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Paradox Development Studio, the company behind the widely acclaimed historical grand strategy game ‘Crusader Kings 3’, has announced that a same-sex marriage option will be included in the next free update, following backlash and accusations of homophobia over game mechanics that prevented players from forming official homosexual relationships.

‘Crusader Kings 3’ is intended as a historical simulation set in the Middle Ages and has been praised for its true-to-life representation of the historical period. However, that historical accuracy has also landed the developers in some hot waters with the LGBTQ gaming community, as many of the cultures and faiths represented in the game hold negative views on homosexuality, and the game’s mechanics – which revolve around building dynasties and developing influence through strategic marriages – leave players unable to form official same-sex relationships within the narrative.

There was even some backlash against the game after an error message was interpreted as homophobic by some players. It read: “Error: make_concubine effect [Illegal concubinage: <Character> is the same gender as their concubinist, so they can't become a concubine].” The developer responded to the backlash by saying, “In no way was this implemented in order to deliberately bar players from including same-sex relationships in the game.”

Currently, players have the option of making same-sex relationships be accepted by all faiths; however, those relationships can only be made official through the use of third-party mods. The upcoming 1.5 update will make that option available without any additional modding, as players will be able to add a custom rule allowing homosexual marriages before the start of the game. 

“The CK3 team and Paradox as a whole are very conscious of representation in our games, and same-sex lovers have been included in C3K since launch,” developer Paradox stated. “But we know this is not the same thing as a formal relationship. This is something we support, since allowing everyone to tell their story is a big part of our values.”