Baldur’s Gate expansion criticised for inclusion of a transgender character

Ben Parfitt
Baldur’s Gate expansion criticised for inclusion of a transgender character

Just another normal day in the games industry, then.

Recently released Baldur's Gate expansion Siege of Dragonspear has found itself subject to heavy criticism from segments of the fanbase, with the anger seemingly directed toward two fronts.

On the one hand, there is widespread frustration at the game's technical performance. The expansion is seemingly troubled my numerous bugs and technical difficulties, including the breaking of mods and a barely functional multiplayer mode.

However, much of the outrage relates to the inclusion of a transgender character. Here's the exchange as seen in-game:

Mizhena: I am Mizhena, faithful of Tempus. Praise be to the Lord of Battles!
Maivyn Auvrea: Mizhena? That's an unusual name. I don't think I've heard it before.
Mizhena: I created the name myself several years ago. My birth name proved unsuitable.
Maivyn Auvrea: What was wrong with your old name?
Mizhena: When I was born, my parents thought me a boy and raised me as such. In time, we all came to understand I was truly a woman. I created my new name from syllables of different languages. All have special meaning to me; it is the truest reflection of who I am.
Maivyn Auvrea: I have to be going now.
Mizhena: Fight well, friend!

In a separate part of the game a character called Minsc is also seen poking fun at GamerGate, stating: "Really, it's about ethics in heroic adventuring."

Steam's negative user reviews, which can only be left from those who have legitimately purchased the title, are largely focused on the technical problems, although there are plenty of vague allusions to bad writing”, most of which are non-specific.

The criticism on other sites, meanwhile, is more transparent. Comments on Metacritic include:

Honestly I'm not really sure where to begin, aside from the obviously grating SJW theme in the game i must say the overall poor writing and bad encounter design, reworking previously fine characters, all make for a pretty non enjoyable experience. What really gets me is the attitude these devs have that people somehow owe them something, as if they're fighting for the common good or something when they're just cramming a pointless agenda down out throats.

I don't hate gays or anything, people do whatever they want to make them happy IDC but this game...Man IDK.

Terrible, 0/10, aside from the SJW still the rest of the writing sucks aswell and the encounter design is pretty much trash mob after trash mob”

And:

I had high hopes for this game, and the first impression was good despite the sprites looking a bit too cartoon-like. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that the devs have projected their own political views into this game, giving it a ‘politically correct makeover' so to speak. There's jarring Internet memes in it (which won't age well), and much of the new dialogue uses modern vernacular which seems entirely out of place. The devs also released an update which is riddled with bugs, and the multiplayer is broken. Strongly advice you to replay the classics rather than invest your money in this.”

It's more of the same on GOG:

While the mechanics of the game are in line with the originals, the story falls short. It sacrifices the narrative and world building of the original Baldur's Gate in order to break the 4th wall and beat players over the head with messages about social issues with the grace and subtlety of a Saturday morning cartoon from the 90's.”

They tried to fix things that weren't broken and ended up making them worse. Multiplayer doesn't work, and on top of it all there is a good deal of ham-fisted social justice garbage thrown in, and you can't even have any kind of negative dialogue to respond to it. DO NOT BUY.”

I have never seen writing in a video game that was so bad. This is easiest Top 10 Worst Written Games of all time. Whoever wrote this game, or the team that wrote this game, obviously got the job from 'knowing someone' or some other reason besides their ability to write. It's awful and they should feel ashamed. Forget about the gender politics and all that jazz, this game is just flat out badly written.”

Identity politics. Personality changes to be less ‘sexist', GamerGate joke, Trans character who out nowhere resolves to discourse about her trans status., bugs and broken multiplayer. Can't NOT recommend this game enough. It's more a sad mockery of an old favorite rpg series of mine.”

This game is filled with cringeworthy identity politics that have been shoehorned in not because they make sense but so the author can feel like they're doing a good progressive thing. It's complete bullshit and detracts from the game massively. Additionally, why the fuck is gamergate mentioned by one of the characters? You can't be serious.”

I feel sorry for the transvestite character in the game. Be born a man into a medieval fantasy universe; Be warped by a crap writer into a tranny that doesn't fit the lore; Crap writer makes you blurt out a ludicrous sex change story to the player on first meeting: Virtue signalling to the max; Gamers make videos of gibbing you and post them to youtube for laughs; Game sales plummet as gamers sick and tired of SJW politics being shoehorned into games; Attempt the soggy-knees, her-ass-mint defence; It's ineffective: Kraptaku is dead; Rip Bumdong smile; Rip Baldur's Gates IP”

You get the idea.

Developer Trent Oster took to the game's forums to encourage those who have enjoyed the game to leave a positive review to try and balance out the hate campaign – but even that move has sparked more outrage from the angry masses. The irony of them demanding that political agendas are not pushed on them by angrily insisting that their political agendas are pushed onto others seems, among all the furore, to have been completely lost.

Oster added in comments to TechRaptor: 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.”

He also references a Kotaku interview with writer Amber Scott, where she rightly stated: If there was something for the original Baldur's Gate that just doesn't mesh for modern day gamers like the sexism, [we tried to address that].

In the ori

GET EMAIL UPDATES

Subscribe