Uranian Love vs. Status Quo

N.B. The title makes a reference to an early term used for homosexuals, based on the belief that they were a third gender: uranian. A little LGBT history for you.

Thane Krios, a drell assassin from Mass Effect 2.

Thane Krios, a drell assassin from Mass Effect 2.

Having finished Mass Effect 2 last week, I’ve been gladly spoiling myself of various details. This includes the romantic options, and confirming that there is no same-sex option for my male Commander Shepard. The reason I played him was to ascertain if there were such options for him, in fact. Finding out I could not comfort and fall in love with Thane made me sigh in longing a bit (and resolved whom Ronia Shepard would be romancing).

IGN recently interviewed Dr. Ray Muzyka about Mass Effect 2, and they asked him about this:

GN: Will there be gay relationships for the male Shepard? Here at IGN we’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from the inclusion of gay relationships in Dragon Age; compare that with the somewhat conspicuous absence of them from the first Mass Effect, especially with the chance for a lesbian relationship.

Ray Muzyka: Here’s how the games are different: Dragon Age is a first person narrative, where you’re taking on an origin and a role, and you are that character at a fundamental level. It’s fundamentally about defining your character, including those kinds of concepts. In Mass Effect it’s more a third person narrative, where you have a pre-defined character who is who he is, or she is. But it’s not a wide-open choice matrix. It’s more choice on a tactical level with a pre-defined character. So they’re different types of narratives, and that’s intentional.

We’re not saying that one approach is better than the other. In our previous games, as we did in Jade Empire, as we did in KOTOR, as we did in Baldur’s Gate, and many games before and in the future, we enable those kinds of choices, whereas in Mass Effect it’s more about Shepard as a defined character with certain approaches and worldviews, and that’s just who he or she is. So we constrain the choice set somewhat, but enable more tactical choices and enable a deeper, richer personality, because it’s more focused around defining one character, it’s not as wide open. But that’s by choice.

It’s first person versus third person narrative, and the types of choices you get to make within that are related to that, whether you’ve got a pre-defined character or a wide-open character. Some of our games have been wide open, and some have been more constrained, and we’ll probably continue both kinds of character development in the future.

Really? Artful dodger Dr. Muzyka is not. More thoughts below the fold (with spoilers).

After dodging the lesbian relationship by calling the Asari non-sexed in the first game, I was curious how they would approach female same-sex relationships in the sequel. I, personally, do see the Asari as female, but that is a whole other can of gender and sexual theory worms for another post. Our own editor Alex explicated this after playing the first Mass Effect.

While no lesbian relationships occur for female Shepard (though she can stay faithful to Liara if that relationship happened in the first game–which is problematic, and a point to which I will return), she still has the option of having sex with two females: Samara’s daughter, Morinth the asari Ardat-Yakshi (though at the cost of her life–Morinth is the asari version of vagina dentata), and your administrative assistant/ship psychologist, Kelly Chambers.

Kelly Chambers in a red bodysuit, dancing in Commander Shepard's cabin.

Kelly Chambers in a red bodysuit, dancing in Commander Shepard's cabin.

What is notable here is that one of these options is a human female, not being able to be explained away by mono-sexed alien debates. To reiterate, Kelly Chambers is human and is female. Ta-dah! Lesbian sex in the game if you want it.

From this, it is very clear that the female Commander Shepard is bisexual, or at least bi-curious. But what if she isn’t? What if she is a lesbian, only preferring women? Or straight and loves the sometimes awkward and bumbling flirtations with men? You could play her that way, and your choices would be canon for you. And yet, female Shepard and male Shepard are really not all that different. The dialog choices they have available are the same, the way people react to them are the same. Why is it, then, that she is allowed to dally around with members of her own sex, but male Shepard is not?

A choice was made, and the choice seems made to capitalize on how sex between females is desirable by the mainstream. If they were to fully embrace Liara and female Shepard as a lesbian relationship, that would be one matter. But hedging out and saying this female-bodied alien is not really female, but has the body of one so that when the sex scene occurs there isn’t a discernible difference beyond blue skin…

I happen to see this as the media’s old trope that lesbian sex is okay, but don’t let them have a relationship. This is then codified in the sequel, where the only lesbian interactions you can have are of the sexual variety.

It is curious that these options would be included in pre-defined characters as such. This tells me that I can create my Shepard, but he or she isn’t mine, actually. No-no-no. My choices are limited beyond three options, they don’t really matter as my choices and how I may develop my character, who has many different options and trajectories, since I do not have to follow just one path the entire time. Many options, three different ways to respond (or five if you have either your charm or intimidate high enough), and things start getting complicated as to who my Shepard may be and the choices made.

I do not see any of the BioWare games I have played as wide-open choice matrices, to be honest. They are always fairly limited in how I can respond, though they many times offer more choices than I have in other games. The main difference, in this regard, for me between Dragon Age and Mass Effect is the fact that my choices are not as clearly marked as good/neutral/bad in the former. While an argument could be made that this is why Commanders Shepard have voice acting, and the protagonists in Dragon Age do not, I still believe it was likely a technical constraint of recording all that dialog. As it stood, the lifeless lump of character I had pulled me away from the supposed ‘first person experience’ whenever a cutscene occurred.

And yet, I have created characters in both games that mean something to me personally. We would not have created the My Commander Shepard series if we did not have this relationship with our Shepards. BioWare provides the tools for me to create my character and narrative. They can provide the plot and choices, I provide the reasons and protagonist.

I like BioWare, a lot. At this point, I suppose I still somewhat hope they can be fully forthright in their answers (particularly as they keep locking down forum posts dealing with these same questions). Prior to this, I was under the impression that same-sex male romances were not in the first game due to time constraints (a choice that perhaps disappoints me a little, but is something with which I have and can continue to live). However, answers like Muzyka’s continue to confound me, and make it easier to dissect their own words with their own logic in a not-so-flattering manner. If they simply do not want to put same-sex romances in the game, they should just say so, instead of coming up with poor excuses.

About Denis Farr

Denis Farr is a white, androgynously gendered, TAB, German-born and U.S.-schooled, male-sexed queer person (with a penchant for other male-sexed queer persons) who started writing about games at Vorpal Bunny Ranch (in other words, he's loquacious). He has continued with this endeavor, expanding his writing to both GayGamer.net and here at The Border House. A strong proponent of expanding diversity in games, his focus is often on how characters are depicted in games, and exploring the language we use to explicate games themselves.
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46 Responses to Uranian Love vs. Status Quo

  1. Tom Cross says:

    Denis, this is a great article. As pointed out elsewhere, it’s pretty obvious (from the fact that all Asari couple “fathers” who aren’t Asari are male, to the male gaze-ification of the female Shep./Asari romances) that Bioware thinks of the Asari as female. Also, I was pissed that my meeting with Liara (I’m a woman) was so lacking in feeling. She kisses me once, and the it’s off to Shadow Broker town. Ashley was more worried/interested in my apparent lack of deadness.

    It seems like you’ve played both a male and female Shepard runthrough of ME 2. I have a question for you: during my playthrough (female paragon), it seemed as if conversations with characters (who male Shepard could enter into romances with) would continue (toward deeper friendships) until I was best friends with the character (say, Tali). The weird thing was, a lot of Tali’s mid to late-friendship dialogue felt like it was the prelude to romance.

    Basically, I was wondering if the female Shepard friend dialogues with female colleagues (who are male romance-able) are the male dialogues with all of the “sexy” stuff cut out. There are a few awkward transitions, where it seems like NPCs (Tali again, Zero) are about to go into romance mode, but then there’s a sudden blank space, where something’s missing.

    I was also wondering if this is the same when it comes to male Shepard talking to men who female Shepard can romance (I bet it isn’t, but I’m a pessimist).

    Maybe I’m just assuming too much, and maybe Bioware just wrote all dialogues to be slightly flirtatious. I guess I’ll have to play male Shepard to know for sure. Again, great article.

    Also, why exactly is Kelly dancing in Shepard’s quarters?

    • Alex says:

      Basically, I was wondering if the female Shepard friend dialogues with female colleagues (who are male romance-able) are the male dialogues with all of the “sexy” stuff cut out.

      I felt like this when talking to Miranda yesterday, and I looked up the male version of the same conversation on Youtube, and I was right: the male version is the same but there’s an extra bit at the end where you can flirt a bit. For lady Sheps is just ends. But it’s still shot all male-gaze-y, and even with a romantic tone to it. The dialogue is exactly the same up until the last few lines.

      • Denis Farr says:

        Again, I wonder how much of this is due to being Paragon. My Renegade was rarely accidentally fliratious. When he wanted to have sex with Jack, he just said so.

    • Denis Farr says:

      I’m wondering how much of that is the default Paragon way of dealing with things. Have not fully played my female Shepard yet, but often when she’s just trying to be nice she’s suddenly flirting and I freak out a bit.

      Also, while there is some ‘bro’ touching between male Shepard and Jacob, I never got the feeling that anything further was going to develop. Certainly nothing fliratious. Again, my male was renegade.

      Kelly, if pursued, will show up in your cabin at the end of the game and seduce you–if you made advances on her.

    • Ginsu Shark says:

      “Also, I was pissed that my meeting with Liara (I’m a woman) was so lacking in feeling. She kisses me once, and the it’s off to Shadow Broker town. Ashley was more worried/interested in my apparent lack of deadness.”
      You and half of Bioware’s forums…

  2. Gunthera1 says:

    “It’s fundamentally about defining your character, including those kinds of concepts. In Mass Effect it’s more a third person narrative, where you have a pre-defined character who is who he is, or she is. But it’s not a wide-open choice matrix. ”

    I don’t see any game as a wide-open choice matrix. Every choice that is made within a game is there because the code allows it to be there. Every single thing a character can do within the confines of the game is created by some programmer. It was a choice to allow same sex F/F romance options but not M/M.

    Shepard can be a Renegade, Paragon, or somewhere between the 2. You can choose who they have a relationship with and if they stay faithful to the relationship from the first game if the character imported a save with a past relationship. You chose if you want to know the backstory of crew members. Choices made in the game determine the final crew at the end. The many choices result in a large variety of Shepards among different players. While the available choices are pre-defined I do not see this as the same thing as my Shepard being pre-defined.

    Even though male/male romantic relationships were not an option in the first game, they could have been an option in the second game with the introduction of new characters. Perhaps one of these new male crew members is bisexual or gay even if the male crew members on the original Normandy were not. It is a missed opportunity and is very telling when they allowed a a female bisexual character (if Kelly Chambers was a romance option for both male and female Shepard) to exist in the game but not a male. Every single option in a game is a choice made by the developers. I wish a different choice had been made here.

    • Denis Farr says:

      At this point, I’d be fine if they would just admit they didn’t want to make that choice. Perhaps they didn’t feel they could do it justice, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

      As you state, however, there are a variety of relationships from which you can choose, so it’s not as if anything Shepard does is really canon. I think you and I are on the same page when it comes to the fact that our Shepards may perform the same actions, but perhaps for different reasons, and perhaps slightly different.

  3. yeloson says:

    The lesbian sex for male gaze “Oh look it’s edgey!” BS is played out. It let’s them claim to be open minded while avoiding gay male sex which threatens patriarchy roles…

    My friends and I were hoping for a genderswap option at the beginning of the game, and all the drama that would entail with previous romances (or new ones!)

    • Jayle Enn says:

      A gender swap option probably would have prompted me to get this. As it is, Jade Empre is the only Bioware game I’ve pushed myself to finish, and ME crashed my computer with frustrating regularity.

      • Denis Farr says:

        You make me look forward to when I finally get around to Jade Empire (before DA:O and ME, the last BW game I’d played was Baldur’s Gate–have been catching up in the past few months).

        • Jayle Enn says:

          It’s very much a reskinned Knights of the Old Republic, with a generically ‘Asian’ setting. The vaunted ‘open palm’/’closed fist’ alignment system is transparently ‘light side’/’juggles puppies side’, and the language they claim to have had created for the game is only a handful of phonemes repeated while the subtitles scroll.
          While the hype about the world-building came out to be roughly zero, the game itself is quite solid as a third-person fighter. You’ve got multiple weapon types, different combat styles, and an assortment of supporting characters that change the way battles play out.

    • Denis Farr says:

      I actually hoped for a gender swap, but now that you mention it, I can see why it wasn’t in the game. The whole “honey, I’m the same sex as you now!” thing doesn’t seem like something they’d like to broach.

      Yeah, it’s unfortunately how I feel many games tackling lesbian interactions go. :-/ Or media in general.

  4. It does sound like a rather weak lie/excuse for “we don’t WANT to put m/m sex in this game”

    Considering their past I suppose it’s more surprising that Dragon Age *did* than that this didn’t…

    • Denis Farr says:

      Not really. DA:O had it set from the beginning that they were going to have a world with many different sexualities and relationships–they made it a priority.

      ME’s team has not, and that’s fine. I just wish they’d be up front about it and simply say they don’t want to do so. It’s easier for me to understand, and doesn’t mean I really look at them less favorably. If I disliked games because they didn’t give me what I wanted all the time, I’d probably stop playing all together.

  5. Jayle Enn says:

    I was hoping for someone to comment on this, after reading the 8th’s Penny Arcade comic and poking around in the Mass Effect wiki.

    There’s apparently no real relationship with with the Yeoman, at all. She can… dance for the viewer (wearing the same garment that the Asari exotic dancers did in the first game), sit in your avatar’s lap and neck with it, or lie down and cuddle with it. It’s not even a ‘relationship’ by the code’s determination: even if you call her down to dance every time you leave the planet, you can still romance whoever the code determines is sex-appropriate.

    Basically she’s a meat-puppet that tells you when you’ve got e-mail, and dances provocatively in a non-regulation uniform. I want to see DLC where one of the crew members brings a hostile workplace suit.

    • Denis Farr says:

      Yeah, my first reaction with my female Shepard (paragon and nice to her) was absolute horror. My Shepard would not hit on a lower-ranked crew member that was in essence her secretary. No, no, no, no, no.

      Which is a pity, because she seems like she’d be an interesting person with whom to have a relationship (again, if you can get past being her BOSS).

  6. Alex says:

    They have been saying all kinds of ridiculous things about this game, haven’t they? “Shepard can be anything you want him to be!” (as long as you don’t want him to be gay!). “We fixed everything anyone complained about!” (except for the lack of m/m romance, which was a pretty major complaint people had about the first game).

    Such bull. Such. Bull.

    • Denis Farr says:

      I think the most amusing thing is I wouldn’t be half so critical if they didn’t make statements like these. Sure, I’d probably comment about it, but would likely not feel pressed to do so.

  7. Tualarec says:

    I was very disappointed too. As it has been said, all “real romances” are heterosexual, with a bisexual character (Kelly Chambers) thrown there just for fanservice. I recovered my ME1 character, Ismene Shepard, who is female and had a relationship with Liara, but I was mostly decided to end it if there was another character my commander Shepard could be more interested in, especially since her reunion with Liara in Illium. The slight flirting in conversations with Jack (just to name a character my Shepard could be attracted to) kept my hopes up, but I was let down in the end.
    In this aspect, the game was a huge stepback from Bioware’s previous game, Dragon Age, and Muzyka’s answer is just pathetically trying to evade the question but fails completely at it. And I don’t feel the narrative in ME2 to be third person and in DA:O first person, considering that ME and ME2 force you to control only Shepard, whereas in DA:O you can switch freely between team members. I think both offer the same kind of character involvement and roleplaying perspective, but if only a single game between these two can be labeled “a first person narrative”, I would choose ME before DA:O.

    • Denis Farr says:

      You make an excellent point. Being in control of my companions, who were more lifelike than my avatar, in DA:O really is not first person, and means I’m not always in the mind of my avatar.

      Yeah, Jack definitely makes allusions to having a past with women, and I find it confusing that she isn’t open for both sexes. Essentially, it seems like she wants to open up to someone, and given her past, I’m not sure she would be picky about sex in that regard.

  8. z says:

    Having characters that respond to you (or Shepard, in this case) in an LGB way is an interesting question. I find it difficult to balance having the desire to see an LGB relationship in a game versus thinking about the situation realistically — given that LGBT people are in the minority in the first place, what is the probability that any members of your crew (to use Mass Effect as an example) are LGBT? That any people you meet in DAO are LGBT?

    Perhaps it would be clearer if you could attempt to pursue everyone someone in Mass Effect and have them turn you down? Acknowledge and react more directly to your advances?

    Then again, having Liara and Leliana in Mass Effect and DAO do have me squeeful that the options exist, regardless of whether it’s a realistic circumstance that they happen…

    • Denis Farr says:

      But any representation in media is not based on ‘realism.’ If so, why have we not seen more Chinese-born humans in space (or in the Firefly universe?). Any piece of media makes these decisions, and realism and chance would be poor excuses to dodge why they did not put them in. If you happen to have a squad member that is LGB, why would it be that odd?

      DA:O is surprising in how much content it has that addresses the LGB community, in even small NPCs and their relationships. It brings into question whether or not you can just assume everyone is straight, which I find a useful viewpoint to have. Which leads into your next suggestion.

      I do agree that it would be an idea to include an explanation for the character of their non-interest in your sex. Speaking from personal experience, some of the best conversations about friendship I’ve had have been with guys whom I’ve liked, expressed my interest, and had those very thoughts discussed.

      Even though it never led anywhere, handing flowers to Andre the Fisherman in Quest for Glory V nets you the response that his boyfriend would be jealous if he accepted. It was a way of denying me that content, but still acknowledging my attempt.

      • z says:

        You’re right, perhaps that needs to be addressed in some way too? (I think this was handled slightly better in ME1, but it’s a valid point)

        I think the important point is that we need to hear a reason why something is the way it is in-universe, or we’re going to be quizzical and get upset and raise questions like we and others have in regards to ME2. Doing this can only raise immersion in universes like ME and DAO (though DAO doesn’t really have this problem as much I feel).

  9. Thefremen says:

    Nothing to add, just wanted to say it was a good read and helped re-assure me that I’m really not missing out on anything by skipping over this franchise entirely.

  10. kingofys says:


    z:

    Having characters that respond to you (or Shepard, in this case) in an LGB way is an interesting question. I find it difficult to balance having the desire to see an LGB relationship in a game versus thinking about the situation realistically —

    I think about it from a realism point of view too, but mainly consider the effect a sexual relationship or just sex would have on a close-knit team, as more often that not it would cause complete disintegration when there’s a galaxy to be saved.

    Don’t know why Bioware feel the need to include sex scenes (the gay one in DA:O was groan inducing), and now it seems to be expected in all their games.

    For a disparate group of characters with different motivations, a lot of bonding needs to be done to go from a rag-tag group of adventurers to a focused team, banter and team-work achieves that, not seeing what npcs you can have sex with. Would like to see a game where the better the relationships with team members the better it gets in combat. And then if urges needed to be saited, then a quick bit on the side outside the team would be the way to go. :-)

    • oliemoon says:

      Dragon Age does incorporate some of those things your talking about. Depending on how well your companions like/dislike you, new classes/attribute boosts can be unlocked.

      I can’t speak to the other pairings, but I know when my partner’s character entered into a sexual relationship with Leliana, one of her other companions pulled her aside for a bit of a lecture about how a relationship wasn’t a very good idea at the present and told her to break if off with Leliana.

      • Tualarec says:

        Yep, confirmed to happen if your character enters a relation with Alistair, too. In my case, it was Wynne who lectured my char. Although she did not tell me to drop him, just to let feelings out of the way until the mission was over.

        • kingofys says:

          Ah glad they did include things like that, haven’t played it yet, but it’s definitely something I’d like to see expanded on and I know in baldur’s gate one character in particular would leave the party after a sexual encounter.

      • Nonny says:

        That will happen if you pursue a relationship with Alistair, too. Your responses will determine how forceful Wynne is about telling you to drop it. (I’m not sure if Wynne is the one who gives the lecture in regards to Leliana; I haven’t played through that far with my second character yet.)

  11. Ginsu Shark says:


    Tom Cross:

    I was also wondering if this is the same when it comes to male Shepard talking to men who female Shepard can romance (I bet it isn’t, but I’m a pessimist).

    iirc, it was like that with Kaidan in ME1.

  12. Tohoya says:

    I appreciate the design difference between the first-person narrative and third-person narrative, but bringing it up in the context of gay relationships just seems like a non sequitur. If Shepard can be different enough to let the Council die or save them within the same game, he or she can surely be either gay or straight.

    Apparently Bioware at least considered adding in the homosexual option, because they did voicework for all of the romance options for both male and female Shepard.

    You can hear the Tali/Female Shepard romance dialogue here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtVNqxjiH0Y#t=8m0s

  13. Nathan says:

    Miffed as I was about the whole skirting of homosexuality problem (also Kelly Chambers as meat puppet-well put), it occurred to me that one thing the game does that hasn’t really been done before was try and tackle the issue of faithfulness and relationship difficulty. Assuming you’re importing a Shepard from ME1, you’re given plenty of incentive to not stay monogamous with your first love interest.
    Assuming your Shepard took the straight/did-not-get-blown-up-on-Vermire love interest, the one meeting you have is chilly and ambiguous at best. This is also true of ‘not-actually-bisexual’ Liara, who initially seems to have undergone such a dramatic character change as to suggest bad writing. It takes quite a bit of work to find out everything that’s going on, and though it’s a nice character point, there’s still no reward in the usual Bioware love interest sense.
    Both situations come off very much as everyone involved having had a crappy two years, and feeling very conflicted about it.
    Hopefully whether or not a Shepard chooses to cheat on a love interest or stay faithful, and the gender implications of that choice, will have some impact on the third game. It still doesn’t really address the issue of pidgeonholing character sexuality as a matter of choice (something else I hope gets addressed in 3) but it’s interesting to see the form taking itself incrementally more seriously.


  14. Denis Farr:

    Not really. DA:O had it set from the beginning that they were going to have a world with many different sexualities and relationships–they made it a priority.
    ME’s team has not, and that’s fine. I just wish they’d be up front about it and simply say they don’t want to do so. It’s easier for me to understand, and doesn’t mean I really look at them less favorably. If I disliked games because they didn’t give me what I wanted all the time, I’d probably stop playing all together.

    It isn’t fine that the Mass Effect 2 development team didn’t want to put male-male relationships in the game. It wouldn’t be fine even if the justifications quoted from Dr. Muzyka in the original post weren’t weaselly bullshit.

    And it is not because I think this game or any game should give me everything I want and the implication that by not being fine with this exclusion I do think that is offensive. It is because these nice folk at Bioware want to portray themselves as this really! Super! Progressive! Inclusive! game company because hey look there’s an actual same-sex relationship in Mass Effect!

    Except. Wait no there isn’t. Liara isn’t human and isn’t female. (Not that it’s lesbian sex when it’s designed by and for the straight male gaze. That is called hot girl-on-girl action.) Though she’s, y’know, rubber forehead alien. With boobs. And just about all the other aliens are male because… they didn’t have the time or the money or whatever to make female Turians and Krogan (yeah I know there are about three female Krogan because genocide is an awesome plot device) and whatall and record voice actors for them.

    So now with Mass Effect 2 nothing has changed. At all. We’ve still got no gay male relationships, no lesbian relationships, we’ve got hot girl-on-girl action and what the hell is that with sex kills? But we’re still supposed to believe Bioware is all progressive and inclusive and shit. Except the choices they keep making keep leaving me and people I love out. They build worlds where we do not exist at all. These choices are not anything but deliberate and they are damaging. It is not fine. I am not expecting too much in wanting this to change. I probably won’t get what I want any time real soon but it doesn’t make what I want any less reasonable.

    And yeah. I don’t play a lot of games any more. I can’t turn off the social justice critic. I don’t want to.

  15. z says:


    kaninchenzero:

    Except the choices they keep making keep leaving me and people I love out. They build worlds where we do not exist at all.

    But there has to be something more to it than that; we have DAO in which we do exist, and seems fine to me on same-sex relationships, and we have ME/ME2 which is, as we all have pointed out, lacking.


  16. z:

    But there has to be something more to it than that….

    No, it really doesn’t. Everything in a game is designed. It’s there because someone chose to put it there. (Those choices are influenced by subconscious biases because all our choices are influenced by subconscious biases but they were conscious decisions nonetheless.) The Mass Effect development team chose to make a world where relationships exist primarily in context of the het male gaze but they want the benefits of being The Game Company That Does Gay.

    I’m not giving them the benefit of any doubt. Yeah harsh whatever. When we stop being casually erased and asked to just accept it maybe I’ll think about being less harsh on them. These design choices have impacts beyond just feeling excluded from the game itself: they give ammunition to those who make gaming communities toxic. Games are made for them, not us, so why are we here anyway?

    • Thefremen says:

      ^this is epic truth. The ME2 lead designer was a member of the Westboro Baptist Chruch so all of this makes sense.

      (Not really, but since the game holds the same views…)

    • z says:

      You probably misunderstood what I was asking. Of course everything is designed, because it was chosen to be one way or another. My question was why one company decided to make a set of choices and designs in one way for one game and make another set of choices and designs in another way for another; others have put some light to the answer.

      • I’m not really interested in why. Why continues the privilege of intent over outcome and the outcome is what it is. They did this and their why is crap about narrative styles. I’m interested in behavior and especially in the social structures that work to the advantage of some by denying opportunity and access to others. And I’m interested in changing those.

        I don’t have a lot of power so my ability to affect those structures is limited. About all I can do is try to influence others by sharing my words and my life. Maybe that’s not much but I am an idealist–I believe things will change for the better and what I do will help a little.

  17. bk says:

    I don’t have the game handy, but as I recall the codex entry for Asari refers to them explicitly as female. Which pretty much puts paid to the “non-sexed” rationale, which was already pretty lame.

    • Alex says:

      Please don’t use the word “lame” as a pejorative here at The Border House, as it is widely considered to be ableist language. Our discussion policy is linked at the top of the page, for reference. Thanks.

  18. vinnie says:

    the article was great my friend and i see what you are talking about. im a big fan of mass effect and i seen all the romances in mass effect 1 & 2 but there is no gay romance for male shepard i found this really “wtf bioware?!” and i know about jade emipire and dragon origns but i may some ideas but i dont know if your intersted?

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