ControversySimilar to the Hexxat controversy in Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, the community once again had a big problem with a character: Mizhena, a transgendered cleric in the party's camp. She says about two sentences when specifically asked about the topic.
This prompted a huge amount of negative internet reviews, including physical threats against writer Amber Scott. It was claimed that the inclusion of transgender characters is a clear violation of the game's lore. (It should be noted that in Baldur's Gate one of the first magical items the player finds is the sex-changing Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity; there's also the wizard Edwin Odesseiron who turns himself into "Edwina" in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.) The crowd also disliked an off-hand remark by Minsc ("it's all about ethics in heroic adventuring"), which spoofs the phrase "Actually it's about ethics in games journalism" associated with the GamerGate movement.
The controversy was also fueled by a pre-release interview by Scott with Kotaku in which she stated that some character portrayals (especially Safana) were sexist in Baldur's Gate and those characters would be changed in the add-on. While this is probably the most reasonable point of critique from a outside view, it played only a minor role in comparison to the two complaints described above.
After some time, Beamdog released the following statement:
First off, everyone here is ecstatic to have shipped Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Siege represents years of hard work by a dedicated team that we grew from a combination of home grown talent, original Baldur's Gate modders and former Bioware developers. Siege of Dragonspear represents more than 25 hours of new Baldur’s Gate gameplay, and more than 500,000 words of writing. I’m proud of our team for launching this great expansion.
We’ve received feedback around Mizhena, a supporting character who reveals she is transgender. In retrospect, it would have been better served if we had introduced a transgender character with more development. This is a lesson we will be carrying forward in our development as creators and we will be improving this character in a future update.
The last few days have showed us how passionately many of our fans care for our games. We've had a lot of great feedback from players who love the expansion and are having a great time experiencing the first new Baldur's Gate story in 15 years. While we appreciate all feedback we receive from our fans, both positive as well as negative, some of the negative feedback has focused not on Siege of Dragonspear but on individual developers at Beamdog -- to the point of online threats and harassment.
I just want to make it crystal clear that Beamdog does not condone this behavior, and moreover that it will not have the desired effect as we stand behind all our developers 100%. We created the game as a group, and moving forward we'll work on the game's issues as a group, which I believe is exactly as it should be.
We’ve received valuable feedback around some bugs we failed to catch for ship. We're hard at work right now patching up the issues that slipped through and we're striving to ship fixes and improvements quickly. We will provide a complete list of the issues we plan to address in our next update. Issues of note we are addressing are:
Multiplayer – We are acting on reports of multiplayer issues and hope to have this fixed in the next update.
Minsc – Minsc has a line which generated controversy. Looking back on the line, we agree with the feedback from our community, it has nothing to do with his character and we will be removing the line.
We hope all our players continue to enjoy Siege of Dragonspear and we look forward to providing an update in the near future.
Contributed by Patrick Bregger (256746) on Jul 10, 2016. [revised by : JudgeDeadd (26817)]. -- edit trivia