Some unexpected news came from the latest State of the Game entry for Star Wars: The Old Republic, posted by Jay Hickman, the games Executive Producer. Hidden away at the bottom, he revealed that same gender relationships would indeed make its debut on Makeb, the new planet available in the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion.
I for one am pleased to see this happening, though reading through the discussion thread about it on the official forums, there seem to be some differing opinions (after all, PvP is more important than everything, right? lol).
Since the beginning, even before The Old Republic was released, there’s been an active presence of people on the official SWTOR forums and around the net spurring BioWare on to allow such options within the game. After all, it’s something BioWare is known for due to their other works such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect.
It’s only now that anyone in BioWare has said anything more than just “it may happen in the future if we get around to it” when concerned with same gender relationships, but now something is actually happening… and with mixed reactions from supporters and people who think this entire endeavour is a waste of time.
Personally, I’m glad that it’s finally come to a point where something concrete is being laid down, even if it’s happening over a year from the games official release and is, at the moment, limited to non-playable characters you find on Makeb. I can understand BioWare’s dilemma and the restrictions that were surely placed on them by LucasFilm/LucasArts that restricted them from same gender relationships to begin with.
I wonder how they are going to handle same gender relationships in the future. I recall someone from BioWare once saying that if they ever did add the option into the game, they wouldn’t retroactively go back and change the game and current companion characters story-lines with the additional options. Essentially this would mean that anyone looking for the same gender options would have to play through the game to a point beyond the level 50 content before actually encountering any of it. The availability of same gender relationship options only existing on Makeb by the time the expansion is released seems to support this line of thinking. I’ve heard the term “pay to gay” being thrown around by those who aren’t happy with the format chosen by BioWare. Seems to fit pretty well…
Putting aside the fact that this should have been an option to begin with, I think it’s a sensible move for BioWare considering the fact that a lot of people have already played through their characters story-lines and wouldn’t want anything to change from what they have experienced personally. On one side people are missing out, but if things were retroactively changed it would only mean that all of the people who have already gone through these stories have missed out on content too. As much as I’d like my Silvana to have a romantic relationship with Vette (they belong together in my mind), I still feel it’s a much more sensible course of action to limit the new options to future expansions as not to upset what has already been established in the story told so far.
That said, I sometimes think about the options the folks at BioWare must be considering since we know that they actually are thinking about this issue, even if it’s not their absolute top priority. I mean, right now we’ve gotten the hint that there are NPCs on Makeb who are open to same gender relationships, but the real deal for people are companion characters. There are two options, as I see it, for BioWare to follow:
- New companions will become available through expansions that players will end up recruiting to their teams which will offer same gender relationship options.
- Current companions will become open to same gender relationship options through expansion pack content beyond the base content already available.
Supporters of same gender relationships in The Old Republic most likely won’t find either of these two options to be ideal or fair, but that’s just me thinking about the two most possible likely outcomes that BioWare may be considering.
We’ll see what happens in the future I guess, there’s still a lot of waiting to do to see how this is all handled. Personally, I’m one of the people who thinks none of this should have been an issue to begin with and should have been included from the very start. But, of course, in the kind of societies we live in, there are very different opinions on the matter that complicate things.
Oh, also, on a final note, another thought comes to mind which I know others have had… Interspecies relationships. While we know that at least some progress is being made on the same gender front, I often find myself asking, what of interspecies relationships? If we lived in some future society where this was actually a real-world social issue, I’m sure some progress would be made on that too, though realistically we’re never going to see such a thing happen in the game outside of human and near-human encounters… despite what Mass Effect 2 and 3 may have brought to the table.
It’s a shame, would’ve made the game more interesting, oh well… no Wookiee on Twi’lek action for me then.