BioWare Responds To Self-Censorship Charge On Mass Effect 2 Sex

Mass Effect 2's tamer (and sideboobless) sex scenes led some to believe that BioWare held something back, after the 2008 uproar over Mass Effect started by the Network That Must Not Be Named. But a dev sternly denies that charge.

User Menelaos1971 opened a forum thread on the subject, calling the sex scene in Mass Effect 1 "a step in the right direction for Rated M games", but implied that the uninformed uproar over it chilled BioWare's intent to extend the theme in the sequel. He also alleged that BioWare was given orders from EA that an M for violence was OK, but not nudity, because it might affect sales. "Or was it just EA lawyers," Menelaos1972 wrote.

Stanley Woo, a member of the QA story team for the game, replied forcefully:

It's kinda funny that this topic keeps coming up over and over again. People who claim to be old enough and mature enough to handle sex and nudity in a game seem to believe that any lack of sex and nudity in the game is a sign of self-censorship. They generally don't believe that a game can be called "mature" without explicit sex and/or nudity.

Let me tell you, folks, that as a developer full of mature individuals, we are also free to not have explicit sex and/or nudity in our games, no matter what you, Fox News, the government, or Bunky the Wonder Clown has to say about it. We have never considered it a "problem," it is simply a choice we have made and we have every right to make that choice.

Later on, answering another forum poster who dragged parenting into the discuss, Woo continues:

You are absolutely correct. It is not our job to parent the child or determine what content is acceptable or unacceptable for our players. But on the other hand, it is not your job to dictate what content we include or don't include in our games. Game development is not a collaborative effort between developers and gamers; it is a dictatorship, where we alone determine what content goes into our game. You the player make the choice whether that content is acceptable to you (and/or your family) or not.

I agree, but I think forum user Gorn Kregore put it a little more succinctly.

"Two words: Get laid."

Sex and Nudity [BioWare Social Network, via Cinemablend. There are no spoilers in this thread]


    I fail to see how people can't put one and one together.

    ME 1: Had 'Graphic' *snicker* sex scenes. Caused a HUGE uproar on a major news station (crazy or not, they are still a major news station.

    DA:O and ME 2: Much, much less graphic sex scenes, to the point where there isn't even any nudity.

    Honestly, I don't even really care about sex scenes in video games (that's what porn is for, right?) but it's obvious that EA toning down the sex scenes is in response to the uproar from the first game. They can claim 'artistic integrity' or 'NOO WAY WE MEANT IT TO BE LIKE THAT!!!' all they want, the obvious answer is obvious

      "that’s what porn is for, right?" LOL

      Yes Steven, until theres a one handed controller that is what porns for :)

      "Won't somebody think of the children"

      Seems odd as any publicity is good publicity when it come to issues like this. The supposed "uproar" would have just driven more sales.

    I don't suppose anyone stopped to think at any point that maybe Yvonne Strahovski asked them to keep things a little more PG in her contract?

    I'm pretty sure I'd understand if she didnt want 2 million people getting a little "to into" the sex scene with her digital likeness and voice... it would certainly make most people a little un-easy.

    Either way people complaining about a lack of side boob in a video game are incredibly sad.

      Yes, because an actress would never want to do a non-explicit sex scene showing maybe some backside, or a glimpse of underside nipple-less boob, let's say, in television. Because people may get "too into it". It stands to reason they would never do it in a computer game.

    I want to know why there isn't any gay sex in ME2. Afaik, its not even an option.

      unless you'z a lesbian methinks:) and that's only with one (maybe 2?) possible characters?

    "Game development is not a collaborative effort between developers and gamers; it is a dictatorship"

    Thats a very rigid statement to make. We know you are the ones making the game and you need to maintain creative control but to completely rule out any input from your fans is obsurd.

    Very douchebag comments you have there Mr Woo, +20 renegade points.

    As for your reply Steven Bogos, you are spot on, I find it amusing when developers try to cover up obvious actions.

      lol obsurd

    I take offence that he dare take Bunky's name in vain. I'll be going to the network with this!

    Gorn Kregore speaks truth however

    I agree, they can argue until they're blue in the face but I'm sure the uproar did have an affect and was a factor in what they did in ME2. I don't think its fair that they attack the fans that didn't like that it was scaled back. Personally I think the adult nature of the sex scenes in the first one added to the sincerity of the scene, it was much more natural and dramatic. However I'm not about to start complaining too much, its a very minor feature, only nitpicking.

    I just the whole situation hilarious. The fact that people are now complaining that the nudity/sex-scenes has been toned down is just totally, well, hilarious.

    Are people that desperate to pay $99 to see a couple of second of the most soft-core porn (if you could even call it that)???

    It's called the internet - theirs bloody YouTube's for porn out there.

    It would be different if they rid of the cutscene all together. Having the "sex-scene" I guess gives it more realism and character connection. But the fact that you don't see as much as ME1 is stupid. Who cares? +1 for Gorn Kregore.

    For an industry that is more or less the "cool kid" of the collective entertainment industry, games publishers and developers alike show a staggering level of coyness towards sexuality. Mr. Woo's overly dramatic response is a classic example of this. From what I've read of the comments, nobody was demanding the inclusion of (as he puts it) "explicit sex" scenes. The comments were centered around concerns of a reduction in the already very mild adult themes explored in ME1. People noticed the discrepancy and wanted to know what was behind it.

    Also, the tired "if you want adult content, go watch some porn, perv lol" deflection just doesn't float. There is a massive area in between the never-nudes we have in pretty much every game on the market and random acts of full, graphic sex. No, it's not *necessary* to include nudity and/or love-making in a game, but like blood and violence, there are situations where it is absolutely appropriate and can (if done right) greatly enhance the user's experience.

      Well indeed it can, but the question here, is 'Is it nescessary?' And no, the nudity is not. The 'sex scenes' are quite intimate for what they are, they're well led up to, very well developed and for the most part, very very intense. Moreso than most hollywood movies. I'm no prude, but I don't see any major reason for this particular game to need to be the 'Basic Instinct' of the gaming world. 'Indigo Prophecy'? Yes, definitely that game suited it, but this game? No. Not at all. It's a space opera, it's a romantic one, an action packed one, it doesn't need nudity, it has sensuality, and that, at the end of the day, is far more effective. Well, unless you don't have a brain between your ears...

        definitely agree with the smurf. The focus of the game is the action not the smut. the romancing part of the game simply enriches the experience but the lack of it certainly doesn't detract from it, and isn't that what's most important here?

          Thanks Clem, nice to see someone else with the same opinion. My partner and I both love the Mass Effect games, she says that ME and the DAO games both showcase a high level of maturity for gaming. There are mods out there for DAO for the pc that allow full nudity, and whilst they're interesting, they do tend to detract from the experience. I do agree that Dragon Age is a little different from the Mass Effect experience, a fair bit more mature given the content of the game itself, but at the end of the day, I still think that Bioware has yet to create a game that 'needs' full nudity in it to drive a point home as such. As I stated earlier, the only game I've seen so far that really 'justified' it, was Indigo Prophecy?

        You say there is no reason to turn this game into the "basic instinct of the gaming world", which is *exactly* where I was coming from with the "if you want adult content, just go watch porn" observation.

        Is it necessary? Of course it's not, you're dead right. But that's not the point.

        The automatic knee-jerk reaction with games is to assume that every time so much as a side-boob is shown in a game, it always has to be inappropriate, regardless of context or how appropriate it actually is. It would be safe to assume that the majority of people saying "no, I don't want it - it's not necessary" will have absolutely no problem watching a head explode in a shower of gore when you head-shot someone in Fallout 3 - and this is exactly the point I'm trying to get across. No it's "not necessary" any more than gratuitous violence is necessary - but the fact that ANY nudity in a game is largely viewed as being inappropriate is a pretty massive double-standard.

    Theres no need for in game nudity in ME2. I think the scenes implied a the mood for each scene and then what happened when the lights went off.

    personally anything more makes it very awkward if someone comes in, be it family member or friend...

    Love the second quote. It really puts people in their place.

      No it doesn't. "It's not your job" well actually it is our job to relay what we want in videogames. If we don't get what we want why purchase your game? The funny part is "QA story team". Story team? What story? I must have missed it in all the pick up random crew member missions and now defeat the evil bad dude mission. That's it.

    Get laid? I think that's a really inappropriate response, that implies the poster is single, and furthermore that single is a bad thing. I have two words for that guy: grow up. Forums aren't the place for schoolyard bullies to pick up where they left off.

    I would have preferred nudity. I also have a girlfriend. So what.

      So go stare at her real breasts instead of a pair of fake cgi ones!?

        For all the talk of emotional engagement, when you actually become engaged in a game and want something from it, people say, "Oh, it's just a game go look at real breasts."

        Maybe I want to look at game breasts because I feel like I'm part of that world. Nothing wrong with that.

          "So go stare at her real breasts instead of a pair of fake cgi ones!?"

          And there it is again. This is not about getting off to a pair of CG breasts. It's about the inability of the games industry to use nudity where it *actually makes sense* to use nudity.

          Personally? I don't care that they didn't include nudity in ME2. What bothers me is the reasoning behind it; the attitude that nudity is somehow obscene and unacceptable and needs to be confined to the realms of "adult entertainment".

          It's all about context. If they had shown full nudity in ME2, I would see that as less of an issue than what they do in games like DOAX, which has NO nudity. Do you understand the difference? Give the "if you're pro-nudity, you're a pervert" attitude a rest.

    Honestly, complaining about the absence of theoretical content that was never actually included? Stanley Woo is well within his rights to counter these ridicules arguments. I don’t know if its just me but I didn’t even bother chasing the 'sex achievement' in the first one! I get there’s a lot kids playing mass effect 2 but trust me, anyone that’s experienced real sex in life and has an actual living breathing partner (I’m being politically correct here) doesn’t care.

    I agree with the above comments. The Fox News thing may have been nonsense but if the toning down of Bioware's adult scenes have nothing to do with it then I'm a three-foot tall rodent named Ted.

    I didn't have any objection to the Mass Effect sex scenes, but I always found them a little stupid looking. The graphics are great and all for a game, but they still look like they've got plastic skin. Nudity just highlights that.
    Also, in Mass Effect it was a much easier task to slip 'tasteful nudity' in there. It was essentially the same cut-scene with a different coloured chick. In Mass Effect 2 they went into more detail with the 'romance' system and as a result introduced too much variation to simply make it a choice between having your sex scene with person A, B and C while meshing well with the rest of the game.

    Honestly I prefer the sex scene itself to be in my imagination. My encounter with Ashley in Mass Effect was completely out of character (not that I slept with her, but HOW I slept with her). It seems perfectly reasonable that they came to the conclusion that sex and nudity combined with Mass Effect 2's enhanced relationship system would result in overall bad story telling.

    I too have an issue with the dismissal of the nude scenes, and the way in which they have handled it. I don't want to see a set of CG breasts anymore than i want to see some real ones, which is pretty much not at all, i would much prefer to be sitting in front the screen playing a good game. It's the obvious censorship, and the BS responses that it inflicted.
    Yes, you can say it wasnt necessary - but it wasnt necessary in the first game either, the game itself wasnt necessary for that matter - the fact is that it wasn't necessary to not have it in the 2nd game, and it certainly wasnt necessary to try and spin it so that it's not censorship and then saying they don't care what anyone thinks when they obviously do. Also dissapointing to see Owen state his agreeance to what was said, when as pointed out, it's clearly a load of PR BS.

    For me I don't understand what all the fuss is about. ME1 had a "sex scene" that was completely boring and whilst there was nudity it was never front on, just silouettes. In ME2 the scenes don't have nudity, but they're much more realistic and IMHO are more "raunchy".

    I personally prefer realism... while I understand why it happens I've always found it silly when a TV show character who's just had sex with "the love of her life" then spends the next 10 minutes carefully hiding her body from him (ie us).

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