And it’s actually pretty great
Games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and others in the BioWare pantheon have always had some romantic subplots, but more recent games’ naughty bits have frustrated some players. BioWare writer David Gaider has gone on the record before talking about privilege and all the baggage that comes with it to fans who didn’t quite understand.
The problem he says, stems from people being unable to recognize their own privilege. With limited context, people don’t generally look beyond themselves, they don’t reach out and try to view things from a different perspective.
When BioWare first started out, the company thought very little of who their target audience was. They assumed that their audience was almost exclusively male, but their feedback had shown otherwise. Fan response, however, reshaped their expectations and helped the company to adapt. By Knights of the Old Republic, they had begun developing a niche as the romance people. By Dragon Age: Origins, they were including gay relationship options without seeing any hits to sales.
Despite that success, many studios still shy away from including gay characters or being more progressive about the inclusion of women as protagonists. With research showing that 20- and 30-somethings are playing games and evidence showing that gamers are more diverse, why does everyone seem glued to immaturity and the vestiges of privilege?
With such a huge portion of the gaming audience as non-straight, non-white gamers, our goal shouldn’t necessarily be to appeal to everyone or to avoid offending anyone. That’s impossible. Instead, we should simply figure our how to avoid repelling women. As untapped markets, there is enormous potential for games that genuinely sell. With diversity already present in the community, maybe all it takes to see a real rejuvenation of the industry is trying not to push potential customers away.