An apology accompanies the slow start to same-sex romance in Star Wars: The Old Republic




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Game Info

GAME NAME: Star Wars: The Old Republic

DEVELOPER(S): BioWare

PUBLISHER(S): EA

PLATFORM(S): PC

GENRE(S): MMORPG

RELEASE DATE(S): 1 March 2012

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A recent post on Star Wars: The Old Republic's official blog confirms that same-sex relationships are on their way, and apologises for the mechanic's slow start.

First discussed in September 2012 -- and promised shortly afterward -- same-sex romances have yet to appear in-game. BioWare’s executive producer Jeff Hickman explained that will soon change... sort of. Expect to see same-sex relationships soon... but only with non-playable characters. On a single planet.

Topic #4: Same Gender Romance: Any news on this front would be great… Answer: First of all, I want to apologise that this is taking so long to get in the game. I realise that we promised SGR to you guys and that many of you believed that this would be with a companion character. Unfortunately, this will take a lot more work than we realised at the time and it (like some other pieces of content we talked about earlier in the year) has been delayed as we focused on the changes required to take the game Free-to-Play. As we have said in the past, allowing same gender romance is something we are very supportive of.

Secondly, I want to reveal today that we are adding SGR with some NPCs on Makeb and do intend on pursuing more SGR options in the future. More details to come!

Well, that's a half-win for equality right there. Let's hope BioWare gets it together and rolls this out universally (pun intended) with NPCs and playable characters alike very soon.

What do you think about this delayed move, and BioWare's excuse for delaying it? Sound off in the comments, below.

About the Author
Steve Wright

Steve Wright, aka Stevivor: A Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, freelance journalist, sweet games blog owner, ice hockey player/fan, beer aficionado and tech trainer. Steve is proud to be the Australian iiNet TopGeek 2.0! Check him out on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.



  • http://ay-tariray.blogspot.com.au/ Tariray

    I wonder what exactly comprises the actual coding and programming of same gender romances? I hardly think that it is that incredibly complicated.

    Is it the creation of appropriate dialogue? the coding of specific responses that increase charisma or attraction points appropriately etc?

    My thought is that maybe the script writers and animators were probably cautious of rendering the characters in some sort of cliche or pastiche kind of way. But considering that this was not done for Dragon Age – they could have taken some notes from that.

    As much as i was peeved that same gender romance was still some sort of foreign magical patch thing issue, i find the whole romance thing in an online mmorpg a little discomfitting, if not a tad useless (probably because we’re all going to end up romancing the same npc’s – the tarts!). However, whatever helps propel character immersion and story helps.

    either way, inclusion shouldn’t have been a patch anyway.

    • http://www.stevivor.com Steve Wright

      Well said, Tariray! I hope it’s handled as well as same-sex romance was in Mass Effect 3.

      I had a straight Shepard for 1 and 2, and the way in which my character could be transitioned to a gay one in 3 was amazing. It wasn’t as if Shepard was hit by a gay-ray or something — it seemed natural. So huzzah!

  • Daniel Davison

    I know this is an old post, but ten months later, things don’t look much better.

    “I realise that we promised SGR to you guys and that many of you believed that this would be with a companion character.” – This is either disingenuous on Hickman’s part, or else reveals his lack of awareness of what his studio had been saying to players, on the infrequent occasions they could be persuaded to address the issue at all.

    Prior to this remark, BioWare Austin had made only two comments to their community regarding same-sex romantic options. The first was made three months before launch by then Community Manager Stephen Reid, who explicitly referenced companion characters as how Bioware would introduce the content. Although the pre-launch forums no longer exist, his statement survived as the stock Community Team response to the issue thereafter:

    “Due to the design constraints of a fully voiced MMO of this scale and size, many choices had to be made as to the launch and post-launch feature set. Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature. Because The Old Republic is an MMO, the game will live on through content expansions which allow us to include content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options.”

    This was the only information players had from Bioware regarding the promised inclusion of same-sex romance, and it shaped the discussion that followed in the single forum thread that swtor.com’s community team permitted for the subject on their forums. Any other threads addressing the subject were – and to this day still are – locked.

    The next mention, following several months of calls from players for more details on implementation, came from then Lead Writer Daniel Erickson at guild summit event held at Bioware’s Austin studio in March of 2012. Again, he spoke specifically, and solely, in terms of companion characters:

    “When we do this, we want to do it right. We want to do it with the characters that it makes sense, that we always knew we actually wanted to do it for those.

    So you guys know, when we talked about it before, it ended up being a budget and scheduling issue. There are romance arcs that we wanted to do that didn’t make it into the game. We knew which characters – I’m not going to tell you… [laughter, suggestions of "Forex" and "Blizz" from audience] …It’s nice to know that somebody else was thinking of Forex, too. But, ah – so, the short answer is it’s never changed, it’s still coming. It’s coming when full story comes. And when is full story coming? This year. So we are still on track.”

    What threw them off-track? The decision to retool the game for development under a free-to-play model.

    To this day, the companion-character romances have not been added, nor so much as mentioned since Hickman’s attempt at damage-control. The content included with Rise of the Hutt Cartel is restricted to paying customers – whether subscribers who receive the expansion content as part of their paid service, or by direct purchase by free or preferred status players. Opposite-gender romantic content exists throughout the free-play experience, and can even be hard to avoid.

    Since RotHC, very little story content has been added to the game, but two conversations, one male and one female, have been added to the free play experience allowing players to flirt with characters of the same sex in brief encounters with figures in the criminal underworld. That is as far as the promised “more SGR [same gender romance] options in the future” have actually been implemented.

    Compared to the scope of opposite-sex romances, this is barely a drop in the bucket. It may have been progressive twenty years ago, but in 2013, it’s pretty crappy.