The Struggles Of A Gay XCOM Scientist

It's hard enough finding enough major characters who aren't white in games, let alone people who aren't straight. So it's interesting to see how 2K is handling the inclusion of a homosexual character in upcoming shooter XCOM.

As is becoming customary at the Canberra studio where XCOM is in development, 2K Marin Australia have snuck an Aussie character into the game (there was an Australian engineer in BioShock, if you remember), in this case the brilliant scientist Dr. Weir.

Working as a foreigner in the paranoid America of the early Cold War years would be bad enough, but the character is also gay.

"Weir is an Australian," says 2K's Jordan Thomas. "He's not a citizen of the States, although he came there to study particle accelerators, and already found himself an outsider on that grounds alone simply because of the paranoia of foreigners that was prevalent in the mid-century."

"But on top of that, he is also a closeted homosexual. He has both a sexual and a political opposition to the elite of the country, which are still very conservative —very focused on America as the best and the brightest—and he doesn't fit their paradigm. It is hard for them to acknowledge that one of the best scientists in the world is, in their minds, deviant. So he's struggled with that for a long time."

"But all of sudden this alien invasion hits and they need him and they have to put it aside. But then you see those tensions come to bear in the base. There are characters who don't like working with him. They are people of their time. And so you'll see different positions represented amongst the core cast. But he is —he is a man with true grit. He's able to weather it pretty well, and the player kind of gets to decide where they fall on that continuum. You can basically decide how to treat him."

It's not the kind of game you'd expect to see a stand taken for gay video game characters, especially one so "realistic" in its tone and portrayal, but it's a welcome one nonetheless.

E3 '11: Interview: Jordan Thomas On XCOM And Homosexuality [GayGamer]


Comments

    I personally like diversity amongst characters in video games. Makes it more interesting.

    I like this. if it's done respectfully and if his homosexuality is represented just as who he is and not in a cliche "hello daaaahling I'm flaming"' way, then I think this is truly progressive for videogames and how they handle topics like this. Having the protagonist sexuality decideable by the player is one thing but having to react towards someone based on theirs is a bold step forwards. Again, hope it's handled well. Bravo.

    Good luck to them. From that brief write up, he sounds like a pretty solid character.

    "Work for a secret government department, stop alien invasions, save the world, one question will there be anal probes?"

    I'd heard about this in one of the previews.

    Sounds like a neat way to bring in the McCarthy era paranoia as well.

    Shit, I now have a completely facetious reason to buy this.

    Sounds like they just copy and pasted Alan Turing.

    Nice work, the medium of gaming has alot of potential, glad to see it being put to use.

    So... wait. He's 'closeted' right? So then how do other people around the base know he's gay? Are they just treating him badly because he's foreign? Is there a mission briefing where everyone starts bringing up who they slept with over the weekend?

    As sort of a side note, I think it would have been better for them to create this character just the same way, but then *not* focus on him being gay and *not* parade the character out to the press and whatnot. Just let it kind of be there for the player to notice or not notice. It is what it is; no big deal.

    I get that it's not common in games and they feel the need to stand up and say "Hey, look what we did!"... it just isn't hitting me right I guess

    Kind of reminds me of that episode of SCRUBS where Turk gets mad cause the hospital is using his image in all its advertising.

      I didn't get out of this at all what you're saying there. You're saying they're parading it, I'm getting the feeling this is a sidebar mention.

      Maybe it IS a case of his situation still being kept under wraps. I've worked in a workplace where people are in the closet and rumors abound, to their detriment at times.

      All we're going on is assumption and you just took not a step, but a giant leap of assumption there...

        You're right, I did misunderstand the article. I had been reading multiple articles at the same time and got a bit lost when it came to the context of this particular one as a result.
        I wrote my comment quickly, thinking this was another press-release/presentation type thing when it wasn't that at all. I had intended to come back and 'reply' to my comment to back off a bit, but alas... I browse Kotaku from work and got a bit busy/distracted...

        As is obvious to anyone paying full attention (not me apparently), the context is that it was an interview conducted by GayGamer... so obviously it was relevant and likely an answer to a direct/focused bit of interviewing. (not able to read the source interview from work so just assuming... again ;-P)

        So yeah, my bad, totally. I need to try and not be so rushed to pop my comments out when I'm too busy to actually stop and re-read/verify perceptions. Sorry bout that

    Good for them. I really couldn't care less that one of their characters is gay. Could be interesting story-wise, but otherwise its irrelevant to the gameplay.

    What I want to know is why they are still calling this absolute crapbasket an Xcom game?
    It's the same situation as the Uncharted movie being about an antiqity crime family dealing out justice.
    It's just not Xcom.

    I don't understand why 2K Games thinks that making a fictional character an Aberrosexual, i.e., someone that behaves in a sexually aberrant, unnatural, or biologically incorrect way, will somehow draw attention to their video game. If it does, it's certainly undeserved, contrived, and ill-gained. After all, these are fictional characters.

    Nevertheless, it follows the patterns of the Aberrosexualist agenda, which is to force the view that sexually aberrant behavior is something to be celebrated onto those who disagree. That is to say, the very sexual behavior that shortens the average lifespan of a homosexual man to 40 years. Since the average age of most gamers is 20-years of age, that means any homosexual gamer over 20-years of age playing "XCOM" will be past middle-age!

    What's there to celebrate?

    Feel free to come back to reality any time, guys!

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