Men of space, soon you may hold, thrill, and kiss Jaal in Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site]. BioWare have announced the next patch for their boldly-going RPG, which will expand the character creator options, rework an awkwardly-written trans character, fix some bugs and balance bits, and make Jaal smoochable by both male and female Ryders. It won’t fix Andromeda’s broader boringness but hey, I never expected huge changes from patches.
If you play a male Ryder and you’re into that ‘blood-bloated prolapsed organ’ look, you’ll be able to date Jaal once patch 1.08 hits. Why rewrite his sexuality? BioWare explain:
“Scott Ryder did not have a same-sex squadmate available as a romance option, nor could the achievement for completing three romances be achieved with only male same-sex partners. And as the angara have expressed their fluidity in how they perceive gender, it seemed only natural that Scott could have a relationship with Jaal.
“However, we understand that a character’s orientation is an important part of what makes them feel real. The relationships with your crew are some of the most loved and cherished parts of our games, so we wanted to make sure we got it right. We consulted with members of the LGBTQ community, both externally and within our own studios. After carefully considering all feedback, we decided this was an important change to make, and one that made sense for Jaal, Scott, and the angara.
“Our writing, editing, and animation teams worked together to ensure this change made sense for Jaal’s character, and the result is a relationship we hope feels as fulfilling and memorable for Scott as it does for Sara.”
God, he looks like he’d cum blood.
The expanded character creator options sound solid. BioWare say they’ve added one new female head option and one male, a greater range of skin tones, and a new bald hairstyle. All haircuts are now available to both sexes too. They’ve also popped in a way to change your look mid-change on the Tempest. I always value mid-game changes, as options that look good in creators often look rubbo in-game. BioWare add, “And for fans of Alec Ryder’s iconic appearance, you can now choose to keep the default Alec, rather than having his appearance be based on your custom Ryder.”
As for Hainly Adams, BioWare say “Dialogue for Hainly Abrams was adjusted to change the flow of personal information she discusses with Ryder.” She’s a minor crew member who is trans and very clumsily makes that known. Sam Greer wrote a good bit about this problem for Eurogamer. BioWare apologised and said they’d correct it in a future patch; here we go.
Presumably we’ll soon start hearing about DLC. BioWare have teased little bits related to the Quarians, the dome-faced aliens whose absence from Andromeda seemed a big flashing “INSERT DLC HERE” neon sign of a plotpoint.
Rumour has it that the next Mass Effect may be in jeopardy after EA moved staff onto other projects. Shuffling people onto other games after a game ships is a fairly common practise in the industry, mind, as a lot of people don’t have much to do in the early days of development.