BioWare writer David Gaider has launched an impassioned defence of the romance system in fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age II after a player accused the developer of neglecting "the Straight Male Gamer".
There may be spoilers ahead.
"In Dragon Age 2, I felt like most of the companions were designed to appeal to other groups foremost, Anders and Fenris for gays and Aveline for women given the lack of strong women in games, and that for the straight male gamer, a secondary concern," wrote user Bastal on the BioWare forum.
"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."
Responding in a lengthy forum post, Gaider defended Dragon Age II's romances and insisted the game was designed to appeal to all types of players.
"The romances in the game are not for 'the straight male gamer', he said. "They're for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention."
He continued: "The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure - but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you'll always leave someone out in the cold.
"In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all, and you can see that even on this thread.
"Would I do it again? I don't know. I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again - at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part. Even if someone decides that this makes everyone 'unrealistically' bisexual, however, or they can't handle the idea that the character might be bisexual if they were another PC... I don't see that as a big concern, to be honest.
"Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don't mind the sexuality issue there's no guarantee they'll find a character they even want to romance. That's why romances are optional content. It's such a personal issue that we'll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that's what we tried here."
In Dragon Age II both male and female-created characters can initiate romances with multiple party members through dialogue choices, and in some cases have sex.
Dan Whitehead rolled an 8/10 in Eurogamer's Dragon Age II review. "An enduring classic?" he asked. "Not quite. A satisfying epic? Absolutely."
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