The first thing that immediately stood out to me when I initially previewed Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon wasn't the neon, it wasn't the hark back to the ridiculousness of the 80's, it wasn't even the blood dragons themselves. That's because I didn't get to see much of any of that before being hit with a gay, possibly homophobic joke.
If you've played the game, maybe you've come across it. It happens right at the start, during our introduction to the game—Rex 'Power' Colt is talking to Spider. If you'd like to watch it, it's in the video above. Here's the transcript:
Spider: Wakie wakie, motherfucker. Ops says there's a delay in the feed, they need to recalibrate your ass.
Spider: Well it ain't me 'cause I'm goddamn near perfect. Men want to be me—
Rex: And you want to be with men, yeah, I got it.
[Scene pauses on Spider's face for a second before Spider says something else.]
The context here is clear: in order to take Spider down a peg for his comment about being perfect, Rex implies Spider is gay. The pause right after the comment cements it as a "GOTCHA!" moment.
But was it harmful? Was the harm intentional, even—and if it wasn't intentionally harmful, did that matter? These were the questions I had a difficult time answering.
I wasn't really sure what to think at the time, but I made sure to ask creative director Dean Evans about it.
Kotaku: So one thing I noticed, there were a couple of homophobic jokes in there. What's that about?
[Evans was drinking a beer, which at this point he starts choking on. He puts his drink down.]
Evans: It is the least homophobic game you will ever, ever play. EVER.
Kotaku: Okay. Well I just noticed a couple of things—
Evans: Like what? Like what! Give us an example.
Kotaku: Well at the start, the guy was like, I can't remember his name, but he was like, "All men want to be me," and the other guy interjected, "And you want to be with all men."
Evans: How is that homophobic?
Kotaku: You don't think that's homophobic?
Evans: No. What if he's gay?
Kotaku: What if he's gay. Is he gay? He might be?
Evans: Did you read what was on his…uh, can you read Japanese?
Evans: There's a little secret for you.
Evans: Honestly, if you knew the people who were working on this game, you'd realize it's the least homophobic game, if you knew our sexual orientations, you'd realize it's the least homophobic game out there.
Later, as if nervous, in between my other questions:
Evans: The writer, Lucian, Lucien Soulban, is one of the biggest, biggest gays in the world.
[I laughed nervously at this information, it seemed to come out of nowhere.]
Evans: He's like a bear, he's amazing…massive, sculpted beard, giant, hairy back, you see him in the weekend, he's got like, ball gags. To get back to…so we can be nice and frank with each other, just so you know, we are the least homophobic core team you're probably gonna meet in the business.
I still didn't know how to feel. The next day, after I wrote about the game, I asked a couple of people what they thought. For the most part, it seemed as if the reactions fell into two camps: no, it's not homophobic, or well, it's kind of harmless, isn't it?