Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    It's understandable for them to be hesitant considering the potential for knee-jerk reactions from the "Star Wars must be family friendly!" crowd and MMO jackassery in general. But I feel that things would be alot smoother if they just had same sex love interests available at launch, people with a bone to pick wouldn't be able to do anything about it and they'd have to suck it up.

    But now that they're publicizing things before implementing the changes they're just giving people a chance to preemptively raise hell over it.

    In regards to Dragon Age 2, the term I heard was "subjective sexuality" so the character is straight or gay depending on Hawke's gender. While attempts at exclusivity like that are admirable, it kind of takes something away from a gay character if it's conditional, like their sexuality isn't really a part of their identity.

    Notice how the Juhani in that clip was modded to be a white human. Oy.
    Last edited by Landostrip, Jan 2, 2013
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  2. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Mods have the power to do great, great things. They also have the potential for great evil :p

    Oh wow, that reminds me. In looking for Skyrim mods, I ran across one hilariously entitled "better females". What does it do? Overwrites the face model of every female character in the game, and replaces it with one that looks to have a ridiculous amount of make up, especially considering the setting

    Why do people keep disappointing me? I've asked them nicely to stop.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 2, 2013
  3. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    It'd take some dubbing work, but I'd think the difficulty would be more in the writing than the dubbing. You have to dub new content just as much as you have to dub the old, and companions and player characters WILL be voiced in the new content.

    I also don't buy the animation argument. I have a fatso Sith Warrior. Whilst I've never gotten far enough in the game to do romance content, they've already had to account for animations involving my fatso just as much as they have using the scrawny body type. The female body types differ from the male body types less than the male body types vary amongst themselves. I don't see it as hugely difficult.

    I also reject the argument about gameplay critical changes versus SGR (as I guess the term is now). If they can implement all-new content in a new expansion, they can also go back and add to existing content at the same time using the same development resources. It's a model we see the much-smaller Paradox Interactive studio doing: paid content finances free content, so each new content DLC also includes a content-heavy patch. They're doing the same work regardless: some of that work can go into the paid expansion content, and some of it can be used in the existing content.

    I'm glad they're making a change, but the reasons for failing to implement SGR to begin with were political and NOT technical in my view.
  4. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Carth and Bastila Romances were not that much better actually, though still better than the half hearted attempts in Kotor 2. [face_sigh]
    Oh he flaunts about that in DA 2 as well, Isabella even hints at that they once might have spend a drunk night together when back in Feralden, though if you have the Romance conversation with him you also find out that he had a few boyfriends (the Mage he tries to rescue in the first quest was actually his first love), so he just happens to swing both ways.

    Thing is the Dragon Age romance companions all kind of have the fitting personalities for going both ways. Anders is a joy seeking, deeply sensitive cynic with deep trauma, Fenris life was messed up beyond comprehension and he doesn’t seem to really classily love Hawke just enjoy the respect and companionship, Isabella is Isabella and Merly seems like the kind of person who will cling to anyone who will give her hold or direction.
  5. Danzo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2012
    star 1
    I've gotta be honest, I've been one of the people on the Tor forums pushing for this content since 2009 and had the pleasure of the slippery rocky road that it's been and this announcement is a major disappointment. Four months before launch they announced that the ability to romance your companion of the same gender would be a post launch addition to the game. Two months after launch they said it was happening "this year". Over a year after the launch all they are giving is the ability to flirt with npc's on a new planet that you have to pay to access and that is still over two months away. There's still no update on when you'll actually be able to romance companions, if these npc conversations are at all similar to previous ones throughout levelling then the flirt is usually a twenty second piece of dialogue and the vast majority of questions that have been asked about this content for the past year are still unanswered, and the only way you can experience the "SGR's" is if you spend money to buy an expansion.

    Now maybe I'm just feeling bitter because I've got a horrible stomach virus but the ability to romance your opposite gender companion has been there since launch, was included in the launch cost and has been pasted all over their facebook page as a great part of the game. The ability to romance a same gender companion still doesn't exist without even a hint of when it will, to access the same gender flirts they are adding to the game you will have to pay extra money, the content advertised and promoted on their facebook page still can't be accessed if you're interested in same gender romance and all of the questions people have had about this content since September 2011 still remain unanswered. For me it's too little too late.
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  6. cthugha Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2010
    star 3
    And once again...

    1. Quote without context
    2. ???
    3. ProfitFun!
    :p
  7. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    The tricky thing with same sex options, everyone has favorites. I mean the Garrus/Shep shippers abound!

    I mean Fem/Consulars few like Irasso as he has "To little personality", some like Zenith (Bad boy lovers) but he is not romancable, some like Cedrax (but outside of a one night stand, Holiday zaps his bed), I even read one person wanting to try Qyzen.

    the Male/Jedi dont get much take about their female options cause you only get 1

    But Sith Warriors/ some perfer Vett some prefer Jaesa. And men outnumber women on all the crews, even if your character is a woman (barring the IA if you count Fembots, and dont include hk-51). So who would br Romancable? You get 1 or 2 options as it is depending on the sex of your character. One could say female character get less romantic options, and optional encounters.

    Who in ME1 figured Garrus would be the Break out character?
  8. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    Whut, they didn't have same-sex romance in TOR? That's weird. It's Bioware. They were the first people to put ANY kind of non-euphemistic same-sex romance into Star Wars, I think.

    Regarding the models and making sure the cut scenes work okay, it's not necessarily as hard as Mechalich makes out. You just animate scenes that don't involve physics that would look weird when reversed. Mass Effect's a good example - the Femshep and Broshep scenes with Liara are identical. In ME3, the Femshep and Broshep scenes with Kaidan are identical except they skip over the bit where Kaidan lifts up Femshep in a posture that would be physically awkward with a larger man; they just cut over that and move on to the section where it doesn't look odd.

    Audio recording will only take up extra space in terms of the player character's half of the conversation most of the time, but if it's an issue, then give characters a predefined sexual orientation so that they only have to record both possibilities for the bisexual romances, not the gay or straight ones. Similarly, then they could still create unique romance scenes for each romance, without having to worry about whether it'd look good visually with both genders.

    Bah, but don't remind me of the DA2 romance options. I was disappointed in them. I didn't really have an issue with the subjective sexuality thing; I don't think it's a better way to do it than by giving characters a defined orientation, and it arguably puts the desires of the player above the verisimilitude of the world, but it also neatly avoids ghettoising the same-sex romance option or having said romances written in ways that try to address the politics of the topic and miss the mark. On the other hand, it also means that it's not possible to make a statement by saying, "No, this character is gay."

    But yeah, I thought DA2 had kinda shoddy romance options. No judgement on anyone who felt differently, but romancing Merrill made me feel like I was trying to entice her into my dodgy van with promises that I had a bag of puppies in the back, and I think Anders and Fenris are pretty lazily the exact same character and obnoxious for the same reasons. I actually think that Anders serves as a far BETTER cautionary tale about the tragedies and seductive nature of demons and desperation than any of the other mage subplots which almost played like Templar propaganda in the way every bloody mage summoned demons at the first opportunity, before even trying like, the fireballs or ice storms they all knew. It could have been a really awesomely tragic story, he just becomes so blindly self-righteous and it's super interesting to have an NPC actively lie to you. But as a romance option? Kind of means I just get creeped out by him.

    Isabella's awesome though. And hate-romancing Fenris is a lot of fun. He hates you so much he can't leave. It's hilarious. He turned against me at the end though, so I killed him, but then the epilogue still told me all my companions eventually left me, except, of course, for Fenris. Which I took to mean I was carrying his severed head around with me as a trophy...

    Which, to be honest, was about par for the course when it comes to me and Bioware romance. In Mass Effect it's managed to trick me into being straight, trick me into being gay, trick me into staying faithful, trick me into cheating, and MURDERING ALL MY FISH. I'm pretty sure in one playthrough I was accidentally married to the world's best information broker whilst accidentally having an affair with my secretary. My judgement on these matters is probably not the best...

    Point is, though, yay, gayness in TOR; long past due.

    ETA: Oh, oh, right, I knew I forgot something. I've seen mods that make Isabela "prettier" too. It makes her look whiter...
    Last edited by beccatoria, Jan 3, 2013
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  9. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Not size - height. The male models are taller than the female ones. In all of the romantic sequences the female character leans upward to kiss the man. So, if you simply modded out the scene with a replacement model you'd see a person sticking their chin through the skull of someone else.

    It may not be a huge issue, the same as the dubbing is probably not a huge issue, but it is an issue. Implementing same-sex romances will take a non-zero amount of work. If TOR had non-voiced dialogue and no mobile conversation interactions it would take a few lines of text editting to produce.

    Now I think Danzo's point that this has been falsely advertised is relevant. Bioware should have been more clear that this was a low priority and not made any promises about when it was going to happen. Other changes have taken longer than anticipated so it's not surprising that this one has too. It is also possible it got pushed to the back burned during the period of say march-november when TOR was hemoragging players and every effort was being expended on holding onto an ever-shrinking group of mostly end-game consuming people (I have an amusing memory of being, during a morning in May, the only person on Taris on my server). The overwhelming majority of new content and edits has involved the endgame of TOR. Companion romances involve the mid-game, it's not surprising they haven't got around to it yet, but Bioware should have come clean with a realistic explanation.
  10. JediFreac Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 4
    One of Bioware's lead writers is openly gay and also very outspoken about including same sex romance options, but I don't think he is working on TOR. TOR already started off on the wrong foot when a forum mod declared there was "no homosexuality in Star Wars" back when the game was announced. This pay-for-gay option probably pleases people who are homophobic, but the way it's been done is a really marginalizing way to be inclusive.
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  11. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I still definitely think it was more of an issue with Lucasarts, since it makes little sense that Bioware would be reluctant considering their past history. Juhani in KOTOR can be seen as a counterpoint, but I still maintain that it was more of an easter egg.

    I'll admit, I've never actually beaten KOTOR as a female character (a combination of Revan being canonically male and finding Carth works better as a "friend" role), but Bastila actually got a fairly substantial plot, with some important dialogue changes later in the game. Not sure how Carth works out. They're not Mass Effect, but they're definitely quite a bit more expansive than Juhani's.
  12. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Political correctness is at it again. I wonder where it will show up, next... Perhaps they'll pull an Alan Scott and declare an established character as being homosexual?
  13. Danzo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2012
    star 1
    I find it unlikely that there would be an issue at Lucasarts with the content as both Lucas himself and Lucasfilm in the past donated to the No on 8 campaign. Seems unlikely they would donate to a campaign that doesn't restrict homosexual couples from marrying but then be against adding this kind of content.

    How exactly is this political correctness? Bioware are known for including LGBT content in their games and announced this would be the case with Tor several months before launch. Seems less to be political correctness and more a company trying to demonstrate equality.
    Last edited by Danzo, Jan 4, 2013
  14. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    And people who win peace prizes also start wars...

    You can't always trust people to actually put into practice what they purportedly preach.
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  15. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    That's pretty close to my line of thinking. Obviously, Lucasarts would never condemn homosexuality, but they might see taking it out of TOR as neutralizing some of the inevitable complaints. Someone earlier mentioned that there's this absurd belief that having gay relationships would make the game no longer "family friendly", which Star Wars traditionally is, and unfortunately that's still the way some people view it. I also don't believe we've ever seen a gay character in any Star Wars novel, though maybe Karen Traviss hinted at one?

    On the other hand, Bioware were perfectly free in advertising that Mass Effect 3 would have same sex relationship options, and it was one of the most anticipated games of the year. Taking that out of the game in an effort to avoid criticism just isn't in line with their usual practices.
  16. Danzo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2012
    star 1
    It makes no logical sense though. Why be seen to publicly donate $50,000 to a campaign that has a real world effect in an effort to stop prohibition of gay marriage, something that would ultimately be more against your own principles if you were opposed to homosexuality and be more likely to generate bad press, then secretly oppose the inclusion of same-gender romance in a game that is viewed by significantly less people?

    I agree that the family friendly comment is utterly ridiculous. I mean we're talking about a franchise that features several instances of characters being de-limbed, of one character being burnt to the brink of death, of war and of murder. Yet this is considered crossing a line.
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  17. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    See also: this forum's rules on RPF and fanfic content. Because 'family-friendly' apparently only means a certain kind of family, and the rest don't count.[face_plain]
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  18. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Well, for one, I doubt Lucas himself would have anything to do with it.

    But really, my main reason for thinking that it's more likely to be on Lucasart's side is that more often than not, business decisions are made in attempt to please a mass audience, not necessarily to reflect personal views. So, I don't believe anyone is being deliberately homophobic. I just could easily see the decision to leave out s/s relationships a calculated business decision (you'd be amazed how many people claimed they would boycott Mass Effect 3 for including homosexual romances. Or maybe you wouldn't). There's a difference between being open to something, and actively including it in your work. Of course, as others have pointed out, there are holes in that, since they're arguably gathering near as much publicity by announcing it as a post-launch feature.

    But yes, this is starting to enter the realm of crazy conspiracy theories.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 4, 2013
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  19. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 4
    I like how ME3 did homosexual options, rather than the way DA2 did it. In ME3, you had established gay characters, straight characters, a few bi-characters. In DA2, it was basically that anybody could be anything. It just seems kind of off putting and unrealistic (yeah, I know its a fantasy game!). ME3's characters were much better realized and fleshed out in general. For example, in ME3 I actually cared that that Cortez lost his husband and really felt bad for him. On the other hand, I really didn't care for the DA2 characters and their sexuality didn't really interest me at all.

    That said, Zevran's sexuality is portrayed pretty well. He's a flirty dude thats kinda up for anything, but thats part of his personality.

    So, I think TOR should take the ME3 path where set characters have a set sexuality, rather than just opening everything up.
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  20. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    Aside from Isabela, I didn't care much for DA2's characters in general. :p
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  21. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 4
    I actually never got Isabella :(
    The game was so mediocre (I enjoyed parts though!) that I didn't feel like playing again just to get one character.
  22. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    I only played it through once too. And even that took some perseverance.
  23. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Regarding the 'business decision' aspect of same-sex romances in TOR versus other Bioware games, the only even vaguely logical piece I can see to it is that the games have different ratings. TOR is rated Teen, almost every other Bioware game is rated Mature. TOR already pushes its rating to the breaking point and then some (you can order people executed, kill innocents in cold blood, and so on). It is possible that out of some sort of prudish impulse to please the ratings overlords they chose to be very careful with the same-sex romances. The existing romances in TOR are already more conservative than in other Bioware games - Vette is a notable example - and the game is much less tolerant of the sort of two-timing multiple romance options that were allowed in previous games.
  24. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    That would be magnificent.
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  25. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    So, Scoundrels. The main cast is an eleven-member team, of which only two are nonhumans -- and one of those is Chewie and the other is a human with antennae. And everyone else in the book is a human, except for the Falleen Vigo and his couple of Falleen retainers. That's the big strike against the book -- Zahn is usually pretty good about including aliens in supporting roles if nothing else, but not here.

    In the other diversity measures, though, we're doing pretty well. The eleven-member team has only two WHMs. Both are existing characters. Four of the team members are women. Four of the team members are people of color. Two of them are racially ambiguous. There are three more characters in the DP; one is the Falleen male, and the other two are human males of indeterminate ethnicity.

    The diversity score comes out: 64, not counting ambiguous humans toward diversity. 86 if you do.