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Fans launch petition for LGBT+ romance in remastered Mass Effect after previous right-wing backlash

Ed Nightingale April 9, 2021
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Mass Effect

Shepherd and Kaidan in Mass Effect 3. (Bioware)

Fans of Mass Effect are petitioning for Bioware to include more LGBT+ romances in their forthcoming trilogy remaster Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

The sci-fi gaming series is well known for its romance options, but it wasn’t until the third game in the trilogy that same-sex romances were included in full.

However, it recently emerged in an interview with writer Brian Kindregan in The Gamer that more were meant to be included, but the developers feared upsetting conservative news outlets.

For example, in Mass Effect 2 the character Jack was originally penned to be pansexual, but was later changed to be a male-only romance option. That came after an infamous Fox News segment on the first game’s romances, falsely claiming they included full nudity.

Jacob was also intended to have a gay romance, as confirmed by animator on the game Jonathan Cooper, but was told “America isn’t ready for it”. Anti-LGBT+ activists also targeted the game for allowing players of either gender to romance the single-gender Asari character Liara T’Soni.

Now, Bioware are releasing a remaster of the original trilogy titled Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Along with improved visuals for the newer consoles, they’re making a number of tweaks to gameplay to smooth out the experience.

A fan petition is asking Bioware to reinstate the LGBT+ romances originally excluded from the games as part of the remastered version.

“Growing excitement over the rumours of the Legendary Edition turned to joy at its announcement and then dismay when it became clear there would be no update or improvement to the lacking same-sex romance options,” reads the petition.

It calls for an apology and explanation from the developers on LGBT+ romances in the game, as well as potential patches to add these options to the game post-launch.

Another key character is Kaidan Alenko (mild spoilers ahead). Originally appearing in the first game, he can only be romanced by a female protagonist. If the player chooses to save him during the course of the game, he’ll return in Mass Effect 3 where he can then be romanced by a male protagonist. The character is now considered canonically bisexual, which fans would like written into the game officially.

There is precedence for Bioware patching their games. The ending of Mass Effect 3 was extended following a fan backlash, while an extra same-sex romance between Jaal and Scott Ryder was added to Mass Effect: Andromeda (the most recent in the series) after its release. 

“It is our hope that BioWare and EA will give serious consideration to addressing these concerns in your endeavour to revamp interest in the Mass Effect universe,” reads the petition.

“We recognise that these games have helped make strides in LGBTQIA+ representation easier, and we are now asking the studios to do better as a show of good faith in anticipation of future projects.”

Bioware and publisher EA are yet to respond to the petition. You can sign it here.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will be released on 14 May and it’s available to pre-order here.

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Related topics: LGBT gaming

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