Homophobia and bigotry may run rampant on Xbox Live, but game designer Robert Yang is optimistic about the present and future of LGBT issues in the gaming industry.
Speaking during the Rants session of the Games for Change conference in New York Tuesday, Yang gave a brief talk about the experimental, gay-themed games he's been working on.
"Only recently I've been making games about gay people," Yang said. He's been working on a series of games called Radiator that tackle gay issues in experimental ways. One idea, for example, is all about gay divorce. ("Gay marriage is out of fashion," Yang joked. "So 2011.")
Although it's a first-person shooter, "you don't actually shoot anything in this game," Yang said. "You just kinda sit in a marriage therapist's office in Fresno, California and stare at your husband as he complains about how inconsiderate you are."
Other ideas included a first-person shooter where players would shoot condoms of varying size at mens' "bulges" in order to protect them, he said.
Yang, who calls himself "a game designer and practicing homosexual", points to BioWare as one example of a development studio that supports progressive issues. In BioWare's Mass Effect, your main character, whether a he or a she, can become romantically involved with both males and females.
Yang called BioWare "a really great vanguard" for LGBT issues, perhaps a play on the Mass Effect class Vanguard.
"A more diverse gaming culture is a healthier gaming culture," he said. "Of course we could do better... maybe a triple-A game with a transgender protagonist, or maybe in Mass Effect 4 you'll be able to sleep with like 20 dudes. I dunno."