The hits just keep on coming for BioWare and EA’s ill-fated Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic. After a less-than stellar launch and a much maligned move to free-to-play, the game is getting its first major expansion in the form of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel, which will feature, of all things, a planet where same-sex romances are permitted.
This might not seem too strange to people who haven’t played The Old Republic, but Makeb, as the planet is called, is the only place in the entire game where player characters can engage in same-sex romances with NPCs. This doesn’t turn previous companions into romance options, or even add new companions with this feature (because that would be “too difficult” according to the developers), but rather places new characters exclusively on Makeb.
As if that wasn’t strange enough, making this part of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion means that same-sex romances are available only after paying for it. Putting SGR (same-gender romance as the TOR forums call it) on a single planet behind a paywall just smacks of not only laziness, but a lack of respect for customers looking for that kind of content.
BioWare always seems to swing one way or the other when it comes to same-sex romances. In Dragon Age 2, everybody was trying to get into Hawke’s pants and now in Star Wars: The Old Republic, there’s a whole planet dedicated to this. There’s nowhere else in that vast galaxy where a player an have their male avatar romance a male NPC except on Makeb. Star Wars has been traditionally bereft of LGBT characters (there’s a brief nod to this in one of the Dark Nest Trilogy books, but that’s about as far as it goes), so I suppose BioWare has to be given some credit for adding in this option.
What do you guys think? Is this good enough and are people over-reacting? Should BioWare remove SGR from the game until they can implement it properly with an actual companion?