Girl in the Machine
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
To Be a Hero

Retro Spotlight: Brad Evans from Wild Arms 2

[Editor’s Note: October is LGBT History Month, and so I have decided to spotlight a series of LGBT characters.]

One of the first three characters players meet in Wild Arms 2, Brad is a wartime hero who was imprisoned for his involvement in the Slayheim Liberation Army. Despite his incredible battle skills and fighting abilities, Brad is a truly compassionate man who looks forward to the day the world no longer needs heroes like him.

When I first played Wild Arms 2, I took notice to the relationship between Brad and a friend of his from the war, Billy. The two of them are very close; in fact, Billy is Brad’s only friend left from the war. Unfortunately, Billy suffered several injuries during the liberation war and has since endured significant brain damage. Brad sticks with him through it all, and many fans believe that the two were/are romantically involved.

I find all of the talk surrounding Brad Evans to be fascinating. Many hardcore fans violently protest the possibility that he could be gay. They ask, “Why is Brad gay just because he’s close friends with Billy?” In response, I ask, “Does being gay make Brad less of a hero?”

I prefer to think that Brad is gay. It’s a nice departure from games that indulge in stereotypes. In a way, I almost think that it’s good that his homosexuality was underplayed because it demonstrates how being gay is only one part of a person’s larger identity. I mean, let’s face it—the whole relationship with Billy is merely a side-story in the grand scheme of things.

The truth of the matter is that we don’t have conclusive proof one way or the other. In the English version, at least, players have to read between the lines to catch Brad and Billy’s relationship. Supposedly, their relationship is more open and apparent in the Japanese version, but I honestly can’t say that I have the linguistic ability to verify this claim.

But what’s all that matter? The fact remains that, gay or not, Brad has some of the highest hit points, defense, and strength in the game. Go Brad! Bust some skulls!

Wild Arms 2 is probably third on my list of favorite Wild Arms titles, but that’s not as low as it sounds. The characters are memorable and the music is amazing. I’d definitely recommend checking it out—if you can get past the graphics (which really aren’t that bad for the PSOne), the gameplay is awesome and the storyline is top notch. For that genuine retro feel, dust off your good ol’ Playstation One and get to gamin’!

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