Crispy Gamer

BioWare and sex ... again

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You thought they would have learned from the uproar (albeit misplaced) with Mass Effect. But darn it if BioWare hasn't revisited the slippery slope.

For the uninitiated, Mass Effect contained a cutscene where Commander Shepard has an intimate liaison with a member of his party. The scene is tasteful, with only a split-second of anything remotely tawdry being shown. Add to the mix that this scene could be achieved only if certain choices were made at particular points in the game, meaning that many players would not see the scene if they made choices that could hamper the relationship. This did not stop numerous critics, almost all of whom never played the game or bothered to inform themselves about it, from bashing the game and BioWare for exposing players to sex in videogames and decrying the game as a sex simulator.

Fast forward to E3 2009 and the showing of Dragon Age Origins in a private screening room at the EA booth. The developers demoing the game showed off the trailer to build anticipation, then immediately jumped into a part of the game where the player is faced with a choice of advancing a relationship with one of two female characters. Once the female was chosen by the audience, the developers proceeded to make the appropriate choices (three in all) that ended with another sexual liaison between characters. Again, nothing was shown other than the characters in skimpy undergarments, but the images were there, lasting only a few seconds.

The question I'm left with is why would BioWare insist on showing THIS particular sequence, given the unwarranted shellacking it took before? If anything, you would think they would want to downplay it a bit, not titillate further. Dragon Age has plenty going for it without the first scene being shown to E3 viewers having sexual undertones. I sincerely hope the game isn't that shallow. I'm always impressed by BioWare games, but in this case, I am more than a little surprised at how they roleplayed this out.