Mass Effect: Andromeda has attracted no shortage of interest ever since the title carried the franchise beyond the Shepard trilogy this March, with the game proving to be a very divisive subject among fans. The studio has made several amendments to the title via post-launch patches, but many fans were still upset about the lack of a male-to-male relationship option for Jaal. Adding flames to the fire, players had data mined early pre-launch code for Andromeda, revealing that a gay romance with the Angaran was initially on the cards – but this content was removed by the time the game launched.
The change didn’t just mean one less option for gamers who identified as gay, it meant that players playing through as Scott Ryder also couldn’t get a romance achievement for completing three options as a gay character, while the other sexual identities of the game could. This led to some public outcry amongst fans, and evidently BioWare has been listening as the studio is now implementing a fix for this issue, and explained why the developers have opted to belatedly include the Angaran warrior as a male-to-male relationship option:
“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.”
BioWare, for its part, seems intimately aware of the negative reaction that previous graphical hiccups with the game’s animation have spurred, and the studio made it a point to comment that the writing, editing, and animation teams have combined to deliver a polished presentation when it comes to the new cutscenes and interactions between Scott Ryder and Jaal. One can only hope the cutscenes don’t get as awkward as the infamous Sara Ryder and Suvi scenes, but that ball is firmly in BioWare’s court now (no pun intended).
The Mass Effect franchise is currently on a hiatus while BioWare Montreal undergoes some internal changes, ranging from prioritizing other intellectual properties to the studio’s transition from a leading development studio into a more supportive role in terms of game development. While BioWare hasn’t gone too in-depth on the subject, it’s hard not to think that the mixed reaction to Mass Effect: Andromeda played a large role in these changes, though for the time being it seems like the studio is still hard at work improving the title with additions like the new Jaal romance option. There’s no word yet on when this new update will drop for gamers, but the full notes for the upcoming patch can be seen here.
What do you think about BioWare belatedly adding Jaal as a romance option for male Ryder, Ranters?
Mass Effect: Andromeda is available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.