As much of a debacle as EA can make of things, they can get a few things right too. EA hosted an LGBT event called “Full Spectrum” to explore the role of LGBT representation in the video game industry. The event had panels headed by Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the RIAA, which has it’s own sordid history. Interestingly, she makes references to trying to “Silence Hip-hop,” and then says “Preaching doesn’t work.” I’m really interested in the context of that statement, the Gamasutra article leaves it somewhat ambiguous. The event also had several other industry veterans who’s who talking the issues of LGBT interests in the industry.
The general consensus seems to be that diversity in the workplace will help increase diversity in the games. Currently, the white male protagonist dominates the leading roles in games almost exclusively, with a few nods to overly sexualized female characters. The hope is that by increasing diversity amongst the developers, that will lead to increased diversity in games by taking away the exclusivity of the white male making games. I’m not 100% sure I think that this will make a difference, but there’s also a chance. As the article cites, BioWare as a company has been very encouraging of same-sex relationships, as they are possible (if limited) in most of their games.
As a gaymer myself, I think it would be interesting to have more varied options for same sex relationships. In most games (though not all), same-sex relationships are generally between the player and the giant, glaring homosexual stereotype. I really enjoyed the way that Guild Wars 2 handled same sex relationships — they just were. There was no special pomp or circumstance around it, they just were as we expected them to be….just a thing. In Dragon Age, I remember the one bisexual character, Zevran, who I felt was portrayed as maybe a little more promiscuous than necessary. With that though comes the question of did they make promiscuous because he was gay (or bisexual), or was he promiscuous and they just tacked on the gay aspect?
Regardless, it’s great to see companies taking a step up to address sexuality in games…and well, basically everything that’s not a giant white guy killing everyone else.