC becomes a romance option, their gender preferences *do* become relevant.

Only if you want rejection or that character's past romantic history to be relevant (and even then, there's no reason you couldn't change THAT in the second case).

All these arguments against making a character different to suit a particular player's preference seem to be hinged on something I can't grasp. Like as though there's something "sacred" about the NPCs that mean you can't have them be different on different playthroughs with different PCs?

Valmorian wrote:
NSMike wrote:
Valmorian, if I was to play ME3 as FemShep, but still be able to romance the gay shuttle pilot (I forget his name), the "gay" character trait becomes immediately less meaningful.

I guess I just view RPGs more as games than as stories. I've never really been impressed with stories in RPGs to be honest, so I don't really have the expectation that NPCs in them are going to be impactful.

If you want to include rejection of romantic advances in the game, then sure, it's important what sexual preference the character has. I just don't really see the big deal if they just make it fluid so you have the option, but I guess that's just me and most people want to have it the other way?

If all characters, all the time, are fluid, then they have no real identity in the context of the game, unless EVERYONE is bisexual. That changes the point from a character or game developer being representative of a particular sexual preference, to simple pandering. It's insulting. It shows a lack of interest or effort in understanding the group they're trying to represent. Up to this point, EA and BioWare have been applauded for their efforts to be inclusive, but this whole whamjack solution for SWTOR shows they still quite haven't gotten everything right. The gay relationships in their games have also always been approached cautiously, with a slow ramp-up to more specific relationships, ME3 being their best effort thus far. I think this can be excused, as a learning process is needed, but stagnating in favor of being the token gay-friendly dev house is not going to be good enough for long.

My tabletop group started a new Star Wars game and I asked the GM if we were going to the Gay Planet.

With all of the noise surrounding this topic, I thought I'd add some signal:

http://geekparty.com/star-wars-the-o...

I still see no real reason to not allow for the sexual preference of romanceable characters to be suited to the PC's gender.

Well, to me, at least, that rather ruins immersion. I don't mind having some bi- and homosexual characters, but in real life, that sort of thing is not especially malleable, and having every character willing to screw the hero just doesn't seem accurate. In real life, somewhere around 5% of the population is gay, and having every single party NPC be plastic in that way is just, well, odd.

I guess part of the reason I think that's the sort of thing that should be pretty fixed is because you need anchors in a story... most things need to work how you expect them to work, and then a few things change. Exploring those ramifications is often what SF and fantasy stories are about. And everyone being omnisexual is such a huge departure from reality that it kind of needs to be a main focus of the story. If everyone would screw everyone, then society and family structures would be very, very different.

I realize the argument is that they're not malleable within the story, that they're generated to fixate on your PC, but if you play it more than once, the fact that it's solipsistic fantasy is thrown into stark relief. For me, at least, it really breaks immersion.

NSMike wrote:
With all of the noise surrounding this topic, I thought I'd add some signal:

http://geekparty.com/star-wars-the-o...

That Vader picture is going into the photo archive for serious shooping.