"Bioware Neglected Their Main Demographic: The Straight Male Gamer"

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
#1
From Bioware forums:

http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/304/index/6661775&lf=8

To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.

I don't think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they're usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. 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.

Now immediately I'm sure that some male gamers are going to be like "YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME! I LOVE DRAGON AGE 2!", but you have to understand, the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category.

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?"

In every previous BioWare game, I always felt that almost every companion in the game was designed for the male gamer in mind. Every female love interest was always written as a male friend type support character. 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. 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. I know there are some straight male gamers out there who did not mind it at and I respect that.
When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don't mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call "exotic" choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can't make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren't even going for an option most males will like. And the fact is, they could have. They had the resources to add another romance option, but instead chose to implement a gay romance with Anders.

I'm certain that some will declare "That's only fair!" but lets be honest. I'll be generous and assume that 5% of all Dragon Age 2 players are actually homosexuals. I'll be even more generous and assume that the Anders romance was liked by every homosexual. Are you really telling me that you could not have written another straight romance that would have pleased more than 5% of your fans?

Dragon Age 2 did have its faults no doubt, objectively; combat that was fun initially but quickly got tedious as a result of constantly respawing enemies and too many random encounters, not so well disguised re-used environments, a flawed equipment system in which most of the loot you got could not be used. And subjectively, I've seen complaints of the new faster combat, the new dialogue wheel and so forth. But truth to be told, I wasn't happy with every single aspect of Origins either, but still I loved that game. The gameplay elements are only a part of an RPG, theres the story and characters that drive it. If the same amount focus and attention to characters were given for me as there was in Origins, I'm sure that even with all those technical flaws, I would have found Dragon Age 2 a good game, a flawed game, but still good. As it stands right now, with mediocre characters and mediocre gameplay, Dragon Age 2 is a mediocre game and I'd rate it as such.

David Gaider replied in the last thread stating, "There's a lot of assumption in there, not the least of which is certain amount of privilege (not to mention an assumption that all straight male gamers must like the same thing)". It's odd to me that David realized that not all straight male gamers like the same thing, yet thought it prudent to try to include a cast that would be liked by straight male gamers, straight female gamers, gays and lesbians with a development time of 18 months. I just hope that the next game BioWare will get its priorities right or spend more time making the game.

Despite my opinions I fully respect the opinions of those who disagree with me so please let’s agree to disagree in a respectful manner and not let this descend into personal attacks. I respectfully request that the moderators simply remove the trouble makers and trolls who make inflammatory comments rather than locking the entire thread because that’s what the trolls want. Thank you.

David Gaider said:
To the OP: doing the same act repeatedly and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. What you hope to achieve by posting the same thread over and over again I can't honestly say.

To some of the others on this thread: While an ignorant opinion politely expressed doesn't make it less ignorant, I will say that the behavior of some of you is far worse. Calling someone a "troll" who expressed his thoughts in an intelligent manner and acting like hooligans suggesting if you just throw enough dirt that eventually that person will either go away or the thread will get locked will earn you a ban. No matter the opinion, I think how it's expressed deserves the same in kind. If you can't do that, refrain.

To the issue: I've said it before and I'll say it again-- perhaps a bit more eloquently, since it's apparently of dire concern to some.

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.

More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for "the straight male gamer" just as much as someone claiming they speak for "all RPG fans", "all female fans" or even "all gay fans". You don't. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you're better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.

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.

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.

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.

In a wall of text. Sorry about that.

And I'm sorry if someone didn't get everything they wanted out of the romances-- as I always am. I wish we could do the ideal where there's something for every desire and opinion, but as usual we make do.

so I wanted to ask straight and gay people.

1)Straight people: does including a gay romance option in a very obvious way (like it was done in DA2) bother you? Do you feel awkward or offended if a gay character in the game tries to hit on you?
2)Gay people: do you use such options in Bioware (and other) games and the most important - are they actually well done?

I hope for honest answers but I guess I won't get many, lol
 
#2
If a gay character is hitting on me, I find it very amusing.

If I'm playing as a dude: fun, but I won't go for the romance.

If I'm playing as a chick: fun, and I'll go for the romance.
 

levious

That throwing stick stunt of yours has boomeranged on us.
#3
not surprising, some people always complained about having to play as a female protagonist in some games, then there were all the complaints about San Andreas' color palette.
 
#4
Straight male.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest that the guys in this game really like me. I think it's funny that the guys in DA2 are ready to drop trou for me just by playing the game with no real intention while the women don't appear to give me a second look.
 
#6
As a straight guy, I've never had a problem with characters in DA2 "hitting on me." Maybe it's just down to the way I deal with it in real life. Plus isn't the sexuality of Anders only established by the way you respond to him? I read that if you make the first move that defines him as bisexual, so this part of his character is up to the Straight Male Gamer.
 
#8
Yes, that is the problem with Dragon Age 2. Not the fact that it's an unfinished game with baffling design decisions, but that all of the companions are bisexual.
 
#11
The only real problem I had with the gay relationships in DA2 was the fact that Anders was basically ready to throw himself at me in the first conversation I had with him.
 

Deadly Cyclone

Pride of Iowa State
#13
levious said:
not surprising, some people always complained about having to play as a female protagonist in some games, then there were all the complaints about San Andreas' color palette.
I actually enjoy playing as a female, and do so in most games that let you choose (like DA2). As for the article, I can kind of see it, but I can also see it being very narrow-minded. They need to balance the game for not only the straight male demographic, but also for other potential demographics. They are able to do this a bit easier in Bioware games due to that fact that you can play as a male or female.


graywolf323 said:
is it really that over the top in DA2?
I didn't really notice it, I liked most of the characters (besides the brother, a whiny bitch). :)
 
#16
I'm a straight guy and a huge gay rights advocate.

I have NO problem with the options OR being hit on, and quite frankly kinda have a problem with people who would have a problem with it.
 

Brazil

Living in the shadow of Amaz
#17
subversus said:
1)Straight people: does including a gay romance option in a very obvious way (like it was done in DA2) bother you? Do you feel awkward or offended if a gay character in the game tries to hit on you?
Not at all.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
#20
ViolentP said:
Straight male.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest that the guys in this game really like me. I think it's funny that the guys in DA2 are ready to drop trou for me just by playing the game with no real intention while the women don't appear to give me a second look.
hm, Isabella was very flirty with me. It's hard not to sleep with her. As it should have been.
 
#22
grim0451 said:
The only real problem I had with the gay relationships in DA2 was the fact that Anders was basically ready to throw himself at me in the first conversation I had with him.
Yeah, that was kind of jarring because I don't remember him being gay in DA:O. He just liked his cat a lot.
 
#23
Straight or gay, they made everyone in the game way too easy to get in bed. DA:O did a slightly better job making you woo your character to make them love you.
 
#24
grim0451 said:
The only real problem I had with the gay relationships in DA2 was the fact that Anders was basically ready to throw himself at me in the first conversation I had with him.
Agreed, I dislike how Hawke has a dominant position in these relationships from the very beginning. It's almost Mary Sue-like. Even Morrigan in Origins has her own ideas of how the relationship with the PC should go, not "Take me now!!"
 
#28
1)Straight people: does including a gay romance option in a very obvious way (like it was done in DA2) bother you? Do you feel awkward or offended if a gay character in the game tries to hit on you?
ok, i'm a vanilla straight male gamer. it's 2011, I have many gay friends, I occasionally get hit on by dudes, and homosexuality is pretty demystified...I couldn't care less if that option is in there and think it's a good way to promote more casual acceptance of homosexuality in society. I certainly didn't care when Zevran and Alistair creamed their pants over my character in DA:O. Those were fun dialogue trees that were genuinely a bit tough to navigate for fear that they'd leave the party (as opposed to real life, where you just say "sorry, not gay")


the first part sounds like it was written by a very sheltered person.

When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don't mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call "exotic" choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can't make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren't even going for an option most males will like. And the fact is, they could ha

Haven't played DA2 -- please tell me these women are black/hispanic/asian or something. Because I feel like this guy is really saying "Straight [White] Male Gamer"
 

firehawk12

Subete no aware
#34
I still find it rather shitty that BioWare's only true "current gen" gay romance is Liara and then they whitewash it by saying that the Asari have no concept of gender. :lol
I dunno, I just find the "make everyone bi" compromises rather lazy because it literally takes no work except to change the pronouns in the recording sessions. But at least Gaider realizes that it's pretty stupid to have everyone either by strictly straight (Sebastion) or bisexual (but only with the main character and no one else!!).

I do find it silly that the poster didn't think Isabella and Merill were for straight men. One's the sexy pirate girl and the other is the damaged girl. That's like the two most boring and unoriginal straight female character tropes designed for men.


But honestly, if I had to complain about something in BioWare games, I'd complain about race first. I know fantasy doesn't have room for racial minorities, but come on. :p

dream said:
Isabella isn't white?
In western fantasy, everyone is white! :lol
 
#36
I don't give a fuck. All the things brought up didn't phase me in the slightest. I don't get half of them. Whats wrong with Iseballa? Doesn't every straight male want a full figured exotic women? If that's to much for you then there is Merill. But I guess what they really wanted is a white normal girl. Boring! As for the gay characters, well I could care less if they are gay, but they didn't seem made specifically for the gay crowd. Ferris just looks like an elf, I'm not sure whats gay about that. And Anders is cool and I never romanced him so why do I care?

I honestly don't see what the big deal here is.

dream said:
Isabella isn't white?
She's pretty brown man.
 

shintoki

sparkle this bitch
#39
Response was definitely good. But the initial post sounded like some terrible, homophobic loser. A "No Homosexuality" option? Really dude? And all this in a game were tits are the size of melons
 
#40
Hearing that games made that way bums me out.

You'd think writers would set out to write interesting characters who just also happen to be part of a stereotype because it further defines their character. But if they're saying "we need to make a gay dude for gay players to like". I dunno, it seems wrong.
 

firehawk12

Subete no aware
#41
shintoki said:
Response was definitely good. But the initial post sounded like some terrible, homophobic loser. A "No Homosexuality" option? Really dude? And all this in a game were tits are the size of melons
Well, remember there were people who complained about the "Confirmed Bachelor" perk in Fallout New Vegas. :lol

That's probably my favourite RPG skill ever.
 
#44
subversus said:
so I wanted to ask straight and gay people.

1)Straight people: does including a gay romance option in a very obvious way (like it was done in DA2) bother you? Do you feel awkward or offended if a gay character in the game tries to hit on you?
Not really, it's just a game. It does get a little annoying though, just by talking to companions they start wanting your cock outright.
 
#45
The female characters threw themselves at my character without provocation, too. As a straight female gamer, I guess I should be outraged, huh? Oh, but I'm a minority, so only straight male gamers matter, I guess. Most things in this industry are catered toward you, and everyone else has to put up with bothersome things. God forbid you should have to do it even one time. And I would think that this, of all things, would be flattering.