When I interviewed David Gaider for a series of Dragon Age II-related previews, he seemed a charming, soft spoken, and intelligent writer with a passion for role-playing games. Imagine my surprise, then, to see the bespectacled scribe destroy a proposed "No Homo" mode.
On the BioWare forums, Dragon Age fan Baltas accused the developers of short-changing the "Straight Male Gamer" by including four gender-neutral love options in the game. To clarify: each of Dragon Age II's romance options are omnivorous, flirting with both male and female Hawkes, something Baltas finds "awkward." He feels that the romance options in the game were primarily designed with gay and lesbian fans in mind and that "straight male gamers [were] a secondary concern."
(It's worth noting, though, that Sebastian Vael, the extra companion included in the "Exiled Prince" DLC is heterosexual.)
Baltas concedes that male Hawkes could have heterosexual encounters with both Isabella and Merrill, but complains that they "are what one would call "exotic" choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while it is true you can't make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren't even going for an option most males will like."
Ignoring the fact that Isabella is hardly "exotic" -- I'm pretty sure that white women with tans and huge breasts are pretty much de rigeur -- Baltas' real triumph is his lamenting the lack of a "No Homosexuality" option, which, apparently, "could have been easily implemented."
After laying some ground rules about trolling and flaming, lead writer David Gaider starts dropping truthbombs:
And Gaider's coup de grace: "And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that's my opinion, expressed as politely as possible."
Maybe I'm a sexual chameleon since I always roll female protagonists and end up banging guys, but it's never crossed my mind that BioWare games aren't straight enough.
But Gaider continues, citing development costs as another good reason to let Dragon Age II be all-inclusive:
And finally, Gaider addresses -- albeit tangentially -- something that bothered me about Anders: he comes on way too strong at the beginning of the game.
While I appreciate Gaider coming down to mix it up with the riff-raff -- and gay-baiting on a videogame forum certainly constitutes riff-raff -- can we stop and talk about the kind of sexual parallel universe Hawke lives in? If you roll a male Hawke, Anders is gay; if you're a female Hawke, he's straight.
Simple as that.
BioWare Negelcted Their Main Demographic: The Straight Male Gamer [BioWare Social Network via Phyrra]