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Author Topic: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs  (Read 4655 times)

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Offline Chris Brady

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2012, 02:30:30 PM »
I'm with Sabby.

Offline Serephino

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2012, 05:10:03 PM »
I don't see it as pandering.  Bioware just realized not all gamers are heterosexual men.  It's all about the game.  I've only played Dragon Age myself, but my boyfriend played Mass Effect 3.  Choices are good.  What if say you have a female character.  You romance another female character.  She could be bi or a lesbian.  The other women you didn't choose, who's to say they're bi?  In that game they may be straight.  The males interested in that female character can be seen as straight.

I too was pissed that my only m/m option in Dragon Age was Zevran.  I liked Alistair.  And yes, the stereotype was a bit off-putting.  I've been trying to find someone to play Alistair in a game on here.

Even if they were pandering, what's wrong with realizing what your customers want and giving it to them?  I thought the whole point of trying to sell something was to make consumers happy.  You can't make everyone happy all the time of course, but at least they tried.     

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2012, 05:44:07 PM »
Well, look at it this way.  If it bothers you and draws away from the game so much for you, then don't do the romance options.  They are just that: options. Bioware included them so people had the option of playing non-hetero-normative characters.  No one is holding a gun to your head saying "You must romance these characters!". 

I really fail to see how it detracts from the game itself by having said options.  It's not like the supportive characters are only defined by their sexuality. 

Offline Sabby

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2012, 05:54:26 PM »
No one is holding a gun to your head saying "You must romance these characters!"

I always hear that argument, and it never really means anything. It's like saying 'unless you can do better, don't comment'. If the romance options are going to be a significant part of the game, and a player feels they're being handled poorly, the developer would want to know why. At least, any developer worth talking to. And I'm pretty sure Bioware would listen when the many gamers that share me and I assume Chris's opinion have valid critiques.

I'm not saying we have more of a point then anyone else, just that 'no ones making you' is a complete non argument.

Offline Shjade

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2012, 05:58:25 PM »
Of course they're not there. We wouldn't be discussing this if they were.

...I give up.

Offline Sabby

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2012, 06:00:49 PM »
...I give up.

So, the options aren't viable, because they don't already exist?

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2012, 07:13:37 PM »
No, I made the comment because of how vehemently you guys made the problem out to be. As if it was a required part of the game. Like it defined the whole experience of interacting with those characters. But hey, play what you want, how you want. It really doesn't matter to me one bit.

Offline Sabby

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2012, 07:18:53 PM »
Erm... it kind of is xD Dragon Age 2's camp site is pretty much a meat market.

Offline CmdrRenegadeTopic starter

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2012, 08:21:27 PM »
Inkidu, Sel Nar, and Sabby together have summed up what I tried to say much better than I did.  Calling it 'main character-sexual' sums it up well.  For me at least it was a 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain' moment.  I wish I could ignore these moments when I have them, but I can't.  I would just rather see well-written characters of a pre-defined orientation.  This is not to say that that orientation must be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual.  Would this mean less options for everyone all around? Probably.  Me personally, when I played ME 1, I couldn't say I was all that impressed with either Ashley (racist/xenophobic) or Liara (naive to a fault) as romantic interests.  I've seen enough characters in fiction that I would love to have my hero get with.  The thing was that they were lesbian.  That might bum out my boner, but if I had a choice, I would rather have the writer stick with a consistent vision of the character.  I just don't think trying to please everyone (including myself) with every character feels right.

Offline Samael

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Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2012, 08:35:03 PM »
Honestly, I like that I can romance whoever I want in these games.
That there are no artificial limits put up for me for which I must wait for mods to come out for (and mods -will- come out for that, and they -will- be popular, they always are).

I just think Bioware writers aren't good with writing gay/bisexual characters, which wouldn't change the experience one wit if they suddenly only allowed half of the characters to be gay/bisexual.

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2012, 09:24:53 PM »
I'm actually curious how Bioware will handle Star Wars: Old Republic.  So far, it's all heterosexual.  I'm curious whether the patch that allows for same-sex relationships will either make all romanceable characters available to both genders (thus making the NPCs PC-sexuals as has been decried here) or if certain NPCs will be strictly homosexual. 

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2012, 09:26:49 PM »
I'm actually curious how Bioware will handle Star Wars: Old Republic.  So far, it's all heterosexual.  I'm curious whether the patch that allows for same-sex relationships will either make all romanceable characters available to both genders (thus making the NPCs PC-sexuals as has been decried here) or if certain NPCs will be strictly homosexual.

I think they've specifically said (don't quote me) that they'll be adding new companions, because otherwise it'll penalize people who already maxed out affection on the as-of-yet unromanceable companions (since that would prevent the romance dialogue from appearing).

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2012, 09:34:43 PM »
An interesting rumor!  I don't think I'd be against that (though I can't discount my desire to see Malavai Quinn kissing another man *girlish quivers and giggles*).

Offline Hemingway

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2012, 10:09:47 PM »
After trying in vain to articulate why it is I don't see the problem with Bioware's choices, I think I've found the answer. It's because I don't, in any way, associate a character's sexuality with that character's personality. Basically, of those complaining that Kaidan was apparently not bisexual in the first Mass Effect, I have to ask what he should have acted like. If anything, wouldn't you, in fact, expect Kaidan to act differently with a male Shepard as opposed to a female one, even if he is potentially attracted to both?

Offline Sel Nar

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2012, 10:32:59 PM »
Except Kaidan in Mass Effect 1 outright Said (before Virmire) that he had no interest in same-sex relationships, So by making him bi for ME3, assuming he survived Virmire in ME1, they're revoking established character canon for 'Main-character-sexual'ism.

Offline Will

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2012, 01:42:59 AM »
You can call it pandering, or you can call it being inclusive.  It's pretty much up to your point of view.  And you can say that "If I were bi/gay..." if you want, but the fact is, you aren't.  So maybe you don't really know how it feels to be marginalized in the video game industry.  Personally, I'm just glad they're making an effort to include other orientations, even if it was awkward and somewhat half-assed.  It's better than nothing, I think.  It's a move in the right direction.

I don't think it really 'counts' in stuff like DA or ME to say all the characters are bisexual, because every instance of the game that you play is a separate, alternate universe of sorts. When you play through Mass Effect 1/2/3 as MaleShepard, all the male NPCs who can romance happen to be gay, all the females are straight. If you then do a playthrough as FemShepard, the male NPCs are now straight and the females are gay. Since Your Shepard is only ever male or female in any one instance, and never the twain shall meet, it's not really fair to say 'they're all bi' from anything but a meta-perspective.

So the problem is really the multitude of variables involved in how you decide your character should be.  That's where the real fault in writing comes in, in my opinion.  Can you really make a story that doesn't suck balls when your main character is so utterly vanilla by default?  If you want to complain that the NPCs have no character, you're really ignoring the elephant in the room.  The NPCs still have more character than the main character.

In my opinion, Bioware made an effort to be inclusive, and did a passable job with the system they had at hand.  A system which really needs to be taken out back and shot.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 01:44:26 AM by Will »

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2012, 11:05:03 AM »


So the problem is really the multitude of variables involved in how you decide your character should be.  That's where the real fault in writing comes in, in my opinion.  Can you really make a story that doesn't suck balls when your main character is so utterly vanilla by default?  If you want to complain that the NPCs have no character, you're really ignoring the elephant in the room.  The NPCs still have more character than the main character.


I suppose it's a semi-logical progression of games in general, though a bad one. Older games had more fully developed characters - it was the player being inserted into an existing story and following out the plot, like an interactive novel with top-end illustrations...the goal wasn't to be  creative or inventive at the end, because the end would always be the same; the fun was in the journey, playing through the game and finding things like easter eggs hidden away by developers to encourage you to take your time. At some point, game design philosophy began to morph from 'interactive novel' to 'interactive choose your own adventure' - still not true creativity, but built under the illusion that your choices mattered, because they could influence the ultimate end result from among the multiple pre-designed options.

Weirdly, it seems that where RPGs were once the heralds of character-based story, now the Bioware-ish trend of faceless, personality-less main characters is leaving Shooter games of all things to take up that tattered mantle. Back to the colorful legacy of Duke Nukem and the utter blank slate of the Doom Marine, now it's the excuse plots of Call of Battlefield Honor: Modern Duty XLVIII that at least has a single defined, pre-written story arc.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2012, 01:04:16 PM »
Except Kaidan in Mass Effect 1 outright Said (before Virmire) that he had no interest in same-sex relationships, So by making him bi for ME3, assuming he survived Virmire in ME1, they're revoking established character canon for 'Main-character-sexual'ism.

Where did he say that?

Offline Shjade

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #43 on: April 21, 2012, 01:31:30 PM »
Weirdly, it seems that where RPGs were once the heralds of character-based story, now the Bioware-ish trend of faceless, personality-less main characters is leaving Shooter games of all things to take up that tattered mantle.

Or JRPGs.

Offline Amy Liz

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #44 on: April 21, 2012, 01:36:25 PM »
The romances in those games are very forced and rushed. It's more of an additional marketing tool for EA/Bioware.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2012, 01:59:06 PM »
The romances in DA2 felt really rushed.  The whole damned game did.  But still, Bioware is a company out to make money on their games.  Why wouldn't they use it as an advertising and marketing tool?

Offline Amy Liz

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #46 on: April 21, 2012, 02:02:28 PM »
I'm not blaming them for that, I'm only pointing out that the romances were never the point of the game, not even close! So... it's not really a big deal at all, you know?

Offline Shjade

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2012, 02:14:22 PM »
I'm not blaming them for that, I'm only pointing out that the romances were never the point of the game, not even close! So... it's not really a big deal at all, you know?

Clearly you're missing the point of getting mad about vidya games in the first place. ;p

Offline Amy Liz

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2012, 02:20:26 PM »
Maybe!

I also think that when the marketing department starts to make design decisions in a game or starts to advertise sexual themes... it's a very bad sign of the overall quality of the product.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Romantic interests and the 'everyone's bisexual' thing in recent RPGs
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2012, 01:11:20 PM »
After trying in vain to articulate why it is I don't see the problem with Bioware's choices, I think I've found the answer. It's because I don't, in any way, associate a character's sexuality with that character's personality.

Well spotted.

This is what I see as the nasty undercurrent in these types of discussions. It often boils down to players of one orientation not wanting to think that their favorite NPC would be of a different one because it changes their interpretation of that NPC ('oh he didn't seem gay, where was the lisp?' or 'but if she's bi then that means she's a slut and I don't want my character romancing someone like that!'). Okay, maybe it isn't quite that bad, but the problem here is that many people seem to think that a character's personality should somehow change based on their orientation. There seems to be this notion that it is 'lazy' for a writer to write a gay character and a straight character the same way. Which smacks of stereotyping and is more than a little absurd and offensive. Made moreso by the fact that many people seem invested in breaking the fourth wall just to whine about this (with the bonus points of fantasy and sci-fi worlds to which we are importing modern sexual stereotyping).



All the above said, I will say that I think the notion of the main-character centric romance is more of a problem in the Dragon Age series than in the Mass Effect series. But that is just because romance is handled so poorly. At least in Origins, I haven't played the rest.

In DA:O it is possible to just hang out around camp, flirt, and screw. It becomes this whole little side thing that plays out in your time-stopped camp while the world falls apart around you. Because of that I suppose you could say that DA:O has more of a (very rudimentary and primitive) dating sim-ish aspect with the cute flirting and gift giving. In that context Sabby's complaint (if that really is the whole of his problem) seems more appropriate. Maybe you want to be able to play around, be shot down, and navigate the orientation politics of your little group. Or maybe, like me, you want them to stop goofing around like horny highschoolers and get out and save the world (the only responsible time to goof around like horny highschoolers while saving the world being, of course, the latter games of the Persona series  :P).

So lets compare that to the first Mass Effect. ME is distinctively and intentionally cinematic. Commander Shepherd is essentially the current generation's John Carter or James T. Kirk. You are a big, damn space hero in the midst of saving the galaxy. It should just be part of the tropes involved that if you want to, you are going to get the girl, boy, or monosexed blue skinned alien. Moreover, you can't just talk to them/bribe them enough so that they will give you a sex button to push any time you are in camp (no matter how much I liked Alistair's sex button, that seemed far more like ridiculous pandering than anything to do with orientation). Sex in ME has the possibility of occurring at only one point in the story: at a tense, dramatically appropriate time Shepherd's romantic partner will approach him/her. It serves as a strong conclusion to the romantic sub-plot and really adds some emotion and humanity to Shepherd's arc. In that sense I feel that it is not only convenient for the writers, but actively good for the story if you have as much freedom in possible in choosing Shepherd's partner. Who they become intimate with is a telling thing about your particular iteration of the character and it would be foolish to let orientation concerns stand in the way of what is ultimately and openly a story that is incredibly individual and subjective to every player. (Not to mention the issue that as a gamer I am not going to go back and play through ME 1 again with a male Shepherd that I don't want to play just because the developers decided that my favorite character wasn't into girls).