D20: Sexism and same-sex relationships – Controversy in the world of RPGs

Cyberpunk/SWTOR

By on January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

January/February is usually a really slow time for releases, with few AAA titles hitting shelves before March and even fewer of them being RPGs. In recent years the number of early year releases has noticeably grown, with numerous publishers pushing pre-Christmas release dates a little so that there is some space between major releases. Unfortunately that hasn’t really lead to more RPGs being released in this slot. In the place of releases, however, seems to have come a heap of interesting news and controversy. Let’s take a look at some of that, shall we?

There has been quite a bit of debate about the Cyberpunk 2077 teaser in recent weeks, with some claiming that the imagery of a passive, supine woman being shot at is sexist and stereotypical, whilst others have argued the opposite. Personally I found much of the imagery a little  crass until the kicker at the end of the teaser – the woman is not killed but is instead recruited – brought it all together.

Perhaps in response to the outcry, or perhaps simply due to an already established schedule, CD Projekt Red has released a new Cyberpunk 2077 video, this time with Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the Cyberpunk 2020 pen and paper RPG talking about the collaborative process and the feeling of the genre. There is also a tiny hint to the plot of the game in there as well – the events of Cyberpunk 2077 take place after the fourth Corporate War. I’m excited.

Speaking of controversy, there has been an inordinate amount written about the introduction of same-sex relationships in Star Wars: The Old Republic. For those of you in the know, same-sex relationships are being introduced in the new expansion and will be limited to a single (new) planet. Some people have claimed that this is deliberate segregation, whilst others have kicked up a stink for the game going “gay for pay”, complaining that the fact that gay people will have to pay to have a relationship is blatantly discriminatory.

BioWare put themselves in a difficult position with The Old Republic from both a licensing position and from a technical one. Every decision made in the Star Wars universe had to be parsed by the rather notoriously vanilla LucasArts (now Disney, making the prospect even more daunting) but more importantly, choosing to have the entire game voiced has driven the developer into a rather tight corner when it comes to expanded content.

If same-sex relationships were to be introduced into the wider game world, every voice actor who played a potential love interest would have to be called back to record new dialogue which would then have to be integrated into already established interactions, as would the voice actor that has any gendered reaction to a character’s relationship. This is by no means an impossible feat, but it’s definitely a very pricey one, and one that can’t be paid for by free to play content. Delivering same-sex relationships as paid content is an awkward solution to a problem caused more by expectation than anything else, but it’s really the only solution BioWare have.

21 comments (Leave your own)

The only reason it was a ‘controversy’ is due to you whack job media lot MAKING IT ONE. No OTHER media place, as far as I read, said a thing about it being sexist.

YOU MADE IT SEXISM BY POINTING IT OUT. DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THIS.

Now, please, can we get over this, and all other isms. There the stupidest things to talk about become the only reason there there is because people talk about them. FFS

 
 

Tim Colwill,

That’s cool.Like I said tho, places I read. So, pointing them out dose not do much in the way of DE-bunking me. :P

Sexism only exists now, in gaming, because people say it dose. There is no other reason for it. So what if an RPG dose not have same sex relationships in it. Yeah, it would be nice, but it dose not actually matter, become its a GAME.

In my opinion, pointing out that something is sexist, makes you the sexist person, not the person who made it. But people can’t cope with that. They just think ‘Well, if I see it, that must mean the artist meant it, right?’ Well, NO. Art is all about how YOU see whats been made. The cyberpunk 2077 was, for want of a better word, ART. Hence, if you think its sexist, then YOU are sexist, as that is where YOUR mind went. So, that kind of makes you sexist Tim, for even saying the trailer is sexist.

 

jagji,

Sounding a bit personal there jagji, especially as Good Ol’ Tim is just the editor (and his opinions may not be reflected in other articles or comments).

I personally didn’t see it as sexist, but many people found the portrayal of characters to be gender stereotypical and hence Sexist. Trying the “Video games are art” is wonderful, when its a video game with back story and a few hours of content we can sift through to make our judgement, but for a trailer which panned across a CGI image for a fair portion, its hard to make a call about if it is sexist or not. As for the piece, well as you said, open for interpretation, but your interpretation of a piece doesn’t define you as a sexist. If I believe a song sounds “Angry” am I an angry person by nature?
There are many attributes that make people view it on either side, but have a read of what the others are saying and what their reasons are, I’m sure all the GON staff who put their opinions out are not sexists, just explaining their views on how the video presents females in that game.

TL:DR You can’t blame someones opinion of a piece as a reflection of who they are.

 

jagji,

So if saying something is sexist makes you sexist, then that doesn’t that make you (jagji) sexist for telling people they’re sexist for finding things sexist?

 

imagery of a passive I seriously don’t understand how anyone anywhere gets “passive” out of murdered 14 people.

The old republic thing is just non sense it’s a development thing not a statement that homo-sexuals should be segregated new expansion releases a new planet all the new content is centered on that planet anyone who doesn’t understand that has no idea what they are talking about and should just butt out.

It really annoies me that people can rant and rave without having any knowledge of the subject matter and get away with it it really has to stop when someone says “this happened because” the combined might of the internet should turn around and demand objective proof. In the real world when politicians pull information out their asses and online when people cry fowl and imply that something affected a design choice other than time/funding constraints purely because they are not getting what they want or are not getting it for free.

spkypwnsuall: TL:DR You can’t blame someones opinion of a piece as a reflection of who they are.

I disagree, you can do it you just make yourself look like an ass especially if you know next to nothing about the person.

 

jez:
jagji,

So if saying something is sexist makes you sexist, then that doesn’t that make you (jagji) sexist for telling people they’re sexist for finding things sexist?

Probubly dose. Still dose not take away from what am saying tho.

spkypwnsuall:
jagji,

Sounding a bit personal there jagji, especially as Good Ol’ Tim is just the editor (and his opinions may not be reflected in other articles or comments).

Not trying to make it personal. I am just very passionate about equal rights for all, and theses types of articles do nothing more than make things worse in most cases. Pointing out something that was not there in the first place is just being opinionated. We don’t need opinions, we need equal. And that’s only going to happen if we stop thinking about if this or that is going to be a problem, and just start thinking that people are people, and it dose not matter who they are. Its as simple as saying ‘You are a person, and I respect that’.

The other side of this is that, and people seem to have forgotten this, that the chick who was the model/actress for the digital chick in the trailer let it happen. So, by saying it sexist you are going against a women who spent time doing stuff for this, and has let herself be made to look the way she is in her digital representation. I will bet you that NONE of the articles about it have actually talk to her, and got her thoughts on it at all, and that to me is just not right. She is the one that put effort in, and she is not even asked of her opinion on her work.

 

So if it was a topless man with abs of steel looking helpless being shot at would it still be sexist? If it was a black man/women would it also of made it raciest?

 

venom:
So if it was a topless man with abs of steel looking helpless being shot at would it still be sexist? If it was a black man/women would it also of made it raciest?

without context yes :P
I think people need to learn there is a difference between racist and someone getting offended if something offends you that does not make the thing that offended you sexist/racist

 

Hey guys

just thought if you had not seen it already this site has the goods,

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Cyberpunk-2077/6573211

Also this paragraph in particular should be read by everyone!

“Ever since we set out to create it, we knew the promo would work only if the female protagonist engendered a serious emotional response in the viewers and push the aesthetic boundaries of the typical female form. Video games frequently feature banally designed female characters, composed of the same hackneyed elements. Though undoubtedly beautiful, these characters are often contrived. In this particular case, the ability to work with a real actress thoroughly transformed the film.”

Cheers

 

Also there is 400 comments on that link and not one related to sexism!

 

I would have thought gay people would have been upset that they are being trivialized by a game developer to create controversy so they can sell there struggling game (and before anyone jumps up and down SWTOR has failed to reach its expected sales figures).

I wonder if a same-sex relationship would have ever been added if SWTOR had sold very well???

 

ACA.on.net now?

 
Bumblebee Tuna

buzer,

Gold!

 

Makes Article..
expects results over night..
doesn’t get them..
makes another article about the same subject again…
expects it to work this time..
doesn’t work..
viewers get sick of it.. make complaints in comments section..
rinse and repeat.

 

Feminism ruins everything also quit getting mad over video games.

 

burty13:
Feminism ruins everything also quit getting mad over video games.

No it doesn’t feminism is a great concept, MILITANT feminism ruins everything.

 

I dont find it sexist. The game just happens to have a pretty woman with little clothing in it for reasons revealed by playing the game “story”.

there was no upskirt shots or nipples showing or anything like that. How can this be sexist….really… She was just sitting there under arrest for murdering a group of people.

And the best thing, shes probably not even human, there for not even female. Shes a robot. (maybe)

 
NoobyMcNoobnoob

if you dont like the content dont play the game. easy as piss, like books, movies, music and everything else. no one is forcing ppl to play these games so live and let live.
im sure most of you feel the same but sometimes it just needs to be said.
again.

and again.
and again, again, again, again, again, again, again, again, again and again. hopefully some of these ppl might get a clue

 

noobymcnoobnoob: im sure most of you feel the same but sometimes it just needs to be said.
again.

and again.
and again, again, again, again, again, again, again, again, again and again. hopefully some of these ppl might get a clue

most people that complain about ridiculous things are just doing it for attention they will never change so long as they keep getting the attention.

 
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