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Update: We contacted Beamdog directly to respond to the controversy,  and Beamdog CEO Trent Oster graciously responded to us. 

Specifically, we asked Mr. Oster about the comments made by Scott, his own comments on the Beamdog forums, and his thoughts on the whole controversy. His comments are quoted in their entirety below. 

I find the controversy ridiculous.  Yes, we have a transgendered character.  I know a number of transgendered people and they are genuine, wonderful humans.  Yes, we also have a character who cracks a joke about ethics.  The original Baldur’s Gate had a whole sequence about the Bob Newhart show.  If this generates controversy it makes a sad statement about the world we live in. 

As for my post on the forums, I merely asked people who were enjoying the game to share their positive feedback. I know our fans can become engrossed in their enjoyment and I really don’t want potential fans to miss out on the series because of protest reviews by small minded individuals.
As for Amber’s interview, I also believe in strong female characters and I feel she did an excellent job bringing dimension and interest to Safana with her writing in Siege of Dragonspear. Her “Too bad” comment, I chalk up to a long day of interviews, having personally done such interviews.

Original Story: Beamdog’s newest Baldur’s Gate title, Siege of Dragonspear, launched late last week, but it has not been without controversy.

The game, set between the events of the BioWare classics Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, has been met with positive reception for the most part, with the biggest complaints coming from bug issues and in-game problems, something Beamdog has struggled with before. In particular is a nasty import problem between Baldur’s Gate 1 and Dragonspear, as well as in-game mods not working once Dragonspear has been downloaded. Other issues include problems with the game’s new UI and a change in minor gameplay elements, like how tooltips appear. However, complaints about bugs and other in-game issues have been overshadowed this weekend by complaints about the game’s writing and self-injected gender politics. 

The issues originally stemmed from the discovery of a transgendered character in the game, a NPC shopkeeper named Mizhena. In her short interaction she explains her past life and her struggle with her gender identity, before getting down to business with the players.

The scene involving Mizhena, via twitter.

The scene involving Mizhena, via Twitter.

This sparked some outrage over developer Beamdog, along with a quote circulating from an interview conducted by Kotaku on March 31st. The quote in question comes from one of the game’s writers, Amber Scott, who talks about striking a balance between the original game’s tone and a modern take in regards to the portrayal of female characters.  “In the original there’s a lot of jokes at women’s expense,” noted Scott. “Or if not a lot, there’s a couple, like Safana was just a sex object in BG 1, and Jaheira was the nagging wife and that was played for comedy. We were able to say, ‘No, that’s not really the kind of story we want to make.’ In Siege of Dragonspear, Safana gets her own little storyline, she got a way better personality upgrade. If people don’t like that, then too bad.”

Many have since begun to complain about the game’s writing on several forums and social media, which have been overrun with criticisms over the Mizhena character (despite the fact that she is killable in the final product), the Kotaku piece, and a random line of dialogue said by the party member Minsc, which directly references the catchphrase of Gamergate as an in-joke Easter egg as one of many lines that can trigger when you select him.

One of the first sites to weigh in on this controversy was NicheGamer, who added several of their own opinions of what they thought was wrong with Dragonspear, citing an 8chan board as the source of these claims. Forums on both Steam and Beamdog have also been bombarded with topics on these issues, while others have flocked to Twitter to chastise or defend Beamdog. 

However, it is clear Beamdog has taken some care in crafting this new Baldur’s Gate game. In the same interview, Scott goes on to note that almost all of the writing done is to enhance the characters and their relationships, while Beamdog Lead Designer Philip Daigle discusses the importance of having options in the game for players to make a choice. 

“I got to write a little tender, romance-y side quest for Khalid and Jaheira where you could learn a little bit about how their marriage works and how they really feel about each other.”

There’s also four new companions, one of whom is gay, one of whom is bisexual. There’s even a monster companion, a throwback to a Baldur’s Gate II easter egg. But it’s not just about representation for representation’s sake. Beamdog wanted to give players options.

“We’ve got four new companions, and then there’s the returned Enhanced Edition companions and then a bunch of companions from Baldur’s Gate 1,” said Daigle. “There’s a very wide and large roster in this game. You can build whatever kind of party you want. One of the problems in BG 1 and 2 was that it was kind of hard to have an evil party that worked. We put a lot of work into making it so can have an evil party that won’t screw you over, that will work in the game. You can be that evil character you want to be.”

Included in that interview is a key line by Beamdog CEO Trent Oster, who noted that most of the game was built from the ground up and subsequently created a new style guide as a reference to make sure what they put in captured the spirit of Baldur’s Gate

Angry players, however, have taken to both Steam and GOG and have begun review bombing the title, including downvoting positive reviews. Despite this, the majority of the Steam reviews at this time have been overall generally positive, citing the game as a good continuation of the Baldur’s Gate series. Other complaints by both sides of the controversy have been mired in personal attack arguments, although Beamdog’s moderators on Steam and their own forums have been letting players more or less voice their opinions within reason. One moderator on Steam noted “Threads that are being locked are being locked because they devolve into antagonistic remarks about the LGBTQ community or about specific people on this forum. Feel free to discuss the quality of the writing, or the characters themselves, as long as you do so without antagonizing minority groups.”

The review bombing has picked up momentum, however, to the point where CEO Trent Oster addressed the issue in the Beamdog forums, asking fans to consider posting positive reviews to “balance out the loud minority which is currently painting a dark picture for new players.” Whether or not that will happen and what it means for the title is tough to say. With the Internet arguments surrounding this title, however, it is unlikely that the downvoting or complaints will cease as players line up on different sides to argue about this newly contentious issue in relation to Beamdog.

Your thoughts on this? Leave your comments below

Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.

  • Heavily Augmented

    “If people don’t like that, then too bad.” How the fuck do developers who say things like this get hired?

  • ParasiteX

    I don’t mind them adding in a transsexual character.. But when a character just suddenly blurts out their sexuality and life story like that.. Then i expect better dialogue response options than. “Ouuuh. nice story… derp..”

    This is a fucking RPG… so where the fuck are the “role playing” options?

  • ParasiteX

    I also love the fact that you can kill the char for 2000xp and get all the loot, without any reputation penalty. Nice little oversight there..

  • Zepherdog

    The only Role Playing options seem to be FUCK YOU GOOBERGABBER apparently.

  • ParasiteX

    Gosh those darn GOOBERGOOTERS are at it again!

  • The world gets weirder and weirder lately.

    Idiotic religious fantastis on one side and fans of the political correctness on another side and we “normal” people in between.

    Games should be treated like games, by both the developers and also us players.

  • Well, their bosses might share this attitude

  • characters blurting out they are trans without it being relevant to the conversation is like that person we all know that enjoys reminding you that he is vegan all the time. you can kill them without any reputation penalty

  • Nivek Sirrah

    So they talk about being evil, but give you no evil actions when talking to the trans character. No neutral one either. No “Uhh ok but I didn’t ask.” and no “Well you’re weird” You can straight up insult many characters in the game but I guess we have to be nice to this one because… equality?

  • Robert “Robovski” Turner

    Seriously, the shopkeeper’s sexuality has nothing to do with the buying and selling of stuff. Why should I care what your sexuality is when we are doing business? I don’t go around stating my preferences to every customer I meet; it’s nonsensical.

  • webkilla

    what? and allow for the option of a negative reaction? But that wouldn’t be socially just! Why would anyone ever want to play as a meanie? :p

  • njdss4

    The CEO is “asking fans to consider posting positive reviews”

    The CEO is asking people to review brigade to try and drown out those who are voicing their opinions on forced gender politics shoved into a game. I think that says everything, doesn’t it?

  • njdss4

    Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.

  • ParasiteX

    This video captures the moment perfectly.

  • Ricardo Lima

    Another unnecessary injection of identity politics and a try to start a pisssing of context with those who are not fans of it and play the victim. All by mostly former Bioware developers.

    Well Grosso I understand you are a Bioware fan and are trying to take a neutral stance, but what’s your opinion on the personality changes made to party members to be “less sexist”?

    The trans character out of nowhere “Im trans im trans see” sure is a great victory for someone.

    I know this I bougth both remakes, i’m not buying this one. And thanks for the sugestion perharps I will go do a review bomb now. And if Beamdog doesn’t like it too bad.

  • You know what the real problem is – that everything is turning into some battleground issue. Why can’t we just make good games? What was done in Balder’s Gate was done to make a political point. It wasn’t done to make the game better. It was done to make a point. Every little thing is becoming a battleground issue now. It’s so dumb. Can’t we just make a good game without having to go out of our way to make some political statement? Here’s an idea – make good characters first. Have the statements come last.

  • Nivek Sirrah

    I also love the Ignorance here “Like Safana was just a sex object in BG 1, and Jaheira was the nagging wife and that was played for comedy. ”

    Safana was a flirty theif. She was fun and out going and open. Very intereting too but I guess because she likes to flirt that only makes her a GOD DAMN SEX OBJECT. Because of course. because these people can’t look past that. Nope, if a woman is, I dunno, comfortable with her sexuality and likes to explore/use it to her advantage then THAT’S BAD.

    And Jaheria is not a “nagging wife” That is BULLSHIT. she should be what feminist are fucking trumpeting. She is a no nonsense, Strong willed woman who gets shit done. She fell in love with Khalid, a timed man and she pushes him to be better and stronger. He looks up to her and wants her to be proud of him despite his short comings and he damn well tries.

    For really what do these people WANT?!

  • John Smith

    Trans people should not exist in D&D due to polymorph type magic.
    You want a penis? There’s a spell for that.

  • jin choung

    this is a good lesson for developers. if you try to shove your politics down our throats, there will be consequences. nobody likes being preached at.

  • machio

    gotta say thats a top comment by trent. all the criticism can be conveniently summarized “i hate trans people” and “no jokes allowed in videogames”. masterwork sophism.

  • To be fair, isn’t that an issue with many RPGs? NPCs are constantly volunteering all sorts of information at the drop of a hat, with an Abe Simpson hanging out on every street corner just itching to tell the heavily armed stranger his life’s story. And The Witcher 3 had plenty of noteworthy attitude adjustments (AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CEN-) with that Succubus being wary of your intentions, the female blacksmith that also plays off the fantasy dwarf stereotype, and Geralt interjecting on behalf of a woman and looking foolish when it turns out they were just acting out a play.

    A goblin telling you not to be racist fits right into the Forgotten Realms setting of Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 where some truly zany stuff happens. I think the main issue here may be down to tone. When these elements are compiled together with stuff like the GG mention (good lord did they really bring Minsc’s voiceactor back to say that rubbish?), it can paint a picture of hostility towards certain groups. The Witcher 3’s new direction addressed concerns with the previous games, but they NEVER intended to belittle the people who liked those games. They’re not putdowns, there’s nothing malicious towards the player there. Can Dragonspear say the same? I’ll have to play it to find out I guess.

  • Mike Turner

    If you try to make any criticism on the Beamdog forums, chances are your opinion will be censored and your account will be banned. Metacritic, the Steam page, and the GOG page are your best bets. And you can always vote with your wallet.


  • ParasiteX

    I’m surprised they haven’t started locking down threads on the Steam page yet. As they do technically have direct moderation control over that. Derek Smart for instance, is notorious for this on his crappy games discussion pages.

  • DutchSanta

    What channels would we need to take to inform Steam of the review brigading?

  • Dave

    Welp. Glad I didn’t buy this. If you want to modernize another game, stay the fuck away from my beloved BG2

  • That was my first thought, the dialogue in the screenshot just looks awkward and forced as fuck; it wouldn’t matter if the shopkeeper was talking about being transgender or saying their favourite soup is tomato.

    Then again, I don’t really play games like this, so I’m not sure how it compares to the usual standard of writing, but to me this looks frankly amateur.

  • webkilla

    “Hi, I’m bob the sword-vendor. I also like to dress up in tight leather bondage gear and have my nut-sack branded with red hot irons… wait, why are you running away?”

    Ya, that’s not how you should shoehorn in shit like that.

    The necrophiliac alchemist in Elderscrolls Oblivion on the other hand – now that was doing it right, hilariously so

  • webkilla

    ya – one thing is putting in pop-culture refences and whatnot

    but a reference that belittles someone – especially when those someones style themselves as gamers advocating for gamers… that’s biting the hand that feeds you

  • Dindu Nuffin

    Snowflake status strikes again.

    If your life REVOLVES around your gender then you’re a fucking BORE. It’s all you ever talk about.

    The people around you AREN’T homophobic. They’re just annoyed.

    Annoyed at having to listen to every fucking thing you go through shone through the prism of your gender.

    “Hmm.. as a transgendered woman I hope I can eat these cornflakes!”

    “As a transgendered man I hope this new samsung phone isn’t problematic!”

    Fuck off.

    People aren’t transphobic or homophobic. They’re just fed up of constantly having to listen to YOUR inane shit when they have shit of their OWN to deal with.

  • Brad Donald

    Turns out that hiring Gaider was clear indicator that BEAMDOG was beyond salvageable as a company. Its full SJW.

  • Strazdas

    I think thats a very good attitude in general. I make a game i want to make and if you dont like it – dont buy it.

  • Parrikle

    The controversy is that they put in a trans character? I thought it was going to be something significant, but it seems not.

    Back when GG started, I thought the fight was against people policing games and telling developers what they can put into them. Apparently, what it was really about was deciding what type of policing was ok. If the developers are now forced to remove content because it may offend gamers, does this mean that gamers will need to boycott themselves?

  • Jody Rich

    Oh, they have. One person got a permaban for pointing out that Oster was begging for positive reviews…and the ban stated the reason was HATE SPEECH. Apparently, questioning poor business decisions equates to hate speech.

  • Arbitrary

    When the game is rated as “Mostly Positive”, I’d still say the average consumer is distressingly okay with the content.

  • Arbitrary

    “Nope, if a woman is, I dunno, comfortable with her sexuality and likes to explore/use it to her advantage then THAT’S BAD.”

    I, for one, find that kind of women to be the most unlikable, fucking women on the planet.

    “‘nagging wife’ That is BULLSHIT. she should be what feminist are fucking trumpeting. She is a no nonsense, Strong willed woman who gets shit done. She fell in love with Khalid, a timed man and she pushes him to be better and stronger. He looks up to her and wants her to be proud of him despite his short comings and he damn well tries.”

    I now fucking hate both these characters.

    Sounds to me like the only difference between the new- and old games, is that the new one is completely open about its SJW-filth.

  • Arbitrary

    I agree. I find that to be a very good attitude.

  • SevTheBear

    I hate how much gender and race politics has made it’s way into gaming. I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about it, but why does it have to be in our games as well? Games are meant to be fun or challenge the mind with puzzles, riddles and teamwork. Not stupid politics and snowflake issues :/

  • cptk

    It’s bin a while since I last properly played Baldur’s Gate but I thought there was a gender bending ring or belt or something.
    Surely a merchant could afford something like that especially as I think it might’ve been considered a cursed item. Could’ve made a little quest out of locating one for the merchant, then there’d be a point to giving the life story.
    I guess the hamfisted gender politics is just another indication that this is just a poorly made cash grab on an old classic …if the open and unironic ‘Easter egg’ insult wasn’t clear enough.

  • PoldaranOfZam

    You know, this is the first I’ve heard of the new gay and bisexual companions. I’m guessing there’s a reason for that. I’m guessing they were handled well.

    For the most part, in my experience, gamers don’t seem to mind characters of all types. The problem is when diversity is shoehorned in and handled poorly. And that’s such a shame. Considering the nature of the world’s magic, there’s plenty of opportunity to do it right.

    This feels like it was slapped in to check off a diversity checkbox, hit with a bit of spackle and then ignored as they moved on to check other boxes. That kind of slipshod workmanship is not acceptable from amateurs and is CERTAINLY not acceptable from professionals.

  • Cari

    I love how the CEO is like “I have trans friends, so I’m an authority on what a good representation is, and that npc is fine. Actual trans people who think it’s a poor representation? They can just whistle.”

    The arrogance in both his statements, and that of Scott, is astounding!

    I assume they bought the Baldur’s Gate IP to make this game? Or were they paid to make it by someone else? Either way, one has to wonder why they’d throw money down the toilet just to seemingly piss on the fans of the originals, as well as any potential newcomers aware of the originals’ good reputation.

  • Galbador

    *sighs* Can we just have a f*cking game without all this PC SJW bullshit? Just for once? I’m really getting tired of this crap!

  • Nivek Sirrah

    Perhaps i did not do them justice as i was only explaining one portion of them. But the charecters in the game are wildly varied and awesome. I could really take or leave safana because of her ego. Jahira though is one of my favorites though. She shows alot in game on how love is not only about accepting someone but how both people are stronger for being together. You can think as you wish about what i said but I do implore you to play the game. (the main one not sod) and judge for your self. You are of course still free to hold whatever position you want but I would hope we are better than the sjws.

  • ParasiteX

    Or it could be that most people who don’t like shitty writing and heard the news surrounding the game, simply didn’t buy it, so that they can review it.
    In fact, you can see it very clearly by comparing the amount of people who found the negative reviews useful, to the ones that found the positive ones useful. And an overwhelming majority of people found the negative reviews the most useful.. So a large majority of people ar listening to that and simply avoiding the game entirely. Hence why you mostly only see blind die hard fanbois giving it positive reviews.

    Plus the developer is going out begging everyone who bought the game for positive reviews..

  • MBirkhofer

    yeah good post.

    I really do wonder if this is massive overreaction from people not even playing the game sadly. you take 3-4 individual lines out of thousands and put them together it may look bad… But is it really? And as said, the goblin one itself is really right in setting perfectly. its a joke about npcs in games do look alike. its a joke about DnD alignment systems. and its not even clear if its making fun of the the people that call everything racist, or you for being racist, particularly when goblins ARE another species.

  • AmicusC

    if the people putting the issues into the games could make good games they would. they cant make good games that’s why like the parasites they are they inject and infect already successful brands.

  • Cari

    In general, yeah.
    In this context where “people” includes women and minorities complaining about how one has represented them poorly all in aid of one gaining socjus brownie points…well, that is bad. Especially if one is actually sincere about wanting to improve representation of groups in games.

  • Cari

    I’m not part of the audience for this game, so this is the first I’m really hearing of the issues… But i think the post in this image may be closer to explaining why some are upset about that character:

  • Dindu Nuffin

    I think they’ve been told there’s some kind of potential “untapped” audience out there. As if the “SJW” audience rivals, or even beats the CoD audience.

    It’s the same blinkered mentality that caused the developers of Sunset to crash and burn.

    It seems like a genuine no-brainer to say, but Gamers DO have to be your audience. Especially if what you’re selling is videogames.

  • Also Known As

    LOL I had forgotten about this sketch. “In Living Color” was and remains one of the edgiest and most groundbreaking shows of all time.

  • Badmojo7

    Lets keep beamdog away from any more beloved IP’s.

  • MusouTensei

    The west has a lot to learn from japan in how to have non straight characters, they just have characters that simply happen to be gay or whatever, without the western “in your face” mentallity and not because to show how progressive they are. And to show that it has to be made abundantly clear that a character is trans or gay, this is what pisses most people off, not the mere existance of a trans person. They exist in anime and manga for a long time but usually you only find out that they are gay when they flirt with the same sex or reject the other sex or other natural things, not “HI I’M SATOSHI, I’M GAY AND THAT’S PRETTY MUCH MY ENTIRE REASON TO EXIST IN THIS FICTIONAL UNIVERSE!!!!” (except of course when it’s Yaoi or Yuri, then is kinda to be expected).
    What pisses me off personally, is the change of some characters, kinda like in FE Fates where the localization turned a gentle strong woman into a femtardish cunt, that’s bullshit. Imagine they localize Dragon Ball Super and rewrite Android 18 like this insted of the super loving wife she really is…

  • Reptile

    I gave a +1 for the comment and I wish I could give you another +1 because the nep-avatar.

  • Rogar the Greater

    That would require an understanding of the source material, which would take away time from shoehorning personal politics.

  • Ricardo Lima

    Update: Trent Ostner prentends Amber Scott can write women characters , lies and tries to hide behind identidy politics.

    Somebody will have to do a better job looking for excuses for this hogwash.

  • Hobo-Tobo

    From a post on their forums:

    “I consciously add as much diversity as I can to my writing and I don’t care if people think that’s “forced” or fake.”
    This person has a job as a writer for a video game. Not just that, but a video game that is very heavy on story and lore.
    And then there are people who think that playing video games for the story isn’t a completely laughable stance.

  • Hobo-Tobo

    This has nothing to do with east or west, you fucking weeb.

  • Robert Grosso

    I am not sure if that is a question addressed at me or not. I haven’t played the game yet, so I don’t know if personalities are radically different at all from the original or not, as other people have implied.

    In my honest opinion, the first Baldur’s Gate game had mediocre writing though, and it had memorable characters, but lacked a lot of characterization to give them depth and dynamics, which they more or less added with Baldur’s Gate 2. So I don’t know how much of a character change we get; it could be like how Minsc, Inomen or Sarevok changed throughout both games for all I know.

    We shall see when I play it.

  • Robert Grosso

    It feels like any talk is drowned though, you know. It’s doomed before it begins with snarky comments.

    Hell about a month ago I did a piece on Dorian from Dragon Age Inquisition, and talked about how his sexuality is not a defining character trait. Top comment…a video showing off Iron Bull in one of the silly sitcom situations that is optional to see.

    It’s hard to really talk about when people object to the content at times, even when their objections hold no water. In this case it seems like the “tokenism” claims that Inquisition got is actually real here, as opposed to Dragon Age where it was all hot air if you ask me, but for a lot of people it’s one in the same regardless of how its viewed.

    It’s…frustrating I agree.

  • Mark Andrew Edwards

    I’ll skip. Sounds like they’re bending over backwards to be ‘inclusive’ rather than focusing on realistic story and characters. +1 on Robert’s comment below. You want to send a message? Use email.

  • MusouTensei

    Of course it does, in japan gay characters already existed in the 80’s (not sure about 70’s and earlier) but got censored in the west, for example Sailor Moon has several gay characters which got the gayness localized out of them.

  • Parrikle

    If someone wants to be offended at how they are depicted in the game, then go for it – I have no problem with that. But that also means we need to accept when women and other groups are offended about how they are depicted. If we’re saying that the gaming community needs to fight the developers over how they depicted a transgender character, then the gaming community should also be willing to fight developers over their depictions of other characters. GG took the stance that developers should be allowed to depict people how they like, and others have no right to demand that they change the game. Now it seems that we’re arguing that developers can do what they like, so long as it doesn’t support the “SJWs”.

    I’m happy to accept that depictions of trans people should be simple and fair, as described by Jinx above. But I’m also happy to accept what that stance leads to, and that includes how women and other groups are depicted as well.

  • GrimFate

    If regressive SJWs want to make a game, they have every right to do so, but I refused to fund those who push agendas and politics and opinion on me, and infiltrate existing franchises just plain sucks. I am intelligent adult, who can evaluate the ideas of others and use them to form his own opinions, so I do not enjoy having the ideas of other people SHOVED down my throat. And, because it’s always necessary these days to be very clear about this stuff: Yes to LGBTQ characters, no to gender politics.

  • Pam Western

    A train wreck of a launch, no one cares about the transgender character that appears to be media spin, The company have indicated that they don’t care if people don’t like their changes and the direction they have gone down. They have tried to sway people to buy the game by asking their forum users (not always customers) to post positive reviews to make up for the vast wave of negative reviews.

    And then to top it off they go ahead and take a pop at gamer gate. These guys are going to learn the hard way that none of those actions are a good idea.

    And now we have even more articles about how people are rejecting trans people when every review I have read has clearly stated they have no problem with that aspect. Its the political ideology they have a problem with.

  • Cazamus

    I think the reason why, is that the line is offensively shoehorned in. Like, if there was a quest to retrieve her mothers necklace, and she lamented that her parents thought her a boy, and while they still had hardships coming to terms with that, but still cared for each other, well then that’s just good storytelling. To just have a shopkeeper (not like a barkeep or inn owner who almost always share their stories it seems) just randomly force in “Hello there, I am the token placation of modern day PC quota’s, would you like to purchase some items” then it sticks out as insulting to everyone. Insulting for poor writing, insulting for trying to get some PC points, and insulting to pretend that is not what they where doing. The response that they wanted stronger female presentation is insulting as well, Minsc is a giant that believes he has a space hamster, Xzar is an crazy necromancer that has manic issues, both of them hilarious and the butt of many jokes. To try and say that you write the flavor of what these crazy, complex, and wonderful characters toned down or forced in, so that short people don’t feel bad when a halfing joke is made, or that a complex but loving relationship between husband and wife isn’t presented in its fullest because fear of making her seem naggy, that bi-polarism isn’t presented by only the most MAF necromancer to be from an evil perspective (ect… seriously, people can get offended by everything if you give them a chance). I guess what I am saying is, the moment a writer breaks a person out of their immersion, the person starts to pay more attention rather than sit back and enjoy an experience. Shoehorning an agenda in front and center, rather than weaving information in, makes people question the experience a lot more.

  • Robert Grosso

    Fair to you on that as a possible way to put the issue in, but wouldn’t the argument still be the same that it’s shoehorned to pull at people’s heartstrings?

    It really is a weird catch-22 sometimes, because you will always have detractors this day and age…and they tend to be the loudest regardless of what happens.

  • Robert Grosso

    And that is why GG is hypocritical…more or less on point.

    I suspect if there was a joke about a SJW or something it would be seen as a nice stiff jab at that group by some, and a insult by others. It simply goes both ways and people are afraid to admit that.

  • Cazamus

    Yeah, the argument that pulling on our heartstrings is valid, but it also forces a deeper back story into the character, rather than just “Hi I am trans, thought you should know that I am in this game…” I guess that is what my problem is, that they spent no effort into introducing a trans character, and they wanted to make sure it was so bland (as to not offend anyone HEAVENS FORBID!!!) that you just had this weird moment where they didn’t write a character, rather a statement that said “We here at beamdog are an all inclusive company, and we support trans people. You may go back to your game.” It would be weird with any message like that. Like lets say, instead of being trans, she was adopted as a child and said “I was raised with no parents, and that is perfectly fine. People who have been raised by their non biological parents are perfectly normal”, it would be pretty bad. Look at how Portal 2 dealt with adoption, GlaDOS makes fun of Chell for being an orphan, then later makes fun of Wheatley for not realizing that there is nothing wrong with being an orphan. Its memorable, it gets the point across, and it shows love for the Bruce Waynes of the world. Heartstrings pulling is cliche’ but it still is better than a “the more you know” campaign.

  • Cazamus

    I know, its horrible that they try to push this sort of thing. That announcement that people think should be made for the solidarity of their community, to feel accepted. Like when I became gluten free, and all of the people around me had to question why whenever I let them know that we couldn’t eat at a few places because they where bigots for not having a menu for us enlightened gluten free minded people, I just had to tell them that they need to stop telling me how to live, and that we can just go to one of the other restaurants nearby. Besides, they might like the gluten free menu, its SOOOOO good, and you feel so much better than everyone else, thats a noglute of truth for you.
    Oh so anyways, yeah I really hate when people just add their BS to a topic about how great it is that they are so accepting, and if they are going to add anything to a game, make it at least give me a buff. Like if there was a gluten free tavern, it should give me a massive buff, because of how much better gluten free beer is for you, or a gluten free bakery that gives you +2 to dexterity, because for the first time in your life you don’t feel sluggish by those evil carbs that gluten always seems to be paired with. That would be a much better approach to a game.

  • Cazamus

    Look at Portal 2, talks about how being an orphan is ok, and they didn’t wedge that in. They enlightened the player, without ever making it feel forced. I don’t think anyone agreed that orphans where bad people, but I am using it as a point that they seamlessly put in a message, without hammering a square peg through a round hole.
    *Edit: Forgot to mention another great game, Catherine: love is over, had a trans character named Erica that they didn’t force, she was there, you got to know her as a person, and she was part of the storyline, not a message aside from the storyline. It can be done, by you know… putting effort into writing a real representation of a person and not just signal boosting awareness.

  • Cazamus

    I guess the thing is, this wasn’t creating a character, rather than making a message. It was immersion breaking, because it was so blatant about making sure there was inclusion. That I think is the unspoken fear, that they are just going to have these PSA’s in games, where you don’t have anyone depicted as actual people because they don’t want to make a women in a relationship as “naggy or bossy” or trans characters that have no personality because they don’t want to offend anyone with a stereotype of any sorts. Having people tell us that they are offended, and it needs to be censored out, will over time have a game with 10 party members, and yet no characters. That’s not a GG thing, that’s true with any form of art.

  • xencosti

    Is a transgender character even lore friendly? I mean, that world has gender swapping potions so in theory the character could be what ever they wanted. I understand wanting to be diverse but this didn’t really do that. It forced the issues at you. I would’ve been fine just discovering it but this felt more like someone walking up and announcing their sexuality.

  • Ricardo Lima

    The first Baldur’s Gate wasn’t well written and is very generic but the second is one of my favorite games of all time.

    You are not answering the question. I made directly at you and making apologies and excuses for it. The author clearly stated in a interview which you linked by the way, what she changed and why she did on her interview. I quote “Safana gets her own little storyline, she got a way better personality upgrade. If people don’t like that, then too bad.” and acquisitions of imaginary sexism to the original. It’s not a evolution since the game passes between the 1 to the 2. I addressed you by name must be for you.

    The other statements i did not ask any question did I? Nor adressed them to you.

    I do consider this a travesty and a pathetic attempt to hide behind identity politics which became the standart of SJWs. Which the author admited she was.

  • Pella Douglas

    I haven’t played Dragonspear yet, but as a transgendered person who has played RPG (both computer and Tabletop) since childhood, I’m happy that there are more LGBT characters appearing in games. THAT SAID: the ‘controversy’ here doesn’t appear to be about the inclusion of a trans-character, more about how it was done.

    I can’t comment on how it was done in game, but I can tell you how real life works. When people meet me for the first time, usually the first questions they have are about my being transgendered. To the point where it can be quite irritating (to put it mildly), and I have an almost scripted response. I wish people would see past my gender and talk to me about other things, such as the fact I’m an aspiring writer, for example. I realise, however, that people are naturally curious. I have learned to indulge that curiosity to a certain degree. Why? Because it breaks down ignorance, and less ignorance usually means less bigotry. Once their initial curiosity is satisfied, they’re able to start looking at me as a person again.

    Point is, if people ask me directly about being transgendered, I’m quite open with them – I wonder if that’s what the writers were trying to achieve and possibly failed somehow.

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  • SevTheBear

    Well in Portal 2 GLAdos is just freaking sadistically. It’s part of her A.I.

    Trans, homosexuals and bisexsuals in games is okay. But as you say, as long as it ain’t forced down the throat (aka the player ain’t reminded of it all the freaking time). But as we know, if you tell this to the talentless people behinde the writing, then you are are hater and homophobe.

  • jprepo1

    Actually, its not that the character is trans, its how it is written, as seen here by the complaints of transgendered people complaining to beamdog.

  • Robert Grosso

    You also spelled my name wrong.

    You were asking me a leading question that I didn’t really want to answer to begin with, but I gave you my honest answer to it anyway. Take it or leave it there I guess, I have yet to play the game so I can’t judge how Safana is written yet.

  • Dylman

    I don’t understand why SJW types think that shoe-horning a gay or a trans person improves their work in anyway. It’s so transparent that they ticked them off some sort of diversity checklist that it removes any authenticity to the character. And it’s obvious who they’re trying to spite with the GG joke. People are criticizing your game because they’re sick of political agendas being shoved in their face, not because you’re trying to be “diverse” Take New Vegas as a good example. One of the companion characters Arcade is gay but you’d never even know it unless you really got to know the guy. The character isn’t just about his sexuality. All of these artifical atempts at diversity just end up with shallow, half-written characters and you’re called a bigot when you say otherwise. It’s just plain awful writing that only serves tokenism and social agendas

  • Nathaniel Plain

    You can still object to some of the content and still be positive about the overall experience. It would be like eating a good meal but the service was lackluster or you had to remind the waiter about dishes which had not arrived or for refills of your drinks. Some people will take the “it has to be all good, or it is all bad” stance on things, but most people are pretty flexible and allow for some amount of irritation to be ignored so they can recommend an otherwise quality product to their friends, family, and strangers on the Internet.

  • Ricardo Lima

    Fixed your name spelling. I will stop asking the questions since this can only grown dowhill from here.

  • Panthros

    This is about Beamdog inserting their political agenda into a game. Nobody would have that conversation in real life. Perhaps one of the NPC’s over a period of time adventuring. This was just shoe horned in and is really frustrating! The value of an RPG is believabilty, and Beamdog has lost it!

  • Typical

    Maybe they should have worked harder on bug squashing than social commentary I guess. I’m a little insulted they went for such low hanging fruit, a trans woman, seriously? Why not go really cutting edge with a dwarf who is transitioning to elf? It’s name could be Dolezelith

  • ParasiteX

    Definitely. But assuming if someone actually did blurt out all that nonsense. Because who knows, the character might be batshit insane. Then I would expect far better dialog responses.

  • Kev Lew

    If it is additional dialogue in an otherwise usual D&D baldurs gate setting then I don’t really care but if it is hand fisted writing shoved in the players face then that is the point at which I loose some of my chill.
    We are at a time where changes to content due to translation, localisation and internet sourced PR moves have become highly inflammatory subjects to the fans of long running series.
    Each new release builds on top of decades of existing lore and characterisation. So rapid, poorly handled, thematic and character changes with little thought to continuity tend to be a sore subject for any gamer who has financed through time, money and community the legacy of a series. By extension many online communities and gamers who participate on forums and new-media are repeatedly seeing parades of media backed witch-hunts go after devs, communities, individual characters and entire franchises as subjects of scorn that MUST be changed or expunged rather than the unsure footsteps of creators trying to engage people with a compelling balance of story, mechanics, artificial worlds, social encounters while also trying to tie down problems with managing bleeding edge hardware, software and story systems.
    We are part of a new massively expanding media built on the backs of passion and corporate risk but so many of the new “critics” are walking in from older (and less profitable) settings and repeatedly try to apply old rigid structures of analysis (or highly politicised online pressure) to an entertainment field of massive individual variations of ways in which to create, share, design and experience the content.

  • Cazamus

    Yeah, their love of being able to tell their friends how progressive they are, without caring that their stances create a somewhat hostility towards the issues they are “championing” is bratty considering that they are building on a series, not creating their own. The communities are not being asked to be thrown in just because, they asked for a good representation, and being shoehorned in for PC credit… well it kind of ends up to this point. The worst part is, that they added the Minsc dialogue, so that they can blame all of our criticism on that, without ever having to honestly ask themselves why people consider the writing in this game to be character breaking, immersion breaking, and overall a poorer game experience.

  • Tyrone Jackson

    Beamdog sucks, and them twisting everyone’s words and just not “getting it” is even more infuriating.

  • Tyrone Jackson

    It’s called “virtue signaling”. These SJWs have a bizarre sort of community where the more they pander the more “cred” they earn.

    Never mind the fact that they’re basically using LGBTs, minorities, etc. as tools and don’t actually understand them one bit.

  • SevTheBear


  • Serathis

    They are cousins, alright? Cousins that hold hands and had body language that confused me very much when I watched the show…

  • Serathis

    Im sure theres a spell for that.

  • Serathis

    Steam only allows reviews of games that you own and the reviews show how many hours did you put into the game. I’m not sure you can actually review brigade games on Steam.

  • Anne Rogers

    So I can be that evil character I always wanted to be-as long as that evil character is not sexist, racist, anti-gay, anti-trans, etc. I presume slaughtering white males is still acceptable for evil characters?

  • Zepherdog

    what the fuck did I just read

  • Zepherdog

    I thought love between cousins was a tradition in the US. :^)

  • Serathis


    Btw is that first or second cousins?

  • Zepherdog

    You mean the sailor moon localization? I wouldn’t know.

  • Serathis

    No I dont 🙂