How Dragon Age II Helped One Young Gamer Come To Terms With Coming Out Of The Closet

When we get mired in arguing over whether or not games are harmful to impressionable young players, it's easy to forget that sometimes, they can be amazingly inspirational, or even helpful.

The BioWare blog regularly runs interviews with the writers, producers, and artists who make their games. This week, Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic senior writer Jennifer Hepler was on deck. When asked about one of her proudest moments working in game development, Hepler came back with a touching answer:

[U]ltimately, I decided that love and passion were human universals and I was going to write the male-male romance as romantically as the female one. When the game came out, we got a letter from a fan, a young man who was coming to terms with the realisation that he was gay. He said that he had never seen a gay romance portrayed positively, and he was terrified that he was never going to be able to fall in love or have a meaningful relationship with anyone. He was considering killing himself, he said, until he played the Anders romance — it was the first time he had seen anyone portray a gay relationship as genuinely romantic and loving, and now he was going to devote the rest of his life to finding that kind of passion... That was an amazing moment for me, because it showed that the characters we create in these games really do have a genuine effect on people, even if it's just a few of them. Just because we're making games, it doesn't always has to be "just a game."

As for details about the next game? Dragon Age 3 continues to remain the worst-kept secret in the video game industry. Hepler mentions that she's working on a game that is "at the end of pre-production and beginning of production," without once mentioning what the game actually is.

Interview with Senior Writer Jennifer Hepler [BioWare blog]


Comments

    Anders is pretty much considered gay to every single player, so why would they bother giving female Shepar- I mean Hawkes the option to romance him?

      Sexuality isn't binary, it exists on a continuum.

      Anders might be bisexual. Or he could be fully gay, except he is straight for a particular person (Hawke). Sexuality is difficult to categorize, all we know is anders like boys, and (some) girls.

      Never saw the Anders gay thing, still don't think they intended it in Awakening. Meh past caring now.

    Please tell me these blasted pandering phase is goign to die out, I can't stand it much more.

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      Firstly you have a pretty cool name, i am kind of mad that i didn't think of it actually. Secondly, this post is definetly trolling guys, its probably better not to start a flame war with people like this. The fact that his amazingly terrible comment got this many replies shows that he was successful in his goal to make people angry. Just hit that report button makes it easier for everyone.

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    Shame such a heart warming story will likely be used as ammunition by 1 million mums.

    Seeing all those deleted posts I'm a little afraid to say anything not positive... But what is practically confirmation of Helper's role in DAIII makes me horribly sad, even though it was a given. Ah well, long since lost interest in the franchise beyond reading about it every now and then. It's good to finally have reached the acceptance stage regarding Bioware :D

    Bioware obviously isn't making games for my demographic anymore. If they want to be be the game company for the LGBT community, so be it. They'll just be $60 USD poorer when they release their new games. (and it started with Dragon Age 2 for me)

      I don't see how making all the Love Interests bisexual means the game "isn't for your demographic."

      BioWare aren't MAKING you have a gay romance. They're simply making it possible for all players, of all sexualities, to have their PC lay whatever Love Interests the player desires.

      As I see it, this pretty much covers all the bases... straight guys can have their Hawke bang an opposite-sex love interest (or same-sex if they play as f!Hawke), straight girls can have their Hawke bang an opposite-sex love interest (or same-sex if they play as m!Hawke), gay people of both sexes can enjoy a same-sex love interest, etcetera.

      How does this make BioWare games "for gay people"? It seems to me BioWare are really trying to make games for people of all sexual preferences, hence implementing as much Love Interest flexibility as possible. If Player X, of sexual preference Y, can lay Love Interest Z no matter what gender their Player Character is, that benefits EVERYBODY (including straight people).

      The mere PRESENCE of the OPTION to engage in a same-sex romance hardly means the game "isn't for you." That's like saying the PRESENCE of the OPTION to engage in mass-murder means the game is for mass-murderers.

      Personally, I think BioWare's decisions to provide as many different relationship options as possible is a good business strategy that meshes well with their core design philosophy; PLAYER CHOICE.

    My issue with the romances wasn't that there where gay ones, it was that every damn character wanted to jump you, and if you said no they lost friendship, I'd be happier if they decided that some were gay, some strait, and some bi... Thats how the real world is.

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