While Magic: The Gathering‘s core gameplay experience is what keeps millions of fans returning each year to crack packs and make decks from the latest expansions, Wizards of the Coast knows that an equal number are just as invested in the fantasy-themed card game’s lore and story elements. After all, were that not the case, the intense criticism it received last year for a novelization of War of the Spark – which ended a same-sex romance plot between two popular characters – would likely have never occurred.
Despite apologizing for delivering a less-than-satisfactory conclusion to Chandra and Nissa’s budding relationship, the only explanation publicly given for the diversion describes how Wizards had no desire to pursue the subplot, leading many to assume that the U-turn had perhaps been a result of concerns over foreign censorship.
None of this, of course, has ever been explicitly communicated, though it’s difficult not to reach any other conclusion in light of a statement released on Magic‘s official website yesterday. No specific event is referenced as being responsible for the new initiative, though, which details how certain subject matter will no longer be shied away from, even if it means that those stories will be unavailable in foreign markets.
On this revised philosophy for future narratives, the company said:
We will tell the stories we want to tell, featuring the characters and relationships that best serve the story and our audience. Our focus will be crafting engaging and relatable stories. These stories will have diverse casts of characters with varied experiences, challenges, and adventures.
We will not change these stories to accommodate local markets. One of the challenges of being a global community is that some regions prohibit subject matter we think is valuable to our storytelling. Unfortunately, this means that some of our content will not be available in those markets.
Whether this new directive will result in a reigniting of Chandra and Nissa’s relationship (homosexuality remains illegal in many countries) remains to be seen, but at the very least, Magic: The Gathering will undoubtedly be more inclusive from here on out and that’s a big plus, no matter the repercussions.