A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
…something really queer happened.
I’m talking about the introduction of the planet Makeb in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Makeb represents the solution Bioware, the developer of the game, has come up with to appease more portions of the fan base. There were those in the player base who had vocalized complaints about a lack of equivalent service to the gay community, as existed for the heterosexuals within the game. They had called for a more honest inclusion to those who respected all of the members of the population, not just the most prevalent. In response, Bioware thought the most tactful move for removing the obviously jarring prejudice barriers, was through the action of creating an entire planet (Makeb) devoted to all things gay in the galaxy.
The idea came across as too coarse for members in favor of more inclusion, and even tasteless by others just on looking in justified awe.
Others still, were actually relieved.
Not to say those who are confused, or even critical towards the idea of Makeb aren’t wholly in favor of gay rights. At least in all of the rational approaches to the topic, many are in favor of complete equality, and are just let down by what looks to be a dressed up version of forced isolation.
This all might be a terrible series of cause and effect in video game development, and what’s nominated as important to be afforded the time and money. I really love to stand by the new hope that Bioware as a whole is progressive, but this is not the first time they’ve been put in hot water for same sex controversy. The out of focus implementation of the planet Makeb, which will be upcoming in the new expansion Rise of the Hutt Cartel, continues to send mixed messages.
This seems to be a sticky situation, as many parties involved all want the best, but are providing less. Even with this misguided attempt at servicing gay people, the developer seems to be providing a more counter intuitive gesture than initially intended. When you have a giant like Bioware putting forth a notion so little so late, the message sent is one many are observing poorly, and ultimately controversial. Any well meaning intent is lost among the outcries of lazy afterthought, and does more to cause an even bigger question than the one it tries to answer.
I think the most positive result we can cross our fingers for, is what will come of this turn of events, possibly turning into a greater dialogue of it‘s occurrence. I remember when the now Infamous Dick Wolves Debacle went down, no matter what side you were on, it got a lot of people thinking and talking about sensitivity, and sexism as a whole. This provided a better understanding for many involved, and generated a discussion of awareness, something this kind of thing rarely gets, often not receiving the attention it deserves even in non-virtual life.
Who knows? Weird misfires like this can provide odd introspection and maybe Makeb will play out as a great social experiment, and help those who will end up benefiting from it’s creation. Just maybe someone will find this a useful outlet to explore themselves in, and possibly find a new kind of honesty within themselves…
…possibly even those who didn’t even know they had it in them to begin with.