On Tuesday, BioWare and Electronic Arts released Mass Effect: Andromeda, an action role-playing video game that lets players pursue optional same-sex romances. Gaymers have complained that the same-sex romance scenes aren’t nearly as explicit as the heterosexual ones, possible evidence of the game developers’ discomfort with gay and bisexual sex.
In the game, players control a male or female military recruit as they explore a new human habitat within the Andromeda Galaxy in the year 2185. Players can romance a variety of men, women and aliens — in fact, if you’re curious, you can check out all of the game’s dating and lovemaking scenes for yourself (though some are definitely NSFW).
While the female character gets three men and four women to seduce — she can become “companions” with some of them as well — the male character only gets five women and two men to seduce, and he cannot become companions with either of the men. Furthermore, none of his same-sex sex scenes feature any nudity while some of the heterosexual ones do.
The game also awards players with a “Matchmaker” achievement for romancing three of the game’s characters. That means that in order to complete all the game’s achievements, the male character must seduce a female — he can’t collect all of the game’s achievements just by being gay. While one could see this as a way to celebrate bisexuality (yay!), it’s an eyebrow-raising feature from a game developer who has a good record of including LGBTQ characters into their work.
Some of Bioware’s previous Mass Effect and Dragon Age titles allowed players to make their characters gay, lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous or asexual. On the plus side though, Mass Effect: Andromeda does feature a transgender character named Hainly Abrams, though she’s non playable and even she’s imperfect — for some reason, she mentions her deadname (the original name her parents gave her) early on into her introduction, something real-life trans people rarely ever do.