BioWare

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Name: BioWare
Date(s): founded 1995
Profit/Nonprofit: Profit
Country based in: Canada
Focus: Video games
External Links: Official site
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Contents

BioWare is a Canadian video game development company founded in 1995 by Dr Ray Muzyka, Dr Greg Zeschuk and Dr Augustine Yip. BioWare specializes in roleplaying video games and has created a number of critically and commercially successful franchises, such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. In 2007, BioWare and its partner Pandemic Studios were bought by Electronic Arts; however, BioWare maintained its own branding.

Games

A few of BioWare's notable games:

Female and LGBTQ-identifying Fanbase

More than many other game developers, BioWare has acknowledged and encouraged their female- and LGBTQ-identifying fanbase. David Gaider, one of the head writers, has specifically addressed the "straight male gamer" (the accepted traditional audience of video games) after an unhappy Dragon Age II player complained about the bisexuality of the companions in that game. He stated that "We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention [than the straight male]."[1] See Dragon Age II - Straight Male Gamer Controversy for more about sexuality roles.

Gaider's response received a favourable response from many bloggers:

BioWare, David Gaider,… That, was AWESOME.
It is true that the gaming world is sadly dominated by Straight Male Gamers. Why? Well, perhaps it’s precisely because the industry has failed to cater to the rest of society so often. So many of us are geeks, and so many of us are gamers, including women and/or LGBT people… and there is absolutely no reason to exclude them. BioWare, it seems, has realised this, and the least the LGBTQIA community can do in return is to acknowledge this fact – and preferably in a way that makes BioWare aware of how welcome and refreshing this attitude is, and how likely it is to pay dividends for them – literally and metaphorically. With that done, hopefully the other big games developers will do likewise.
Thank you, BioWare, for not giving in to the majority. Thank you for letting us in and recognising our equal ‘right’ to play games that we can engage and relate with too! [2]

Same-sex companions have been included in BioWare games in Jade Empire, and in a greater degree in the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games. When it was announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would also have same-sex romance options, anti-LGBTQ groups condemned the game.[3][4][5] See Star Wars: The Old Republic - Game World for more.

In October 2012, a discussion about the inclusion of female main characters in BioWare began on Tumblr:[6]

I recall the other week I had a rant about some guy who went on about how FemShep was an ‘aberration’ and that Bioware and other gaming companies should continue to pander to Straight White Males and in fact ignore everyone else even more than they already do because women in particular don’t really play video games (except Bejeweled, which doesn’t count to this guy) except for a ‘vocal minority of feminist thugs with an exaggerated feeling of entitlement’. I’ve had my rant about that, but I came up with a bit of corroborating evidence that this guy is full of shit, summed up in four words: SCENT OF A WARDEN. Yeah, granted, a lot of the scents I’ve come up with could be unisex. But of the custom scents I have created, there’ve been maybe two male Hawkes, three or four male Wardens … and exactly ONE male Shepard. And of the customers? I won’t say for sure that they’re all female, but most of the names that have been written on envelopes to ship perfumes to have sure as hell been female names. Some women will share their spoils with their husbands, if they have them, but they buy them for themselves. ... Long story short? My little venture proves that a lot of women are playing these games, are fans of these games in more than just a ‘casual’ way (and even if it were casual, ‘casual gamer’ contains the word ‘gamer’, and ‘game fan’ and ‘casual gamer’ are not mutually exclusive terms), and are willing to part with money - scarcer and scarcer these days - to express their fannishness. So anyone who’s saying that there are only a few of us ‘overly loud feminist thugs’ trying to horn in on ‘their turf’ and that these games are for no one but men? I’ve got a list of previous and current perfume orders that will quite comprehensively prove you very, very WRONG. -thessalian
Female gamers are not a niche to be marketed to, or a minority to be patronized. They are not an anomaly, a fluke, or an aberration. ... All of that despite the constant harassment and repeated lack of inclusion and objectification and opposition from male gamers and gaming companies and the public at large with pervasive skewed views about what female gamers are and what they should be. That is fucking dedication to a club whose rules treat female gamers as lesser—even as a joke—so much of the time, and it serves to prove one very important point: Video games are for everyone. -impressioniste

Resources

References

  1. Bioware Neglected Their Main Demographic: The Straight Male Gamer. Accessed Aug 09, 2011.
  2. [http://www.nomorelost.org/2011/03/25/straight-male-gamer-told-to-get-over-it-by-bioware/ “Straight Male Gamer” told to ‘get over it’ by BioWare] Posted March 25, 2011. Accessed Oct. 21, 2012
  3. Same-Sex Romance Coming to The Old Republic. Accessed March 16, 2012
  4. Family Research Council Attacks Star Wars: The Old Republic for Same-Sex Relationships, posted January 27, 2012. Accessed March 26, 2012.
  5. Family Values Group Rails Against Hypothetical Transgender Darth Vader Video Game, posted March 21, 2012. Accessed March 26, 2012.
  6. Thess vs Corroboration. Accessed October 21, 2012.
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