BioWare Explains Why There's No Homosexuality in Mass Effect 2

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BioWare Explains Why There's No Homosexuality in Mass Effect 2

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BioWare bosses Ray Muzyka and Mass Effect 2 Executive Producer Casey Hudson explained why ME2 lacks any homosexual relationships.

BioWare's sci-fi epic Mass Effect 2 has come under fire for not having the option of homosexual relationships, unlike BioWare's other recent release Dragon Age: Origins. Tracey John asked Casey Hudson and Ray Muzyka at GDC this year exactly why Mass Effect 2 lacked these relationships, and the answers they gave were interesting, and actually slightly different from each other.

According to Hudson, it was not only a question of time and effort, because BioWare didn't want to just reuse the same scene but with different characters, but also that it didn't fit with the general level of maturity BioWare wanted for the game. "We still view it as... if you're picturing a PG-13 action movie," he said. "That's how we're trying to design it. So that's why the love interest is relatively light."

Muzyka had a slightly different view however, saying that a homosexual Shepard didn't fit with BioWare's concept of the character: "Sometimes, in some of our games, we are going to have a defined character with a more defined view. Almost like a third-person narrative -- where Mass Effect is more in that vein, Dragon Age isn't in that vein ... For some other franchises we've had more defined characters and sort of approaches to things, and they've had a more defined personality and a more defined approach to the way they've proceed through the game and the world."

Two slightly different answers, but both essentially saying the same thing, that homosexuality wasn't part of the vision that BioWare had for the game. There seems to some subtext there that no one is saying, namely that the inclusion of actual homosexual relationships might hurt sales, but that is a very different issue and one that will take more than one science-fiction videogame to tackle.

Source: Kotaku

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Not good enough, Bioware. You could be a lesbian before! And then CARRY OVER YOUR LESBIAN!

Hmmm. They seem to be trying to dodge the question a bit there. Disappointing, coming from Bioware. I've come to expect better from them.

while it could be a sales related move, i think it may legitimately be the case that they didn't feel it worked with the game. then again that is a very naive stance in a world where every decision is analyzed for cost effectiveness.

I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

wait a min, didnt they talk about how jack had some previous same sex contact and that red head who handles your messages definatly seems bi at the very least. So Im not so certain the headline of this article is really that accurate

Actually the "third-person narrative" explanation is the one I can understand the most. It's like asking a writer why the character in his novel isn't gay.

But they don't bring up the fact that asari all look like females and you can have some kind of homosexual relationship if you play a She-Shepard... so relationships in the game are not completely heterosexual.

"There seems to some subtext there that no one is saying, namely that the inclusion of actual homosexual relationships might hurt sales,"

But:

a) They had no problems with that with Dragon Age

b) Really? Couldn't you then say that about there being a black character (let's face it, racism and homophobia generally seem to go in hand)?

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

I have a problem with both of their responses. Muzyka's for the same reason as you gave. But I also disagree with Hudson's on the grounds that it seems to imply that a homosexual relationship is somehow inherently more explicit than a heterosexual one, and that simply is not the case. I certainly did not expect this kind of attitude from Bioware, considering they've usually catered to other sexualities besides heterosexuals in their other games.

It seems like such a step back from the original Mass Effect (even though I suppose in the background femShep/Liara wasn't really gay since of the way Asari work, it was close enough to count) and Dragon Age (which also allowed male/male relationships with Zevran, which due to double standards is usually seen as more of a big deal than female/female).

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

I tend to agree with this. The culmination of the romance in part 1 was far more...well, physical, than in part 2. Honestly, I can live with fading to black instead of watching characters knock boots in the uncanny valley. But I'd still rather have the option to bed the ladies should I want to.

I mean, seriously, have you seen Miranda's ass?

They weren't being homophobic, they're were being lazy!

Worgen:
wait a min, didnt they talk about how jack had some previous same sex contact and that red head who handles your messages definatly seems bi at the very least. So Im not so certain the headline of this article is really that accurate

Lesbians (who sleep with men) are hot. Gay dudes are disgusting. Where the hell have you been?

/sarcasm

Seriously, Bioware? Weak. I still love your games, but you've lost a fair deal of respect from me; at least "come out" and give us a "straight" answer.

That was a rather poor explanation. I figured that it was just laziness.

The Elephant in the room is called EA's Marketing Department. Before Shepard was just a game character, now he's a pop-culture franchise figure, or at least they want him to be. A gay/lesbian main character isn't "safe" for the general American Market yet, and Bioware is now making games for that market, or at least has someone ensuring that they take that Market Research into consideration when making games.

They really aren't fooling anyone.

EDIT: I say "HE" because Female Shepard is clearly not considered to be as marketable a character (despite having the superior Voice Actor). Male Shepard has a Face Model, Female Shepard does not, Male Shepard is featured in advertisements, Female Shepard is not etc etc etc.

OK, if you can be a lesbian, you should be able to be a gay dude, too. There really isn't any good reason why you can't.

They don't want a gay Shepard...makes some sense I suppose. In any case it's their game and they chose what freedoms you have so it's not exactly our place to complain.

Susan Arendt:

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

I tend to agree with this. The culmination of the romance in part 1 was far more...well, physical, than in part 2. Honestly, I can live with fading to black instead of watching characters knock boots in the uncanny valley. But I'd still rather have the option to bed the ladies should I want to.

I mean, seriously, have you seen Miranda's ass?

In some scenes, if you have her wearing the default outfit there's very clear camel toe as well. Oh Miranda, you silly sassy sensuous seducer.

Susan Arendt:

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

I tend to agree with this. The culmination of the romance in part 1 was far more...well, physical, than in part 2. Honestly, I can live with fading to black instead of watching characters knock boots in the uncanny valley. But I'd still rather have the option to bed the ladies should I want to.

I mean, seriously, have you seen Miranda's ass?

(goes to go grab popcorn)

OT: even tho it is more for a niche market, it does represent that gamers arent all homophobic slobs like the ones on /new/. i do wish there would at least some representation of unbiased homosexuality in games.

... I'd have preferred they simply keep it as "we didn't want to write and record dialog for male and female romances of both sexes because that would've cost money. Seriously thats triple the romance dialog!"

The reasons they gave are utter crap.

Hell, an actual good reason is "homosexual males scare our target demographics."

Bioware, hi.

I haven't bought Mass Effect 2 for two reasons:

1) No Wrex in the party (IN THE PARTY, everyone I mention this to says "but he's in the game")

2) No gaying it up with Garrus.

So yeah.

But mainly lack of Wrex.

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

Not this game. It is completely linear. You only get to choose which of three missions you do first. Then when are done with the set you get one handed to you that sets up three more.

You can blame them for not having gay relationships in the game, but you can't blame them for dodging the question after they made the choice, I mean, is there any politically correct answer they could give?

Susan Arendt:
I mean, seriously, have you seen Miranda's ass?

I know.

It's interesting that Bioware's other two internal IPs (Jade Empire and Dragon Age) both had homosexual options. KotOR on the other hand, had a half broken "lesbian" option with Juhani, but given it's the Star Wars license, I didn't expect much more than that. Mass Effect, therefore, has really surprised me in this regard. If anything, they've retreated even further after the first game too, especially with the ridiculous excuses contradicting their own canon about Liara not being female (and therefore no F/F relationships are in the game).

I wonder if they're not just playing it safe, trying to avoid any controversy in a target market that perhaps has a partly less mature demographic than, say, Dragon Age. But I'm just guessing now.

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.

The next good question being why, in a society that is supposedly accepting of homosexuality, a heterosexual relationship is "PG-13" while a homosexual relationship gets a higher age rating. The implication is of course that a homosexual relationship is somehow "dirtier", or more likely to warp your poor little child's mind if he's exposed to it. Which is fairly obviously homophobic. Of course, this is straying a bit off topic, since it's a societal problem, not Bioware's fault. But I still find that justification a little weak. It still boils down to "we don't want to offend the homophobic sensibilities of our consumers".

Between the two of them, I find Hudson's answer more believable. Even if the developers had a sorta "canon" image for Shepard, there's nothing wrong with letting the Player play their own version of Shapard. After all, is that not why it's called a "Role Playing" game.
I wonder if EA didn't have something to do with it...

Comic Sans:

Susan Arendt:

HardRockSamurai:
I think Casey Hudson's answer sounds a lot more reasonable. Video Games, especially in the current generation, have always borrowed heavily from movies, so building a game like "a PG-13 movie" sounds a lot more understandable to me.
(it also explains why there's no actual nudity in these games)

I find Muzyka's answer a little bit puzzling. The Mass Effect series has always had this "build-your-own-adventure" vibe; in theory, Shepard should be the players' concept, not the game designers'.

I tend to agree with this. The culmination of the romance in part 1 was far more...well, physical, than in part 2. Honestly, I can live with fading to black instead of watching characters knock boots in the uncanny valley. But I'd still rather have the option to bed the ladies should I want to.

I mean, seriously, have you seen Miranda's ass?

In some scenes, if you have her wearing the default outfit there's very clear camel toe as well. Oh Miranda, you silly sassy sensuous seducer.

All kidding aside, BioWare's female characters are usually more interesting than their male characters (in my opinion, anyway) and therefore ones I'm more interested in growing close to. I mean, Mordin is amusing and Grunt is cool, but Jacob is meh at best. Thane and Garrus...ok, I'll definitely give you those two.

(Not that I was kidding about the perfection that is Miranda's backside.)

Bioware should simply say that the characters you can have sex with are not gay. Hence no gay relationships.

My god those were some lame skirt-slightly-around-the-subject answers...

"Oh, we wanted Mass Effect 2 to be more PG-13"
is not consistent with
"You see, we wanted a darker feel for Mass Effect 2"

Plus, Kelly does everything short of having sex with you.

It's ok guys, you can tell us you're afraid of those retards at FOX News.

its just a load of PC-mongers moaning because they want equality, makes my blood boil

i reckon these idiots would struggle to actually find a gay man who actually gives a rats ass

they took away the sexual preference choice of a load of 1's and 0's, OMG BURN THEM AT THE STAKE!

Or if you cut out the BS, they didn't want to alienate the huge, homophobic demographic that makes up about 95% of the 360 audience.

somethinorother63:
Bioware should simply say that the characters you can have sex with are not gay. Hence no gay relationships.

That could work, except for females and Asari...

But really, it shouldn't bother people. It's not programmed in, so don't try to make them change it.

Sentox6:

Susan Arendt:
I mean, seriously, have you seen Miranda's ass?

I know.

It's interesting that Bioware's other two internal IPs (Jade Empire and Dragon Age) both had homosexual options. KotOR on the other hand, had a half broken "lesbian" option with Juhani, but given it's the Star Wars license, I didn't expect much more than that. Mass Effect, therefore, has really surprised me in this regard. If anything, they've retreated even further after the first game, too, especially with the ridiculous excuses contradicting their own canon about Liara not being female (and therefore no F/F relationships are in the game).

I wonder if they're not just playing it safe, trying to avoid any controversy in a target market that perhaps has a partly less mature demographic than, say, Dragon Age. But I'm just guessing now.

Its similar to the relationship between pixar and disney. Pixar makes X movies disney wants, Pixar gets to make Y movies they want.

Except it actually seems to be 1:1 in this case.

wait so if your shepard is female u get to do the guys? if thats true i need to replay the game!! >.<

I don't buy it. My flatmates gay and also a massive fan of Mass Effect and he was pretty pissed that neither game allowed for a gay Shepard. I can't help but wonder what they're implying with the whole 'being gay not fitting the character' angle. Are they implying that he would need to be camp? Bullshit

But what about FemShep and Kelly Chambers? They can get into a homosexual relationship.

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