Responding to requests from Kickstarter backers, Double Fine has elected to include same-sex relationships in its upcoming dynastic tactics title, Massive Chalice.
Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, project lead Brad Muir charmingly copped to self-described “hetero privilege” in not even having thought of the possibility before backers took to Double Fine’s forums to raise the issue.
Muir sounded thankful that the game is being crowdfunded at such an early stage, rather than later in development, because the developer now has the chance to implement backer requests.
“You sign the deal, you go underground, you start working on the game, you don’t talk to the community or anybody, and you get so focused on all these other aspects of the game. Just making it work – and all the tactical combat and mechanical things,” he said.
“We might just overlook something like same-sex coupling all the way until we announce the game. And then people say, ‘Hey, what about gay marriage?’ And we’re like, ‘Fuck,’ because we’ve already worked on it for more than a year.”
Instead Double Fine has time work out the intricacies of implementing same-sex relationships. Since Massive Chalice has players managing heroic bloodlines, the question of how same-sex couples fot in is a knotty one. Muir said he’s considered having same-sex couples contribute to society in other ways, or be able to foster children. One other solution – my personal favourite – is to just be a bit vague about the whole thing.
“The other option is to be less explicit about it. Maybe these aren’t marriages. Maybe you’re just retiring two heroes in the same keep,” he said.
“Because I really like it when more procedural, systemic games allow the player to kind of use their imagination a little more to fill in the gaps of what’s actually happening.”
Oh, how I will use my imagination.
Muir also noted that a traditional publisher might not have been keen on the potentially controversial issue, and he would have been stuck spouting a ‘super shitty PR company line’ on the subject, which would siappoint gay players.
“I want the game to be inclusive. I don’t think that hurts anyone,” he concluded.
“If you as a gamer feel like you’re more represented in this thing, that’s only gonna deepen your personal story. I really like emergent story stuff, and I think that only stands to improve emotional connections to these heroes. That’s only gonna be a good thing.”
Massive Chalice was fully funded within days of launching its Kickstarter campaign.