Home Gaming Baldur’s Gate developers respond to criticism over transgender character

Baldur’s Gate developers respond to criticism over transgender character

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Beamdog responds to Dragonspear controversy

A few days ago, the team over at Beamdog finally launched the long-awaited expansion to Baldur’s Gate, Siege of Dragonspear. Among a host of issues like bugs and breaks, the expansion featured a brand new character – a transgender character to be more specific. Mizhena drew a ton of backlash, stemming from things as simple as her inclusion to the “political” writing of the character. Beamdog has heard it all, and they’re addressing a few things in a patch.

Speaking on the game’s official forums, Beamdog CEO Trent Oster stood up for the team’s decision for the inclusion of Mizhena, and slammed players that suggested a trans character could not (and should not) be included in their game. He did, however, concede that the character itself could’ve been far better written.

“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,”

Mizhena’s writing is what drew most of the criticism, and Oster admits that the little jab included in her dialogue directed at groups like GamerGate didn’t help. That why some of it is being removed and re-written.

Oster did however make it very clear that harassment of individual developers who internet users might try to lay singular blame on for the inclusion of “politically correct” characters will not be tolerated. Oster warned that Beamdog is a small team of talented developers that will stand by each other no matter what, and that harassment towards any member of this team will be ferverously defended against by the studio.

“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,” Oster said.

“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 per cent. 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.”

Maybe Beamdog should be teaching Nintendo a thing or two about how to stand by your employees. Siege of Dragonspear is out now.

Last Updated: April 7, 2016

87 Comments

  1. People who harass others online should feel the full force of the law.

    Reply

    • Raptor Rants

      April 7, 2016 at 13:09

      this

      Reply

    • konfab

      April 7, 2016 at 13:11

      What law?, often it is international.

      As far as I know, there are no international hate speech laws.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        April 7, 2016 at 13:13

        There are local laws. No matter who you harass, you are bound by your local laws – and Interpol is a real thing, unlike democracy. So send Interpol on their ass, and make them face the laws in their own country.

        Reply

        • konfab

          April 7, 2016 at 13:15

          Interpol have bigger things than online harassment to work on.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            April 7, 2016 at 13:15

            You’d be surprised.

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:38

            lol, imagine that.. “Officer, they hurt my feeh feehs on the internet”

            Just harden the fuck up people, and get your arses off twitter. It’s rotting your brains.

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:39

            But we miss you on twitter!

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:40

            I’ll never come back! NEVER! Twitter can suck my rotten banana

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:41

            You break my heart man, YOU BREAK MY HEART! PS, when the heck are you going to join one of our get togethers at the River Club.

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:43

            You can contact me via email – like a proper gent!

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:44

            Lies! You just stalk in the background, we know, OvG saw you once!

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:46

            OVG saw nothing! His advanced age makes him see things….

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:47

            Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh fighting words!

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:50

            Put em’ up OVG! #Shadowboxes

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:51

            You? Shadow? You need substance like that, and like all your arguments, you lack it! *RUNS

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:53

            Damnnn playa… DAAAAMNN you just went for the jugular 😮 Shit’s gone all Compton! #DriveBys #OGLoc

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:57

            You know it! Now sit down with the rest of the femmzies!

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 14:00

            Jim’s harem? This has suddenly gone very Arabian Nights. 😛

          • Pariah

            April 7, 2016 at 13:39

            Not everyone is as thick-skinned as you appear to be. Don’t be an ass.

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:43

            Don’t make me swat you man…. 😛

          • Pariah

            April 7, 2016 at 13:44

            And now you’re calling me a fly? What the actual hell?

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:46

            And that is how Pariah and Jim set up Patreon accounts 😀

        • BakedBagel

          April 7, 2016 at 14:42

          Because interpol are worried about harassment and not international human trafficking and or child prostitution rings.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            April 7, 2016 at 14:53

            Well duh. Where are your priorities at? Don’t you know gamers are more important than life itself?

          • BakedBagel

            April 7, 2016 at 14:56

            games***

            What is life even?

    • Kromas untamed

      April 7, 2016 at 13:27

      Swatting just takes way too much time to enact. 🙂

      But seriously … I agree 100%.

      Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      April 7, 2016 at 13:30

      Dear heavens… lolcows exist for my amusement, and I am offended and appalled that you want to take away my entertainment.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        April 7, 2016 at 13:33

        We could design a special intranet theatre-esque space for people with your inklings can enjoy some entertainment, without anyone else being affected?

        Reply

  2. RinceThis

    April 7, 2016 at 13:11

    Ohhh. Gods. People who harass online should all be made to work in coal mines with no access to the internet. VOTE ME NOW! MAKE IT HAPPEN!

    Reply

    • Pariah

      April 7, 2016 at 13:14

      Make that old, retired coal mines that are too dangerous for normal hard-working citizens.

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        April 7, 2016 at 13:14

        So any mine in SA then?

        Reply

        • Pariah

          April 7, 2016 at 13:15

          Well I didn’t want to say anything, but…

          Reply

  3. Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    April 7, 2016 at 13:17

    Usually online threats are nothing more than this:
    http://img.pr0gramm.com/2014/05/16/bd16a27550256a47.gif

    But in the case of someone taking it just that little too far, the only solution is:

    http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/images/c_fill,h_280,w_350/t_mp_quality_gif/gp2mtig9jxio59zgmdan/police-squad-not-robert-goulet-433908.gif

    Reply

  4. Strawman Jim

    April 7, 2016 at 13:23

    lol, Beamdog is full of shit. Sandy, the issue isn’t that the character is trans, in fact no one I know particularly cares if their party members are gay dwarves, trans elves or black midget Norse gods. The reason why Beamdog is getting so much flack is because (a) the trans character is an embarrassment. Its defining feature isn’t that it’s a well-rounded transsexual character but rather that the sole reason it exist is because it’s transsexual. When you first meet it, It tells you “Hi, I’m trans”. Like who the fuck cares? All I want to know is, “Dude can you fucking hold an axe?” or “Can you cast magic?” or “Can you revive me?”. (b) the expansion itself is crap on a stick (from a world building perspective as well as from a writing perspective)

    Reply

    • RinceThis

      April 7, 2016 at 13:25

      You’re not making sense! This must be about gender, it’s the internet!

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        April 7, 2016 at 13:28

        Someone must be offended, somewhere on the internet… OH NO let’s set up a Patreon for victimbux! It really pisses me off that legitimate criticism of this company (and its hack of a writer) is being portrayed as an all out misogynistic or homophobic or transphobic attack against transsexual folk.

        Reply

        • RinceThis

          April 7, 2016 at 13:29

          Agreed. Though what is also brought up is the stalking abuse of the team. That is bullshit.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            April 7, 2016 at 13:32

            Exactly. No matter the core debate or issue, nothing warrants the type of harassment that people think is ok if it’s on the internet.

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:33

            You’re going to get deranged and dangerous folk on both sides of the fence, whether it’s a crazed cotton-colour hair freak moaning about Justin Bieber’s dreads or a fat neckbeard who gets offended that his favourite video game character is being insulted.

            What you don’t do is take the views of a sick minority and then represent that as the views of a majority.

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:35

            Totally agree. I haven’t played the game, but if the introduction of the character is as you say, then that is utter bullshit. It’s like me introducing myself as a ginger… Wait, that is a permitted form of discrimination 😛

          • Pariah

            April 7, 2016 at 13:35

            And Ginger is us being nice. We’ve seen your face.

            *RUNS

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:36

            You get the hell back here!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            April 7, 2016 at 15:49

            It’s not discrimination, it’s a public service.

    • Kromas untamed

      April 7, 2016 at 13:30

      They need to learn from Bioware. Those guys really know how to implement any character of any race/creed/belief/gender/whatever else.

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        April 7, 2016 at 13:35

        Exactly, or even the lads who worked on the Witcher 3 – You’re bound to get people who will react negatively to LGBt characters (that’s a given) but in a similar vein painting all criticism under this bigoted brush is absolutely reprehensible.

        Reply

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          April 7, 2016 at 13:41

          And having this character out of the blue tell you, “Hey, you know what!? I’M TRANS!! MOTHAF*CKA!! YOU LOOK AT ME IN A FUNY WAY AND I’LL RIP YOU A NEW ONE” Is not the way to include diverse characters into gaming, also don’t do it (a) just because everyone else is doing it and (b) for the sake of inclusion without having the faintest clue as to where to do your research…

          Reply

          • Strawman Jim

            April 7, 2016 at 13:42

            That’s why you need a competent writer. If you’re going to go the social justice route then you need someone who can work that pen like a work horse – not some SJW tumblerina with a chip on her shoulder.

          • RinceThis

            April 7, 2016 at 13:44

            hahahahahahaha win

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            April 7, 2016 at 13:48

            Exactly!! I tend to get upset on behalf of the developers simply because you now have 30 more characters to build in addition to the three main characters you’d place most of your thought process into, so in the end you half arse everything, and that is not how you create games.

  5. konfab

    April 7, 2016 at 13:39

    I don’t mind if developers want to push a political agenda. But then they should allow people to agree or disagree with that agenda as would befit a role playing game.

    Otherwise it is annoying and people will vent.
    Bioware did it quite nicely with Krem.

    Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      April 7, 2016 at 13:39

      Amen brother!

      Reply

    • Pariah

      April 7, 2016 at 13:41

      Agreeing or not is one thing – harassment is another. And yes, despite what you and Jim think, they are QUITE different.

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        April 7, 2016 at 13:49

        Stop triggering me man!! 😀 STOP IT!

        #triggerwords Agreeing, harassment, Jim, Think, QUITE!!!!!!!!

        Reply

        • Pariah

          April 7, 2016 at 13:50

          BUT… My mommy said I could?

          Reply

      • BakedBagel

        April 7, 2016 at 17:22

        The problem is. What is harassment? Ive seen it being defined as mere twitter mentions.
        Ive seen forum threads be classified as harassment.
        Almost everything now is some form of harassment.
        And because people cry wolf on almost.every.damn.thing its become a “fad”.

        People are reallly effected by harassment and its a slap in the face to people who really suffer with being harassed.

        Peace and love tho ^_^

        Reply

    • BakedBagel

      April 7, 2016 at 17:19

      James Vega from ME is gay.

      My first 2 playthrough’s i didnt even know.
      Didnt change his character in the slightest.

      Reply

      • konfab

        April 7, 2016 at 17:26

        The same James Vega that FemShep can have a one night stand with in Citadel DLC?

        Reply

        • BakedBagel

          April 7, 2016 at 17:28

          He bats for both teams then. Im almost sure he is gay

          let me check

          Reply

        • konfab

          April 7, 2016 at 17:29

          • BakedBagel

            April 7, 2016 at 17:32

            TIL

        • BakedBagel

          April 7, 2016 at 17:31

          I cant actually find anything solid on it. I dont know i specifically remember him being a Male love interest. Shit.

          Reply

  6. konfab

    April 7, 2016 at 13:42

    Imagine the outrage if Beamdog made a statement on the right to bear arms, then proceeded to make the only conversation options relate about agreeing with it.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      April 7, 2016 at 13:44

      Reply

  7. The Sten

    April 7, 2016 at 13:47

    I reckon one of the deeper reasons people love the DnD Tolkien fantasy worlds is because it allows them to be openly racist/sexist/classist/whatever-ist and just go with it.

    If your gonna have a trans walk into a bar in these worlds……..prepare to roll initiative.

    Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      April 7, 2016 at 13:57

      Probably – after all how many of us gladly roll evil characters, and how many of us actually enjoy it. Your comment is food for thought!

      Reply

    • konfab

      April 7, 2016 at 14:27

      You would willingly let Orcs invade your peaceful village?

      Reply

      • The Sten

        April 7, 2016 at 15:01

        No I am one of the orcs

        Reply

  8. Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    April 7, 2016 at 13:59

    This all comes down to where the root of the problem started, I don’t like people picking fights with each other/harassing people that are trying to do their best to bring you a form of entertainment. What I do have a problem with is this whole thing about boycotting a game simply because they didn’t cater for a specific sexual preference. If you are a straight white male, you’re going to write the best bits of your sexual orientation and (hopefully not, but ok) personal experiences. If you are a transvestite with a dream of becoming a woman, you will be the best person to relay your feelings and message in a story, not the straight male standing next to you getting chills from head to toe because he doesn’t understand your orientation, in actual fact, I doubt that he’d even be able to imagine what that person is going through, I sure as hell won’t and instructing people to include these themes without providing solid/good sources to research them is like strapping a blind man to a steering wheel of a car and telling him he may not crash…

    TL;DR: Stop with unrealistic expectations.

    Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      April 7, 2016 at 14:01

      Listen to this man – he is wise and potentially smells of cheese.

      Reply

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        April 7, 2016 at 14:03

        At least I don’t smell like cordon Bleu yet… I hope…

        Reply

        • Pariah

          April 7, 2016 at 14:20

          “I’d like to introduce you to my mother. Her name is Gor. Gor Gon Zola.”

          Reply

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            April 7, 2016 at 14:46

            Aah man… I honestly cannot stand blue cheeses…I don’t know why, but every time I smell it, I have these flashbacks to when I was a student, and one of three things that students do is puke, that is what it smells like…puke…

          • BakedBagel

            April 7, 2016 at 14:47

            Fucking cheesist racist.

            T Y P I C A L

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            April 7, 2016 at 14:51

            That sounds more like an atheist though… “I Hate cheeses!”

          • BakedBagel

            April 7, 2016 at 15:24

            Cheesus Crust

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            April 7, 2016 at 15:25

            Had a Pizza once, it was called the holy baby cheeses…

      • Pariah

        April 7, 2016 at 14:17

        Potentially?

        Reply

    • Pariah

      April 7, 2016 at 14:16

      It’s no fair you taking the fun out of tl;dr for us. Can I boycott you for it?

      Reply

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        April 7, 2016 at 14:20

        Hehehe, I’m sorry, this is just such a fueled subject, I can’t help myself…

        Reply

        • Pariah

          April 7, 2016 at 14:21

          So I can boycott you for it! Nice!

          *boycotts cheese-boy*

          Reply

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            April 7, 2016 at 14:26

            You’d better beware! I still have a smell-o-scope to work with!

  9. BakedBagel

    April 7, 2016 at 14:44

    LOL “Hi im trans”

    10/10 writing IGF GOTY MATERIAL RIGHT HERE

    Reply

  10. True FF Fan

    April 7, 2016 at 16:26

    is the writer of this piece being intentionally ignorant? The nintendo situation was beyond justified, the damn employee was dressing up as nintendo characters in a slutty fashion for money, she deserved her fate (the fact that they fired a feminazi was just a very welcomed bonus, people who are part of hate groups deserve the bad things that happen to them.)

    Reply

  11. Victor Moolman

    April 8, 2016 at 07:35

    This situation is a lot like the whole TV/movie thing and being gay. You shows like Modern Family where the gay couple is integral but frankly they were just put in there to attract the gay viewers and be politically correct, which just suck big massive donkey….

    Anyway then you have stuff like Harry Potter where everyone went “Meh” when Dumbledore was declared gay by JK. No one cared because it hasn’t been shoved into our faces the whole time, which is why I will be marathoning it this weekend…anyone wanna join? Please?

    I need a friend.

    Reply

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