Gameranx: The National Enquirer of Games Journalism
Earlier today gaming site Gameranx posted an article entitled “Dragon Age: Inquisition Might Drop Romance Options”. Citing a tumblr post by Dragon Age’s lead writer, David Gaider, the article starts out by saying “Why even include romance options in video games? That’s the question Dragon Age: Inquisition lead writer David Gaider is currently wresting with. ” The piece, written by Josiah Renaudin, goes on to quote a small piece of Gaider’s tumblr post before closing with the suggestion that whether romances will be included in Dragon Age: Inquisition has yet to be decided.
To say that David Gaider’s words were taken out of context would show a vast misunderstanding of the meaning of “out of context”. Nowhere in the tumblr post is it ever suggested that the fate of romances in Dragon Age: Inquisition or any other BioWare game is still being decided. Mr. Gaider begins his post with the words,
“I can easily imagine a time when the romances in Inquisition are revealed (whether that will be before or after release, I have no idea). There will be an inevitable reaction from people who are disappointed they couldn’t romance someone with their character of choice, and some of them will rant at length as to how they were only deprived of said romance because of some agenda.”
This clearly indicates that romances in DA:I are a done deal, but in case there is any confusion, he goes on to talk about how he recognizes that the romantic relationships that are available in their games are valuable to many players, and that it’s something they provide in their games that almost no one else does. The only time he contemplates the possibility of dropping romances is in relation to a new IP– an entirely new game series. Not Dragon Age.
Several outlets have reported on Mr. Gaider’s post, including Polygon, SegmentNext, and Explosion, all of which are very clear on the fact that there will be romances in Dragon Age: Inquisition. There was no confusion about this fact in any of the other sites I’ve seen.
In other words: Josiah Renaudin and Gameranx lied. They weren’t confused by Mr. Gaider’s post and they didn’t just take a section of said post out of context. They twisted his words in a way that would stir up drama within the Dragon Age fandom, which would result in an increase to their website’s traffic.
This is not games journalism. This is games sensationalism. This is the gaming journalism equivalent to tabloid magazines at the supermarket checkout.
I am incredibly offended by this, and not because I am a rabid BioWare fangirl. I play games, I write about games, and I read about them. I care what is happening within the games industry and I trust the outlets that provide gaming news to post their content in good faith. I don’t expect them to get it right 100% of the time, but I do expect them to try. Even if we assume that Josiah Renaudin lacks basic reading comprehension skills and honestly misconstrued Gaider’s words, neither he nor anyone else at Gameranx verified their information. Instead, they went all the way in the other direction and made shit up.
They weren’t even particularly subtle about it, posting an article at the same time, by the same author, called “Dragon Age 3: Inquisition Won’t Let Players Hide Homosexual Romance Options”. (That piece does include the words “The BioWare team is still unsure if there will be romance options in Dragon Age: Inquisition“, along with a link to the relevant article.)
See what I did there? How I included that they did mention and link to the other article, instead of leaving that bit out to support my own viewpoint and make them look (even more) like assholes? Yeah. That’s called “making a good faith effort to provide my readers reliable information”. I do that because I respect the people that take the time to read my work.
When Gameranx posted Mr. Renaudin’s piece, they lied to their readers and violated the trust that those readers place in them. They put the people who work at BioWare in the unenviable position of facing yet another fan-rage uprising, and they added another black mark to the already tarnished reputation of games journalism as an industry. It wasn’t just dishonesty, it was an act of blatant disrespect to their readers and to the gaming community as a whole.