One year in…

and we still do not have SGRs, Bioware. What gives?

Same gender romances were prom­ised to the play­erbase before gamelaunch and a lot of people are still wait­ing for their imple­ment­a­tion. Some more, and some less patient. And no, not all of them are les­bi­ans. Or gays. Or Bisexu­als. Or any other Other that still gets mar­gin­al­ized too much. A lot of people wait­ing for same gender romances are straight — like me.

Over the year we got fed a few scraps of inform­a­tion, but over­all our interest was met with an almost deaf­en­ing silence. There is one lonely thread on the Story and Lore forum that has gone through sev­eral rein­carn­a­tions dur­ing the whole year and it took a ridicu­lous amount of work to get even a very sparse answer out of the com­munity man­agers. Which basic­ally boiled down to “We can­nto tell you any­thing.” Any other thread was either deleted or got redir­ec­ted to that lonely ghetto thread. Only recently another thread on the gen­eral forum was allowed to per­sist. Unsur­pris­ingly the the­ory of a gag-order from some higher ups has cropped up. Some days I believe in it , too.

At the same time Bioware enjoys being lauded for their LGBT inclus­ive­ness. And while this is jus­ti­fied for the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, it unfor­tu­nately isn’t for SWTOR, even though the demand is very, very clearly there. The cog­nit­ive dis­son­ance is quite jar­ring. I can only ima­gine how insult­ing this must feel for LGBT players.

Right about now a simple announce­ment that, yes, this con­tent is still com­ming would appease a lot of the people who are los­ing their patience with Bioware. A new expan­sion has been announced recently. This would have been the per­fect oppor­tun­ity for such a state­ment. But we got noth­ing. Unsur­pris­ingly this did not go down very well, and a let­ter writ­ing cam­paign has been kicked off. GLAAD has been con­tac­ted and they will con­tact Bioware about this. TORWARS had a dis­cus­sion about this in their latest pod­cast, blog art­icles (like this one) have been writ­ten. Other gaming-news sites have shown interest as well. If Bioware doesn’t act now, they have only them­selves to blame if this boils over.

And to make this very, very clear: this is not a few entitled play­ers whin­ing on the forum. This is a siz­able chunk of the play­erbase being at their wit’s end. So we have turned to pok­ing the zom­bie with a stick to get a reac­tion. Any reac­tion. Even if the answer is no, this con­tent has been shelved. At least that would finally be an answer, and we could move on.

At the moment I am very reluct­ant to give Bioware my money. I will keep up my sub­scrip­tion, but won’t make any Car­tel Shop pur­chases, or buy the expan­sion unless we get an answer. One way or the other.

Fur­ther Reading:

Both by Natashina

I agree that games are not a plat­form for deal­ing with social issues. For a developer, they are not and really can­not be the primary con­sid­er­a­tion. But they are not some­thing to be dis­carded as irrel­ev­ant. We have influ­ence— on what is con­sidered “nor­mal” and “accept­able” as much as any­thing else. Even when we inten­tion­ally are not say­ing some­thing, we are still say­ing some­thing even by its omis­sion— and that means we have a respons­ib­il­ity to think about what that is.

David Gaider: The Impact of Games, Bioware Edmonton

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