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Old Republic devs to segregate same gender relationships to one gay planet

As Bioware prepares to make Star Wars: The Old Republic free to play, adding same-gender relationships to the game is proving a difficult and controversial endeavor.
Swtor sgr 01 15 2013Enlarge
A man dressed up as Princess Leia from the Star Wars movies arrives at the annual Mother City Queer Project Party, at Cape Town Stadium, on December 15, 2012, in Cape Town, South Africa. The party is aimed at gays and lesbians, and heterosexual people, who are sympathetic to homosexual issues, who all like to dress up for a costume ball. This year the theme of the party is Fairytale Fantasy. The MCQP is part of a week of gay and lesbian celebration, and activism, in the city. (Rodger Bosch /AFP/Getty Images)

Anyone in the know can tell you that Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) was one of the biggest massively multiplayer online (MMO) flops of the decade.

But is that about to change?

SWTOR is getting some new exposure after changing the game to a free-to-play model and allowing for same-sex relationships between characters in the game.

Bioware, the developers of SWTOR, are well known for their open-minded approach to sexuality in previous games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. But same-gender relationships were conspicuously absent from SWTOR. Now the developers are having to allow for all characters to enter into same gender romances. That could take a lot of coding. 

“I realize that we promised [same-gender relationships] to you guys and that many of you believed that this would be with a companion character. Unfortunately, this will take a lot more work than we realized at the time and it (like some other pieces of content we talked about earlier in the year) has been delayed as we focused on the changes required to take the game Free-to-Play,” wrote executive producer Jeff Hickman in post to a developers' blog

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Gay characters in SWTOR will only be allowed to look for love on one planet — Makeb. What some are referring to as a segregation of homosexual and heterosexual characters is starting to draw a negative response from players. 

Players argued the point in a 49 page thread entitled “I do not agree with the inclusion of SGRs.” SWTOR community support was quick to remind players that discussion on the SWTOR forums must be limited to the game and not expand into political and social issues. 

Players appear split on the decision to include SGRs into the game. 

“I personally don't care either way, but would like to see it added for those folks that desire it. It is a staple of Bioware and should have been in at launch,” wrote one player in a forum thread.

It was unclear if some other opponents were specifically opposed to homosexuality or same-sex marriage, since the forum’s moderation policy limits the extent of their speech. 

“Not sure what else I should type here to stay within the rules other than I suggest that other needs be prioritized ahead of SGRs,” wrote the original poster of the thread. 

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As producer Hickman noted, implementing same-gender relationships into the game has made for yet another hiccup in an MMO plagued by bugs in the past.

But soon, it will be free to play. Will it be laid to rest in the MMO graveyard, or experience a boom in its player base?
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-grid/old-republic-segregate-same-gender-SWTOR-Makeb-gay-planet

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