Star Wars: the old republic has been out now for over a month, and has seen it's first major update, as well as many weekly patches and fixes. The sales figures are looking good, and EA/Bioware and Lucas Arts can keep pushing into the ancient lore of a galaxy far far away. From the early days as reported earlier Bioware has confirmed the inclusion of same sex romances as options for the characters. This has been a known feature since 2009. The feature however is still absent. What is going on? Many ask.
Here I will give the low down on what the average player knows, and those who may not play games but are cheering on the social advancement should know.
The very basic timetable of the whole same gender romance topic on the SWTOR boards goes like this:
2009: There is a discussion why the words gay and lesbian filtered, Stated that while the game will include the romance options, the words themselves do not exist in the Star Wars universe it is simply a relationship between those of the same gender ( despite crossing species lines)
2009-August 2011: A thread dedicated to same gender romances lives on and grows large. It runs smoothly with many insightful ideas on ow to apply the romances, and concerns about it feeling cheep, and very few negative replies.
August 2011: A developer interview officially announces that same gender romances will not be in the game at the time of it's launch, but added in at a later date. In response the game's forums grows rather angry followed by a massive show of support from the player base and many many blogs.
September 2011: With high tensions and more questions Bioware is forced to make several statement on the issue. These coming directly from the companies staff:
“ First of all, this is definitely not an audience that consists of a 'couple of people' and we're aware of that. We take this decision very seriously.
Second, it's very important to realize that this is just one of many, many content additions that will be going into the game post launch. The vast majority of our content will be of interest to the vast majority of our potential audience. However, one of the amazing things about MMOs is that over time we can get to add things that are exciting and interesting to smaller audiences. Normally, that's not something that's addressed too far ahead of time. In this case, we felt the addition was warranted and should be addressed early. There will be plenty of content for all to play and enjoy. “
“we can't guarantee that a character you play at launch would have romance options 'unlocked' for an existing companion. It's something that will be taken into consideration when making design decisions. Not a promise it'll happen, but we'll take that feedback and relay it through to design. We fully intend to do justice to the story in our storylines. :D
As you may have heard, we take story very seriously - this included.
Lastly for those of you who seem concerned that you will be 'tricked' into any romance arc in the game - all romance choices are clearly marked. You will be aware you're making those choices as you make them. “ -Stephan Reid : Senior Community Manager
“ 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 “ - Allison Berryman : Senior Community Coordinator.
It is from this point on that nothing changed. Any new threads were swiftly closed and given the last reply. E-mail inquiries are reported to be getting the same reply as well. This has left many fans, and advocates scratching their head. On one hand Bioware came across as a champion of the people, promising a very swift action and on the other hand seem to be pushing the issue as far to the back burner as possible in a way that is quite disturbing when reading between corporate lines.
To further stir the pot the Evangelical group known as the Family Research Council released a statement regarding the game and it's inclusion of same gender romances. The group, often considered a hate group bragged about 300 some pages of players hating the idea and fighting it on the official SWtOR forums, and calling on players to think of the children claiming parents and forum-goers alike are bothered by this "Star Warped way of thinking," and rallied them to "show companies who the Force is really with!" by basically spamming the games message board.
Now for the record as someone whom lives on the said game forum I can assure everyone alike that these “ 300 pages of protesting the feature” do not exist. In truth the opposite is more accurate, and in total the support goes well above the 300 pages worth mark. Also the site requires a payed copy of the game and active subscription to post in the forums. All that said and down however there is still no exact date of when the feature will come into play, however I can assure everyone that I will cover the situation as things develop.