A downloadable add-on pack for Star Wars: The Old Republic will add a new planet where players can enter same sex relationships with other characters, developer BioWare has revealed.

The Old Republic BioWare Gay planet

Named Makeb, the planet will be launched as part of the new Rise of the Hutt Cartel pack and will be the only place in the game where players can select "flirtatious" dialogue options with characters of the same gender.

BioWare executive producer Jeff Hickman apologised for same sex relationships taking so long to be added to the game, referring to the company's most famous title Mass Effect, where homosexual relationships are available by default:

"First of all, I want to apologize that this is taking so long to get in the game," wrote Hickman in a blog post. "I realise that we promised SGR (same gender relationships) to you guys and that many of you believed that this would be with a companion character. Unfortunately, this will take a lot more work than we realised at the time and it (like some other pieces of content we talked about earlier in the year) has been delayed as we focused on the changes required to take the game Free-to-Play.

"As we have said in the past, allowing same gender romance is something we are very supportive of."

In Mass Effect, players create their own character and can customise his or her appearance. They also have the option to form a relationship with either a male or female supporting character, with the Mass Effect trilogy featuring various sex scenes between the player's character and their partner.

Excluding gay characters to a single area in The Old Republic, an area which is only accessible by paying extra money, has been described by PC Games N as an "oddly regressive move."

However, the article also features excerpts from BioWare's official forums, where fans of The Old Republic have complained about the addition of same-sex relationships to the game.

"Star Wars is a family-based story with nothing to do with SGR," wrote one user. "Please, please, please Bioware do not allow SGR in Star Wars The Old Republic. It will ruin the game and make a lot of people leave it."

Another user wrote: "Got to agree with some of the posts on the SGR. If you can't get it right in the real world then don't stick it in the game, way too hot a topic to draw that kind of attention. I foresee thousands of parents deleting this game from their kid's computers and others because their church told them to. Why go there? Is it really worth it?"

Rise of the Hutt Cartel is due to be released in Spring, 2013