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KestrelPi

Massive Chalice and same sex couples

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EDIT: Hey, guys, this is becoming a super hard thread to follow, but majugi has done a great job of summarising the story so far. MOST of the time it's been a really constructive discussion. To help keep it that way, please consider reading the summary posts below before chiming in! Thanks!

Summary: http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/9301/P275/#276950

And also, adapted from several posts Chris Remo has made on this topic, the Chris Remo Charter For Posting About This In A Civil Manner

It makes absolutely no difference whether an idea comes from a minority or a majority or one person or two people or a poll of people or any other number of people. All that matters is whether the idea resonates with the team and can be integrated in a way that is additive and fun and compelling. That's it. Nothing is going to end up in the game without undergoing the same testing and tuning that any other feature would.

I really don't appreciate accusations of "pandering" on this. We're not going to put anything into the game that we don't personally want to see in the game. Period.

1. We are ultimately the ones who are developing MASSIVE CHALICE.

2. We want this to be a great game. We will principally make our decisions based on that goal.

3. Community feedback and involvement is extremely important to us as an avenue to share development of the game, gather ideas, and simply have fun. It is not a poll-based design-by-committee situation where we will make final game decisions based on how many people are advocating for or against one idea, or how vociferously it is argued for or against. We have gotten lots of great ideas from the community about LOTS of different parts of the game, and each of those ideas that ends up in the game is subject to the same design scrutiny.

4. Ideas can come from anywhere.

5. No decision decisions are—or even can be—truly set in stone until the game is done.

6. Let’s all chill out.

7. Video games.

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ORIGINAL POST

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I thought I would move this conversation over here because I don't mean it to flood the welcome topic with this. Here's the story so far:

This is perhaps a minor point, but with the focus on bloodlines it's hard to see how there could be any same sex relationships in the game, which is a shame because I always love it when that's an option to play around with, like in The Sims or Fable or (eventually) Mass Effect. But man, if there was some way to acknowledge 'em that worked with the core gameplay then I'd sure appreciate seeing it.

The thing to keep in mind about that mechanic is that these are ultimately strategic marriages to foster powerful bloodlines--they're entirely about producing heirs, basically. I mean, theoretically speaking, in the kingdom there may well be same-sex couples who have fulfilling romantic relationships outside the context of gameplay, but this game isn't a relationship simulator in that sense. These are arranged marriages for strategic goals.

N.B. Some other people had some cool ideas in the other post too, but I didn't want to copy the whole thing, so feel free to reiterate them here too! Didn't want it to seem like I was ignoring you :)

Disclaimer: I'm not trying to imply that the game or anyone making it is being homophobic or anything like that. Just asking people to consider the message that some of their design choices might inadvertently send. You know I love these guys and I'm not trying to stir up anything. So please keep it friendly and don't anyone accuse me of being 'oversensitive'. I'm not making a fuss, just pointing something out.

So, to respond: thanks for the reply, Chris. I understand that it's not a relationship simulator, and I see your point but can you at least see how the subtext of: "same sex couples might exist, but the only way to be a useful member of society and protect our future is to settle down and have kids" might be a little troubling? I know it's not what's intended by the mechanic, but it is a side effect of it.

Cards on the table: I'm a gay guy and I have been lucky in that I've never suffered much because of it. But I still have to deal with society's assumptions about what you need to do to be the most productive member of society. One of the things that closeted gay people hear over and over again is "hey, when are you going to settle down and have kids?" or even when they're younger it's talked about like it's an inevitability.

So maybe that's why what seems to most people like an innocuous and innovative game mechanic seems to me like you're accidentally making a game about making the best possible heterosexuals. :)

I think there might be a solution to this that would actually make the game more strategically rich though:

What if bloodlines weren't the only possible major strategic output from a marriage? At the moment the game is only about raising particular kinds of kid, but all that time raising kids could instead be spent making something else that's really awesome like researching special armour or new combat techniques or magic spells that you can't get via normal research. Maybe if you want to research the most effective special spells then you need two particularly strong mages and your two strongest mages right now happen to be two females. So they get together and they don't have kids but they do discover a wicked awesome attack that could then be learned by other future mages, which might be a worthwhile trade off.

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What if bloodlines weren't the only possible major strategic output from a marriage? At the moment the game is only about raising particular kinds of kid, but all that time raising kids could instead be spent making something else that's really awesome like researching special armour or new combat techniques or magic spells that you can't get via normal research. Maybe if you want to research the most effective special spells then you need two particularly strong mages and your two strongest mages right now happen to be two females. So they get together and they don't have kids but they do discover a wicked awesome attack that could then be learned by other future mages, which might be a worthwhile trade off.

I like the sound of that. It would certainly add to your available strategic choices if there are more viable strategies for marriage. The mechanic Anemone described also sounded very interesting.

Another solution might be an option to allow for surrogate mothers or donors. The offspring would only inherit the traits of one of the parents, but like with Anemone's suggestion the other parent might have some lesser effect on their offspring through the upbringing. The challenge is finding some kind of additional advantage that would balance out what you lose in only directly inheriting the traits of one parent.

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What if bloodlines weren't the only possible major strategic output from a marriage? At the moment the game is only about raising particular kinds of kid, but all that time raising kids could instead be spent making something else that's really awesome like researching special armour or new combat techniques or magic spells that you can't get via normal research. Maybe if you want to research the most effective special spells then you need two particularly strong mages and your two strongest mages right now happen to be two females. So they get together and they don't have kids but they do discover a wicked awesome attack that could then be learned by other future mages, which might be a worthwhile trade off.

I like the sound of that. It would certainly add to your available strategic choices if there are more viable strategies for marriage. The mechanic Anemone described also sounded very interesting.

Another solution might be an option to allow for surrogate mothers or donors. The offspring would only inherit the traits of one of the parents, but like with Anemone's suggestion the other parent might have some lesser effect on their offspring through the upbringing. The challenge is finding some kind of additional advantage that would balance out what you lose in only directly inheriting the traits of one parent.

I think that's cool too. Maybe the additional advantage is that there are some rare but awesome traits that can only be discovered by the chance outcome of discovering a surrogate/donor that has one. Or something.

Anyway, I think the advantage of having extra strategic options like this is that is actually makes the stories that players can tell about their game more rich, which I think is the appeal of this sort of game.

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I immediately thought of this after posting about female heroes in the welcome thread. I think creating the game with the option of pairing same-sex couples to raise kids is great. I think it respects diversity and encourages the player to experiment more with outcomes. I don't really care about the biology of it all. Super powers don't have to be genetic! :) Its a game!

More options for creating super dynasties= better!

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What if bloodlines weren't the only possible major strategic output from a marriage? At the moment the game is only about raising particular kinds of kid, but all that time raising kids could instead be spent making something else that's really awesome like researching special armour or new combat techniques or magic spells that you can't get via normal research. Maybe if you want to research the most effective special spells then you need two particularly strong mages and your two strongest mages right now happen to be two females. So they get together and they don't have kids but they do discover a wicked awesome attack that could then be learned by other future mages, which might be a worthwhile trade off.

I like the sound of that. It would certainly add to your available strategic choices if there are more viable strategies for marriage. The mechanic Anemone described also sounded very interesting.

Another solution might be an option to allow for surrogate mothers or donors. The offspring would only inherit the traits of one of the parents, but like with Anemone's suggestion the other parent might have some lesser effect on their offspring through the upbringing. The challenge is finding some kind of additional advantage that would balance out what you lose in only directly inheriting the traits of one parent.

I think that's cool too. Maybe the additional advantage is that there are some rare but awesome traits that can only be discovered by the chance outcome of discovering a surrogate/donor that has one. Or something.

Anyway, I think the advantage of having extra strategic options like this is that is actually makes the stories that players can tell about their game more rich, which I think is the appeal of this sort of game.

Yeah, I like that. Maybe the surrogate/donor traits might be geared more towards commoner traits that help with stuff like research and forging.

That's true. I feel like Double Fine has a chance at creating something really special with this formula if they get the money they need to give it the attention it deserves.

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By the way I'm really glad people are taking this in the spirit intended - as ideas for how to make the game cooler, rather than complaining about what it is.

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Could be interesting. I'm not exactly a same-sex relationship advocate, but i'm not against it or anything, i'm neutral on the topic.

I'd say that it could be interesting.

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I think it's taking what's supposed to be a fun game mechanic way more seriously than it should be.

No, it's not. It's acknowledging that something could be more inclusive, and using that to suggest ways to make a game more awesome. What could possibly be wrong with that? (Also, did you not even read the disclaimer bit of my post?)

This isn't just about my own personal discomfort, I think the game would be better for it, in easily identifiable ways.

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... the subtext of: "same sex couples might exist, but the only way to be a useful member of society and protect our future is to settle down and have kids" might be a little troubling?

I must have completely misunderstood this game, because I though you could be a useful member of society by kicking ass on the battlefield?

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I think it's taking what's supposed to be a fun game mechanic way more seriously than it should be.

I don't think allowing for same sex heroes to join forces to create new heroes is making anything too serious. We're just talking about opening the field of play, creating options, letting the player have more input. Other games have done the same thing: Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc. Its just another facet of gameplay that backers like me are curious about.

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... the subtext of: "same sex couples might exist, but the only way to be a useful member of society and protect our future is to settle down and have kids" might be a little troubling?

I must have completely misunderstood this game, because I though you could be a useful member of society by kicking ass on the battlefield?

Yeah, but the only way to win the long war is but preserving your bloodline at the moment, that's the point. There could be other ways to do it, like by researching unique stuff, which is something that could be attempted by singles or couples of any type.

I don't think I've said anything confusing, so what's the problem?

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I think it's taking what's supposed to be a fun game mechanic way more seriously than it should be.

I don't think allowing for same sex heroes to join forces to create new heroes is making anything too serious. We're just talking about opening the field of play, creating options, letting the player have more input. Other games have done the same thing: Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc. Its just another facet of gameplay that backers like me are curious about.

While those had various romance options, none led to the creating (or not) of progeny.

Essentially, and I may be summarising this far to easily, you really just want an adoption system as well as procreation. Which I do think would be interesting addition, as in my eyes as well as allowing same sex couples it would also allow the random possibility of a hero being infertile.

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I think it's taking what's supposed to be a fun game mechanic way more seriously than it should be.

I don't think allowing for same sex heroes to join forces to create new heroes is making anything too serious. We're just talking about opening the field of play, creating options, letting the player have more input. Other games have done the same thing: Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc. Its just another facet of gameplay that backers like me are curious about.

While those had various romance options, none led to the creating (or not) of progeny.

Essentially, and I may be summarising this far to easily, you really just want an adoption system as well as procreation. Which I do think would be interesting addition, as in my eyes as well as allowing same sex couples it would also allow the random possibility of a hero being infertile.

I think we are on the same page. I don't really care if it is called 'adoption' or even 'hatching from an egg.' Families are made all kinds of ways in reality, why not then in a video game? I'd love it if during gameplay, I could just select two heroes (of whatever sex) and join them to create a hero family with traits passing on, etc.

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I think it's taking what's supposed to be a fun game mechanic way more seriously than it should be.

I don't think allowing for same sex heroes to join forces to create new heroes is making anything too serious. We're just talking about opening the field of play, creating options, letting the player have more input. Other games have done the same thing: Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc. Its just another facet of gameplay that backers like me are curious about.

While those had various romance options, none led to the creating (or not) of progeny.

Essentially, and I may be summarising this far to easily, you really just want an adoption system as well as procreation. Which I do think would be interesting addition, as in my eyes as well as allowing same sex couples it would also allow the random possibility of a hero being infertile.

I think the reason that it was fine in those cases to not have the creation of progeny is because those games were in no way about that - whereas the word 'bloodline' comes up a lot in the pitch for this game, and bloodline implies something more genetic than adoption would allow for.

Which is why my alternative suggestion was that maybe there can be different strategic options as to how the player can help the future war effort. Most of the time they'll probably want to preserve the bloodline to bring in future generations, and I think it's fair enough that that would be a male retired warrior and a female retired warrior (I think the adoption/surrogacy/donor possibilities are cool, too, but that would just be a bonus). But instead of going that route a skilled couple might instead want to devote their post-fighting life to discovering something unique and awesome, and that could be an avenue that a couple of any kind could attempt.

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THIS THREAD IS AWESOME.

I want the game to be extremely inclusive. We crafted a message about biological sex equality for the FAQ and put it up yesterday evening. But I realize that's not the whole story!

We haven't said anything about same sex couples because I'm not sure how it would work yet! But it's another aspect of being inclusive that I really want to see worked into the game.

Once of the coolest ideas that John and I had was to work in some nature/nurture concepts into the game. Once a hero is born, you can leave them with their biological parents or you can move them to another keep to be fostered by a different pair of parents. The child's skills could then come partially from their biology and partially from the parents that raise them. This could be an excellent spot to have same sex couples. A child that's born from two mages and then fostered by two male (or female) warriors in a different house could grow up to be super powerful! :D!

@Surplus - I really really like your idea about couples being able to aid in research! I had been envisioning the research all taking place in the nation's Capitol (where the player's persona of King or Queen will reside), but now I'm going to think about it differently! Maybe couplings can be focused on producing heirs or aiding in research? That's another decision point for players and it allows same sex couples to aid the realm in a different and possibly unique way. Awesome!

Also - shoutout to everyone in this thread for keeping it civil. This is a sensitive topic! It's so rad to not see trolls derailing the conversation with homophobic bullshit! :D!

Brad!

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THIS THREAD IS AWESOME.

I want the game to be extremely inclusive. We crafted a message about biological sex equality for the FAQ and put it up yesterday evening. But I realize that's not the whole story!

We haven't said anything about same sex couples because I'm not sure how it would work yet! But it's another aspect of being inclusive that I really want to see worked into the game.

Once of the coolest ideas that John and I had was to work in some nature/nurture concepts into the game. Once a hero is born, you can leave them with their biological parents or you can move them to another keep to be fostered by a different pair of parents. The child's skills could then come partially from their biology and partially from the parents that raise them. This could be an excellent spot to have same sex couples. A child that's born from two mages and then fostered by two male (or female) warriors in a different house could grow up to be super powerful! :D!

@Surplus - I really really like your idea about couples being able to aid in research! I had been envisioning the research all taking place in the nation's Capitol (where the player's persona of King or Queen will reside), but now I'm going to think about it differently! Maybe couplings can be focused on producing heirs or aiding in research? That's another decision point for players and it allows same sex couples to aid the realm in a different and possibly unique way. Awesome!

Also - shoutout to everyone in this thread for keeping it civil. This is a sensitive topic! It's so rad to not see trolls derailing the conversation with homophobic bullshit! :D!

Brad!

Awesome! You're listening to fans and expanding on ideas! So glad you support equality like this! Agreed, homophobics have no place on this thread.

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THIS THREAD IS AWESOME.

I want the game to be extremely inclusive. We crafted a message about biological sex equality for the FAQ and put it up yesterday evening. But I realize that's not the whole story!

We haven't said anything about same sex couples because I'm not sure how it would work yet! But it's another aspect of being inclusive that I really want to see worked into the game.

Once of the coolest ideas that John and I had was to work in some nature/nurture concepts into the game. Once a hero is born, you can leave them with their biological parents or you can move them to another keep to be fostered by a different pair of parents. The child's skills could then come partially from their biology and partially from the parents that raise them. This could be an excellent spot to have same sex couples. A child that's born from two mages and then fostered by two male (or female) warriors in a different house could grow up to be super powerful! :D!

@Surplus - I really really like your idea about couples being able to aid in research! I had been envisioning the research all taking place in the nation's Capitol (where the player's persona of King or Queen will reside), but now I'm going to think about it differently! Maybe couplings can be focused on producing heirs or aiding in research? That's another decision point for players and it allows same sex couples to aid the realm in a different and possibly unique way. Awesome!

Also - shoutout to everyone in this thread for keeping it civil. This is a sensitive topic! It's so rad to not see trolls derailing the conversation with homophobic bullshit! :D!

Brad!

Brad, it sounds like you're thinking about exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping and I'm glad you like my idea. It would be awesome if hero-based research gives you access to stuff you couldn't get through just regular ol' research.

But anyway, thanks for the cool, detailed reply and I'll definitely consider upping my pledge soon!

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Brad, it sounds like you're thinking about exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping and I'm glad you like my idea. It would be awesome if hero-based research gives you access to stuff you couldn't get through just regular ol' research.

But anyway, thanks for the cool, detailed reply and I'll definitely consider upping my pledge soon!

Thanks man! It makes me really proud and kinda teary-eyed seeing how awesome and considerate our community is! Thank you so much for your support! It means a lot! :'D!

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The amazingness of these suggestions and Brad's responses have me so excited for the developer/fan feedback potential that looks to be possible in this thing! I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY vote for same-sex couples in the game no matter how it gets implemented!

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It could certainly be an interesting aspect, perhaps people having secret lovers kind of thing, which would add to the whole political level and environment. It would be pretty cool to have secret lovers and then a chance at offspring from those lovers creating problems. Or just the chance to have a secret lover gay or not to help solidify alliances.

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Personally, I don't even have a problem with same sex couples some how producing an heir. Who cares how? It's not like the game is going to getting down to the nitty gritty of what is going on in the bedroom. Maybe they get a surrogate, maybe they adopt, maybe they use a magic that allows them to combine their genetics in a cauldron instead of inside a person (hey, its a fantasy game after all). Does it really matter how they make it? I just don't think it's to important to get hung up on the biological aspects of reproduction, unless they are trying to create a educational game on the subject.

It makes me happy to see people being so awesome about this, lets keep the discussion rolling.

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I think it definitely makes sense to go with a combined nature and nurture model.

Smiles

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THIS THREAD IS AWESOME.

I want the game to be extremely inclusive. We crafted a message about biological sex equality for the FAQ and put it up yesterday evening. But I realize that's not the whole story!

We haven't said anything about same sex couples because I'm not sure how it would work yet! But it's another aspect of being inclusive that I really want to see worked into the game.

Once of the coolest ideas that John and I had was to work in some nature/nurture concepts into the game. Once a hero is born, you can leave them with their biological parents or you can move them to another keep to be fostered by a different pair of parents. The child's skills could then come partially from their biology and partially from the parents that raise them. This could be an excellent spot to have same sex couples. A child that's born from two mages and then fostered by two male (or female) warriors in a different house could grow up to be super powerful! :D!

@Surplus - I really really like your idea about couples being able to aid in research! I had been envisioning the research all taking place in the nation's Capitol (where the player's persona of King or Queen will reside), but now I'm going to think about it differently! Maybe couplings can be focused on producing heirs or aiding in research? That's another decision point for players and it allows same sex couples to aid the realm in a different and possibly unique way. Awesome!

Also - shoutout to everyone in this thread for keeping it civil. This is a sensitive topic! It's so rad to not see trolls derailing the conversation with homophobic bullshit! :D!

Brad!

The idea of adoption sounds kinda cool actually. You could do it like if you start a family, and then the dad/mother dies you could do a remarriage option.

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I don't think there's anything wrong with making a game based on how societies function, I don't think it sends a message, let alone a negative one because creating fiction doesn't mean you always have to aim for a utopia. Adding a layer like adoption/surrogates changes the gameplay mechanic quite a bit. I don't care whether there's same-sex relationships in games, my favourite game developer is gay and might have created the first gay marriage in games AFAIK. I don't understand this complaint, I just hope whatever Brad chooses will work in terms of gameplay.

I do like the idea that it's biology and culture, so who the child's DNA donors and who raises the child makes a difference. It is an opportunity to have same-sex couples, but I wouldn't want that to be the reason for it, that's not how to make good games.

Will real biology be represented? Women are highest in fertility from age 15-25 (ish) and fertility dramatically falls from age 30-40.

Will lesbians be over-powered? Think about, a heterosexual couple can only have one baby at a time unless they have twins or more, unless they adopt. I just thought of a great attribute, having twins is partly genetic after all, it runs in families.

Doesn't adoption take away the conflict of settling down vs continue fighting that was in the pitch video?

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What about adding a small, difficult-to-reach possibility of having same-sex couples reproduce through gameplay? Since magic is in the picture, it could be a reward for quests that are only open to heroes that are already part of a same-sex marriage. If bloodlines will be focused on class specialization, then a two-hero adventure could offer a strategic challenge since the parents-to-be would likely have similar stats.

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I don't understand this complaint

Let me try and help you then (I mean that sincerely, because I can see how it might be a difficult thing to understand)

First, it's not so much a complaint so much as an observation followed by a suggestion. (As for your other points about how it might change the gameplay, I think most people came up with ideas that were actually really complementary to the gameplay, and Brad seemed to agree)

But as for why I think it's a valid observation, try to see it from my perspective. While I've had it lucky in my life, I still experience it from the point of view of someone who is constantly reminded that they are an outsider. I don't think it's because people deliberately mean to exclude me, so much as it never occurs to them to include me. Not because they're bad people, but just because all of this is heavily embedded in our society. I'm hardly oppressed, but there are a thousand little innocent reminders in my daily life that this is a society built for straight people. For a straight person, these reminders are invisible, because why would they notice? But that doesn't mean that they aren't there, and aren't worth talking about.

So where you might think of my humble plea to be more inclusive as unnecessary or even confusing, I just see it as an opportunity for Massive Chalice to be one of those precious spaces where my romantic preferences are represented. It really means a lot to me, because although same sex relationships are more visible than they ever have been in recent history, that doesn't mean that there aren't those thousand innocent reminders I mentioned everywhere, every day, that I'm outside of society's norms.

Does this mean that we should sacrifice historical accuracy? No, of course not, present facts for what they are. Does this mean you could never have a game where gay people are excluded or even oppressed? Again, no, but I think it should be for the right reasons, and I think you can present such a society in a way that still treats the subject with some subtlety.

Massive Chalice has an opportunity, because it's a brand new fantasy world which can write its own rules about how society functions, and while they don't have to write a utopia (heck, a feudal kingdom under siege by demons in a war effort hundreds of years long barely sounds like a utopia to me in the first place!) they certainly can avoid being unnecessarily exclusionary, in the ways we've outlined. And by doing so, as a happy side effect they have a chance of making the gameplay even more awesome than it already sounded.

Luckily, it seems like Brad and the team agree!

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The way I've been thinking about it is that if MASSIVE CHALICE is funded, we'll get to make a really cool, unique, and robust fantasy simulation. It'll be influenced by feudal concepts, but if we can design mechanics that broaden opportunities for player expression and make your individual playthroughs different than mine, letting you play with the systems the way you want and be successful, we should by all means do it!

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Ideas are one thing, they may work they may not, I'd rather that lead the decisions, not who is represented. For one, adoption and surrogacy would mean male heroes could have children and not have to settle down, that breaks the gameplay idea in the pitch video.

I don't see the wish to be represented in other people's art as something good. There's way more to a person than sexual orientation, and I can find more in common with a homosexual person than I can a heterosexual person. This sort of pandering starts a way of thinking in categories that ignores the person, dehumanizes them. People are pretty varied, I'm sure most of us aren't represented in every piece of media, and I don't understand why people would mind if they weren't.

You can't represent everyone. Are we going to have every sexual orientation? Every gender? Infertility? People who choose not to have children? I'm fine with these as suggestions that enhance the themes or the gameplay, but not as a goal to have everyone represented, that's not feasible or desirable.

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Throwing my 2 cents in...

One thing the nature/nurture mechanic would add, in addition to same sex couples, is the possibility of monastic orders, secret societies and what not. I'm looking at Buddhist monks / Knights Watch/ Franciscan Friars / Illuminati / Ninja / Cults ect. It'd basically be a melting pot of bloodlines, or a blender, or even an augmentation, like loose x ability and gain y.

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