It's Not Star Wars Without Slavery, Torture, And Forced Voyeurism?

Meet Vette. She's the loyal Twi'lek companion character to my Star Wars: The Old Republic Sith Warrior. Or at least she'd better be, if she knows what's good for her. Beware, spoilers ahead.

Vette is my character's slave, gifted to him by his dark master. She comes complete with a convenient high voltage shock collar, allowing me to administer harsh punishment should she speak or act in a manner unbefitting her station. I torture her. I tease her. I belittle her in front of others. On one occasion I even made her watch as I had sexual relations with the wife of a slain enemy.

If my actions seem disturbing to you, rest assured I was even more disturbed to find myself performing them.

I first learned of Vette's sad habit of being regularly tortured into submission during my time with my first Sith Warrior character in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Following my own natural tendencies it never occurred to me to deliver punishment unto this perky, spirited alien. She seemed like the sort of person it would be nice to have at my side; that I could coerce her to do so never registered as an option for me.

Then I made it to Dromund Kaas, the capital of the Sith Empire, where all post level 10 characters on the Empire's side travel to continue their progression. General chat would regularly be filled with other Sith Warriors discussing how poorly they treated Vette. They boasted of her low opinion of them, negative numbers on the game's companion friendship scale.

I checked my own; it was more than a positive 1,000.

It was too late for me to begin a course of Vette abuse. The shock collar had come off upon her first request. Instead, I made another Sith Warrior, and he showed me just how dark the Dark Side can be.

Slavery is nothing new in the Star Wars universe, of course, and neither is torture. Many a young man or woman has fantasized about what went on between Leia becoming Jabba the Hutt's slave girl and the eventual rescue. Not me, mind you. I was a good lad. *cough* lies*cough*

I don't recall a scene in any of the movies or books in which one character was forced to watch another have sex with someone. I don't claim to have read all of the available material, but this seems to fall squarely in the realm of naughty fan fiction.

I'd like to think it was to my credit that every time I mistreated Vette I felt truly bad. I wanted nothing more than to pat her on the head, tell her she was doing a bang-up job, and hey, let's toss this silly shock collar out of the air lock at our earliest convenience. There was no perverse pleasure here; simply a growing knot in my stomach that remains there even now.

I cannot remember a single video game experience that has made me feel quite as dirty and evil as my relationship with Vette has. I wish I could take it all back, but it's too late; BioWare has made me hate myself. That was not the emotional engagement I was looking for.


Comments

    I'm wondering if it's necessary to treat her badly for game purposes or if that's just the automatic/peer-pressured response for anyone playing as Empire/Sith.

    I mean if you feel badly about it, why do it? I know that last line was a throwaway play on a Star Wars quote, but it felt very dismissive, as though Fahey is criticising the game for making him feel bad.

      I'm playing as a Sith Warrior myself and I'm very much in the positives with Vette yet currently sitting at Dark Side 3 (almost 4) affiliation.

      Vette disapproves of any "mean" things you do, but you can easily regain that approval but choosing certain options in dialouge trees (she likes it when you ask to be paid for a job or talk back to Darth Baras, which I find myself doing more and more hehe).

      As far as I'm aware, it doesn't actually have any influence on her performance in the game (aside from any romantic side story you want to create). If there's a Mass Effect 2 suicide mission style quest though is yet to be seen. It might influence the chance of success in crafting perhaps?

        Having higher affection from a companion character unlocks extra dialogues with them on your ship (which are good XP) and eventually unlocks extra quests you can do for them, relationships etc. I believe that it also reduces the amount of time needed to craft things slightly.

        You can flip the system on its head though, by showering the companion you don't like with appropriate gifts. Every companion has a few specific gift item types they like, and giving them those increases their affection quite quickly up to a point depending on the rank of the gift (eg once you reach 2000 affection, rank 1 gifts become 50% less effective). Whichever 'mission' crew skill you pick, the easiest way to level it up quickly is crafting gifts, so you'll probably have a fair few of them.

        On topic, I played a Sith Warrior during the beta and didn't feel at all interested in mistreating Vette, but was thoroughly dark regardless. You don't have to wander around being an insane cackling evil troll to everyone to get Dark points. Hell, I remember quite clearly playing KotOR2 and having Kreia complain if you were a dick to everyone, because that's not the Dark Side, it's just being a dick.

    Apparently if you shock her enough she goes almost brain dead or takes a vow of silence and says nothing more...

    Its remarkable how much Bioware can make you feel for a texture and strings of code.

      Indeed, BioWare have done an awesome job with making me actually care for my companions.

      Also, even though I love my Jedi Guardian... I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of the devilish fun these Sith people are getting to have. :L

      How interesting, I'm playing through the whole thing with my mate and we always end up talking about how uninteresting and lifeless our companions are, not to mention how inconsequential every choice in the game is. Of special note is choosing insulting dialogue with npcs only to have them continiously ignore it/respond as though you're quite amiable in order for the quest to continue.

    Still waiting for that chance to court my female companions a a female Bioware! :D

    The writer writes about making Vette watch as you have sex as if it's something actually seen onscreen. It isn't. It's alluded to on the dialogue wheel and that's it. If you choose the option you lose some affection points with her. You don't actually see it.

      Thank god if fox news found out I don't know what would happen

    *sigh* Yet another individual who is not helping the video game industry by being reactionary. You have a choice, you don't have to torture Vette (I successfully romanced her) yet it is written like all this mistreatment is compulsory to gameplay? This article is now on the forbes website, and is not helping with the public's perception of videogames or gamers. I'm very disturbed by the fact that the writer of this article WOULD ACTIVELY SEEK to harm a character just for the sake of having something to b*tch about. The media of Videogames is young and does not deserved to be censored, yet this article incites sensationalism and seems to try to invoke fear. Why Kotaku? I thought you where cooler than this.

      " Following my own natural tendencies it never occurred to me to deliver punishment unto this perky, spirited alien. She seemed like the sort of person it would be nice to have at my side; that I could coerce her to do so never registered as an option for me."

      to me he's made it very clear that to treat the slave like crap, or even treat her like a slave at all is a choice the player makes. But then I'm probably better at interpreting this kind of thing then your average fox news viewer.

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