Mass Effect: Andromeda will let spacemen smooch Jaal

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.

BioWare don’t say when they’ll launch patch 1.08. Patch notes are down at the bottom over here. And this isn’t the final patch, Mass Effect producer Michael Gamble has tweeted.

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.

50 Comments

  1. Carra says:

    It’s a 7/10 game: enjoyable but I expected a lot more. So no, I’m
    not looking forward to a possible sequel.

    • wombat191 says:

      yay im in before the “bioware are pushing an lgbt agenda crowd arrive”

      personally im looking forward to the patch and will start a new game when it drops, the new augmentations look interesting., glad they improved the romance options and are fixing up the god awful conversation with the transgender npc.

      that said i want some story DLC.. i have question bioware.. i demand you answer them !

      • ButteringSundays says:

        “yay im in before the “bioware are pushing an lgbt agenda crowd arrive””

        We really don’t need the silly ‘in before’ crap either tbh. You realise by doing that you’re only a few notches better than the imaginary person you’re referring to. And you actually exist.

        • wombat191 says:

          actually many notches better :P
          love you too sweety

          • ScrapCupcake says:

            Incorrect. wombat191 you are dog whistling for the anti-lgbt crowd. You’re exactly as bad as they are; you are them. Thanks for participating, please let yourself out.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Was about to pick this up despite the so-so reviews, was just waiting for a few patches to land. Now they’ve shelved the franchise though (wasnt this supposed the be the start of a new trilogy?) I too have shelved my plans to buy it.

      • Captain Yesterday says:

        From what I recall, there were no definite plans for Andromeda part 2, or whatever, even before Andromeda was released into a sea of indifference.

        Not to spoil anything, but while the game does dangle some threads that could be expanded by DLC, there’s no cliffhanger ending.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Agreeing with the above post — the ending leaves the expedition to Andromeda in a position that doesn’t require a sequel. There is just a small hint of how they could continue the series, but it would be in the least interesting way possible. You can safely play it as a one-shot game if Bioware never continues the series.

        And they *shouldn’t* ever continue it, unless they can figure out how to write dialogue and characters that don’t sound like teenage fanfic, and figure out how to make a game that doesn’t need this much padding to be fun.

  2. Samudaya says:

    When production was behind the devs could have cut any sort of content. They cut gay content. And it’s not the first time. Mass Effect has a history is treating gay content as undesirable. The first two games had lesbian content but no gay content. In the third game gay content was less in terms of quantity and quality compared to straight content. Andromeda did even worse. It’s very clear gay stuff is not high in Bioware’s priority list. They must have numbers to confirm that there are not enough people who use gay content to warrant a higher priority. In itself, for a business this is understandable but in the end gay players pay the same amount of money as straight players and get less for their money.

    • Eightball says:

      I mean, gay people are also like 4% of the population, so…

      • Ghostwise says:

        As it happens, you are wrong.

        • Eightball says:

          Kinsey overestimated it. Most surveys put it around 4-5%.

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          • Ghostwise says:

            If you read the Wiki article, you will note that the point it makes is considerably more complex than “4%”.

            And the notion that same-gender romance in a video game would only be of interest to people firmly identifying as gay in their personal life makes no damn sense.

            There’s also the matter of “but gay folks are only x% of the population !” having been for decades a talking point for everything from denying rights to letting thousands die of AIDS.

          • Eightball says:

            You don’t think the size of a demographic might affect business decisions? Remember that videogames are a business first and foremost. I’m not offering any commentary on whether its the right decision or not, just pointing out that there’s a straight(heh)forward business explanation for the decision.

          • Eliijahh says:

            Unfortunately that’s not data that is reliable.

            From the UK infographic from Wikipedia: the highest percentage (2.5%) of people that said they were not heterosexual is from London, the most forward looking and tolerant region of the UK.
            That 2.5% is not telling you how many people are actually not heterosexual, but how many people admit not to be. Which, sadly, are two very different things.

          • Eightball says:

            Just how many people do you think are secretly gay?

          • MauvePeopleEater says:

            Considering, taking examples from other industrialised nations, that the French figure for LGB people alone is 2 points higher, the Israeli figure 4 points higher, and conversely, that is is 2 points lower in Italy, I think there’s a pretty strong argument to be made about the inherent cultural bias in declarative surveys.

      • Samudaya says:

        Yet Dragon Age managed to do it well.

      • Deviija says:

        So…? It is a roleplaying game where you play out a character you create. One does not need to be gay or a certain sexuality in order to enjoy same-sex (or opposite-sex) content and storyline in-game — or in any media in general. Plenty of people roleplay the romances regardless of what their personal sexuality is, because it’s roleplaying.

        • Eightball says:

          You also don’t need to be able to role play as a homosexual to enjoy a game. Cutting this content only angers a small minority, versus the cutting content that might affect everyone.

          In the US (and probably most of the west) people greatly overestimate the amount of people who are LGBTPetc.

          link to gallup.com

          • Brisseline says:

            Gamers aren’t representative of the general majority, though. As far as I know, all available research indicates only about 1/4th of people who identify as gamers also identify as exclusively straight.
            Frankly, you’d have to be completely out of touch to not anecdotally recognise that there’s a far larger proportion of LGBT+ people playing/making games compared to the general population.

          • Celcos says:

            Wait, you’re saying that 75% of gamers aren’t straight? I would like some references to this research.

    • Zenicetus says:

      If they’re going to include these romances, then all options should be covered.

      On the other hand, the main problem isn’t the lack of options, but how badly these “romances” are handled in the first place. It’s a combination of laughably juvenile writing, and a creepy power/status gradient where the captain of a ship hits on the crew members. In front of other crew members, no less.

      Bioware should just drop the romancing because they’re not good at writing it, and it’s a poor fit for the squad leader setups in these games. Of course the fans would scream, but their games would be better without it.

      • nunka says:

        You know, it’d be just swell if they killed the whole open world concept – say by demoting the player character to a regular crewmember – and put the story on rails, thus freeing up development time for perfecting all kinds of interesting character interactions (romantic or otherwise).

        Too bad that’ll never happen. Apparently the industry mandates that every Bioware game must be an overwrought power fantasy with you as the commander/pathfinder/inquisitor/XxXsith_lordXxX.

    • brgillespie says:

      Yeah, I agree. Instead of removing gay content, they should’ve excised the entire fucking romance bullshit from the game and told their fans to go read a romance novel, or set up a profile on Tinder. Something.

  3. Samudaya says:

    Too little, too late.

    The game has shipped. It was judged. Players have moved on. Mass Effect is already shelved. Bioware Montreal won’t be making Andromeda 2 anytime soon.

    I’m much more interested how the next Dragon Age will turn out without openly gay Lead Writer David Gaider and how gay-friendly Project Dylan will be.

  4. Jane Doe says:

    Nice PR stunt. If your game is mediocre at best, just dig out the old Porn Effect media outrage to boost sales.

    I’d rather do a Hanar than that fugly blobmonster with the personality of a brick.

  5. Michael Fogg says:

    So in order to make up for the initial lack of a gay romance option they create one with this grotesque manta ray man. Exactly what the audience wanted, I’m sure. End it, EA. Just end it.

    • Samudaya says:

      Mass Effect never treated gay gamers very well. But Bioware games are the only major titles where being a gay protagonist is regularly possible and where this actually amounts to something more than marrying a random NPC without personality, entering a romance written to be gender-neutral or having a trait somewhere that really means nothing. At least there would have been the chance to have better gay content next time. So in way it’s a bit sad.

    • wombat191 says:

      actually hes got a lot of fans haha

      • Samudaya says:

        No idea who Bioware consulted. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this weird looking creature over a human squad mate. I don’t think the majority of gay men would. Maybe if he was like the Asari just a man with blue skin but not this thing.

        • brucethemoose says:

          Well that’s just personal preference then. Alot of people liked Thane, or, hell, even Javik, and they’re less humanoid than the angara.

          No they didn’t have gay romance options, I know. I’m talking about general physical attractiveness.

          Javik’s personality, on the other hand, is a problem you can’t patch out.

          • Samudaya says:

            Blonde hair is a preference. Big butts or muscles are a preference. I wouldn’t call a human body a preference, more like hard-wired biology.

          • Eightball says:

            That sounds pretty bigoted Samayuda.

  6. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Hmm, it’s still £50 on Origin, but what’s this? Origin now have a wishlist!
    Except it won’t email me when ME:A is on sale, so it’s basically useless.
    Keep trying EA, maybe you’ll get there eventually (and that at least puts Origin one small step above uPlay and the Windows store).

  7. Joe The Wizard says:

    “God, he looks like he’d cum blood.”

    And THIS is why I keep coming back. Keep up the good work, RPS!

  8. brucethemoose says:

    I romanced Jaal as femRyder.

    It wasn’t BAD, but… Well, let me put it this way:

    Near the end, I was hoping the whole crew (except SAM and Drak) would perish in a fireball of glory, so we could get different characters in MEA2. But I was merely indifferent about Javik, as opposed to actively hoping I would never see the rest again.

    If I see him in MEA2, I’ll be like “Oh, hey you! You weren’t awful”, and will feel the tiniest bit of guilt as I continue flirting with something else right in front of him. But if I see Liam with his vocal cords intact, I’ll start banging my head against a wall.

  9. brucethemoose says:

    Oh, has anyone seen the movie “Her”?

    With a fierce loyalty to Alec and some good lines, SAM is the most interesting crew member on the Tempest by far, IMHO. And Ryder’s relationship with SAM is quite… intimate, if you think about it.

    The game works towards some sort of familial bond, but I wish Bioware had given us a slow-burning romance option as well. Now THAT would’ve been more interesting than Jaal.

    • genosse says:

      This movie is great and everyone should see it. Best sex scene ever, too: Just a black screen and Scarlett Johanssons voice – sends shivers down my spine.

      As for ME:A: Struck with some kind of Stockholm Syndrome after 100+ hours of play, I almost convinced myself that story and characters were somehow interesting.

      Then I played Persona 5 on the PS4 and saw how wrong I was. If you like well written and sympathetic characters, it’s worth it to get a console just for this one game. Blows my mind how good it is and I don’t even like Anime or JRPGs particularly much.

      Don’t waste your time with Bioware. Gay or not, your companions still stay hollow and uninteresting no matter what.

    • genosse says:

      Sorry, I didn’t reply particularly well to your initial post: In my opinion Jaal was one of the better written characters that I enjoyed to have around, if only for his “Oh in Milkyway you do it like this? Here we do it like that.” schtick, which, I have to admit, probably falls into the laziest category of comic relief writing possible, but is still better than the equivalent of reading your moms Facebook, which is about as interesting as the rest of the crew.

      I have to agree on SAM, though. I liked him/her as well, but only because I have a pretty soft spot for all kinds of stories about artificial intelligence and its moral ramifications etc.

  10. Deviija says:

    Many issues aside, there is a lot in this game to enjoy and love. Adding Jaal as a romance for Scott is one of the realms that will improve upon what was lacking and poorly constructed upon release (Gil and Reyes are really poor in content and lacking in content/resolutions and amount of dialogue compared to other companions; also no squadmate romance and you can’t be gay Scott and gain that Matchmaker achievement in one playthrough like everyone else could). Being that it is a first entry into a new series, done by a new team, in a fairly new engine for BioWare, I thought it was a solid effort. If they do have a sequel, I’d only hope they would improve on the areas that are weak in this first outing.

  11. gi_ty says:

    Damn, Alice you are the best!

  12. Ralsto says:

    I can’t even imagine what kind of sad sack you’d have to be to dislike a game over its optional romance subplots. It’s pathetic. Go outside and talk to some real people.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      I tend to fail real life romance subplots much more quickly that the videogame ones.

  13. April March says:

    Well, this sounds like a beefy patch. Maybe I’ll pick up this game when it comes out of Early Access.

  14. vorador says:

    I didn’t expect the DLC, since Bioware Montreal was gutted a few weeks after release of the game.