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]