Company’s Eloquent Response to Homophobic Gripes

So, Someone on the Internet recently got upset about the gay romance in the new Dragon Age 2 game released by BioWare. So threatened was this person that he felt the need to post a long, butthurt rant on the BioWare forums titled “Bioware Neglected Their Main Demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.” The disgruntled fan writes, “in every previous BioWare game, I always felt that almost every companion in the game was designed for the male gamer in mind.” In Dragon Age 2, however, “it makes things very awkward when your male companions keep making passes at you. The fact that a “No Homosexuality” option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point.” He complains that the straight love interests are too “exotic,” and is disappointed that instead of having more heterosexual romances to choose from, the game instead has a gay romance. ” The best part is when he says, “it’s ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans.” Boo fucking hoo.

The response from David Gaider, a Senior Writer at BioWare, was elegant, incisive, and generally spot-on:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– perhaps a bit more eloquently, since it’s apparently of dire concern to some.

The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.

More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you’re better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.

And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want… The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here. 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.

It goes on, but you get the gist. It’s rare that you see a big company so clearly defining privilege. Good on them.  [via Slim]

8 Responses to “Company’s Eloquent Response to Homophobic Gripes”

  1. Leanne Says:

    best response letter ever. for what it’s worth, dragon age 2 may have lost a “straight male gamer” but it has definitely gained a queer female one.

  2. Jamie Says:

    A (gay male) gamer friend of mine showed me that post, and I thought Gaider’s response was both correct and classy. Probably my favorite part of the complainant’s original post was the bit where he complains that his female romantic options aren’t even white.

  3. Damien Says:

    I’ve seen this a number of places, now, and I keep going back to it, because his response is just so perfect. Absolutely spot on.

  4. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    SO GOOD. Well done, David Gaider. THANK you.

  5. JoAsakura Says:

    I had been mulling over whether or not I was going to get Dragon Age 2. When I saw this the other day, it clinched it for me. They *absolutely* gained a customer in me.

    On the downside, I just lost almost an entire weekend playing it (and I’m only about halfway done). So, THANKS BIOWARE.

  6. Tertiary Says:

    In contrast to how unusual it was for the company to discuss privelige… boy, talk about lacking any sense of awareness of the concept what-so-ever on the part of Whinerton McHomophobe.

    It was so bad I can’t help but wish it was a troll post.

  7. Barbara Says:

    There was male romance in Dragon Age: Origins as well, and it was one of the things I liked most about the game.
    That response really is perfect.

  8. MM Says:

    Most video games ARE designed solely for the straight male, so mega props to Bioware for realizing this wasn’t their only demographic. This female has been a fan since Baldur’s Gate and will definitely be buying Dragon Age this summer.