Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider has replied to a post on the DAII forums, which accuses BioWare of not catering to the “straight male gamer,” but instead providing “exotic” choices catering more to – in his opinion – homosexuals and females instead of focusing “on making sure male gamers were happy.”
The poster apparently had issue with only given Isabella and Merrill as the only female options.
Here’s a blurb: “I felt like most of the companions were designed to appeal to other groups foremost, Anders and Fenris for gays and Aveline for women given the lack of strong women in games, and that for the straight male gamer, a secondary concern.
“When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don’t mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call “exotic” choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can’t make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren’t even going for an option most males will like. And the fact is, they could have. They had the resources to add another romance option, but instead chose to implement a gay romance with Anders.”
In response, Gaider said the romance options in the game are created for everyone’s taste, not just a select demographic, meaning the romance partners were designed to appeal to the majority of folks purchasing the game.
“The romances in the game are not for ‘the straight male gamer’,” he said. “They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The ‘rights’ of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent ‘right’ to get more options than anyone else.
“The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all… Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.
“And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.”
In Dragon Age: Origins, there were four optional romance partners: Morrigan and Alistair for heterosexual couplings, and Leliana along with Zevran are the bisexual romance options.
At least in DAII there was one extra option.