CALIFORNIA — Video game developer and distributor Electronic Arts took some fire recently from Christian right groups over the inclusion of gay characters in the popular BioWare games "Mass Effect 3" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic."
The American Decency Association and Florida Family Association, among others, lambasted EA and BioWare for including same-sex relationship options in their games. The groups also accused EA of "pandering to homosexual extremists" and are calling for product boycotts.
"American families grew up with the Star Wars film series that was family fare. The films contained no profanity, no nudity and no sexual situations," the Florida Family Association wrote on its website. "It makes no sense that Bioware and Electronic Arts would shatter that family quality in Star Wars video games just to pacify 35 LGBT polling participants and appease radical homosexual extremists."
Jeff Brown, EA's vice president of corporate communications, has said that the company will not remove the same-sex content and dismissed the complaints as political agenda.
"Every one of EA's games includes ESRB [Entertainment Software Rating Board] content descriptors so it's hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content," Brown told GameIndustryInternational.com. "This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment."
On criticism that EA is banning commentary against same-sex content from its official forum, Brown said, "EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don't tolerate hate speech on our forum."
To see gay and lesbian content scenes from BioWare's "Mass Effect 3", go here.