The CEO of Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear developer Beamdog has spoken out against the harassment aimed at some of its developers.
The game sparked fury this week by having the audacity to include a transgender character. The studio has said that it feels the idea may have been better received had it been approached differently, but none of that excuses the behaviour of some games community members.
We’ve received feedback around Mizhena, a supporting character who reveals she is transgender. In retrospect, it would have been better served if we had introduced a transgender character with more development. 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,” Trent Oster said.
The last few days have showed us how passionately many of our fans care for our games. We’ve had a lot of great feedback from players who love the expansion and are having a great time experiencing the first new Baldur’s Gate story in 15 years.
While we appreciate all feedback we receive from our fans, both positive as well as negative, some of the negative feedback has focused not on Siege of Dragonspear but on individual developers at Beamdog – to the point of online threats and harassment.
I just want to make it crystal clear that Beamdog does not condone this behaviour, and moreover that it will not have the desired effect as we stand behind all our developers 100%. 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.”
Oster also acknowledged the bugs that have troubled the release, and promised to patch them out quickly. Work is also underway to improve the multiplayer performance.
Beamdog has, however, said it will cut a line from a character that references Gamergate. It reads "it’s all about ethics in heroic adventuring", which is a reference to the infamous Gamergate lie of it’s all about ethics in games journalism”.
Said Oster: "Looking back on the line, we agree with the feedback from our community, it has nothing to do with his character and we will be removing the line.”
The criticism aimed at Siege of Dragonspear has been dressed up in various ways to make it seem less targeted, but make no mistake – this is the same gender-based hate speech that has sadly become all too common within elements of the games community in recent years.
Among the claims is the belief that transgender characters simply do not belong in the Baldur’s Gate universe. However, as Kotaku points out, such themes have been present since the first iterations of Dungeons & Dragons.
The current D&D rule book states: The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon’s image. You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character’s sexual orientation is for you to decide.”