EA have responded to, what appears to be, “several thousand” anti-gay letters that are protesting against the inclusion of same-sex relationships in two of their latest titles, that’s according to gamesindustry.biz.
The games in question come in the form of Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Both games allow the player the option to pursue relationships with other characters if they like, but now it seems EA are under pressure from members of the gaming/extended gaming community to remove same-sex relationships from their titles. With portions of the BioWare/EA forums filling up with anti-gay threads, EA are eager to point out that they won’t tolerate “hate speech” – even in the face of those angered promising to boycott future titles:
“EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums”.
What’s arguably more worrying is the response from the The Family Research Council – who is rumoured to have started the campaign to remove the content. The US based council claims to have “advanced faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion” since 1983. This of course proves to be nothing but a mask for their ignorance once you read their verdict on the same-sex content:
In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists! Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. In a galaxy not so far far away, Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side. The new video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has added a special feature: gay relationships. Bioware, the company that developed the game, said it’s launching a same-sex romance component to satisfy some complaints. That surprised a lot of gamers, since Bioware had made it clear in 2009 that “gay” and “lesbian” don’t exist in the Star Wars universe. Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news, but parents sure aren’t. On the game’s website, there are more than 300 pages of comments–a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking. You can join them by logging on and speaking up. It’s time to show companies who the Force is really with!
The inclusion of such content and freedoms means that we, as an industry, are making steps towards a united future; a future that isn’t bogged down with bigotry and mindless hate, a future that doesn’t punish you for being yourself and a future that we want to be part of. If the future was to offer anything less, then I think we should all be ashamed of ourselves.