Rise of the Hutt Cartel, the first major expansion for free-to-play MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, introduces the same-sex relationships to game. However, the new romancing options have been confined to a single planet accessible only by paying for an expansion and reaching a prerequisite character level, it has been revealed.
PC GamesN reports the upcoming expansion doesn't introduce new gay companions or alter the inclinations of any existing ones.
Instead it places gay NPCs on a high-level planet called Makeb, described as a "vibrant alien landscape" where the "Galactic Republic and Sith Empire fight for control over a powerful secret." Same-sex relations and flirtatious dialogue options are not available outside of this planet.
Traditionally BioWare's games have been developed to allow players to romance and have sexual relationships with characters of the same sex from the outset. The option was noticeably absent from SWTOR, leading to enquiries from fans and its eventual inclusion in the update.
PC GamesN notes that, given that every character in SWTOR is voice acted, BioWare will need to dedicate significant resources to make the inclusion more meaningful.
In a recent blog update on the game's official site, The Old Republic producer Jeff Hickman admitted that the feature will require more work than initially thought and cited a focus on the transition to free-to-play as a reason for the delay.
He went on to indicated that Markeb was the first step and that the team "intend on pursuing more SGR options in the future".