As video games continue to search for their voice and place in cultural relevancy, they tackle new subjects and issues facing contemporary society. Ten years ago, the world was an entirely different place, especially in terms of LGBTQ acceptance. Joystiq recently learned that in 2003's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the inclusion of a lesbian character had to be hidden from developer BioWare's other employees, including the marketing team. Why? There was fear surrounding the audience's reaction. "I think for a long time, it was just assumed that nobody would accept it," David Gaider, the lead writer for the Canadian developer's Dragon Age series said, speaking at San Francisco's GaymerX convention.
In the decade since KotOR's release, the RPG-house hasn't shied away from such inclusions. In its blockbuster space opera Mass Effect 3, players have the option of pursuing same-sex romances; there are numerous openly gay characters, too. This could have caused some to avoid the multi-million selling series' conclusion, but Gaider said that he thinks there is equal evidence of some people buying the games because of their accepting nature. He posited that as a result, other publishers and developers will likely follow suit because they're "copycats." For the panel's full conversation, read Joystiq's report about the "hump of assumptions" associated with LGBTQ representation in games like The Sims and Jade Empire.