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Same gender relationships clarifications?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore
Same gender relationships clarifications?
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Zandilar's Avatar


Zandilar
07.27.2012 , 06:19 PM | #521
@wainot-keel

I would love it if they didn't go all bisexual, but the amount of work involved going down a route where all (or the majority) of SGRAs are exclusively homosexual would preclude, IMHO, them from going the no bisexual route. I expect we will see a mix, with the majority being bisexual.

Also, I wasn't meaning to be insulting with the whining and the crying, because I don't hold myself above everyone else. I know I can whine and cry with the best of them, and I did when it was revealed a certain character in ME3 was not bisexual (while her male counterpart was).

Re: Exclusive romances.
This is more to do with realism than anything else. It's not realistic for every romancable character to be available and open to both genders. That is not how it works in reality. A bisexual person is not the same as a lesbian or a gay or even a straight person, and the Star Wars universe has never argued that everyone is bisexual (because we know for a fact that the vast majority of romantic relationships depicted in the Star Wars universe (both in main canon and EU) are male/female without reference to same sex relationships or even attractions).

Now, it is probably possible to write all the romantic storylines from the PCsexual view (Kira is straight for male JKs who flirt with her, and lesbian for female JKs who flirt with her, and non-sexual for male and female JKs who don't flirt with her), it is probably even possible to make this remotely realistic (especially with significantly different dialogue depending on which of those three options one takes with her). What it is not possible to do, however, is stop people being unable to comprehend that their play of SWTOR is different to someone else's. So some people just get stuck on the idea that Kira is straight and will find that their knowledge that she can be lesbian or non-sexual for other players breaks their own immersion. I personally think that's a very silly thing, however, that doesn't make it any less real for some people. (And I might add, it's even sillier in the face of the fact that we can significantly alter the physical appearance of our companions.)

(Another thing to note: PCsexual usually turns out to be the same dialogue with different pronouns, which is the main issue people have with PCsexual characters, why they say they're not realistic. This is the bad writing they were talking about at the guild summit.)

@Stuffystuffs

I have seen more than one person asking Bioware to make Samantha Traynor bisexual, because they want their dude!Shep to "bone" her (because she's both attractive and has a sexy British accent). So people DID care about it.

I'd also rather they didn't do non-romancable LGBT characters. Bioware has a HORRENDOUS track record when it comes to non-straight-non-LI NPCs. They generally come across as very camp and stereotype ridden. Now, if they could prove me wrong, I'd be over the moon. (Also, they have to be able to depict them in a realistic fashion. A stranger in the street is not going to introduce themselves like "Hi, I'm Zandilar, and I'm lesbian!")

And you're right, I am looking at it from a representation perspective. That is because I think representation is extremely important. I also look at it from a realism point of view - which I am aware might seem silly given that we're talking about a universe with laser swords and space magic... But in order to relate to the setting, the people in that setting still have to be human at a certain level. That means that they need to have traits that we can relate to - which brings us right back to representation.
Zandilar, an Australian, IN SPAAAAAAAACCCCEEEEE!!
Too many characters, most of them Chiss.

Kioma's Avatar


Kioma
07.27.2012 , 07:13 PM | #522
Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Re: Exclusive romances.
This is more to do with realism than anything else. It's not realistic for every romancable character to be available and open to both genders. That is not how it works in reality.
It isn't reality. It's an interactive game set in a galaxy-wide community in a different 'reality' to ours. It's fiction. People who claim it's 'not realistic' for their NPC, available to their male JK, to also be available to someone else's female JK is looking at metaplot - cross-dimensional metaplot. To put it in a DA2 way, Hawke is neither a time traveller nor a cross-dimensional acrobat. What is happening to one Hawke is not happening to another.

Similarly, the experiences of different SWTOR PCs are going to be inherently different. If you look at the matter from the PC level it makes no difference if all your companions can be romanced by one gender, the other gender or both.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
A bisexual person is not the same as a lesbian or a gay or even a straight person,
Correction: a bisexual person is not the same orientation as a gay or straight person. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not claiming bisexuals are inherently different in ways other than orientation.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
and the Star Wars universe has never argued that everyone is bisexual (because we know for a fact that the vast majority of romantic relationships depicted in the Star Wars universe (both in main canon and EU) are male/female without reference to same sex relationships or even attractions).
Another correction: the Star Wars universe has never claimed anything about the sexualities of the majority of the population. We've seen depictions almost (almost) solely of heterosexual relationships, yes, but that only leads us to assume the majority of the Star Wars universe is heterosexual. Until an official statement comes out to the effect we cannot know whether the relationships we've seen are indicative of the setting or whether it's indicative of them attempting to sell their product in a world of primarily heterosexual humans.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
What it is not possible to do, however, is stop people being unable to comprehend that their play of SWTOR is different to someone else's.
But that's beyond any writer's control, and is on the onus of the player.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
So some people just get stuck on the idea that Kira is straight and will find that their knowledge that she can be lesbian or non-sexual for other players breaks their own immersion. I personally think that's a very silly thing, however, that doesn't make it any less real for some people. (And I might add, it's even sillier in the face of the fact that we can significantly alter the physical appearance of our companions.)
I think it's silly too, and yes, it's going to happen - just like there are people (a minority) rampantly declaring that romances shouldn't be in the game at all. What breaks immersion for one person doesn't for another - again, this is the player's business and nothing anyone but they can control. I don't necessarily see it as being any kind of indicator of bad writing (which will break immersion for most people on its own, but even then doesn't always; see Twilight).

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
(Another thing to note: PCsexual usually turns out to be the same dialogue with different pronouns, which is the main issue people have with PCsexual characters, why they say they're not realistic. This is the bad writing they were talking about at the guild summit.)
But they didn't say 'That isn't always writing; that [often isn't[/i] good storytelling'. Me, I know that's what they were talking about at the Summit and I still disagree. Anything can be written well or poorly. They summarily dismissed a viable option based on a belief that it's never good storytelling, never writing, and I feel I must disagree with them.

A story about a domineering man who embarrasses, offends and tricks a woman into assuming some level of submission before and after marrying him could be written horribly indeed, yet Shakespeare managed The Taming of the Shrew pretty damn well.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
I have seen more than one person asking Bioware to make Samantha Traynor bisexual, because they want their dude!Shep to "bone" her (because she's both attractive and has a sexy British accent). So people DID care about it.
Wow. Lame. I really liked that she was out of reach of my manShep.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
And you're right, I am looking at it from a representation perspective. That is because I think representation is extremely important. I also look at it from a realism point of view - which I am aware might seem silly given that we're talking about a universe with laser swords and space magic... But in order to relate to the setting, the people in that setting still have to be human at a certain level. That means that they need to have traits that we can relate to - which brings us right back to representation.
I agree a level of humanity is required for players to relate to the characters. Definitely a good point. But I don't think that proportions of sexual preferences within the galaxy-wide community need to be similar to our world's, not at all. If someone breaks immersion because there's more bisexuals than heterosexuals then they're not looking into the world very deeply at all.
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Zandilar's Avatar


Zandilar
07.27.2012 , 08:11 PM | #523
Quote: Originally Posted by Kioma View Post
It isn't reality. It's an interactive game set in a galaxy-wide community in a different 'reality' to ours. It's fiction. People who claim it's 'not realistic' for their NPC, available to their male JK, to also be available to someone else's female JK is looking at metaplot - cross-dimensional metaplot. To put it in a DA2 way, Hawke is neither a time traveller nor a cross-dimensional acrobat. What is happening to one Hawke is not happening to another.

Similarly, the experiences of different SWTOR PCs are going to be inherently different. If you look at the matter from the PC level it makes no difference if all your companions can be romanced by one gender, the other gender or both.
You touch on this point of my again later on, so I'll just briefly comment here. One could write a story that has no attachment to reality at all, but no one would read it... Or if they did, they might find it very difficult to comprehend.

Quote:
Correction: a bisexual person is not the same orientation as a gay or straight person. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not claiming bisexuals are inherently different in ways other than orientation.
Quite right. That is what I meant. You could even take it to its extreme conclusion and say that one person is not the same as another person - people all see and experience the world from their own perspective, and since we're all unique, our own perspectives are so too.

Here's an example - If a bisexual woman is involved with a man, she's still attracted to other women. However, a straight woman (also involved with a man) wouldn't be attracted to other women, and might behave quite differently around a woman who flirts with her than the bisexual - even if both are monogamous (because people have different levels of what sort of behavior is acceptable in a relationship, of course).

So what I am saying with that is that you can't write a bisexual person in the same way as you'd write a straight person or a lesbian/gay person (nor can you write a lesbian/gay person the same way you'd write straight or bisexual people, nor can you write a straight person the same way you'd write bisexual or gay/lesbian people). The fact of their sexual orientation will make them react differently in the same set of circumstances.

This is where PCsexual characters tend to fall down. They don't behave like any particular sexual orientation, they only ever seem to be attracted to the PC. If they have experienced other relationships in the past, the ones that come up tend to be heterosexual, or they only come up with the specific orientation (for example, Isabela's past relationship with Zevran comes up at some point in conversation, Ander's past relationship with Karl only comes up with a male Hawke). Note, though, I said "tend to be". This is not the way it works all the time (ie Leliana's relationship with Marjolaine, comes up with both genders in the course of the romance - however it is left open to interpretation exactly what the relationship between them was).


Quote:
Another correction: the Star Wars universe has never claimed anything about the sexualities of the majority of the population. We've seen depictions almost (almost) solely of heterosexual relationships, yes, but that only leads us to assume the majority of the Star Wars universe is heterosexual. Until an official statement comes out to the effect we cannot know whether the relationships we've seen are indicative of the setting or whether it's indicative of them attempting to sell their product in a world of primarily heterosexual humans.
Very true. Though I will say that the one or two exceptions both occur in EU (in a game and novels) and not in top level canon for the Star Wars universe. The main SW universe has been purely heterosexual (and very tamely so too).

Reality would suggest that there are non-heterosexual people in the SW universe, and probably even creatures and beings who don't fall into our neat categories of sexual orientation and gender expression (aliens who have no sexes, for example, or who have more than two sexes) - but this reality thing... lets not bother with that, right? It is fiction, after all. (Sorry, I had to... I meant it as a light hearted tease, not to be insulting or anything - but you can't argue against reality on the one hand, then for it on the other. Besides which, an argument against reality could be used to justify no homosexuals just as much as it could be used to justify all bisexuals.)

Quote:
I think it's silly too, and yes, it's going to happen - just like there are people (a minority) rampantly declaring that romances shouldn't be in the game at all. What breaks immersion for one person doesn't for another - again, this is the player's business and nothing anyone but they can control. I don't necessarily see it as being any kind of indicator of bad writing (which will break immersion for most people on its own, but even then doesn't always; see Twilight).
I am not saying that they should cater to every individual player's whims (because that just wouldn't work). I really only mention this because it is a factor that Bioware should take into account when writing characters. They need to be careful to write the characters in such a way as to be realistic and relatable, and that means taking into account whether or not their writing can overcome some people's inability to overlook the meta aspects of PCsexual LIs.


Quote:
But they didn't say 'That isn't always writing; that [often isn't[/i] good storytelling'. Me, I know that's what they were talking about at the Summit and I still disagree. Anything can be written well or poorly. They summarily dismissed a viable option based on a belief that it's never good storytelling, never writing, and I feel I must disagree with them.
Well I agree with them in principle. If you're going to write the same character as being attracted to PCs of both genders, then unless you're writing them from the ground up as bisexual, you have to effectively write two separate characters. Lesbian Kira won't behave the same way as straight Kira, there will be differences both subtle and obvious - they will have slightly different backgrounds, because they would have had different prior relationships (of both the romantic and non-romantic kind), therefore different experiences, and therefore they'd be different people (with some similarities, of course, but nurture does effect who we are as much as nature). If you don't do this, if you just change the pronouns in the romance? That's bad writing and bad character design.

Quote:
Wow. Lame. I really liked that she was out of reach of my manShep.
Most of them react rather defensively when you tell them no too, no matter how polite you are about it.

Quote:
I agree a level of humanity is required for players to relate to the characters. Definitely a good point. But I don't think that proportions of sexual preferences within the galaxy-wide community need to be similar to our world's, not at all. If someone breaks immersion because there's more bisexuals than heterosexuals then they're not looking into the world very deeply at all.
Of course not. I'd rather see a more concentrated number of bisexuals and characters with individual sexual orientations than an entire cast of PCsexuals, though.
Zandilar, an Australian, IN SPAAAAAAAACCCCEEEEE!!
Too many characters, most of them Chiss.

Kioma's Avatar


Kioma
07.27.2012 , 09:02 PM | #524
Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
You touch on this point of my again later on, so I'll just briefly comment here. One could write a story that has no attachment to reality at all, but no one would read it... Or if they did, they might find it very difficult to comprehend.
Aaaaaaand I never, at any stage, said it should have no connection to reality. I'm saying that we can't assume things are absolutely true in the Star Wars universe simply because they happen to be apparent in our world. I'm primarily sick of people saying 'there's X% of gay people in our world so there may only be X% in Star Wars - or less'. It doesn't hold water on any level.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Here's an example - If a bisexual woman is involved with a man, she's still attracted to other women. However, a straight woman (also involved with a man) wouldn't be attracted to other women, and might behave quite differently around a woman who flirts with her than the bisexual - even if both are monogamous (because people have different levels of what sort of behavior is acceptable in a relationship, of course).
But you can safely assume that the individual you're talking about will react in a similar way if someone they aren't interested in flirts with them - whether they're disinterested because of sexual preference or personality, or hair colour or pre-existing relationships, or whatever. That's not, behaviourally speaking, such a stretch.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
The fact of their sexual orientation will make them react differently in the same set of circumstances.
I would like to agree and disagree. Because, you know, I can't do anything easy-like. I agree that you can't write two people the same and have it seem realistic but I think this has as much or more to do with their overarching personality type than it does their sexuality. You have a gregarious, flirty and completely straight woman hit on by a woman and they might react quite well, though ultimately to let the person flirting with them down. You have an aggressive, antisocial, hostile straight woman and put her in the same situation and she's almost guaranteed to act differently.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
This is not the way it works all the time (ie Leliana's relationship with Marjolaine, comes up with both genders in the course of the romance - however it is left open to interpretation exactly what the relationship between them was).
I pretty much agree with this and would like to point out that Marjolaine is a non-romanceable NPC that doesn't cleave to stereotypes of sexuality. But then she seems to use sexuality as a weapon as willingly as a bow or blade.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Very true. Though I will say that the one or two exceptions both occur in EU (in a game and novels) and not in top level canon for the Star Wars universe. The main SW universe has been purely heterosexual (and very tamely so too).
If you claim accidental incestuous attraction to be tame, I guess. But I do see your point.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Reality would suggest that there are non-heterosexual people in the SW universe, and probably even creatures and beings who don't fall into our neat categories of sexual orientation and gender expression (aliens who have no sexes, for example, or who have more than two sexes) - but this reality thing... lets not bother with that, right? It is fiction, after all. (Sorry, I had to... I meant it as a light hearted tease, not to be insulting or anything - but you can't argue against reality on the one hand, then for it on the other. Besides which, an argument against reality could be used to justify no homosexuals just as much as it could be used to justify all bisexuals.)
<sighs> I wasn't arguing reality on that point, so your light-hearted jibe is misplaced. Whether those examples of LGBT content are top-level canon or not isn't relevant because we're talking about a game that's not top-level canon. I was arguing current, confirmed Star Wars canon material - not movie-canon, but still canon.

In any case you're taking the opinion that I was arguing against reality in its totality earlier, which I was not doing, at any point, ever. I'm pointing out that there are assumptions being made due to interaction with our world that may not be applicable, and saying they're anything but assumption is inaccurate.

That's my issue. Right there. People making assumptions and claiming them to be 100% undeniably accurate - which I have seen people do on both sides of the fence in this thread (though mainly, I have to say, on the 'no-SGRAs' side). They're not. Only Bioware: Austin can say what's 100% accurate in the canon of SWTOR - and because that's the canon we're all actually talking about, that's the canon we should be heeding. Not top-level canon, because SWTOR will never fully cleave to movie-canon.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
They need to be careful to write the characters in such a way as to be realistic and relatable, and that means taking into account whether or not their writing can overcome some people's inability to overlook the meta aspects of PCsexual LIs.
But they can't. That's the thing. They can't overcome that in everyone, and can't even begin to predict what will set some people off. Yes, it's the conundrum they face, but what some people find 'realistic' will vary from other people's opinions of 'realistic', and that's completely avoiding the 'relatable' angle (which is a lot stickier).

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Well I agree with them in principle. If you're going to write the same character as being attracted to PCs of both genders, then unless you're writing them from the ground up as bisexual, you have to effectively write two separate characters. Lesbian Kira won't behave the same way as straight Kira, there will be differences both subtle and obvious - they will have slightly different backgrounds, because they would have had different prior relationships (of both the romantic and non-romantic kind), therefore different experiences, and therefore they'd be different people (with some similarities, of course, but nurture does effect who we are as much as nature). If you don't do this, if you just change the pronouns in the romance? That's bad writing and bad character design.
That's an opinion. It's not even necessarily one I disagree with, but it is an opinion. Currently in the game Kira's reactions are only of minimal and temporary difference if you perform overtly Dark Side acts or do stuff she really dislikes and even then you can give her a couple of companion items and make it all better. How believable or relatable is that? If they go the mid-ground and give a few differing lines of dialogue for straight-Kira than for gay-Kira than for bi-Kira then they won't be short-changing SGRAs in comparison to LS-DS reactions in the slightest.

I agree it needs more than simple pronoun changes, but I don't agree that it needs to be from-scratch character building, particularly because people often find their personality types colour their sexuality (sometimes heavily) in terms of desirable/undesirable encounters.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Most of them react rather defensively when you tell them no too, no matter how polite you are about it.
Nobody likes rejection, I guess.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Of course not. I'd rather see a more concentrated number of bisexuals and characters with individual sexual orientations than an entire cast of PCsexuals, though.
Me too. I'd prefer there were dozens of potential companions, particularly if it wasn't a given that you could get them all (or, even better, occasionally were forced to choose). An unpopular opinion, maybe, but I'd love that additional interaction. 'Samara or Morinth? You choose.' Loved it.
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Kioma's Avatar


Kioma
07.27.2012 , 09:10 PM | #525
See what happens when you don't talk to us, BW:A? You get two Australians posting huge posts to one another on the nature of narrative construction and human behaviour.
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NRVNQSR's Avatar


NRVNQSR
07.29.2012 , 08:31 AM | #526
what a horrible outcome?

Tatile's Avatar


Tatile
07.29.2012 , 08:59 AM | #527
Quote: Originally Posted by NRVNQSR View Post
what a horrible outcome?
At least they're not going to get teen pregnant?

wainot-keel's Avatar


wainot-keel
07.29.2012 , 10:39 AM | #528
Quote: Originally Posted by MusedMoose View Post
I'm sorry if this seems nitpicky, but how do you know? BioWare hasn't said what companions will be available for SGRs, let alone how SGRs will be handled. It's possible all current love interests will be available to PCs of both genders, it's possible they won't. As far as I know, BW hasn't said anything either way.

If they have said something, and that's what you're basing your statement on, please, provide a link because I know lots of us want to know.
Apologies if my statement of "they won't go the all bisexual route" was too assertive. I was just infering that from some the quotes from devs I remember ( or I think I remeber, my mind can play tricks on me )
I think they said, at some point during this year, that "some" of the current companions will be available for SGRs.
I might have missread or decontextualized that phrase. Just dismiss my opinion on this matter, since I hope I'm totally wrong about it

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
@wainot-keel

Also, I wasn't meaning to be insulting with the whining and the crying, because I don't hold myself above everyone else. I know I can whine and cry with the best of them, and I did when it was revealed a certain character in ME3 was not bisexual (while her male counterpart was).
It's ok. But the problem is the context those word are used. 99% of the time those shed a negative light upon the person who's making a complaint or asking for sometihng. That notion is always there, even if you don't mean exactly that.

------------------------

@Kioma already addressed most of your points, but I'd still like to add something.


Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
Re: Exclusive romances.
This is more to do with realism than anything else. It's not realistic for every romancable character to be available and open to both genders. That is not how it works in reality.
I find it interesting that of all the many "unrealistic" things that happens in a fantasy game, only the availabilty of romances to either gender has to comply some arbitrary idea of "reality"
It's "unrealistic" that a person will fall in love with someone regardless of morals, looks, ethics, race, religion, species..... This happens in the game and no one seems to be raising their concerns over "reality". Why a gender check has to be made and not many other things ?


Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post
A bisexual person is not the same as a lesbian or a gay or even a straight person,
I don't understand what you mean by this.

For me, the only difference between a gay man and a straight one is which gender is the people they like to have sex with, be emotianally attached to. That's all. I won't assume anything else beyond that.

Say Steve Cortez in ME3. What if instead of "husband" in his lines it was "wife" ? What would have changed for you ? Nothing for me. He would still be the same smart, sweet guy who's grieving the loss of a loved one.

Quote: Originally Posted by Zandilar View Post

(Another thing to note: PCsexual usually turns out to be the same dialogue with different pronouns, which is the main issue people have with PCsexual characters, why they say they're not realistic. This is the bad writing they were talking about at the guild summit.)
Let's say you like Kira's romance with a male Jedi. You say it's well written. What makes it a good writing ? What is actually written or the lack of a "female" version of that romance ?

Some people don't find engaging homosexuals romances, others don't find engaging straight ones. If a writer manages to write a romance that's equally enjoyable and satisfying for some from first bunch as well as for some from the second bunch, how is that bad writing ? I could even say it's good writing.

I think this has to do more with "gender-blindness" in a game, as an approach to writing than specifically a "romance" issue, but that's another whole discussion.

Captain_Zone's Avatar


Captain_Zone
07.29.2012 , 11:31 AM | #529
Quote: Originally Posted by Kioma View Post
See what happens when you don't talk to us, BW:A? You get two Australians posting huge posts to one another on the nature of narrative construction and human behaviour.
Now kiss, make up, and send pictures.
. OPOD
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Darth_Gao_Gao
07.29.2012 , 01:00 PM | #530
i've been watching and participating in this thread since it started.

i'm honestly amazed it is still alive, as i left the forums for many moons.

all i have to say is, are you people serious? while i support you, i just don't understand how you have any hopes for anything. with the recent drop in subs, and its implication for the future, do you honestly think they will spend the time to implement same gendered romance to storylines that people will likely be able to play for free once the financial facts are realized?

do you honestly think that in between firing literally everyone, that there is really a team working hard to write this specific dialogue? i'm sure there are people workign on "writing":, but all we will see of their work is in receiving HK47, and some bad planet dialogue for the next "great expansion".

i'm sure my doom and gloom won't break your commitment to seeing this, but i honestly feel bad for anyone who still has any hope for this. i "hope" i'm wrong.