After a brief hiatus, I am back to playing The Old Republic. When a friend of mine linked me to an article reacting to the announcement of the expansion for The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel, my interest was piqued. In addition to a new planet, higher level cap, etc., the expansion will introduce the long awaited “same-gender romances” which some players have been inquiring about since SWTOR launched. I was a little excited to say the least. Would Nat’s Jedi Knight finally be able to romance the adorable apprentice, Kira Carsen?
The big news is that there will be gay NPCs on the planet of Makeb for me to presumably woo with my Jedi, or Sith, charms. Am I looking forward to this? Absolutely. I love nothing more than a good Bioware romance. Do I wish they had included them at launch? Sure, Bioware has set a high bar for itself in this area with its single player games, such as Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, so I was a little disappointed, and more than a bit curious, to not see them initially
The article linked to me , and a bit more research, showed that a lot of people weren’t too happy about the impending inclusion of same-sex romance. Some fans who did want to see same-sex romance in SWTOR felt slighted by the fact the romance options would be with with NPCs and not companion characters, which get to travel around with your character, and are not relegated to a single world. Then there are the usual “gays ruin games” and “don’t push a social agenda” folks, and even people who would genuinely prefer no romances, gay or straight, due to all of the chaos the topic seems to stir up.
I understand the disappointment over the lack of a same-sex companion romance, over the fact romance will be offered being relegated to paid content to high level players. Hell, it was how I felt about Mass Effect 2 when the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC was announced. No offense Kelly Chambers, but I initially felt a little left out with all the new squadmates in ME2 and nothing I could enjoy until I had to pay for it almost a year after launch. But, that said, it seems there’s an assumption that developers can snap their fingers and go back to fix various dialogue options, cinematics, quests, and other content to make it seamless with the new additions. I think technical difficulties/limitations are a valid reason for having a DLC solution, especially since, if Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2 are any indication, Bioware has been upping the quality of what we come to expect from their DLC. Also, given the game is now free-to-play, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to pay for the extra content. Game development isn’t an act of charity after all.
At the end of the day, while the execution might be imperfect at times, Bioware is one of the few major companies who consistently offer options for the inclusion of gay players in its products. World of Warcraft lacks a player romance option–outside of seedy corners of Goldshire, and I don’t recall any of the NPCs, who do have established romances in lore, being homosexual. So, when a major MMO takes a step to provide some visibility for gays? I consider it a win.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go start on my Jedi Knight/Kira Carsen fanfic. Head canon
solves all problems.
Natalie currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she tries to balance full-time work and various nerdy hobbies. While being a huge Bioware fangirl, she also enjoys other video games (i.e. Arkam City, the Fable series) as well as comic books set in the DC universe