Developer Beamdog has issued a statement regarding the recent controversy surrounding Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.
A forum post by CEO Trent Oster comments on the recent backlash over both the transgendered character Mizhena and the line against GamerGate spoken by Minsc, which have become two of the major sticking points of the controversy, with accusations that the game’s writing is poor and pushing a social justice agenda. According to Oster, Beamdog feels that the character of Mizhena would have been better served with more character development, outside of one line regarding her gender identity. “This is a lesson we will be carrying forward in our development as creators and we will be improving this character in a future update,” states Oster.
He also addresses the GamerGate joke, stating that “We agree with the feedback from our community, it has nothing to do with his character and we will be removing the line.”
The removal of the line by Minsc is similar to the minor controversy for Pillars of Eternity, where fan-made content was changed by Obsidian after several players complained that an in-game poem was transphobic.
Oster also points out the nature of the current review bombing tactics and personal attacks made to Beamdog writer Amber Scott, who many have blamed to be a source of the problem because of her writing ability and outspoken, personal beliefs in several interviews, which as one blogger claims makes her responsible for the “raping of Baldur’s Gate.”
“I just want to make it crystal clear that Beamdog does not condone this behavior, and moreover that it will not have the desired effect as we stand behind all our developers 100%,” states Oster. “We created the game as a group, and moving forward we’ll work on the game’s issues as a group, which I believe is exactly as it should be.”
As well as that, Oster addresses the numerous bugs that have been the focus of most of the original criticism before the controversy blew up, stating that the team is currently compiling a list of major bugs to fix with the next in-game update. Special emphasis will be focused on the multiplayer mode found in Dragonspear, which has been noted to be the buggiest part of the game at this time.
This is the second official statement made by Oster. The first he gave to us here at TechRaptor a few days ago in our original coverage of the controversy. Oster also took to the Beamdog forums early in the controversy, where he asked players to “please consider posting a positive review to balance out the loud minority which is currently painting a dark picture for new players.”
The controversy has spawned several editorials covering the gamut of opinions, both in support and against Beamdog and the game, or staying neutral in the conflict. Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood also weighed in on the controversy today on Facebook, discussing how “saddened” he was by the current vitriol against Mizhena and debunking claims that transgendered characters make no sense in the Forgotten Realms setting, a common argument made by some critical of the games writing.
Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is a DLC expansion to Beamdogs Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition version. It is the first time in nearly 16 years new content has been developed for the Baldur’s Gate series.
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