It must be hard to see social progress happening in one’s lifetime when you just know, deep in the pit of your soul, that these changes can only lead to hellfire, damnation, and the corruption of America’s youth. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, took some radio time to berate Bioware for a planned update to Star Wars: The Old Republic that will allow same-gender relations between the player and their companions. In exactly one minute’s worth of reasonable-sounding orating that masked an impressive amount of distortions, straw-man scenarios, and unrelated facts put side-by-side in order to cause false correlations, Perkins made it sound like the “gay empire” had successfully pressured Bioware into submitting to their “Star Warped way of thinking.” No really, he actually said the latter quote out loud and everything.
For a bit of clarification, thanks to The Old Republic’s wiki, companion characters are NPCs who fight alongside you. You can have up to six, although only one at a time can come along on a mission, and the way you treat them determines their affection level. Higher affection levels offer new conversational options and even quests, and while romance isn’t required, it can be a fun personal side-quest to follow while adding to the role playing. At the moment it’s standard male-female coupling, but future expansions will enable same-sex options with the addition of new companions. The implication in the official statement (quoted in full below) is that the current companion roster is straight, and the gay ones will be DLC. Whether that’s paid or free isn’t indicated.
The Family Research Council isn’t concerned with the roleplaying implications or Bioware’s patch schedule, however. That there’s going to be Gay in Star Wars is the important thing, and parents nationwide should, for reasons that are probably obvious to people who would only be content living in their fantasy version of 1955, protest this in a voice that cannot be ignored. “…the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!” “Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news…” “It’s time to show companies who the Force is really with!” To the kind of person who revels in their bigotry, it’s probably very stimulating.
Still, just to be clear- this is a big fat nothing. Maybe handful of letters get written, and if it somehow gains steam this might even fill up a few minutes on the nightly news, but so what? Various newscasters have tried to blame Columbine on Doom, and 9/11 on Microsoft Flight Simulator. You can buy Doom today on Steam, and MS Flight Simulator is getting a free-to-play version this fall. All that’s happening is someone afraid of progress (and who thinks gays are pedophiles, and should be outlawed) made a brief rant, and it’s fun to make fun of him for it. That’s 95% of the whole story.
As for Bioware, while they haven’t responded to the Family Research Council specifically, this is their official statement–
“Due to the design constraints of a fully voiced MMO of this scale and size, many choices had to be made as to the launch and post-launch feature set. Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature. Because The Old Republic is an MMO, the game will live on through content expansions which allow us to include content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options.”
And on a clarifying note, the Family Research Council isn’t the same group that somehow pressured Lowe’s to drop advertising from All-American Muslim back in December. That was the Florida Family Association. It’s easy to get these Family-based fearmongers confused.