Mass Effect 2 Developers Cut Jack’s Same-Sex Romance, Seemingly in Part Due to Fox News
According to one of the game’s writers, the Mass Effect 2 character Jack was originally written as pansexual, but her romance options were apparently changed late in development to only allow for a heterosexual romance, seemingly because of critical response to the first game’s sex scenes, and a Fox News panel on Mass Effect.
In an interview with The Gamer, Jack’s lead writer, Brian Kindegran, said that the character was “essentially pansexual for most of the development of that romance.” There are references in Mass Effect 2’s dialogue to Jack’s interest in men and women, which is why many fans have since wondered why Jack was only romanceable by a male Commander Shepard.
Explaining the reasoning behind the change, Kindegran pointed to criticism from media outlets in the US: “Mass Effect had been pretty heavily and really unfairly criticized in the US by Fox News,” Kindegran told The Gamer, referring to a 2007 panel about the use of sex scenes in the first game.”
“The development team of Mass Effect 2 was a pretty progressive, open-minded team, but I think there was a concern at pretty high levels that if Mass Effect, which only had one gay relationship, Liara – which on paper was technically not a gay relationship because she was from a mono-gendered species – I think there was a concern that if that had drawn fire, that Mass Effect 2 had to be a little bit careful.”
Kindegran didn’t agree with the change, but told The Gamer that it was done in an attempt to “minimize the amount of critique that would be directed towards the community by outlets like Fox News again.”
“It wasn’t like some anti-gay person high up on the Mass Effect 2 team saying, ‘we’re not going to have that’.” Instead, it had to do with the firestorm of controversy that Mass Effect had received back in 2007,” Kindegran added. Changes to Jack’s romance options apparently came late in the game’s development due to the controversy, when the development team were told to “focus the relationships on a more traditional kind of vector.”
In other Mass Effect news, check out this concept art for the next Mass Effect game, which featured in the book ‘Bioware: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development. You’ll be able to return to the original Mass Effect Trilogy in the upcoming Legendary Edition, which you can preorder now, ahead of its rumoured March 12 release date.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.