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BioWare dismisses homosexuality in Star Wars

BioWare dismisses homosexuality in Star Wars

BioWare has clamped down on discussion of homosexuality in Star Wars in their official forums.

BioWare has made a controversial move to block discussion of homosexuality in the Star Wars universe on their official forums today, claiming that the idea is not relevant to the game.

Threads on the official BioWare forums that had discussed the idea of creating homosexual characters in BioWare Star Wars games have been closed and the moderators have decided to censor the terms 'homosexual', 'gay' and 'lesbian' in an effort to mute further discussion.

What's more, BioWare is even trying to prevent discussion of the ban according to Eurogamer, closing threads titled "GLBT discrimination in the forums?", among others.

The only real explanation yet offered up has come from BioWare's Community Manager Sean Dahlberg, who said that the discussions were not relevant to either the games or the larger Star Wars franchise. According to Sean the idea and terms of homosexuality do not exist in the Star Wars universe and are therefore being dealt with as irrelevant.

The explanation is being seen by many as flawed however, as BioWare has included romantic relationships in past games both in and out of the Star Wars franchise and hasn't shied away from the topic of homosexuality. There was even a potential lesbian subplot that could evolve between Juhani and the player character in BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Is BioWare right to clamp down on the topic to prevent discussion going off-course? What are your opinions of gay relationships in computer games? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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44 Comments

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p3n 28th April 2009, 10:58 Quote
C3P0 was a giant queen? hahaha
M4RTIN 28th April 2009, 11:01 Quote
this is the same bioware that made mass effect right? i can kind of see how they dont want loads of controversy about their game again. Howevr if you can make gay/lesbian characters in bioware games then surely it's relevant, just like how you can make black and asian characters too, they wouldnt stop people discussing black characters would they. probably too many stupid kids saying "lol fag" to everything
Turbotab 28th April 2009, 11:05 Quote
@ 1:49 says it all really:)

yH8b5ruc_-E
Paradigm Shifter 28th April 2009, 11:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by M4RTIN
probably too many stupid kids saying "lol fag" to everything

Quite likely.

Let's face it, this is the internet.
pimlicosound 28th April 2009, 12:05 Quote
I actually quite respect BioWare's response to this. They're not letting contemporary norms and political correctness affect the fictional world they're creating. It's important that they're able to do that.

Fable 2 became absurd because of the creators' obsession with modern fads: vegetarianism = healthy eating, omnipresent homosexual orgies, etc. These things seemed totally out of place in the medieval fantasy setting.

We shouldn't condemn BioWare for isolating their world from the spirit of the age.
Jenny_Y8S 28th April 2009, 12:09 Quote
Well done bioware, censoring an entire topic is going to close the issue without any fall out. Suppressing free speech is always the best approach if you don't like what people are speaking about.

FAIL!
CardJoe 28th April 2009, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimlicosound
I actually quite respect BioWare's response to this. They're not letting contemporary norms and political correctness affect the fictional world they're creating. It's important that they're able to do that.

Fable 2 became absurd because of the creators' obsession with modern fads: vegetarianism = healthy eating, omnipresent homosexual orgies, etc. These things seemed totally out of place in the medieval fantasy setting.

We shouldn't condemn BioWare for isolating their world from the spirit of the age.

You could make the adverse argument though; that they are limiting themselves and the scope of their game in a way which is out-of-touch with modern audiences and potentially limiting for the player experience. If the games are going to openly deal with the idea of romance and sex anyway then it stands to reason that the topic of sexuality should also be broached...
Whalemeister 28th April 2009, 12:29 Quote
Surely they are going to cut off a large part oof their target audience with this move :D
pimlicosound 28th April 2009, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
You could make the adverse argument though; that they are limiting themselves and the scope of their game in a way which is out-of-touch with modern audiences and potentially limiting for the player experience. If the games are going to openly deal with the idea of romance and sex anyway then it stands to reason that the topic of sexuality should also be broached...

Joe, nearly every game portrays an extremely limited universe, with a narrow interpretation of the people and events in it.

War games tend not to explore WW2 from a Nazi perspective, or the war on terror from a Taliban perspective.

Metal Gear Solid never gives a realistic account of the military industrial complex.

Games that broach political subjects don't observe the niceties of balancing left and right wing perspectives in a democratic environment.

The highly-opinionated undertones of many games could potentially offend a lot of people, but we respect the right of game developers to craft a specific experience, which must by definition exclude certain aspects of reality or interpretations of reality. So why kick up a fuss at this one incident? Is observing the realities of sexual and romantic relationships in games a more important priority than observing the realities of political balance?
azrael- 28th April 2009, 13:07 Quote
Gay means happy, right? I'm not happy... :)
DaMightyMouse 28th April 2009, 13:18 Quote
I thought the whole point of MMORPGs is to let the player create a tailored experience within whatever universe the game is set in. So this move to censorship is definitely a FAIL.
logan'srun 28th April 2009, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
According to Sean the idea and terms of homosexuality do not exist in the Star Wars universe and are therefore being dealt with as irrelevant.

That is about the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Does this mean that all homosexuality disappears in teh future? Like it gets gene-coded out? What a prejudiced thing to say, especially in this day and age. I don't care about conforming to 'today's fads', homosexuality is not a fad like veganism, it's life.

Besides, did you ever stop to think that grown men running around in tights waving brightly covered phallic devices making whooshing noises wasn't gay???
pizan 28th April 2009, 13:22 Quote
People have to stop bitching about everything. They want their game to be about the game. NO matter what they do there is going to be controversy. If they block the discussions they are discriminating. If they let it go and it ends up in the game the American church groups will be all crazed. Its a no-win situation.
UrbanMarine 28th April 2009, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimlicosound
I actually quite respect BioWare's response to this. They're not letting contemporary norms and political correctness affect the fictional world they're creating. It's important that they're able to do that.

Fable 2 became absurd because of the creators' obsession with modern fads: vegetarianism = healthy eating, omnipresent homosexual orgies, etc. These things seemed totally out of place in the medieval fantasy setting.

We shouldn't condemn BioWare for isolating their world from the spirit of the age.

Peter Molyneux wanted to create a free world. He gave the players the ability to create or live in their fantasy world. If you don't condemn BioWare, then you can't judge Fable 2. Its Lionhead’s world and they can do what they want. Healthy diets, orgies, homosexual etc were not just modern day occurrences.

Topic: It's BioWares forums and they can do what they want. Their PR team has to now deal with the backlash.
pimlicosound 28th April 2009, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
Peter Molyneux wanted to create a free world. He gave the players the ability to create or live in their fantasy world. If you don't condemn BioWare, then you can't judge Fable 2. Its Lionhead’s world and they can do what they want. Healthy diets, orgies, homosexual etc were not just modern day occurrences.

Don't get me wrong, I totally respect Lionhead's right to insert those aspects of real life into Fable 2. But I think there's something to be said for excluding some aspects of real life for the sake of preserving a focused and controlled game experience. Game developers do this with every other aspect of life, so why object so much more strongly on this one topic of homosexuality?
WildThing 28th April 2009, 14:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by logan'srun
That is about the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Does this mean that all homosexuality disappears in teh future?

Don't you mean in the past? It happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Sorry couldn't resist :D
MajorTom 28th April 2009, 15:03 Quote
@WildThing: It was waiting to be said :D
Fod 28th April 2009, 15:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
You could make the adverse argument though; that they are limiting themselves and the scope of their game in a way which is out-of-touch with modern audiences and potentially limiting for the player experience. If the games are going to openly deal with the idea of romance and sex anyway then it stands to reason that the topic of sexuality should also be broached...

you mean inverse argument ;)
anyway. my opinion is that freedom of speech and artistic expression works both ways.
SMIFFYDUDE 28th April 2009, 15:11 Quote
Damn you WildThing, I wanted to point that out. Anyway, I suspect Bioware probably wanted to avoid the forum getting filled up with homophobia and used that crappy excuse as a way of avoiding implying all its users are homophobes.
UrbanMarine 28th April 2009, 15:25 Quote
Princess Leia used to be Luke's twin brother but had transgender surgery.
pimlicosound 28th April 2009, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
Princess Leia used to be Luke's twin brother but had transgender surgery.

Carrie Fisher did have to have her breasts strapped down in A New Hope. Perhaps that was to illustrate that the "treatments" were still a work-in-progress.
FeRaL 28th April 2009, 16:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
Well done bioware, censoring an entire topic is going to close the issue without any fall out. Suppressing free speech is always the best approach if you don't like what people are speaking about.

FAIL!

Um, it's their forum and their game... Freedom of speech only exists in a public, face to face forum.
Star*Dagger 28th April 2009, 17:13 Quote
two things, Fail to BioWare for not standing up and supporting the rights of all people.

Fail to FeRaL because the same argument is now being used to suppress free speech. I am sure that this will make its way through the courts and some sort of protection for Free Speech, regardless of who owns the server, will be implemented. We often offer our opinions online now rather than face to face, the same (or maybe more) protections should exist. If they do not we will end up limiting online speech and THAT is a dark and slippery slope.

Yours in Bi-Sexual Free Speech Plasma,
Star¤Dagger
StephenK 28th April 2009, 17:37 Quote
Isn't it interesting when anybody says ''ok, you are now banned from discussing.....'' it's almost always a mistake.
thehippoz 28th April 2009, 17:43 Quote
actually from what I've learned with experiments- there are ALOT of gay people playing online.. I don't think this is a smart move at all.. I used to create tryouts under the name VOW OF FRUITBOY and my buddy would play along just to see how many gay recruits we could get in games with a fake clan.. I mean we were literally shocked at how many people tried out- and alot of the guys who we thought were really awesome especially in RTS games like age of empires, turned out to be gay.. you can't get this kind of data any other way XD they are shooting themselves in the foot and don't even know it

*edit- btw I'm totally strait! lol I thought point that out in case I get gay bashed
pendragon 28th April 2009, 18:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
Fail to FeRaL because the same argument is now being used to suppress free speech. I am sure that this will make its way through the courts and some sort of protection for Free Speech, regardless of who owns the server, will be implemented. We often offer our opinions online now rather than face to face, the same (or maybe more) protections should exist. If they do not we will end up limiting online speech and THAT is a dark and slippery slope.

I disagree.. They still have freedom of speech. I think that's what you're missing.. They have EVERY right to go on their *own* personal blog or other corner of the internet and rant and rave and say what they please... Hell, even other forums will probably allow it ... They only have limited freedom of speech on someone *else*'s corner of the net ... if it's your own property ..you should have the *freedom* to control your board as you wish... my $.02
choupolo 28th April 2009, 18:36 Quote
Even if it wasn't relevant to the Star Wars universe, it could still make for interesting discussion as to why it isn't. Banning discussion on forums defeats the purpose of it. Unless that forum is merely a cynical vehicle to promote your own company. Fail.

The argument that devs are missing balanced discussion of a lot of different subjects including political etc - so why get upset at this one incident... well its ok in a game, just means that the devs missed a lot of potential to make the game different/interesting. Stopping others from discussing something that clearly is not offensive in anyway just doesn't make any sense, even if it is in your own private house/forum.

And anyway - BioWare are likely to have a lot of visitors to their forum, so it's more like a public place than a private one - if they wanted it private then they would start kicking out their members!
occamsnailfile 28th April 2009, 18:51 Quote
Banning this discussion is nothing short of a dick move meant to discriminate against a single class of people that they apparently mean to discriminate against in the game through exclusion. I don't give them a free pass for wanting to 'avoid controversy', that's just cowardly.

Yeah, it's Bioware's forums, but nobody would ban discussing issues of 'race' in Star Wars in a fantasy context or out. Real-world issues creep into games, it's something one has to deal with. Discrimination may not violate one's legal right to free speech but it is still wrong.
pizan 28th April 2009, 19:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
two things, Fail to BioWare for not standing up and supporting the rights of all people.

Fail to FeRaL because the same argument is now being used to suppress free speech. I am sure that this will make its way through the courts and some sort of protection for Free Speech, regardless of who owns the server, will be implemented. We often offer our opinions online now rather than face to face, the same (or maybe more) protections should exist. If they do not we will end up limiting online speech and THAT is a dark and slippery slope.

Yours in Bi-Sexual Free Speech Plasma,
Star¤Dagger

WRONG! I'm pretty sure bit-tech can ban me if i start to call everyone n-bombs (or they have it blocked), but other sites would allow it. And how is one forum being censor by its owner a slippery slope leading to oblivion. You can go bitch about it on your own forum and discuss it there...

EDIT: Wrong as in you aren't making any sense (using the wrong word or the word wrong)
perplekks45 28th April 2009, 19:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeRaL
Um, it's their forum and their game... Freedom of speech only exists in a public, face to face forum.
So, you say freedom of speech doesn't exist in the tubes? Still the world's most liberal and free zone [unless you live in China]?
If we don't have freedom of speech on the internet we might as well collectively commit suicide. It's over then. They won. Period.

Back on topic:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
FAIL!
Psytek 28th April 2009, 19:36 Quote
I reckon its cos they are going for a teen or lower rating with the game, and when you join the forums theres a load of guff in the rules about not talking about this sort of stuff. Fair play really, a lot of young kids can't really be a part of a serious discussion of homosexuality.
popcornuk1983 28th April 2009, 22:28 Quote
If thats BioWares vision of the game, then so be it. They should have the right to create the game the way they want without being under pressure to be "PC". A lot of games portray certain stereotypes and their lifestyles in a way that can seem very negative but nobody pipes up about it.

As for closing forum topics, shame on you BioWare! You may not want gays and lesbians in your game but you can't stop people talking about it! Thats what makes them seem homophobic.
E.E.L. Ambiense 28th April 2009, 22:47 Quote
Damn... and I was looking forward to using my handle "Jedi Master Powder-Puff"!
TommyMarx 28th April 2009, 22:49 Quote
I am gay, but I'm not a gamer, so I'm probably not qualified to address this, but that never stopped me before.

BioWare - or any privately-owned company, for that matter - has the right to decide what can or cannot be in its games, forums, etc. That's not censorship, nor is it an attack on free speech. It's a private enterprise deciding what limits to place on its properties.

Do I think it's a smart idea? No. It seems a little ridiculous to eliminate all forms of sexuality but straight from a game, especially when it's an environment that features numerous varieties of aliens and androids. But that's their decision to make.

And while I would be offended if I was a gameplayer, I'm actually glad when people who can't tolerate homosexuals make their positions clear, like Cracker Barrel did a few years back. It makes it so much easier to avoid accidentally giving money to a group that practices immoral beliefs.
NethLyn 29th April 2009, 00:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimlicosound
Don't get me wrong, I totally respect Lionhead's right to insert those aspects of real life into Fable 2. But I think there's something to be said for excluding some aspects of real life for the sake of preserving a focused and controlled game experience. Game developers do this with every other aspect of life, so why object so much more strongly on this one topic of homosexuality?

Because the gay lobby knows it can score free publicity out of making themselves out to be victimised. Resident Evil 5 had a whole heap of black stereotypes in it, not that it affected me because I don't even own the console that it was released on.

Anyone suitably offended by this move can just save their thirty to forty pounds and not buy the game, but George Lucas/Bioware doesn't owe anyone anything on the basis of sexuality.
Jenny_Y8S 29th April 2009, 14:07 Quote
Common sense wins out!

Yay.

Nothing wrong with being gay, or talking about being gay in a public forum.
Jenny_Y8S 29th April 2009, 14:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NethLyn
Because the gay lobby knows it can score free publicity out of making themselves out to be victimised

Hey, I don't know if you'd ever noticed, but the whole LGBT community has got a bit of "history" when it comes to being victimised.

You may have never heard of such a terrible thing happening, but yes it's true. Some people out there are biggots and do things out of hatred, and the way to stop that is ensure that no victimisation is made against anyone, so don't prevent discussions about whatever flavor of sexuality you have, put constraints of decency as required, but which side of the bread you like your butter isn't a decency issue.
leexgx 29th April 2009, 14:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
Common sense wins out!

Yay.

Nothing wrong with being gay, or talking about being gay in a public forum.

@all as well

There are fourms for homos to post in, most fourms have rules about not talking about sex mosty due to the fact that there may be alot some younger age that may come for support and as an parent thay would not be happy that any game maker to expose miners to homos, I am guessing thay allso do not want to be sued by there parents
perplekks45 29th April 2009, 14:46 Quote
Excuse me? Exposed to homos?! We're in ****ing 2009, FFS! :|

Homophobic people... I'll never understand them. I can understand every forum admin/owner/moderator if they ban talking about sex in general but to ban homosexuality is just poor. Well, makes it easier to understand why there are still a boat load of therapists/doctors trying to "cure" homosexuality.
Not just in the US, sadly.
M4RTIN 29th April 2009, 15:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leexgx
@all as well

There are fourms for homos to post in, most fourms have rules about not talking about sex mosty due to the fact that there may be alot some younger age that may come for support and as an parent thay would not be happy that any game maker to expose miners to homos, I am guessing thay allso do not want to be sued by there parents

so your saying all gay people should go on seperate forums to hetrosexual people just in case someone catches "the gay" ,while we're it why not have "gay" buses and "gay" restaurants. too just in case people get offended.

how could you possibly sue the admins of any forums for allowing open speech? very few people can be that easily swayed to changing their lifestyle. Also on what grounds would they even be accountable,m would there be something wrong with their child if they were gay then? would it be a travesty for the world.

also, buy a dictionary. they are wonderful things that allow you to spell, forums, mostly, minors and also to use their and a correctly.
Turbotab 29th April 2009, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leexgx
@all as well

expose miners to homos


Ah that is why they striked in the 80s, redicklous!!
l3v1ck 29th April 2009, 16:00 Quote
Strange given the possible romance in KOTOR.
FeRaL 29th April 2009, 16:49 Quote
@pendragon and pizan, thanks for having my back.

@perplekks45, you are right and I should have been more specific in saying pure freedom of speech or even complete freedom of speech or maybe the ability to say any damn thing you want where ever you want on the internet without someone drawing the line doesn't exist. I think you get my point though ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyMarx
I am gay, but I'm not a gamer, so I'm probably not qualified to address this, but that never stopped me before.

BioWare - or any privately-owned company, for that matter - has the right to decide what can or cannot be in its games, forums, etc. That's not censorship, nor is it an attack on free speech. It's a private enterprise deciding what limits to place on its properties.

Do I think it's a smart idea? No. It seems a little ridiculous to eliminate all forms of sexuality but straight from a game, especially when it's an environment that features numerous varieties of aliens and androids. But that's their decision to make.

And while I would be offended if I was a gameplayer, I'm actually glad when people who can't tolerate homosexuals make their positions clear, like Cracker Barrel did a few years back. It makes it so much easier to avoid accidentally giving money to a group that practices immoral beliefs.

Word, Henry Rollins once said something to the effect that freedom of speech lets us know who and where the aholes are.

I'm all for free speech but, if you aren't paying for the medium then don't complain if you can't say what you want
FeRaL 29th April 2009, 16:56 Quote
double post.....
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