This post contains spoilers about James Bond movie Skyfall. That might sound strange, but it's true.
AAA games aren't likely to feature openly gay protagonists anytime soon over fears that such characters could negatively impact a game's sales potential, according to Ubisoft Montreal lead writer Lucien Soulban, who most recently worked on Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
"When are we going to see that gay protagonist in a AAA game? Not for a while, I suspect, because of fears that it'll impact sales," Lucien told the Ubisoft Blog.
"So either we'll see a bait-and-switch like the original Metroid with Samus Aran where we'll find out damn near after the fact (PS: And Dumbledore was gay), or it'll come out of left field with Rockstar, Valve, Naughty Dog or Telltale, perhaps," he added. "But when it happens, I hope it's a serious take on it and not played up for jokes."
Lucien said a better question might be, "When are we going to get a gay/lesbian AAA hero(ine) who isn't a one-off joke?" One example Lucien cited of what he believes is poor execution of a gay character in a major entertainment franchise was Javier Bardem's role as the villain Silva in James Bond movie Skyfall.
"His character's sexuality was total shtick to satisfy one scene. Otherwise, he was a narcissist with mommy issues, and a pedophile to boot," Soulban said. "His 'seduction' of Bond was nothing more than vanity because Bond was his reflection, the new 'him.' Yay. So it bothers me when I hear people using his performance as a benchmark for diversity in entertainment, and I have heard it being bandied about."
So what's it going to take for the video game industry to get to a place where more gay characters are featured in major games? Soulban said it's already happening, albeit only on the periphery, at least right now.
"We'll definitely see more of them, and I think it's happening quietly. Look at the choices offered in Mass Effect 2 & 3, or Fable III, or Dragon Age II or Skyrim, the gay characters in Borderlands 2 who mention it without much fanfare, etc. Video games have stopped 'announcing' gay characters. They're introducing them without much fanfare in an effort to say, 'Yeah, it’s there and pretty normal.' Call it: 'We’re here, we're queer, and we’re busy working.'"
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|
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