In an upcoming expansion, Runes of Magic publisher Frogster will support same-sex marriage for players
Runes of Magic publisher Frogster recently announced that it will support same-sex marriages in its upcoming expansion, Chapter III: The Elder Kingdoms. [via VideoGamer.com] The news might seem surprising to many video game fans, considering the MMO industry's awkward past with the LGBT community and previous issues regarding same-sex relationships in-game. As VideoGamer.com mentions in its article, Runes of Magic is developed by Runewalker, a Taiwanese studio. Taiwan's governing body is the Republic of China, which doesn't recognize same-sex marriages...nor does the People's Republic of China, in which case a mainland Chinese development studio probably wouldn't have been able or willing to incorporate similar gameplay mechanics. The Beijing-based Perfect World Entertainment, for example, has received criticism of sexism and discrimination for related reasons (to read PWE's response to this issue, see our Rising Tide Q&A from last year).
The in-game marriage system is a new feature that will be introduced in Runes of Magic's upcoming expansion, which will also provide character bonuses, according to the VideoGamer.com article. "Of course you can only be married with one person at the same time," Frogster's Philipp Senkbeil told the Web site. "It's even possible to have gay couples, so no need to just have a male and female character. Two male characters and two female characters can marry each other." The upcoming MMO feature has drawn the attention of many LGBT video game communities, such as GayGamer.net, which praised Runewalker for "taking a step that many Western developers have been to scared to tackle." Considering that some of the most-successful and seemingly-liberal U.S.-based publishers have "looked the other way" in previous circumstances, many MMO fans might be inclined to agree.