Dragon Age Writer Patiently Explains Why There Are Not “Too Few” Romance Options for Straight Male Gamers

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When an insistent Bioware forum poster attempted, several times, to create threads calling the company to task for only making two romance options for straight males in Dragon Age 2 (i.e., two out of four, so… half, unless you count a character obtained through downloadable content), the leader writer of the game stepped in an deposited a wall of text on him that was as righteous and eloquent as it was polite.

The gist of poster Bastal‘s argument was that Bioware had not catered to his desires with the romance options, and that since he is a member of the majority demographic of the player base, he is justified in being disappointed with them. He suggests that Dragon Age 2 developers should have sacrificed some of the development time spent on tailoring each character to appeal to the demographics that he perceives them appealing to in order to implement more female characters that would appeal to a straight male. (Oddly enough, he names the two male romance options as being strictly for male gay gamers, and names the character Aveline as being in the game to appeal to straight women… even though there is no romance available with her.)

Could I have come up with my own, equally polite response? Lets take a look at how the OP phrased his argument:

That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forego the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy…

…Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans, but it is as if when the designers were deciding on how to use their limited resources, instead of thinking “We have fans who loved Alistair and we have fans who thought Alistair was annoying. We have fans that thought Morrigan was great and we have fans that thought that she was a ****. And we have fans who liked the combat and we have fans who hated the combat but liked the story. How do we make make all these groups happy?” Instead, it is as if they went “We have straight males, straight females, gays and lesbians. How do we make all these groups happy?”

Yeah… lets just say I would have had a hard time. Fortunately, David Gaider was on the case.

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…

…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…

…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. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Gaider. If this were Reddit, we’d be upvoting so hard we’d have to buy a new mouse.

(Whole thread here, via Kotaku.)

(Yes I know Alistar isn’t in Dragon Age 2 but I was so ashamed of how much I was crushing on him I had to stop playing the game. So, good work, Bioware, I guess.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.