Homosexual protagonists in triple-A games will not emerge in the near future because publishers fear it would impact on sales, a games writer has claimed.
Lucien Soulban, lead writer at Ubisoft Montreal, was asked about the diversity of lead characters in a new interview on the official Ubisoft blog.
"When are we going to see that gay protagonist in a AAA game? Not for a while, I suspect, because of fears that it'll impact sales," Soulban replied.
"So either we'll see a bait-and-switch like the original Metroid with Samus Aran where we'll find out damn near after the fact, or it'll come out of left field with Rockstar, Valve, Naughty Dog or Telltale, perhaps. But when it happens, I hope it's a serious take on it and not played up for jokes."
Soulban went on to suggest that the depiction of homosexual characters was not particularly more progressive in other mediums.
"Look at Javier Bardem in [the Bond film] Skyfall, his character's sexuality was total shtick to satisfy one scene. Otherwise, he was a narcissist with mommy issues, and a paedophile to boot. His 'seduction' of Bond was nothing more than vanity because Bond was his reflection, the new him.
"So it bothers me when I hear people using his performance as a benchmark for diversity in entertainment, and I have heard it being bandied about."
EA's Mass Effect series has been praised for allowing protagonists to play as gay characters, male or female. Soulban was confident that more games will introduce gay characters, at least in supporting roles.
"We'll definitely see more of them, and I think it's happening quietly. Look at the choices offered in Mass Effect II & III, or Fable III, or Dragon Age II or Skyrim, the gay characters in Borderlands 2 who mention it without much fanfare. Videogames have stopped 'announcing' gay characters.
"They're introducing them without much fanfare in an effort to say, yeah, it's there and pretty normal. Call it: We're here, we're queer, and we're busy working."