BioWare: Same Sex Matching A “Post-Launch Feature” In The Old Republic
From its inception, Star Wars: The Old Republic has had a rocky relationship to gamers who want the option to pursue same-sex relationships in RPGs. The most notorious incident occurred early on, when forum moderator Sean Dahlberg shut down a TOR forum discussion about the possibility of same sex relationships with a curt “As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars. Thread closed.”.
Forum members, to put it mildly, were not amused and the issue quickly turned into a PR black eye. BioWare quickly issued an apology, and the ban on discussing same sex relationships was lifted. The controversy abated, but it never quite went away and 2 weeks ago, when BioWare’s Corey Butler stated in specific terms that there would be no same sex matches in TOR, the discussion flared back up.
How quickly things change. Yesterday, BioWare’s Stephen Reid posted a clarification on the TOR forums – same sex relationships will be featured in TOR after all. Just not immediately:
Official statement on same gender romance arcs in STAR WARS: The Old Republic:
Due to the design constraints of a fully voiced MMO of this scale and size, many choices had to be made as to the launch and post-launch feature set. Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature. Because The Old Republic is an MMO, the game will live on through content expansions which allow us to include content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options.
This is of course isn’t unheard of in BioWare games. Dragon Age: Origins offers famously expansive relationship options; ditto Dragon Age 2. And while Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 are largely heternormative, robust same-sex options are confirmed for Mass Effect 3. We think this is awesome, but admittedly we’re going to giggle when we hear “use the force” any time we’re playing TOR. Because we’re 12.