Thursday, July 18, 2024

Baldur’s Gate 3 Ser Aylin anti-gay mod removed from Nexus

An overly sensitive mod creator who has taken it upon themselves to make a series of anti-gay mods for Baldur’s Gate 3 has had their latest mod, Sey Aylin, removed from modding website NexusMods.

On the surface, a gender-bent mod seems like nothing to sniff at. There are a variety of different mods that change aspects of NPCs, gameplay, and companions. However, the mod comes part and parcel from a mod pack titled ‘No Alphabets’, which, as you may have guessed, is a pack that’s dedicated to erasing all of the LGBTQ+ characters involved in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Or, to put it in the modder’s own words. A mod pack that “ensures that the gender and sexuality of world NPCs match medieval status quo.” Not only is this a foolish comparison because the world of Dungeons and Dragons, and Faerûn in general, is far removed from ‘medieval’ sensibilities and has been for a long time now.

And also? There were plenty of homosexuals in medieval times, and while views and acceptance of it varied to imply that it simply didn’t exist is not only strange, but very incorrect.

Baldur's Gate 3 anti-gay
The No Alphabets Mod Pack in question.
With a lot of snowflakes involved.

One of the best things about Baldur’s Gate 3 is how inclusive its world is in regards to queer characters. Alongside your companions, you meet several story-critical NPCs and can get to know — who also happen to be queer. The most prominent example is Dame Aylin and Isobel Thorm, two characters that can be met in Act 2. When reunited, they kiss and speak of their longing for one another after so many years away. It’s not only a heartfelt and romantic scene but undeniably one between two lesbian women. Even in 2023, that’s a rare sight to see in video games.

The anti-gay Ser Aylin mod sought to change that, with the description of said mod describing it as “A Reimagining of Nightsong. Meet Ser Aylin, a slightly more polite and male version of Dame Aylin.” The mod alters Aylin’s appearance, voice (through AI), subtitles, and how other NPCs and characters refer to Aylin in conversation and through text.

What’s interesting about this mod is that Isobel seems to remain unchanged, even with the No Alphabet Mod Pack.

Regardless, the Baldur’s Gate 3 community not made up of bigots, quickly took to Reddit to speak out about the mod and the mod pack and spread awareness.

“‘Ser Aylin’ is not just some random harmless mod that changes Aylin’s gender for the fun of it.” Reddit user SignificanceNo2411 shared in a thread that currently sits 17.5k upvotes. “It’s part of a mod pack (housed on another website since most of the mods obviously got taken down from Nexus) called the ‘no alphabets’ mod, which aims to remove every single queer character and every single reference to any queer identity from the entire game.” The user also mentioned that the creators are using mods to remove people of colour from the game.

Dame Aylin Isobel
Image Source: Larian

As mentioned before, Nexus Mods have since removed the mod in question and revealed in a public post that its anti-inclusive nature was the reason for doing so. The full statement can be read here, and below.

“This appears to be a throwaway account created to upload a mod that attempts to skirt our community guidelines. The mod in question appears to reduce diversity in Baldur’s Gate 3 by taking a same-sex couple and swapping the gender of one of the partners to make them heterosexual.

We are for inclusivity, we are for diversity. If we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it. The same goes for people attempting to troll other users with mods deliberately to cause a rise.

We aren’t the authority on what users can and cannot mod. Us removing a mod only means it cannot be found at Nexus Mods, nothing more, nothing less. As a private business, we have a right to choose what content we do and do not want to host on our platform. Respect this right the same way you want respect for your rights.”

While it could be argued that raising awareness of the mod is giving bigoted creators what they want, the alternative is allowing them to thrive unchecked. Something which Nexus Mods clearly isn’t about.

This isn’t the first time mods have been used to express bigotry, and it certainly won’t be the last. Nor is it the first time that Nexus Mods have come out swinging for mods that are homophobic in nature, with the Nexus Mods team removing anti-gay mods that popped up for Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man in August last year.

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