Double Fine’s Massive Chalice Almost Didn’t Have Same-Sex Marriage
Following suggestions from fans and Kickstarter backers, Double Fine intends to implement same-sex marriage into its upcoming turn-based strategy game, Massive Chalice.
Same-sex relationships were not a part of the game’s original design, and their omission wasn’t due to any maliciousness on part of the developers—but due to an oversight by the developers. As the game takes place over a span of thousands of years, players are able to bestow attributes of their characters upon their characters’ offspring. The game’s project lead Brad Muir said implementing same-sex relationships is not something they really taught about and that he feels awful about, in retrospect.
“We did not talk about [the possibility of same-sex marriage] until we launched the Kickstarter,” said Muir in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. “We were so focused on pure pragmatic mechanics and how it would work and coupling and all these things that we hadn’t [considered it]. That was something I got kinda blindsided by. That was really unfortunate. It kinda makes me feel shitty that it’s not something I’d thought of. I think it’s sort of hetero-privilege that I didn’t see it coming.”
Fortunately, Massive Chalice’s fledgling community was able to bring the issue to the attention of Muir and the development team early in the game’s development.
Muir said that had the game been funded by a publisher, such suggestions would’ve never been adopted by the studio, and that the glaring omission of same-sex marriage would have been something he’d have been haunted by for the rest of his career in game development.
“If we had gone with a publisher on this, I really think [it wouldn't have ended well],” he said. “Because you sign the deal, you go underground, you start working on the game, you don’t talk to the community or anybody, and you get so focused on all these other aspects of the game. Just making it work–and all the tactical combat and mechanical things. We might just overlook something like same-sex coupling all the way until we announce the game. And then people say, ‘Hey, what about gay marriage?’ And we’re like, ‘Fuck,’ because we’ve already worked on it for more than a year.”
Muir added that had one of the developers thought about implementing same-sex relationships into the game, the publisher would have undoubtedly killed it because it was such a controversial issue. He believes that the publisher would not have wanted the issue to be associated with the game at all.
“And then they’d give me a PR company line that I’d have to tell in every interview, and it’d be super, super shitty. And then any gay gamers who are coming to the game and playing it and wanting to see themselves represented would just be really disappointed.”
Fortunately for Double Fine, they are able to make the game on their own terms with the creative freedom offered to them by funding the project through Kickstarter.