Double Fine will add same-sex relationships to their new Kickstarter project, Massive Chalice.
This is the second time Double Fine has taken to the crowdfunding platform and, though Massive Chalice isn't smashing records like its predecessor Broken Age, it has already surpassed its $725,000 goal by $100,000.
The user will play as an immortal king defending his kingdom from hoards of demons. The twist is that players will be responsible for creating powerful bloodlines over generations through marriages between their heroes.
While definitely a compelling idea that draws on the success of strategy titles like Crusader Kings, many raised questions about the game's attitude towards non-traditional gender roles and relationships.
“We did not talk about [the possibility of gay marriage] until we launched the Kickstarter,” Massive Chalice creator Brad Muir told Rock Paper Shotgun.
“We were so focused on pure pragmatic mechanics and how it would work and coupling and all these things that we hadn’t [considered it]. That was something I got kinda blindsided by. That was really unfortunate. It kinda makes me feel shitty that it’s not something I’d thought of. I think it’s sort of hetero privilege that I didn’t see it coming.”
Muir says this kind of consumer feedback was one of the benefits of taking the game to Kickstarter so early.
“One of the cool things is we have the opportunity to think about it and address it because we brought it to the community,” he said.
“We brought it to a broader group of people, and then there were some people who brought it up and wanted to talk about it. There’s a raging thread on our forums.”
Muir thinks part of the reason so few games have included same-sex relationships in the past is that in traditional publishing pipelines, games are often a year in the making before the public has the chance to ask these kinds of questions.
By then it's often too late to add complex relationship dynamics and same-sex relationships are seen as too controversial and expensive to make the cut.
“If somebody did think about it during that whole thing, they would’ve probably just killed it because it is such a controversial issue,” explained Muir.
“They’d probably not want to have it associated with the game at all. And then they’d give me a PR company line that I’d have to tell in every interview, and it’d be super, super shitty. And then any gay gamers who are coming to the game and playing it and wanting to see themselves represented would just be really disappointed.”