Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Torment Post x7 Combo: The Queer Thing II

Stomachache. Can't sleep. Posting more. Gonna pay hell for this tomorrow.

Result of my last post: Even bigger storm of shit, this time, with constant troll comments, promotions of child rape as a valid alternative (one of the pro-pedophilia people seems to be actually serious), and much, much more.

The devs responded to that post with:
You might be interested in these thoughts on the Ninth World by Shanna Germain (editor of the Numenera game):
They gave it a "Status: Considering" (the Race post got a "Planned").

The tl;dr from that link:
Sex, of course, is another matter all to itself. The sexuality of Ninth World humans is as varied as you might expect. Same-sex couples are a seamless part of the world, as are those with a wide range of sexual interests. Yet, not all sexuality is portrayed in a positive light, because again, that wouldn’t be true to the human sexuality as we know it. Sometimes sex is used for nefarious purposes, and you can expect some of that in the game as well.
On the whole, I find this encouraging, though imperfect. In other words, we'll have to wait and see... though honestly, at this point, I'm going to be on the lookout for gay characters actually IN the game.

One of the main things I've had to point out in comments is the sheer number of "obviously straight" people; including most of the main cast of the original game, and many NPCs, "obviously straight" by virtue of being in opposite-sex relationships or expressing opposite-sex desires. (To be fair, some of them may be bisexual, but I'm not going to assume THAT much.)

Many of the commentors seem to think all gays SHOULD be invisible, and if they're visible, it's pandering (and the bad kind of pandering, no less). There's a whole lot to deal with there. Most of the dissenters are trolls, though I've been engaging the ones who just appear to be flagrantly misunderstanding.

(I've also been engaging some of the trolls. Not gonna lie.)

Also, a funny side note....

Of the the three big game creators who have great track records of allowing queer people to exist in their worlds, two of them are big-game companies (Bioware & Bethesda).

The third... is another old-school game company, Obsidian, and they ALSO did a kickstarter a while back for an old-school-style RPG called "Project Eternity". This game is actually run by the original creator of Planescape:Torment. Their concept art shows at least one character who isn't white, and in the last game they did (Fallout: New Vegas) two of the most important characters in the game were gay (and one was a man - yes, that makes a difference, unfortunately).

...I'm starting to get tempted to back that RPG too, with their 'slacker backer' option. Because even though I'm not sure if there were many/any background gay characters (I am certain there were background straight characters, because there always are), that's still a damn good track record.

(I'll probably eventually buy that game regardless... but choosing the backer option is about making a point, if only to myself.)

EDIT: The marvelous Shanna Germain came to respond in person! See her comment in the comment trail.


Shanna Germain said...

Hey Jake,

Interesting thoughts on what you're hoping for in the game!

I can say that there are a number of GLBT, non-sexual, and intersex characters (and couples) in the tabletop game. Not because we're pandering or making a point, but because we're making a real world (as odd as that is to say, considering it's a far-future science-fantasy world) and that, to me, means diversity in all its forms.

All the best, s.

Jake Jesson said...


Wow, thank you for your comment! I was fairly surprised to get it. =]

That sounds... basically fantastic in every way.

And yes, marvelously realistic, too. I'm used to not getting that sort of realism in the stories I read, so it's even more excellent to hear that.

Not gonna lie, I'm particularly excited for Numenera because of this!

My worry about the Torment game remains: that they'll say "well, queer people exist... we just happened to not put any in, at least none who are actually visible. Hey, maybe some asexual-in-practice NPC might be gay!"

...and meanwhile there are dozens, if not more, obviously or aggressively straight characters.

(The Dumbledore approach. Not that I don't love Dumbledore.)

But at least I can rest assured that that won't apply in the tabletop game. :)

Thank you again for your awesome reply! And thank you, sincerely, for giving a shit about this. It's pretty damn rare, even amongst my favorite writers/creators.