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Should Beamdog make a same-sex romances update?

135

Comments

  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 406
    edited November 2013
    LiamEsler said:

    I personally really dislike the "NPC's sexuality is chosen by the PC's preference" line that recent games have gone down, and it's part of the reason Dorn's sexuality is actually bisexual (and this is referenced in dialog a couple of times). Gender isn't an issue for him: what he's ATTRACTED to is power.

    Honestly I think the reason that's happening more often is to save time and money. It appeals to people like me who often get left out in the cold. Not because we lack an option, but because the option we have is either unappealing or just less enjoyable than another character who isn't available. By appealing to me they kill two birds with one stone. They save the time and money making/writing extra characters that may or may not win me over just to include me and they get to say their game is "all inclusive!" and "caters to your choices!".

    Do I understand your position? Absolutely. But I'll take every romance being an option over my only option being a character that isn't appealing to interact with in that way.

    Using DA:O again as an example, Zevran is a great character... but not appealing as a romance to me. I would rather not engage in a romance at all than engage in one with him. He's more the type of guy I'd go to a bar with for fun, smile and shake my head at as he flirted with every man and woman in the place, and I'd be understanding when he left the bar with someone for the night, leaving me to go home solo. I could even admit to possibly sleeping with him if the stars aligned and I was feeling vulnerable or totally drunk (probably both), but I'd feel disgusted with myself the next day for doing it and there'd still be no chance for a relationship between us.

    Alistair on the other hand is gallant, romantic, a little awkward, funny and while a bit shy not afraid to make the first move if you take too long to do it! :P THAT's appealing to me. Using a mod to make Alistair romanceable by my character did nothing to detract from him as a character and the mod along with my dialogue choices kept the story completely within the realm of believability. That mod MADE DA:O a better game for me. How much better could it have been if I hadn't needed a mod at all?

    There just aren't enough dev dollars to invest in pleasing everyone with multiple romance characters when they could "double" the number of romances simply by making them bi. I'm not saying that's the best option and that every romance produced such a way is wonderful, I am just saying I understand why many development teams are doing it and I do find some appreciation for it.

    nanoAyiekie
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    LiamEsler said:

    I personally really dislike the "NPC's sexuality is chosen by the PC's preference" line that recent games have gone down, and it's part of the reason Dorn's sexuality is actually bisexual (and this is referenced in dialog a couple of times). Gender isn't an issue for him: what he's ATTRACTED to is power.

    Wouldn't that justification work the other way too, though? You could just as easily claim that gender isn't an issue for the four DA2 companions (to use one specific example), they're just attracted to whatever qualities your character exhibits while flirting with them (since these romances are, after all, triggered and initiated by the PC).

  • LiamEslerLiamEsler Member Posts: 1,859
    @shawne Absolutely, but their sexuality isn't referenced outside of those dialogs; literally, the PC chooses their sexuality for them. It's just a pet peeve of mine. :D

    sunset00
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    LiamEsler said:

    @shawne Absolutely, but their sexuality isn't referenced outside of those dialogs; literally, the PC chooses their sexuality for them. It's just a pet peeve of mine. :D

    That's not true at all, though: three of those four characters are shown to have other lovers and/or reference interest in both genders whether you're romancing them or not. You meet Anders' older lover Karl in the early part of DA2; Isabela was having foursomes with Leliana, Zevran and the Warden in DA:O; Fenris' former master implies they were intimate, but Fenris is also shown to have an interest in Isabela if you're not romancing either of them.

    Really, the only character whose sexuality doesn't come up in conversations that aren't specifically romance-themed is Merrill, and even then... it's Merrill. I'd sooner expect to hear safe sex lectures from Disney princesses. :)

  • rdarkenrdarken Member Posts: 660
    I dislikethe "everyone is bi" thing, too. HOWEVER, I understand why it's done and it doesn't really upset me. people complain if the character they want to romance isn't in their sexuality, so it just circumvents that.

  • LiamEslerLiamEsler Member Posts: 1,859
    @shawne That's true! I'd forgotten that. :)

  • AyiekieAyiekie Member Posts: 975
    I wonder if they actually could make Viconia bi under the auspices of "restoring content", given she has gender flags in her dialogue. Not that I expect they would.

    And I categorically disagree with the hate being shown toward "player-sexual" characters. It is not reasonably possible to make a wide variety of characters for all orientations in most games, modern RPGs especially. People who aren't straight (because let's be honest, that's who gets left out in these situations) should not be left out for the sake of an extremely theoretical point about "character consistency" that you are only aware of in a metatextual sense (because the character you're playing generally doesn't shift gender).

    Sure, what they did in EE is a lot better than the original you-must-be-this-hetero-to-find-love Baldur's Gate. But if someone made an actual new game where a male character can romance numerous women of various outlooks and alignments, but the sole homosexual romance is with a vile and murderous half-orc, then yeah, sorry, people would very rightly look askance at it.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    Dee said:

    There are already two same-sex options for romance in BGII:EE. If we ever add more, it will be with new characters, not changing old ones.

    Is this foreshadowing that there are going to be more new characters?

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    To be honest, the only character I can think of in contemporary RPGs who doesn't quite "play fair" when it comes to sexuality is Kaidan Alenko from "Mass Effect", and that was more because the devs kept writing and recording same-sex romance storylines only to cut them at the last minute. So when he's suddenly available for male PCs, it's a bit jarring (even though they did try to go for an in-story explanation - it was somewhat "off").

  • LiamEslerLiamEsler Member Posts: 1,859
    I'm gay, and I'd really like to see a gay character in BGII:EE at some point. I totally get your point about it not being possible to represent every aspect of the spectrum, but I do appreciate it when the (rather large) LGBT gaming community gets a nod in games. Plus, lots of straight players enjoy non-hetero romances, too. :)

    Purudayardarken
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 406
    edited November 2013
    LiamEsler said:

    I'm gay, and I'd really like to see a gay character in BGII:EE at some point. I totally get your point about it not being possible to represent every aspect of the spectrum, but I do appreciate it when the (rather large) LGBT gaming community gets a nod in games. Plus, lots of straight players enjoy non-hetero romances, too. :)

    It's really surprising just how many straight players not only pursue same-sex romances in games but often prefer them. Most often I see this with straight female gamers. In fact, authors of many same-sex (male specific) romance novels which often go into more graphic detail than I am comfortable reading >_> are female. One day I hope to meet one of these fine ladies and have a nice chat over coffee about what they find appealing about such and see how similar or different it is to my own reasons. :)

    And of course you'd be hard pressed to find a straight guy that doesn't enjoy having at least one play through with a little girl on girl action. Of course the reasons they pursue such are usually the predictable ones :P

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited November 2013
    @Ayiekie: Broadly speaking, I agree with your points, but... I mean, I remember when people were speculating about the identity of the love interest, with most assuming it was Neera (because Elves Gone Wild is a thing, I guess). And I was completely floored when it turned out to be Dorn, because it just didn't compute: the thoroughly evil half-orc blackguard? Attracted to men? The sheer novelty of the concept! I rewrote my favorite character as a man just to see how that story could work.

    You're right to point out that in the overall context of the game, it's kind of unfortunate that Dorn is the only same-sex romance... but from what I've seen, that romance is incredibly well-written, certainly beyond my expectations. And that should count for something too, IMO.

    @Nic_Mercy: To tell you the truth, it's all about innovative RP for me. I want to see/experience stories that I can't find in other media. So yeah, my first Hawke was a black female mage who fell head-over-heels for Isabela, and my male elf sorcerer is going to bang Dorn like a drum; who cares?

  • MornmagorMornmagor Member Posts: 1,160

    Romance should never be an option in a game, anyway. If you want romance, turn off the game and try real life.

    Forums should not exist, anyway. If you want to socialize, turn off the computer and try going outside.

    image

    needsmoarhamstersAyiekie
  • AyiekieAyiekie Member Posts: 975
    edited November 2013
    shawne said:

    @Ayiekie: Broadly speaking, I agree with your points, but... I mean, I remember when people were speculating about the identity of the love interest, with most assuming it was Neera (because Elves Gone Wild is a thing, I guess). And I was completely floored when it turned out to be Dorn, because it just didn't compute: the thoroughly evil half-orc blackguard? Attracted to men? The sheer novelty of the concept! I rewrote my favorite character as a man just to see how that story could work.

    I agree with you there. Having Neera as the bi character would have been boring, even if I personally would have liked to romance her with a girl (as I prefer playing female characters). Still, romancing Neera with my male Cavalier has proved fun, because I get to RP the awkward uncomfortableness caused by whenever Neera proves herself as chaotic neutral and very much not chaotic good (hello, guy who gave her shelter and that she robbed and left in the dead of night!).

    I am left with a somewhat tricky decision on who to pursue with my chaotic evil red dragon disciple female character, though. I guess I'll have to see how much I like Hexxat versus Dorn once I eventually get to that game.
    shawne said:


    You're right to point out that in the overall context of the game, it's kind of unfortunate that Dorn is the only same-sex romance... but from what I've seen, that romance is incredibly well-written, certainly beyond my expectations. And that should count for something too, IMO.

    It does. I'm not accusing the EE team of anything here. They inherited a game with that kind of unbalanced ratio, and at least one has explained why they don't like "player-sexual" characters. I don't agree, as I said above, but I can disagree with their view without thinking it comes from any bigotry. I'm pretty happy with what I saw of Dorn in BG:EE. I'm willing to assume that in a wholly new game (BG3, let's say), it wouldn't be as ridiculously lopsided a ratio of hetero/homosexual romances the way it is here.

  • laptopman666laptopman666 Member Posts: 283
    Just gonna throw my thoughts in here as well, I am straight. But adding a mixed plethora of gay/straight romances adds diversity to the game world. I would be bored if all games catered to just straight, or just gay romances. The world is full of diversity, It would be nice to see that in the game world as well. In some games you do, but for the most part I also see what you all have been saying about all the options being straight bi-sexual just to save time or so everyone has options. If only they made characters with a specific preference in many flavors so everyone could be happy. But I understand that tales a lot of work and time. But it would be pretty cool. I know i am rambling. But i just feel strongly about adding diversity of choice (if I said that right).

  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    Dee said:

    There are already two same-sex options for romance in BGII:EE. If we ever add more, it will be with new characters, not changing old ones.

    I take this to mean that you're planning new characters? ;)

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited November 2013
    Ayiekie said:

    I am left with a somewhat tricky decision on who to pursue with my chaotic evil red dragon disciple female character, though. I guess I'll have to see how much I like Hexxat versus Dorn once I eventually get to that game.

    image

    I mean, you won't be able to string them both along for very long... but a love triangle like that would certainly be interesting while it lasted. :)

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747


    jankiel said:

    Whats the deal with people being obsessed with game romances?

    That's kind of like asking why people are obsessed with romance sub-plots in fiction. Escapism, emotional investment, and the glaring reality that well-written characters are essentially real people and real people crave companionship.
    Real people usually don't do that in the face of much bigger problems, for instance abducted sisters, being tortured by same crazy kidnapper or learning they are the spawn of the god of murder. Real people, at least the stable/datable ones sort out their life first.

    sunset00
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    shawne said:

    Kortok said:

    You make a fair point no question. That said, the question was do "you" want the devs to spend the time to make a same sex romance and "I" personally do not. Every line of romance that they make (same sex or straight mind you; this isn't some anti-gay rant by me) could be time spent fixing a bug or making a new kit.

    Categorically untrue - Beamdog has separate teams for content and bugfixing.
    The specific statement is untrue, but the general version still works - I prefer content that is open for everyone and not tied to following a specific path with a specific NPC.
    I would argue that a questline for a stronghold is also "content" and that it is more interesting for more players to get a monk or blackguard stronghold than a romance for an NPC. There are romances for all combinations now; with the new NPCs, the previously left out races can have romances and the orientations are covered for everyone, too. Strongholds for the new classes/kits are still lumped together with others.

    sunset00
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    @KidCarnival: If you want to be technical about it, stronghold quests still constitute content that is tied to specific paths, since they're only relevant to players whose PCs are blackguards or monks. It's really the same principle, just directed at different aspects of the game.

  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 3,011
    It is refreshing to know that some opinions will always be met with derision. *shrug* My wife enjoys the romance aspects of games because, in her words, "what is the point of saving the day if there isn't any love involved?". I cannot disagree with her sentiment even though that doesn't suit my playing style.

    sunset00
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    Well, anything needs some mechanics. However, anyone can help Nalia in the quest, just not everyone can get the stronghold. It's still content everyone can do by having Nalia in the party and then just dismiss her. Sure, the actual stronghold quests would only be for fighters, but those quests are mostly in dialogue anyway. I think more people do NPC quests/rotate NPCs to see their quests than people who play one specific romance (not romances in general).

  • ankhegankheg Member Posts: 546
    gent070 said:

    Although you may not notice it from their game development, Beamdog live in a progressive modern society. Isn't it time to end the inequality and embrace the sexual tension that's always existed between Minsc and you?

    No.

  • rdarkenrdarken Member Posts: 660
    LiamEsler said:

    I'm gay, I'd really like to see a gay character in BGII:EE at some point. I totally get your point about it not being possible to represent every aspect of the spectrum, but I do appreciate it when the (rather large) LGBT gaming community gets a nod in games. Plus, lots of straight players enjoy non-hetero romances, too. :)

    I am hereby volunteering my services to help write the dialogue. And give input on his design. Because I'm totally qualified and not because I want a hunky human to romance. I swear.

    KidCarnival
  • LiamEslerLiamEsler Member Posts: 1,859
    @rdarken I've actually had a character forming in my head the past few days, I just have to find a way to get him in -- and convince the team it's worth the time and money to bring him to life! ;)

  • MungriMungri Member Posts: 1,645
    I tried romance outdoors. It didn't work.

    Now I just have virtual romance with video game NPCs. Now where's that ticket I purchased to take me to dignitas ...

    sunset00
  • TrentOsterTrentOster Administrator, Developer Posts: 433
    We made our decisions on the sexuality of the characters. We are happy with how they turned out. Sometimes, she just isn't that into you.

    AndrewFoleyKidCarnival
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 406
    edited November 2013
    LiamEsler said:

    @rdarken I've actually had a character forming in my head the past few days, I just have to find a way to get him in -- and convince the team it's worth the time and money to bring him to life! ;)

    Feel free to "Alistair-ize" him and I'll be forever singing your praises ^_^

  • SamielSamiel Member Posts: 156
    shawne said:

    Samiel said:

    I am in favour of introducing new NPCs of varying sexual orientations. Just as long as they leave current NPCs as is. I thought the way they did it in Dragon Age II was an abomination of the highest order. Full marks for trying to incorporate same sex romances, but not by hitting every possible romanceable companion with a bi-ray. Bisexuality is but one of many sexual orientations there are. Making everyone bi denies the many varied tapestry that is sexuality, and all should be embraced and done justice.

    See, the problem that I have with this argument is the same as always: you're making very specific assumptions about sex, sexuality and sexual orientation as they pertain to a fictional world that is not our own. Even if you were to argue (as many have) that realms like Faerun and Thedas are based on our own cultural and social norms, that doesn't mean there's a one-to-one correlation in terms of basic values and concepts.

    Ed Greenwood (creator of the FR) has said that for the most part, sexuality is a non-issue in the Realms: people want who they want, and there are no labels attached. We might call Hexxat a lesbian, but that word doesn't exist in the world she inhabits; by the same token, there's nothing "abominable" about the romances in DA2 because there's no indication - none - that bisexuality is a) rare, b) frowned upon, and 3) recognized as such. In fact, the lack of terminology could support the argument that the world of DA:O/DA2 doesn't even acknowledge that there is such a thing as sexual orientation.

    The only "assumption" I am making is that heterosexuality, homosexuality & bisexuality exist in The Forgotten Realms/ Thedas. All three happen in nature (although obviously animals do not have "names" for it, but neither does that detract from the fact each exist). I'll give you the fact that precise numbers, societal attitudes and what nomenclature does or does not exist is unclear. I am afraid you have made assumptions about my position.

    You bring up Ed Greenwoods comments on the matter, and they are very interesting indeed:

    "As to sexual attitudes in the Realms, there is indeed local prejudice against individuals who have “different” or “unusual” sexuality—bigotry and a dislike of change and “what’s not usual” is everywhere and is (unfortunately) part of being human."

    And:

    "In general, “anything goes” in the wilderness, the settled status quo is most valued (and adhered to) in small villages and towns, and as places get larger and have more contact with the wider Realms (market towns, being on caravan routes), the more tolerant and varied sexuality can be found and is tolerated/ignored. Bisexual characters exist in the Realms and always have done, as have “out” homosexual characters, May/December partnerships, polygamy, and just about everything else."

    Hmmmm it starts to sound like it's not in fact a million miles away from real world sexuality after all. He does include by saying a major difference is that there is no church in the realms decrying certain sexual orientations as there is in the real world (due to the Classical Greek style polytheistic belief structure). Which is the source of most anti gay/bi crap we have to put up with in the real world.

    My reason for bringing up Dragon Age II is that in my opinion a person's nature is a crucial part of that individual, and to me our sexuality is a part of that nature. To gloss over the many ways people can be different and making every romance option bi does our humanity's propensity for wonderful diversity a disservice. By making everyone bi we miss out on what straight or homosexual variance can bring to the narrative.

    If I may make one final assumption on where our wires cross on this (and I accept we may just have to agree to differ). Is that perception on sexuality should be blind. We should treat everybody the same. We should both be able to boot up the same rpg game and be able to enjoy the same richness and depth of choice in ALL its aspects. A cool lesbian character shouldn't be made romanceable to male pcs just cos we want it, same as straight characters shouldn't just be made suddenly bi just to cave to pressure from gay fans. I accept I say that from the privileged position of having my demographic catered to (often exclusively in some games), but what I am arguing for is not to keep gay/bi characters out in the cold in this, but parity with what I have enjoyed over the years. It feels akin to taking a game like skyrim and providing some uniform skin tone for all humans, that lies somewhere between all skin types. We lose a potential choice, we lose something that can make us distinct.

    -Respectfully Samiel






    AcridSyphilis
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 406
    edited November 2013
    Samiel said:

    shawne said:

    Samiel said:

    I am in favour of introducing new NPCs of varying sexual orientations. Just as long as they leave current NPCs as is. I thought the way they did it in Dragon Age II was an abomination of the highest order. Full marks for trying to incorporate same sex romances, but not by hitting every possible romanceable companion with a bi-ray. Bisexuality is but one of many sexual orientations there are. Making everyone bi denies the many varied tapestry that is sexuality, and all should be embraced and done justice.

    See, the problem that I have with this argument is the same as always: you're making very specific assumptions about sex, sexuality and sexual orientation as they pertain to a fictional world that is not our own. Even if you were to argue (as many have) that realms like Faerun and Thedas are based on our own cultural and social norms, that doesn't mean there's a one-to-one correlation in terms of basic values and concepts.

    Ed Greenwood (creator of the FR) has said that for the most part, sexuality is a non-issue in the Realms: people want who they want, and there are no labels attached. We might call Hexxat a lesbian, but that word doesn't exist in the world she inhabits; by the same token, there's nothing "abominable" about the romances in DA2 because there's no indication - none - that bisexuality is a) rare, b) frowned upon, and 3) recognized as such. In fact, the lack of terminology could support the argument that the world of DA:O/DA2 doesn't even acknowledge that there is such a thing as sexual orientation.

    The only "assumption" I am making is that heterosexuality, homosexuality & bisexuality exist in The Forgotten Realms/ Thedas. All three happen in nature (although obviously animals do not have "names" for it, but neither does that detract from the fact each exist). I'll give you the fact that precise numbers, societal attitudes and what nomenclature does or does not exist is unclear. I am afraid you have made assumptions about my position.

    You bring up Ed Greenwoods comments on the matter, and they are very interesting indeed:

    "As to sexual attitudes in the Realms, there is indeed local prejudice against individuals who have “different” or “unusual” sexuality—bigotry and a dislike of change and “what’s not usual” is everywhere and is (unfortunately) part of being human."

    And:

    "In general, “anything goes” in the wilderness, the settled status quo is most valued (and adhered to) in small villages and towns, and as places get larger and have more contact with the wider Realms (market towns, being on caravan routes), the more tolerant and varied sexuality can be found and is tolerated/ignored. Bisexual characters exist in the Realms and always have done, as have “out” homosexual characters, May/December partnerships, polygamy, and just about everything else."

    Hmmmm it starts to sound like it's not in fact a million miles away from real world sexuality after all. He does include by saying a major difference is that there is no church in the realms decrying certain sexual orientations as there is in the real world (due to the Classical Greek style polytheistic belief structure). Which is the source of most anti gay/bi crap we have to put up with in the real world.

    My reason for bringing up Dragon Age II is that in my opinion a person's nature is a crucial part of that individual, and to me our sexuality is a part of that nature. To gloss over the many ways people can be different and making every romance option bi does our humanity's propensity for wonderful diversity a disservice. By making everyone bi we miss out on what straight or homosexual variance can bring to the narrative.

    If I may make one final assumption on where our wires cross on this (and I accept we may just have to agree to differ). Is that perception on sexuality should be blind. We should treat everybody the same. We should both be able to boot up the same rpg game and be able to enjoy the same richness and depth of choice in ALL its aspects. A cool lesbian character shouldn't be made romanceable to male pcs just cos we want it, same as straight characters shouldn't just be made suddenly bi just to cave to pressure from gay fans. I accept I say that from the privileged position of having my demographic catered to (often exclusively in some games), but what I am arguing for is not to keep gay/bi characters out in the cold in this, but parity with what I have enjoyed over the years. It feels akin to taking a game like skyrim and providing some uniform skin tone for all humans, that lies somewhere between all skin types. We lose a potential choice, we lose something that can make us distinct.

    -Respectfully Samiel






    Please don't take this as an attack upon you because it isn't. Nor do I actually disagree with the fundamental reason you oppose the "every romance is bi" option because on the whole I agree that diversity is better. Also don't take this as me making an assumption about your specific orientation or position on such.

    BUT (and you knew there was a "but" coming)

    It's easy to say "I want quality over quantity" when you end up having your cake and eating it too. Nine times out of ten if a romance is not strictly heterosexual it is bi. Meaning that the heterosexual player has more options to romance than the gay player. It's nearly unheard of to have romances exclusive to a same-sex pairing.

    Hexxat is a bold foray against the grain and a welcome one at since she is exclusively available to female PC's only.

    I want "quality over quantity" too but I'm willing to lose some quality to gain some quantity if it ends up doubling my options (from one male to two males in the case of DA:O and DA2 for example) especially when its the "appealing" romance option that I am often locked out of and left with the second choice that leaves much to be desired.

    The "every romance is bi" option is the pragmatic choice. It lets everyone pick the romance they enjoy the most without alienating anyone. It's also the economical choice in that every romance that development time and dollars are spent on is equally available to all demographics so no market niche is untapped. Developers can't afford to spend time and money on content aimed at only 10% (and that's being generous) of their potential market. That means if gay people want any options at all they will most likely be bi simply so that the same content is available to straight players who make up the larger part of that market. So you end up with games like DA:O where the hetero male player has Morrigan and Lelliana as options that appeal and have Zevran as an option that's unappealing but maybe good to explore for a lark. Whereas the gay male player has... Zevran. And that's it for appealing options (and I use the term loosely). DA2's romances weren't stellar but that's the fault of the writing and had little to nothing to do with the "we're all bi" thing.

    Post edited by Nic_Mercy on
    Ayiekie
This discussion has been closed.