Friday, February 28, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan

I disagree with Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon writer Lucien Soulban, an openly gay developer, who states that he doesn’t believe that there will be any gay leads [in the AAA space] for a while.

There is both a cultural and industry renaissance happening that could usher this into a reality a lot faster than many might expect. Gay rights is on the rise in America, from approved gay marriages sweeping from state to state, to the most recent vetoing of the homophobic (I call them as I see them) bill SB 1062 which tried to permit religious business owners to deny employment to gay individuals because of their sexual orientation.

The presence of gay individuals has also firmly planted itself in the public eye; from politicians such as Mike Michaud, to athletes such as Jason Collins who wore a 98 jersey in memory of slain gay college student Mathew Shepard, to entertainers such as Ellen Page who recently came out.

The game’s industry in some respects reflects the ebb and flow of the culture in which they are developed in; and with the recognition of gay rights on the rise, this is inevitable. But the catalyst here is the indie scene which has boomed in recent years from Steam, to Sony’s long standing support on PSN, to Microsoft’s aggressive push for indie support.

There are plenty of games for the LBGT community from Mainichi to My Ex-boyfriend The Space Tyrant. But with GOTY awarded Gone Home boldly marking the presence of a homosexual lead, and the reveal of a certain character from another GOTY awarded title as being gay, I’m hopeful that the indie and “left field” striking developers will yank this into normalcy, and away from just having gay characters adding color to an ensemble cast of characters.

Now if we can just see Black, Hispanic, Asian, plus-sized, and disabled leads, everyone will be happy. 

Writer's note: Minor correction in the statements from Lucien Soulban.

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