Underwhelming Gay Romance Options In Mass Effect: Andromeda Disappoint Many Fans

Underwhelming Gay Romance Options In Mass Effect: Andromeda Disappoint Many Fans

Mass Effect is a franchise known for letting players sleep with other characters, and while that sauciness makes a return in Andromeda, some romance routes have left fans heartbroken.

Since it was released, Andromeda has been criticised about how it handles gay romance options, particularly for male characters. On neoGAF, Reddit, unofficial BioWare forums, and on Twitter, there are hundreds of pages of complaints, with many people accusing BioWare of treating gay romance as an “afterthought.”

Image: Kotaku

On a basic level, people have pointed out that players who choose to play as a man can only romance two other men in the game. Male characters can romance more women, and players who play as a woman can romance more women and more men. BioWare games’ romance plots usually involve dozens of optional conversations spread across dozens of hours of playing time, usually culminating with a profession of love (and/or lust) and then a sex scene. The pair of male gay options Andromeda includes aren’t nearly as extensive as the other romance paths.

One option, a smuggler named Reyes Vidal, only appears in a couple of quests. Gil Brodie, an engineer on your ship, is also gay, but, unlike many of the women and straight men available for romance in the game, he’s not actually a squadmate. As side characters, Reyes and Brodie can only offer the player short dialogue prompts, whereas full-on squadmates have long dialogue scenes that are further expanded on during missions, when the player can hear extra banter.

(Other sexualities get short flings like Reyes and Gil, but these are complemented with longer romance routes as well.) Players are also unhappy that both Reyes and Vidal only have make-out scenes that fade to black, rather than anything approximating the risque and partially nude sex scenes available for other sexualities.

It’s a testy situation that has caused players to circulate infographics chronicling romance options across games. Across four Mass Effect games, male-on-male romance options didn’t appear until the third game:


Image via: @amusinglymuse

The issue, as dozens of fans have explained to me, isn’t just that there are fewer options. Many fans describe feeling tricked because BioWare had boasted ahead of release about the ample romance options available in the game, but was coy when fans asked for specifics pertaining to non-straight options.

Trailers featured a male Ryder kissing women, but fans did not know what to expect when it came to queer romance options and many clearly had their hopes up.


“Marketing played up romance options,” Erika Fresen, a fan, told Kotaku. “Devs teasedBangdromeda‘ and confirmed alien kissing. Gay male fans assumed this included them too.”

“I’d…hoped that [Mass Effect: Andromeda] would follow in [Dragon Age: Inquisition’s] footsteps by announcing the romance options advance of release,” Jon Erik Christianson, a writer for ComicsAlliance, told Kotaku. “I knew Iron Bull and Dorian Pavus were my options two months before DA:I came out…[for Mass Effect: Andromeda] everyone had to wait until launch.”

Unable to know specifics, fans latched onto offhand Tweets, like one posted by Tom Taylorson, male Ryder’s voice actor, which seemed to suggest there would be male gay alien romances:


“Normally I’d say it would be silly to spoil things about characters before the game’s even out, but they added the factor of teasing and I think that’s what makes the difference,” said Zunnoab, a fan.

Fans also looked at BioWare’s wider track record, which includes Dragon Age: Inquisition, and assumed that, like that game, Andromeda would also offer deep romance options for all sexualities. The two franchises are made by different teams, but on the whole, BioWare has built up a progressive image that now influences what players expect from their games, regardless of which part of BioWare is making it.

“BioWare has a reputation of including quality representations [of] gay and bisexual characters in their games, and it’s up to all of BioWare to uphold that reputation,” fan Chris S. told Kotaku. “But even ignoring the comparisons to Dragon Age, this still feels like a step back from the progress made in Mass Effect 3. In Mass Effect 3, there was a [gay male] option that was a squad mate and uniquely designed, something not in Andromeda.”

Many of the disappointed fans I spoke to mentioned that they disliked that Reyes and Gil had aspects that could be recreated in the built-in character creator, rather than exhibiting unique facial characteristics available to squadmates. Details like those, combined with their sparse plotlines, also contributed to the fandom’s fear that gay romance options weren’t given much care.

After the release, fans pointed to in-game code that allegedly suggests Jaal, one of the new aliens, appeared to have lines referencing a potential gay romance route:


We can’t verify that this code actually refers to a gay romance, but things do change during development: that’s why developers often don’t talk about specifics regarding what is or isn’t going to be in a game. Still, this specific line of code was enough to inspire a hashtag on Twitter, #makeJaalBi, where tons of fans are demanding “equal opportunity” banging.

I reached out to BioWare to ask about Jaal’s romance, and the wider outcry about gay romances, but did not hear back in time for publication.

Andromeda features an achievement called “Matchmaker,” which asks the player to complete romances with three different characters. Straight, bi, and lesbian players can complete the achievement without wading outside of their sexualities, but strictly male gay characters can’t.

“We cannot even gain an achievement unless we play as straight [male] Ryder (which sounds like conversation therapy to me and is no way attracting me),” said J Mittelstadt, another fan. “All I asked for is a place where I can go to and explore, have some action, meet awesome characters, get inspired, and maybe get invested with a fictional character in a safe way, since I can’t just do that in real life.”

Those who do settle for the in-game romances dislike the lack of polish, which admittedly plagues the game as a whole. As I mentioned in my review, animation shortcomings stand out the most during intimate scenes, but that issue is especially bad for gay players. Male on male scenes look awkward, as if the game does not know how to account for romantic scenes that don’t involve women.


To be fair, anyone who isn’t pursuing a straight romance with a human squadmate named Cora isn’t going to get something very satisfying out of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Her sex scene is full of small touches that bring the scene to life.

The other sex scenes do not stack up. When you romance Peebee the Asari as a woman, for example, the sex scene makes it seem as if she is riding a penis that is not actually there: it’s an animation that seems to be recycled from the male sex scene.

If you look at the other romance scenes, you’ll note weird gaps where gay characters hold each other, as if the game does not account for the idea that two women or two men might be caressing each other. The underlying animation appears to treat all romance as if it is straight.

Even looking beyond such surface-level details, the specifics of the male gay romances aren’t heartening either. The next few paragraphs have some story spoilers! Gil’s storyline revolves around another friend, Jil, who pressures him into having a baby because it is his “duty” as a man. In the real world, some people treat homosexuality as “unnatural” because of how it affects reproduction, so the undercurrent to the storyline felt uncomfortable to some of the players.

“This whole story is one that could have had so much potential and broken down many barriers, but again it’s a case of not being thought out well enough,” wrote amoebae on neoGAF. “You don’t decide to have a baby together because you’ve developed a deep and committed relationship and decided to take it to the next level by starting a family of your own- but rather a women who insists on highlighting that being gay means robbing the world of reproduction opportunities.”


Image source: xLetalis

Reyes is revealed to be a villain, which some players feel is stereotypical. (In my game, Reyes appeared to be a cool character with a good twist, but I also didn’t go in looking to fall in love with him. Players looking for real romance aren’t satisfied by what Reyes can provide.)

Image: Kotaku

Mostly, though, players feel hurt about gay romance routes because they really love BioWare, and don’t want to be treated as, in the words of at least one fan, second-class citizens.

Mass Effect 3 showed me a world where gay men could be heroes who saved the world,” said Brendan Routh, a BioWare fan. “Heroes who could love other men and not be ashamed about it. Heroes who in fact took strength from their love and channeled into a desire to save the world. It meant a lot to me.”

“[Romance in older BioWare games] made me feel acknowledged as a gay gamer, it made me feel understood and less alone but most importantly, it gave me a bigger sense of self-respect and self-worth because it showed me that, yes, I as a gay gamer was worth developing content for that was just as good and substantial as everyone else’s,” said Stefan, another fan. “[BioWare] games taught me that I didn’t have to feel content with game developers treating me like a second-class citizen just because I was a gay man.”

One fan did express discomfort with the pushback against the studio. “The truth is, BioWare — or any game company — isn’t obligated to give us anything,” said Hernan L, another fan. “Getting worked up about this makes it look like all we do is complain and cry foul when we’re not represented to the degree that we want.

“That’s what makes it worse, though,” he continued. “It feel[s] like sometimes we shouldn’t even ask for more representation because it makes us seem needy or needlessly offended when the truth is all we’re really asking for is the same things the rest of the gaming community has.”

“We love BioWare,” Mutant_anemony, a player, told Kotaku. “We just want to know they love us, too.”


  • It’s a shame, but only to be expected. The game seems shoddy in general. Not surprising that romance suffered as well.

  • Hopefully they’ll remove romance entirely for the next game and just make everyone equally unhappy.

  • I find it a little disingenuous and even slightly manipulative to try and paint preferences as objective design traits. If I’m disappointed, then I’m disappointed. With Andromeda, it seems that if you’re disappointed then you’re offended or hurt. Why do we treat stories like these binary constructs where you have to have a certain number of things in order to make certain people happy? This becomes especially worrying when the feature isn’t even defined and then we hold them to our assumptions, which seems unfair, also. I’m also confused as to what people perceive resources to be and how the actual make up of gay players to cos players and whether that should inform the number of romances. I mean, they’re there and quite interesting (my character is bi) – just less plentiful than other romance options – of which there are other types of people to represent as well. I almost feel sad in how dichotomous and wilfully ignorant this perspective is. Not only are we misunderstanding representation but we’re quantifying story and character as well as trying to make preference objective. There’s so much about this that can only exist in a vaccuum and doesn’t make sense in a diverse or holistic environment.

    • I have to strongly disagree. The romances are not interesting. They couldn’t possibly be more shallow, both the male and female LGBT romances. Gil immediately wanting to make babies is ridiculous and Suvi is madly in love after sharing a cup of bloody tea both just pissed me off. For heaven’s sake, I don’t ask that they put in a huge number of LGBT romances but that they put in a few and then do them well and not slap dash.

  • I’ll preface this by saying I’m enjoying Andromeda and quite like Gil so far.

    Considering the excuses for the first two games and their lack of representation – along with Hudson supposedly wanting Cortez to die no matter what and the introduction of Kelly – it’s understandable there’s a lot of hesitation towards the series.

    With that said, it’s pretty evident that there was less resources given to the gay relationships in the game. In retrospect they should’ve scanned Gethin Anthony’s gave for Gil – talk about a missed opportunity there – and tweaked their scenes a bit. A few minor adjustments and they’d have probably avoided all of this.

    Minor spoilers potentially below.

    Considering some of the issues with the intro mission I’d personally have had you control your dad – with Ryder and Cora – then introduced a bi Liam later on. Two birds, one stone.

    • yup me too.

      Xenosexual. Or Xenobisexual if that’s a thing.

      Who cares, it’s a thing now.

  • Whatever you’re into… being upset over romance options in a video game?

    My eyes rolled so hard they’re stuck in the back of my head.

      • Don’t know about my fellow straight ladies, but honestly, my favourite part about playing a game with a male protagonist is usually how much backside you get to watch. Andromeda was on point with that this series, meanwhile male Shepard was not quite as aesthetically pleasing (ironic given that femShep’s armor just happened to hug all the right places).

  • Considering half of society is gay I simply cannot believe there isn’t an equal number of gay romance options!!! I’m oppressed in my own fucking living room

      • Yea, definitely not half. Even a cursory Google search shows estimated figures ranging from about 5% to 10% to a max of around 20%; certainly nowhere near 50%.

    • janedoe I know you’re joking (Right? …Please?) but the internet is a place where even the silliest comments are taken seriously and the bar for intelligence and common sense is especially low, so watch you don’t accidentally come across as completely delusional.

      • Of course I’m joking. Instead of shitting on a company that helped pioneer representation of the gay community in games they should write something interesting and construtictive, the fact that ubisoft, activision, bethesda, rockstar whoever it may be have yet to do a game where you play as a gay main character.
        I don’t think any group should be criticized as much as encouraged, I would love to play a fps as a flamboyant gay man or a survival horror game as a trans woman.
        Why don’t telltale make a sci fi espionage game where you play as a lgbtq person?

  • That’ll teach them to even try to appease people represented by single-issue minority groups.

    The gay lobby will whinge hysterically about anything and everything. You can never ever appease them, it’s impossible.
    Too many people who’s jobs and self-worth are inextricably linked to being victims.

    Also does anyone else think it’s a bit “rapey” the idea that you can almost certainly sleep with everyone?
    Like you’re Commander Ryder and nobody else has a sexual (or species) preference that rules you out of contention so you don’t feel entitled to win them over with a few lines of dialogue?
    It’s kinda weird.

    • Yeah, I was originally disappointed I couldn’t romance the doctor, but with good reason! She digs Krogans *shrugs*

      Can’t argue with that.

    • That’s the problem when you try and design a game trying to appease everyone as opposed to sticking to your own vision of the game. It waters down a lot of things it tries to do and when some area of the game isn’t up to par with another, someone will cry murder and accuse the devs of being not taking x seriously.

      ME1 was good because it was only two options per Shepard, and it made romance what it was in the context of the game, an optional side plot that you could explore while you were out trying to hunt down a rogue spectre. Then Bioware became a company designing their games about banging everything as a bloody focus… watering the whole feature into trashiness.

    • Whine hysterically? Last time I checked there were thousands of angry vids accusing me:a of a vast sjw conspiracy to make their females look ugly just to stick it white men.
      This is literally one article with no death/rape/bomb threats… seems pretty reasonable in comparison to the gamer bros

      • Oh I agree with that. All I’m saying is that whenever you set out to acknowledge any kind of identity group that has organised lobby…. You’re asking for it to blow up. Interest groups are by their nature focused on limited issues, and with enough members this always come at the expense of broader perspective whether you’re a gun nut, a churchy, a cyclist or any number of other groups that have lobbies.

        You recognise gays, you’ve offended trangenders. Your recognise transgenders, you’ve offended “gender fluid” people….. you just can’t win. It’s not worth trying. The lobby groups don’t have any sense of perspective so they’re impossible to please.
        Depending on who you ask, about 10-20% of the characters in MA should be gay. They’re overrepresented so it’s a bit ridiculous for anyone to have a genuine whinge.

        I couldn’t agree more that any “hysteria” here is far more justifiable than the idiocy we see from the Gamergate losers.

        • Yeah, some people will get offended no matter what (that’s just how they are) but the solution isn’t just to stop it and have no representation beyond straight people… or else were basically stuck in the 50’s forever with the same hero/story/narrative over and over again.
          They should do their best, which this was not, since Inquisition showed Bioware is capable of lgbt rep that pleases the demo.

    • The “Gay Lobby”? Bruh if I had Lobby money we’d actually see ourselves in media outside of side characters.

      You should have seen the straight boys crying over the DA:I options not being feminine enough for them.

      Saying “Hey, this game series has really screwed us over in the past and still is in 2017” isn’t playing a “victim”, but way to use trauma as some dismissive bullshit.

      • This is exactly what I’m talking about. How on earth are gay people underrepresented in the media?
        Gay people make up a minority in all societies. That means there’s less of them.

        There’s tons of openly gay people on TV though. There’s shows that cater to a gay audience. There’s also tons of people whose sexuality is ambiguous.

        If you’re complaining that there’s a lack of gay characters in roles that are targeted at other audiences…. Guess what? That happens to everyone! Every single person of every single identity can think of roles where they’re underrepresented, and roles where they’re overrepresented.

        The problem is if you focus on your particular interest group, and you lose perspective of the broader population then you become impossible to appease, at least not without upsetting someone else.

        I’m not saying this as a comment on being gay, it’s a comment on the nature of interest groups. I’d say the same thing about cyclists who demand a fair share of the road or religious groups who demand that the broader community should behave in a way that appeases their superstitions.

  • Jaal is not an option for dudes? That is surprising. Thought there were hints otherwise leading up to release.
    Looks like the Angarans have only straight options. Wonder if that is more of a time/something constraint or a design choice.

  • Just ditch romances. The classics of the RPG genre didn’t need them. Obsidian’s (not perfect but miles better than the last few BioWare games) current RPGs don’t need them.

    I’m not trying to say romance should be off-limits for RPGs. I don’t mind romances included as well written, interesting sub-plots (or even a key part of the main plot) that add depth to the characters.

    But BioWare’s aren’t good. They never have been. They’re trashy and bland, included because for some reason a part of the fanbase gets creepily invested in their fictional relationships with video game characters. Nothing wrong with getting invested in fiction of course, but this goes way beyond what I’d consider normal. Just stop.

    • I can’t speak for the others since I didn’t try them, but I wouldn’t call the Tali romance storyline from the original trilogy trashy or bland. It reminded me of an ex actually, in a good way. Sure, the photo thing was silly, but it was an afterthought really.

  • Cis white male says:

    My She-Ryder is a sassy badass, and Peebee is her Bae 🙂

    I honestly feel for those whose preferences weren’t catered for… but this isn’t legislation. It’s a video game.

    • I was seriously disappointed by the lack of a Hanar romance option.

      So I thought perhaps I could settle for some Krogan lovin’, but neither Kesh nor Drekk wanted a bar of me.

      Bioware, you have let me down. EA have ruined you.

      • Mind you, with a face like my Fem Ryder I’m lucky that Alec acknowledged me, so I’ll take what I can get.

        Maybe that cute little volus in accounting….

  • The only thing that would appease these types of people (including the author) would be the eradication of heterosexual relationships in video games, other media and life in general.

    You have. A series of games where your sexual preferences can be played out, that’s the equality you seek… JUST BE FUCKING HAPPY!!!

    • For someone who criticised my logic in another thread, you certainly seem to like fallacies. Your post here is nothing but hyperbole and straw men. Relationship interactions in a video game aren’t a zero-sum equation, asking for more of a particular type doesn’t take anything away from the other types available.

      • No, it’s not a zero-sum equation. However instead of focusing on the fact that these options exist, there’s an outcry that it’s not enough. So where is the concept of enough? A 50-50 split? 70-30 in LGBT favour? Complete eradication of heterosexual relationship options?

        All I’ve said is that there should be some celebration and enjoyment of the progressive fact that the option exists, yet article like this one show nothing but resentment that there isn’t some mythical “enough” that constantly changes. (Also known as “moving the goal posts”)

        There’s nothing wrong with wanting more, but where does wanting more become something to be happy with? Probably never given human nature.

        • You’re still thinking of things in zero-sum terms when you ask what ‘percentage of all relationships’ people want to be homosexual. It’s not about the ratio, it’s about the actual number. For the most part the complaints seem to be that they just want more than just two options, both of which are humans, especially in light of the fact there’s an achievement to pursue three romances that everyone else can do without departing from their natural sexual preferences.

          I hardly think this is an unreasonable thing to ask for, and I don’t think over-exaggerating the situation helps anyone.

          • Can you re-read your own post please? Accusing me of thinking in a zero-sum term then doing the exact same thing yourself.

            I do agree that asking for more is not a bad thing. However, just with everything in life, there need to be some sort of “end game” or “final” number; be it nothing, something or everything. There is going to be a finite resources or choice amount tied to the request.

          • I don’t see anything in my post that regards the situation as zero-sum, could you please point out what you have an issue with?

          • It’s not about the ratio, it’s about the actual number.
            It’s the same thing. Other then that, as I said before, I mostly agree with what you are saying.

          • Sorry, I may not have explained what I meant very well. A zero-sum equation is one where every gain must be matched with corresponding losses such that the value-in and the value-out stay the same.

            In this case there are ten relationships and two are gay. Zero-sum would mean for every new gay relationship a non-gay one would be removed so the value-in and value-out are both the same (ten). When you deal in percentages that’s the same kind of philosophy, that for one side to go up the other side has to go down. While that is a side effect, it’s not what people are asking for here. They’re just asking for more gay relationships so if there were eight non-gay and two gay relationships before, maybe in future there could be eight non-gay and four gay relationships.

            It doesn’t necessarily mean having to add more characters, Mass Effect has tons of regular characters that aren’t romance options at all right now that could be considered. It does mean more work scripting the relationships, but I think the people asking fully understand that and feel it’s worthwhile. Personally I think if they could write a good gay romance narrative for (for example) Kandros, the militia leader on the Nexus, I’d support them adding that for sure. It’d give gay people another option and a non-human one at that.

            Hopefully I’ve explained myself a bit better this time.

        • There is an “enough” because Inquisition had it. Two well developed romances between m/m, that was fair and enough and there wasn’t anything negative written about it.
          Let’s not act like bioware doesn’t done it before, because they have and everyone was pleased with it

      • You’re right that it doesn’t take away from other types, but what is just as bad as people claiming otherwise are indeed the arguments along the lines of, “They have X amount, so I MUST have X amount too!”

        It’s a childish mentality that doesn’t take into account any other factor whatsoever, and if I’m being honest is where I fully expected this article would be going.

        Thankfully it seems (to me at least) that the issue is a lot more about the QUALITY of the relationships on offer compared to others than it is simply the number of them, in which case I can absolutely understand people being disappointed.

        Half-assing content for one audience but not the other while claiming you’re catering for both is poor form no matter how you slice it.

        • I agree. I wouldn’t support arguments that amount to “there are six straight relationships so there should be six gay relationships too”, I just don’t think things need to be numerically equalised quite that much. That said, only two gay relationships is pretty poor pickings when compared with the number of lesbian relationships (for example), and particularly awkward when you consider the “three different romances” achievement.

          I’m not gay and this content wouldn’t be targeted at me, but I know if the situation were reversed and I only had two romance options that matched my preferences I’d be pretty disappointed too. Two options is hardly much choice. The fact they’re both pretty shitty quality relationships to boot is adding insult to injury.

    • It amazes me how you think gay people wanting more than scraps in video games is somehow an attack against straight people.
      Romance in me:a isn’t a cake where you get less just because gay people are represented.

    • Do you not understand the definition of “equality”?

      Why should gay people have to settle for less? You wouldn’t.

  • Every year I think “Wow, maybe this year it will be acceptable to be a queer man in the gaming community!”

    Every year I’m reminded the gaming community is a fucking cesspool of shitty bronard wannabes who can’t stand the idea of a game accepting someone who isn’t them. Y’all little snowflakes freak the fuck out when queer characters pop up in games (see: Baldur’s Gate, literally any Bioware game, especially DA:I) but when gaymers point out the hobby still doesn’t see us as people after forty years you laugh and holler about “victimhood”.

    1. Bioware does not treat gay men well

    2. Bioware teased the myriad of options for romance in ME:A

    3. Bioware’s idea of a myriad is five for straight men, four for queer women, three for straight women (but they get Jaal so that counts as four to me – he’s worth two human men easily), and two for gay men.

    4. Of those TWO, one is a villain and one pushes procreation because his BFF blames him for being gay and not “helping the population”.

    5. Neither of those are squad mates

    6. None are major characters

    7. The animations for gay male romance are sterile and reek of the “leave room for Jesus” mentality

    8. We didn’t even HAVE a gay male love interest until 3

    9. You’re all fucking childish and you’re flying your homophobia proudly, please go fuck yourselves.

    • 9. You’re all fucking childish and you’re flying your homophobia proudly, please go fuck yourselves.


    • Newsflash – a tremendous amount of gamers are massive dickheads. Don’t waste a thought on them.

    • I think it’s times like this it’s important to remind ourselves that Ryder is not us, he or she is a character with an established past and a storyline and character arc to fulfil. Remember that you are playing somebody else’s story, not your own, and that even 4 or 5 romance options for straight people will never cover every possible player’s preference, not even slightly close.

      As for the theory that the games community hates gay people, here’s a solution for you; don’t be a part of it. If you don’t like the way a community treats you, don’t force them to accept you, make your own, be around people who do appreciate you, or simply enjoy the medium without buying into the culture. I play more games than anyone I know but I would never attend a gaming convention or consider myself part of any interest group around video games, the whole community (and all its sub-groups) makes me cringe.

      I can tell you though, you will never see the change you hope for until more people who you identify as “like you” (although i hope “also gay” isn’t the only criteria you use) start creating games. Nobody can or should tell your story for you, they are too busy telling their own.

      • If you don’t like the way a community treats you, don’t force them to accept you, make your own, be around people who do appreciate you

        It shouldn’t have to be a “like it or leave” situation, this kind of thing needs to be changed from within. But that aside, what you described is pretty much what the GX convention is about – creating a more welcoming environment for LGBT gamers – but still manages to come under attack for being “divisive”.

        It really is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation going on here because a few immature little shits can’t handle being around people with different sexual preferences to their own.

        • It shouldn’t have to be a “like it or leave” situation

          Everyone should have a space or group that they feel is their own, but they’re not entitled to it. It’s not a feeling unique to minority groups or oppressed people, everyone experiences it throughout their whole lives. So you can either force your way into a space that doesn’t want you (a pyrrhic victory, for sure) or you can make your own and become the group that doesn’t want someone else who feels left out (and that is bound to happen).

          It really is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation going on here

          I’m sure Bioware is thinking the same thing when they read articles like this.

          Everyone sucks, everyone’s selfish, everyone needs to do the best they can to make things better. Whether you are offended by people different from you, or whether you’re under the delusion that everyone’s out to personally attack your lifestyle and identity through omission, it’s time to think twice before getting angry and wonder if what you say or do won’t make things worse.

          • Suffice to say I think your view is defeatist. Things can change and the ideal scenario is absolutely possible, but you’ll never make progress towards it if you’re convinced it’s out of reach.

          • I think maybe the point of mine that’s being missed is that “progress” isn’t someone else’s group changed to look like your own or to fit your definition of inclusivity, but many different groups existing in harmony and communicating in a healthy way.

            So you can have the sleazy teenage dudes who buy Dead Or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball AND you have the LGBT people who make and play and buy games that champion representation they can get behind. That’s what a healthy industry looks like, and it’s best achieved by people of all different types creating the media they’d want to consume.

            Publications / echo chambers will tell you, seemingly over and over and over again that the industry is a scary place for women and minorities but the ones who actually want to make a difference will ignore that fear-mongering and get out there and make the industry they want to see.

          • You’re shifting the goalposts. This isn’t about developers, the comment you made that I responded to was the notion that within the gaming community (ie. the players) people should either integrate with the status quo or leave. It’s an ugly sentiment that disregards the option of changing the status quo. If ‘gaming’ is unwelcoming to people on the basis of their race, gender or sexual preferences then that is the problem and that’s what needs to change, not telling people to like it or leave.

          • It’s one and the same. This article is about a developer “failing” in representation for a loud but small group of the gaming community. And that in turn might make that group feel unwelcome or unrepresented within that community. Shifting the goalposts would be looking at the symptoms of the problem, as the internet has done almost exclusively up until this point, as the problem itself, and then getting mad and sad and disillusioned when nothing changes.

            The problem isn’t that the gaming community needs to change, the problem is that people who feel left out are looking at one small section of that community and thinking it’s the whole picture.

            My position isn’t like it or leave, mine is “make decisive and meaningful steps towards diversifying the culture yourself”. I find Cosmopolitian “unwelcoming” as a man, but I know that there are a bunch of other magazines out there that do cater more to my interests. I don’t say “Cosmopolitian needs to change or increase the representation of men in their magazine!” or “the magazine industry is unwelcoming!” I say, “let’s see what else is out there I can support, or maybe I can make something myself?”

            To make real change and diversity we need to broaden the definition of “status quo” through positively contributing to it, not force everyone to conform to what our idea of what it should be.

            Let me reframe this so it’s really really clear what I am saying. If you are in a relationship with someone, or even trying to be friends with them, and you realise you are both too different from each other for it to work as is, do you:

            A) Force them to change into something you want?
            B) Go and find someone else who’s a better fit for you?

            One results in a lot of pain and both parties resenting each other, the other is something far more healthy that actually results in more net happiness for everyone involved.

          • @geometrics To be clear, I’m not discussing developer-side representation and whether that bothers people. I’m specifically discussing what you said here:

            As for the theory that the games community hates gay people, here’s a solution for you; don’t be a part of it.

            You keep trying to change the subject to the notion that not every developer needs to cater to every player, where your Cosmopolitan analogy fits, but I don’t disagree with that and it’s not what I’m trying to discuss with you. I’m trying to discuss what I quoted there, where your proposed solution to the gaming community not being welcoming of gay people is to leave and make some other community instead. Note this is the community we’re talking about, not the industry.

            To reiterate, i think that’s nonsense. Homophobia in the gaming community is an objective problem that needs to be solved, and it can’t be solved if people just throw their hands in the air and say “too hard, let’s just leave”. Mistreating another person because of their differences isn’t a ‘difference of opinion’ or a side of the gaming community that should be respected, it’s objectively wrong behaviour that needs to be confronted and removed. If that can be accomplished constructively then that’s obviously my preference, but if the only way to get through to someone that their behaviour is unacceptable is to blast them for it, then that’s how it needs to be.

          • @zombiejesus Ah yeah, in reference to that specific part of my comment, perhaps it came across as too broad, I guess what I meant was if you believe a specific section of the games community hates gay people, don’t engage with them, engage with others.

            I personally think omission is not even close to evidence of contempt and as someone said below, we need to consider the commercial and demographic realities here. Bioware and EA would 100% have records of who and what players chose to have relationships with in game and what we’re seeing is a reflection of those demographics. You can’t say “we need more gay options!” when Bioware is looking at the numbers and saying “Well, no, we previously put the work in and the numbers just don’t reflect that that was time and money well spent”.

            My advice in regards to that section of my comment was specifically for Johniarty who seems to have taken an extremely hostile position towards what he believes is an entire community wide problem. I completely disagree with him, but for someone in his position who seems to have made up their mind and is telling everyone to “fuck themselves”, his best option would be to exit. He’s not going to get what he wants that way, and the community is just as much needing to rid itself of people with his mindset as they are needing to rid themselves of homophobes.

          • @geometrics

            I guess what I meant was if you believe a specific section of the games community hates gay people, don’t engage with them, engage with others.

            That’s much more reasonable than the way I read it initially, although I still think there’s impetus to engage with that section of the community in the hopes of changing them. Not everyone is going to have the resilience to be able to attempt something like that though so I don’t fault anyone for backing away if they need to.

            Glad we could get that clarified!

    • Sorry, but you need to take that 50 kilo bag of chips off your shoulder. Let’s look at your argument step by step, shall we?
      1. Subjective statement with no rational basis.
      2. Yes, and they delivered that.
      3. There are 10 romanceable characters in a single game. That is actually a lot, hence they delivered on point 2.
      4. Subjective statement based on personal opinion of characters, and attempt to dismiss romance’s existence due to arbitrary classifier.
      5. Attempt to dismiss romance’s existence due to arbitrary classifier.
      6. Attempt to dismiss romance’s existence due to arbitrary classifier.
      7. Subjective statement.
      8. We’re talking about Andromeda, not the other Mass Effect games.
      9. Sorry, if you want to call something childish, you should be looking directly at your own behaviour.

      Romances have been a BioWare thing for a long time. They have expanded to be more inclusive and offer more variety. However, making games is a business – and since EA bought BioWare, the “business” seems to be increasingly important. Thus when allocating resources (aka people, time and money) resources will go towards content in order of the profitability of the product.

      For example, combat got a big upgrade, because to EA dudebro shooters make a lot of money, therefore making it more like a dudebro shooter means more money.

      When it comes to allocating resources to romances, then you’re going to see a distribution like you outlined above because of demographics, not just of players, but of what the telemetry BioWare/EA collected on player choices in ME3. Based on the player demographics of the previous games, straight men still made up the vast majority of players. Based on player choices, male/female romances made up most romances, and female/female romances were also popular. The uptake of male/male romance in Mass Effect 3 was limited.

      Therefore, when looking at what to direct resources at for another game, male/male will get the least attention. It’s not discrimination, it’s not “mistreating gay men”, it’s simply “our players have determined that this is less important, so we’re not going to put in as many resources to it”. If the uptake starts to increase, then it is likely that additional resources would be put into it if/when another game is produced. I’m sorry, but EA are a business, and they’re going to act like one.

      If they made romances “all inclusive”, then we’d end up with Dragon Age 2 again, where every romance options was available to both genders. Pretty much everyone agreed that approach simply did not work, because people understand that there are differences in sexuality based on gender and orientation. Love is love, but love varies, so a “one size fits all” approach does not work.

      You’re making emotive, irrational statements and lashing out at the entire community, which is the same reprehensible behaviour as those people attacking BioWare/EA for making “SJW nonsense” and attacking parts of the community that are “not like them”.

      • I want to note just two things from your response that I think are worth raising. I’m not looking to spawn a lengthy discussion, I just think these two things in particular need some attention.

        1. Subjective statements aren’t necessarily invalid statements. It’s good to acknowledge they’re subjective but you shouldn’t dismiss them solely on that basis.

        2. You comment that Bioware used telemetry from ME3 to evaluate player preferences, but that would be textbook faulty generalisation and probably sample bias. ME3 only had two gay relationship options. It’s not possible to determine how many players wanted gay relationships in the game, only how many players wanted relationships with one of the two options available. The two measurements are qualitatively different, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear at the time that some players were interested in gay relationships but didn’t pursue one because neither of the two available choices appealed to them.

        • I just want to interject here and point you to this separate but related and hugely telling data about Female Shepard.


          Anyone who frequents any gaming website would believe that Female Shepard was a hugely impactful character to the community, with critics frequently gushing over Jennifer Hale’s voice performance of the character, and numerous think-pieces and articles talking specifically about the importance of Female Shepard. However only 18% of all players picked female Shepard. Thinking “oh they just picked the default i guess” is wrong as well, an even smaller percentage, 13%, picked the default Shepard without any customisation.

          It really serves to highlight how much these hyperbolic conversations can warp the reality of the situation. Female Shepard, who is regarded by what is now clearly a loud but small percentage of Mass Effect critics and players as the definitive Shepard, was barely selected by the larger gaming community. It’s not a leap to assume the number of players who actively pursued gay relationships in game is just as small.

          When the developer can’t get the game out without bugs and poor animation because their development schedule was so tight, catering to a tiny minority’s specific needs seems absurd. You could argue it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, but given a bunch of average options for romance in these games, i’m going to at least pick something. A gay player would likely do the same, they wouldn’t chose nobody out of some form of protest. It’s likely the numbers are fairly accurate.

          EA is a publisher and making money back on their investment is paramount for them. These numbers inform those decisions. I don’t think any sensible person would think more options for players is a bad thing, but it’s really up to those who want it to put their money where their mouth is and illustrate a financially viable need for said options.

  • Easy solution, just get rid of the romances entirely. The whole thing just feels creepy, especially so when people are obsessing over which imaginery alien they’re going to bang. It’s like Ryder gets the crew to all line up on their first day and walks down the line until he reaches the one he likes and is like “You, yes, you are the one who I choose to have sex with, now be a good girl/boy/alien and act like you appreciated my cheesy flirts and pickup lines”. It’s not natural or organic in any way, it’s pure creepy fan service, and the game would be better off without any of them.

    Also, are there no rules against fraternisation in the future or something? Why is everyone so ok with banging their commanding officer?

  • “Disappoint Many Fans”
    Translation: A very small yet highly vocal percentage of the Mass Effect fan base.

    Mass Effect Andromeda is plenty gay already. It’s scary to think of what the complainers want Bioware to include to make them happy.

  • Was it worth $65 for an ALPHA Game? This needed two more years in the hands of the capable.

    EA is singlehandedly ruining the gaming industry.

  • For anyone who thinks homosexuals (male and female) are a “small and vocal” amount of BioWare players, you are idiots. They are largely silent, and silently large… BioWare’s history over the past few years has caused their games to become popular among gays and lesbians… This current debacle only proves BioWare was exploiting gay gamers, much like Lady Gaga did (she even admitted she wrote that awful “Born This Way” song in about 10 minutes… she doesn’t actually care).
    Also, all the insecure preteen boys who get so disgusted by there being any gay options… I want you to take that disgust, and imagine all the options, except for 1 or 2 shitty ones, are gay. The only female character your male character can romance is some bisexual whore who doesn’t form attachments (a.la Dragon Age 1)… the rest are gay only.

    • It looks like bioware has taken the criticism to heart at least. They announced their plans to improve male romance options for male ryder in the upcoming updates as well as other changes. So now I guess we’ll wait and see.

  • Me: Bioware lemme smash
    B: No player, go find 2K
    Me: 2K is smashin konami, konami’s a hoe

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