Fox News Strikes! SWTOR Segregates Gay Characters to Gay Planet

fox-news-logoMany on both sides of the fence are displeased with how BioWare has handled the issue of same-gender romance in the game but Fox News had something to say about it yesterday in their article,  ‘Star Wars’ game segregates gay characters on gay planet. Depending on who you ask, Fox News is either an excellence source for news and updates on all issues and current affairs, or a debacle of news station putting out biased and botched stories disguised as “news””. We’ll let you make the decision for yourself but either way, it’s good to see the topic getting some media attention.

SGR in SWTOR has been heavily debated since before the game even launched and BioWare has always taken a positive stance on the issue, despite the complaints from some fans. BioWare’s Jeff Hickman, executive producer of ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ has said more than once, “Allowing same-gender romance is something we are very supportive of.”

Yet, many from the LGBT community did not feel they were very supportive of it when they reported no response from BioWare on the issue at all, after being promised it would be implemented into the game.

So when the update came with State of the Game #2 address, I think many expected to hear more than what we got.

As Fox News reports:

Despite vocal opposition from thousands of angry gamers, a software developer has added support for homosexual relationships to the game “Star Wars: The Old Republic” — albeit just on a single planet.

Fox News took an interesting slant on this topic/issue. According to their report, segregation of the “gays” will happen in the game, too, it seems. The gay planet will appear only in an expansion pack called “Rise of the Hutt Cartel,” and reportedly has “characters with canned, flirtatious dialog for same-sex players”; exactly what BioWare initially said they didn’t want to do. Many from the LGBT community have even said they’d rather have no SGR in the game if it was canned and some say it’s not that important to them anyway- they just wanted an answer since BioWare promised it but then didn’t deliver.

It seems BioWare has been doing a lot of promising with SWTOR and not always as much delivering and that has fans more upset than anything else. But this particular issue contains more political agenda than space battles or PvP options.

As Fox reports:

“Well it’s good to see the SGR people are getting some attention. They’ve only been asking for the option since beta,” one player noted. Publisher Electronic Arts has been wrestling with the issue for months, after promising in April 2012to stand up against what was described as “several thousand” letters and emails protesting the inclusion of same sex content in its games.

“Every one of EA’s games includes ESRB content descriptors so it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment,” Jeff Brown, vice president of corporate communications, told Games Industry International at the time.

But still, there are many opposed the issue of SGR in the game and even sticking them all on their own planet doesn’t seem like a good enough fix:

“Star Wars is a family based story with nothing to do with SGR,” one gamer wrote on the forums. “Please, please, please Bioware, Lucasarts, and EA do not allow SGR in Star Wars The Old Republic. It will ruin the game and make a lot of people leave it.”

So it looks like BioWare actually managed to alienate both sides with this “fix” of a very important, ongoing issue with the game. Even if you want to blame Fox News for writing a non-factual news story (like many prior employees of BioWare did on Twitter), they were actually not the first or the only to cover this “gay planet” issue. The earliest source of this story seems to come from PC Games N where Steve Hogarty expresses some very strong opinions of how BioWare handled SGR in the game. While many will agree with his opinions, they are actually just one side of the story and it seems like many news organizations, such as Fox News, used this as a basis for their news pieces when they probably know next to nothing about the game.

Regardless, it’s easy to see why people are calling this the “Pay 2 Gay” patch. With all the time they’ve put into this, BioWare probably could have worked a little harder to place NPCs on other existing planets as well to avoid this issue. Personally, I don’t even use the flirt options in the game but since many people do, it’s nice for them to have same sex options as well. Regardless, one thing Fox News and other outlets who posted on this managed to do was stir up a lot of drama about the game and the issue. Some people say it brought up needless drama and falsities about the game but I like that it fosters new conversations. Trust me, you should never believe anything you read on any news station without checking the facts yourself and making your own opinions. Sex and scandal sell these days and this story had both.

Daniel Erickson had something to say:

Other BioWare employees past and present (include my fave Alexander Freed) had some other tweets to express their opinions of the Fox News piece.

Wherever you stand on the issue- do you think BioWare is handling this correctly? Do you think Fox News was off base with the story?

Same-Sex Story Arcs in SWTOR (previous coverage):

Lisa Clark

Lisa has been an avid gamer since she was old enough to hold her first controller and a game writer for more than a decade. A child of the Nintendo generation, she believes they just don’t make games like they used to but sometimes, they make them even better! While consoles will always be her first love, Lisa spends most of her gaming time on the PC these days- on MMOs and first-person shooters in particular.