Where in-game same-sex relationships are concerned, there have been few game developers quite as accommodating as BioWare. The company’s Mass Effect series has become known for its openness in this regard, earning the company respect from many gamers the world over (and likewise the ire of others – you can’t win ’em all). Some gamers found it strange, then, that same-sex relationships were not possible in the company’s Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Did BioWare back-track on its stance?
Not so. It seems that when SW: TOR was released, the fact that you couldn’t flirt with someone of the same sex was an oversight – one that executive producer Jeff Hickman apologized for. To help remedy the situation somewhat, the company has just unveiled a new planet with its latest add-on pack called Makeb. This planet, quickly dubbed the “Gay Planet” by some, is the only area in the game where flirting with the same sex is possible. You may be able to understand why some have a problem with this.
Hickman has tried to smooth things over, however, by stating that it’s not simply a matter of pressing a button to reflect this addition to the rest of the game world. MMOs are complex beasts, and more often than not, each area of the game needs to be tweaked and then heavily tested before being deployed into live environments. The company essentially faced the decision to introduce the change with this special planet, or hinder progress of other game content while it gets taken care of throughout the rest of the game. Or, it could have not introduced the addition at all.
One thing’s for sure – if the rest of TOR‘s world doesn’t end up ever reflecting this change, there’s little doubt that BioWare’s future games will have this consideration made from the get-go.