Beamdog, development studio behind the widely popular Baldur’s Gate game series, have today released a statement following the online criticism around the game’s new expansion ‘Siege of Dragonspear’ and its inclusion of a transgender character.
CEO Trent Oster has hit back at those criticising the game and condemned those who have harassed and insulted members of the development staff, particularly writer Amber Scott.
‘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 myself crystal clear that Beamdog does not condone this behaviour, and moreover that it will not have the desired effect as we stand behind all of our developers 100%. We created the game as a group, and going forward we will be working on the game’s issues as a group, which I believe is exactly as it should be.
‘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.’
Some of the feedback that he is referring to relates to a number of people who have complained that the introduction of a trans character is a bad thing because the character is ‘badly written’, though complaining about one small conversation about choosing their own name because they’re trans has less to do with being badly written and more to do with people not wanting a trans character in the game to begin with.
To say that characters from certain groups or minorities should not be present unless they are ‘well written’ or ‘have a point’ is a poor argument as so many characters in every medium would suddenly disappear because, well not every character is well written. Whilst it would have been good to have a trans character with a ton of backstory and a great narrative that really gives them the time to shine it doesn’t mean that one side character who is trans is a bad thing.
There is such a broad mix of people in the world, all from different backgrounds with different stories that to only display this kind of range in central characters who are given this kind of depth and attention to detail would paint a very untrue picture of the world, even a fictional world. People are varied, characters in games should be varied too, big and small characters.
Ed Greenwood, an author who has worked on many D&D games, took to Facebook to support Beamdog’s inclusion of a transgender character and point out the ridiculouness of the arguments people have made against it. ‘D&D has half-orcs, and half-dragons, and half-elves, and has magic items that specifically change gender, right there in the rules. Surely, if you can handle the basic notion of cross-species sex, having a full variety of gender roles should be something that doesn’t blow your mind.’