Bioware Needs More Gay – Rantasmo

Rantasmo explores LGBT representation in Bioware games and how claims of “tokenism” aren’t always legit.

About rantasmo

Needs More Gay dissects the highs and lows of gay pop culture with the precision of a dull machete.


  1. I havn’t played Inquisition but Dorian looks dapper as hell, although I am a fan of Errol Flynn.

    As for Mass Effect, Cortez’s scene where you see him listening to his husband’s last message still chokes me up.

  2. Know I’m probably just a voice in the wind here but… Well… My issue with Bioware and its tilt towards gays is that it seems to be perfectly willing to push them down the players throats often to the detriment of actual character development and, sometimes, just poorly written.

    Spoilers ahead!

    For an example of the former let’s look at Mass Effect. If a female player romanced Jacob in the second game then, when they meet up again, instead of finding that Jacob remained faithful to them, waited, or anything of the sort he went off and slept with another woman and had a child with her. That is just insulting to anyone who picked that romance option. Likewise in DAII romancing Fenris is, once again, insulting but for different reasons. Namely because he doesn’t change one bit and remains a mopey and depressed character. I actually ended my romance with him and went for Merril simply because she was actually FUN! This sort of romance issue has plagues Bioware ever since the end of act one of DAII (The exact moment they went downhill. Seriously. You can pinpoint the exact moment). The romances often ring hollow or meaningless or make little sense. When romancing YOUR OWN SISTER seems more viable than some of the romance options simply because she’s one of the few likable characters something is wrong (thank god Bethesda didn’t let that happen). Heck, in DAII if you’re a straight girl your choices are either a terrorist or Sir Mopes-a-lot unless you got the DLC.

    As for its gay/lesbian stuff… The problem is that it seems to switch between ‘interesting’ and ‘insulting’. In my eyes there is no clearer example of this than DA:I. There are only two options for straight men of which one is an NPC who doesn’t get THAT much development outside of the romance. The game outright ignores things like making Leliana romancable if she wasn’t in DA:O in favor of giving female inquisitors up to SIX romancable options of which four are straight and two are lesbian. One of said two lesbian being the same choice for the male inquisitor. This is REALLY backhanded towards male players, especially straight ones, as they only have one option if they want a straight female lover. That’s unlike ME1 (Ashley and Kaiden are straight and Liara is bi), ME2 (three male, three female, and three bi, though gay men do sort of get the shaft), or even DA:O which, not only had one straight girl, one straight guy, and two bi options of both genders, but a full-on BROTHAL and potentially more depending on what the player does in-game. This is EXTREMELY backhanded towards straight male players especially when the game will present the trans character and Sera as being in the right and disagreeing/disliking them for their choice as being in the wrong and making you a bad person. Especially since I hated Sera regardless and basically only kept her around because I believe in trying to recruit everyone.

    I don’t have a problem with gay relationships in game and even liked the one with the shuttle pilot a lot. But I feel that Bioware has gone from being open to those relationships and letting the player decide to being backhanded and heavily pro-gay.

    • I can agree with you on many things you’ve said(especially about Sera which is the only companion in BioWare games that I cannot stand), I can be unsure about others, but one thing I’m a bit shocked about is you mentioning Bethesda.

      To me, Dragon Age II had the weakest characters out of DA and ME games. But I still cared about all of the companions to some extend. With Bethesda games (and it’s true I’m not a big fan of them), I don’t remember caring about a single person I have come across. Those games are huge, and full of stuff to do, sure, but there is just not any interesting person, or any interesting main story-line. “If Bethesda were 100% honest” video summed it up pretty well. So, if I may ask, what great characters did Bethesda create that are actually interesting?

      About Bethany from DAII. At first several play-throughs I disliked having annoying brother as I play as the mage most often. But, with more and more games and different choices and results, I actually thing that Carver is the better, or at least more interesting, character. Sure, he starts like a brat, but if he goes to Grey Wardens he actually becomes good, cheerful, and capable person. He goes from an annoying guy who’s angry on his brother’s large shadow, to a great guy who casts a large shadow on his own. While Bethany actually got colder and a bit hateful as the time went by, no matter if she was with wardens or with circle. To me, the Warden Carver is a better sibling than Bethany ever was. And Merril was good enough for romance, and even Isabel was better than what became of Bethany. I never got why so many people wanted to romance her. But I guess there really isn’t any “viable” romance for straight girl.

      • The Bethesda thing was a typo that I didn’t notice; and I largely agree since the only ones I really cared about were Lydia and that vampire girl from Skyrim and Lydia was only because she’s the first housecarl/companion you’ll likely get. Doesn’t matter regardless. As for Beth vs. Carver, sure. If you like him more, no problem from me.

        • I don’t know how it is in Fallout 4, but here used to be only one npc in Bethesda games that had a relation with the pc you could call romantic: Ahnassi from Morrowind. That was probable more for the joke, but maybe they were pandering for the furries.

    • “willing to push them down the players throats”
      Jesus, Mary, and every Saint in the records, you folks really can’t help it, can you?

    • So your examples of “shoving down our throats” (itself showing your real biases) are basically options for both genders (one of which, Kaidan, having been inteded for ME1).

      I thinkt that speaks for itself

    • You’re worried about being cancelled out because of ‘pro-gayness’. Well, go and play pretty much any other game in existence, because most of them cater to you and you only

      • There is a big difference between ‘being pro-gay’ and ‘YOU WILL ACCEPT IT!’ In Bioware’s older games being gay was, more or less, equal. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but if you were a girl and caught Leliana thinking you were sending her signals you weren’t, all you had to do was say no and that’s the end of that. Her story was that of a bard-turned-sister and being bi was only a tiny part of that character. With Sera her whole THING is her being basically Tumblr personified and a big part of that is being lesbian. Remove the lesbian from Leliana and you still have Leliana. Remove it from Sera and there is no Sera. To top it off disagreeing or disliking this is presented as a ‘wrong’ option. If you feel Sera is bonkers then you MUST dismiss her and will have an empty hole in your lineup. You disapprove of trans-sexual people? Your only option to do something about it is to not only KILL them, but kill the ENTIRE group which will make Iron Bull sad and is presented to pretty much be the ‘bad’ outcome. This is ignoring the aforementioned heavy-handedness in the game.

        In most other games the romance is either part of the narrative or completely optional. Tidus will ALWAYS romance Yuna, Chrom will ALWAYS marry so that he can have Lucina, and so-forth. Because it’s part of the plot and story. If a game were to sit down and weave a lesbian/gay romance into its plot that wouldn’t be a ‘heavy-handed force’ (barring external factors) because its part of the story. In DA:I, however, straight men get very limited options compared to being bi/gay/female with the option to voice disapproval being to largely result in highly negative outcomes. Even saying that disliking gay/lesbian people and trans people was inherently wrong being told that even the notion of disagreeing or disliking them on a personal level can hold massive repercussions is still very backhanded.

        • Bloody hell. I don’t even know where to begin. I didn’t realise that tumblr created lesbians! Silly me, I thought they’d existed centuries before that. And no, I don’t particularly like Sera, but that has nothing to do with her sexuality and everything to do with her personality. The first game had a 50/50 split, yes, and DA2 left everyone as bi, which I thought worked the best, and now Inquisition has gone back to the original idea but divvied it up more. I’m sad that I couldn’t romance Cassandra, but boo fucking hoo?

          You realise what you take issue with, is what happens in pretty much every single game with player determined romance for people other than yourself, who aren’t straight or even just male?

          I don’t even know where to start with your part on Krem. I thought Krem was a boring character because his personality seemed bland, but that was all. You….take issue with their gender identity, and Bioware not giving you an opportunity to murder him in response? Pull your head out of your arse. You don’t kill the Chargers because you hate transgender people, you do it because of the Qun.

          I don’t even want to touch most of your post. You seem extremely irrational, not to mention you ignored what I said. I’m moking your choice of words when I said “pro-gay”.

          What do you want? To tell characters like Sera and Krem that “I hate you for things beyond your own choice that do not affect my character” and have them go “oh sorry! I’ll stop that right now”. Of course Bioware isn’t going to do that! No one would do that!

          • I reread and realised I misinterpreted your part on Krem and Sera, but I’m still baffled as to why your response to these things is that you feel you need options regarding other characters gender identities and sexualities. You don’t have to dismiss Sera. You don’t have to kill Krem. Why do you feel the need to do these things? They aren’t there to create a shock response and a dilemma!

            I’d say the entire game felt heavy handed and clumsy. The romances and handling of sexuality didn’t feel too different from the other games to me, although that’s getting back to the original point of “too many gay people Wah Wah”

          • What I want is better-written characters that don’t feel like they’re an agenda being pushed and/or paper-thin. Also… Krem REALLY rubs me the wrong way because of the Qun. The Qun is pretty clear about how it functions in that everything has its own place to the degree that a farmer can never be a merchant merely a ‘farmer-turned-merchant’ yet a trans is A-okay? I understand that Iron Bull isn’t a strict follower of the Qun (he does have a barely hidden mage in his group after all) but it seems like this is something that should have actually been touched on. How he deals, or dealt with, a mercenary group that should be opposed to his beliefs.

            Also, I DON’T want to kill Krem, and that’s the issue. It’s the only option to take regarding their sexuality; to take ‘I dislike trans people’ and turn it into ‘I’m throwing you to the wolves now along with several other people whom I have little to no issue with’. Instead of being able to voice discontent or even simply talk about it beyond the most basic of levels it becomes a stupid binary choice (to be fair, though, that whole mission with Iron Bull was a load of bull and felt really contrived to make it so that there was a choice regardless of any feelings).

          • They do touch on how Krem works in relation to the Qun. Since the Qunari believe that a soul is completely separate from the body (to the point that they literally couldn’t give a shit with what happens to a person’s body after death because without a soul a body is just a piece of meat) the idea of having a male soul in a female body or vice versa probably isn’t all that troubling to them. Krem would only be a problem if he decided that he still wanted to do a job traditionally done by females in Qunari society despite identifying as a man, because the Qun is very rigid when it comes to who is supposed to do what, fighting is a man’s job so if you are assigned to be a warrior then you are male, even if you don’t identify as a male.

    • Oh, but EEEEEEEEEEEEEEVERYONE absolutely ADORES Fenris! … Seriously, though, the only time I liked him was when Varric was making fun of him and the very occasional witty line he made himself. I have absolutely no clue why Fenris is so incredibly popular. Add that to the character assassination they pull with Anders and Justice (think about it: they ruined two characters at once!), and you have… yeah.

    • > If a female player romanced Jacob in the second game then, when they meet up again, instead of finding that Jacob remained faithful to them, waited, or anything of the sort he went off and slept with another woman and had a child with her. That is just insulting to anyone who picked that romance option.

      Why? Sheppard was DEAD, and Jacob had absolutely no reason to believe that it was possible to bring her back to life. Why is it insulting that he moved on and found new love?

  3. Cinnamon Scudworth

    Hey Rantasmo, is Chez Apocalypse toast? It doesn’t seem like it’s ever really coming back…..

  4. I love Specialist Traynor to the point where I wish she was included in previous installments.

  5. Hey, if you want to talk about LGBT characters in video games, you should consider the Metal Gear series. There’s a lot you could talk about.

  6. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    6:59 girl looks a lot like mindy kahling,

    I would have never thought that you were a guy who plays video games or that your guy(which is awesome with me I mean my moms gay so no judging). Cool video though and frankly I’m happy that this is a video without spoilers in it.


    Firstly, great video! Bit surprised you didn’t bring up the sorta-controversy-sorta-mumble-grumble-is-this-a-problem of Krem being voiced by Jennifer Hale (or, to put it another way, the transgender man is being voiced by a presumably-cisgender woman).

    It’s not something I have an issue with exactly. I think the role would’ve been better if they had found a capable transgender male actor to do the part, but giving the role to one of the best voice actors in the industry is a good compromise, and she did a great job with Krem.

    On Jacob? I get the concern about tokenism with him, but I honestly really like him. His character trait basically boils down to “HE’S THE SANE ONE”. His baggage is all sorted and not really an issue. His issues with his father only shows up when it is literally brought to his attention by someone else.

    Given the range of personalities on the Normandy in ME2, having a “Sane Guy” around is a logical thing in-universe, and it’s implied that’s why the Illusive Man assigned him there, because he figured that the Ship o’ Crazy needed at least a few people around that wouldn’t fly off the handle.

    …that said, no comment on how badly they screwed him up in ME3. No way I’m going to defend the idea and execution of his part there…

  8. I like your explanation of tokenism. I will use this wording when explaining such issues I might have with a production in the future.

  9. Dragon Age II was my favourite for that series, not just for this particular topic. I liked the gameplay, story and characters the best out of all the games. I know the majority feel differently but, don’t care, that’s how I feel, it’s the only game out of the 3 that I actually really WANT to play again. The only character in it that I actively dislike was Fenris, who really went against the grain for me and felt like a Final Fantasy character, completely out of place and irritating.

    It might be influenced by the fact that taking an interest in Isabela and her romance story essentially opened my eyes a lot, and to this day i’d probably still be telling myself that I was just ‘making it up’ when it came to being queer if I hadn’t picked up the game and immediately chose her. It was a bit of a jump to go from pretty virginal boy Alistair to Isabela, and I noticed. I may or may not have an enormous crush on her, still. But yeah. DA2 helped me a lot when I was younger.

    I found Inquisition enormously disappointing, but at least character-wise, Dorian and Cassandra were fantastic. Dorian and the massive amounts of approval I see for his character across the internet is really wonderful.

    (Love Samantha Traynor!)

  10. Having LGTQ representation in Bioware games is great, in fact Dorian is probably my favourite new companion, but I do hope the next game gives us straight male gamers some better love interests. The ones in Inquisition are kind of a downgrade from Origins, and even 2, I think. I like Josephine, she’s my canon DAI romance, but she isn’t a companion and Cassandra is kinda boring. The “stern warrior woman” trope doesn’t appeal to me all that much. (And I think she was prettier in DA2)

    I remember the writer of these games said, when DA2 came out, that he purposely writes the romances for the LGTQ community. Which is fine but this is the same guy who created Morrigan, probably the best love interest in all of Bioware history. What happened?!

  11. I want a mustache like that!

  12. This is really, really good. 🙂

    Regarding “Inquisition”, while I can see a teeny bit of the stereotypes with Dorian and Sera, it never bothered me that much because they still felt like really fleshed out characters in their own right, regardless of sexuality.

    Dorian always reminded me of Cary Elwes in “Princess Bride” or “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”, so he’s a lot of fun to have as a companion, period.
    And Sera actually reminds me of this close friend I had in college. Harsh, foul-mouthed, abrasive, but a sweetheart deep down. OR, in comparing her to other fictional characters, a fun combination of Robin Hood and a less homicidal version of Tank Girl.

  13. For Star Wars the Old Republic the statement of the gay planet is odd considering you show a clip of a character romance who was not on that planet.
    But the issue of the gay planet was that LucasArt did not allow same sex romance at first, but Bioware got the ability to add them but could only do so in new content so we got Makeb the gay planet… but other extensions since then added more option out of Makeb, like the guy from that clip who’s first appeared in Shadow of Revan extantion and became a major character since then and a companion

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