It’s possible that the male gaming demographic prefers a strong, latent homosexual subtext to conspicuously gay themes. A half-nude Kratos piercing a crowd of men with his throbbing spirit sword is more symbolically powerful than, say, inviting a same sex game character to live in your character’s mansion. Even a property as sterile as The Green Lantern can’t help but sound surprisingly hardcore.
Just like its predecessor, Dragon Age II lets the player character pursue PG-Rated romances with same sex characters, upping the total number of potential male partners to “two.” Unlike the first game, however, the sequel doesn’t let the player tinker with NPC clothing options, so building a party of glistening, shirtless Darktown Manhunters is all but a pipe dream. This doesn’t sit well with some fans of the original game. Enter BioWare forums cretin Bastal, who ignited a war of words with the Dragon Age II writers:
In every previous BioWare game, I always felt that almost every companion in the game was designed for the male gamer in mind. Every female love interest was always written as a male friend type support character. In Dragon Age 2, I felt like most of the companions were designed to appeal to other groups foremost, Anders and Fenris for gays and Aveline for women given the lack of strong women in games, and that for the straight male gamer, a secondary concern. It makes things very awkward when your male companions keep making passes at you. The fact that a “No Homosexuality” option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point. I know there are some straight male gamers out there who did not mind it at and I respect that.
If game dialogue can make you feel awkward, isn’t that a testament to good writing?
While It’s likely that a Tea Partier in the mod community is hard at work on a “No Homosexuality” filter – just as there’s probably a WHITES ONLY plugin for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the PC – it’s obvious that Bastal prefers rippling homosexual undercurrents to Dragon Age II’s more direct overtures. Lead writer David Gaider firmly supports his story:
“I would hope that some folks could be sensitive enough to be happy for those players [pursuing same-sex romance],” he concluded, “at the very least out of the selfish notion that they may one day end up in the minority of some content issue and receive the same consideration if nothing else.”
It’s a fun and well-written game, but there are plenty of valid reasons to complain about Dragon Age II, like repetitive combat, a lack of enemy variety, and visiting that same shitty cave over and over again. Completely avoidable (and entirely tame) same sex relationships aren’t one of them. It may seem like Gaider is fanning the flames for no good reason, but Bastal’s brand of outrage points to a disturbing trend in the primary gaming demographic. These are the same good folks who raged at Mass Effect 2’s Jack for being too ugly. They’re the ones who keep Kotaku’s creepy cosplay fetish thriving. When you hear complaints like “Nobody takes gaming seriously,” guys like Bastal are part of the reason why.
It’s also important to remember that Dragon Age II isn’t some stuffy progressive treatise, either. The game features a large-chested pirate who quotes Sir Mix-A-Lot.
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