'Mass Effect: Andromeda' Romance Options: Fans are pissed Scott Ryder can't romance Jaal
Yeah, yeah, everyone likes the Mass Effect franchise for its moral decision making and exciting sci-fi action — but the real reason everyone likes it is because you get to smooch hot aliens in space. But if you're trying to play Mass Effect: Andromeda and role-play Ryder as a gay male, you can only romance human dudes.
And some Mass Effect: Andromeda fans are convinced that a same-sex romance involving male Ryder and his Angaran teammate Jaal was cut from the game before release. And they're pissed.
Here's what's going on.
Mass Effect: Andromeda Romances: Fans think a same-sex Jaal romance was scrapped
In the time leading up to Mass Effect: Andromeda's release, some fans say they data mined — meaning, they dug through the game's code — some evidence that Jaal was a romance option for both male and female versions of Ryder.
But then, when Mass Effect: Andromeda came out a few days later — no dice. The only two same-sex romance options for Scott Ryder are Gil and Reyes — two humans, neither of whom are one of Ryder's main squadmates.
It's not clear exactly why fans were convinced the data mines pointed to Jaal being bi — or how reliable this evidence was — but they think it could be proof that there were plans to make Jaal a romance option for male Ryder that was later scrapped.
The other evidence for this conspiracy lies in a tweet from Mac Walters, creative director on Mass Effect: Andromeda. In it, he appears to promise a fan there are same-sex romance options involving alien partners for both male and female Ryder. This, of course, isn't the case in the final version of the game.
Theoretically, you could interpret Walters' tweet to mean there are simply some alien romance options for both sexes in addition to the same-sex options, but this seems to be the most concrete thing fans are holding onto as proof that something they were promised has been snatched away.
Regardless of whether Jaal was planned to be a romance option for male Ryder and then scrapped — or whether that was never in the cards at all — fans are speaking up to let BioWare know that they're not happy with their human-only romance options.
Mass Effect: Andromeda Romances: Fans use #MakeJaalBi to get BioWare's attention
On Twitter and Tumblr, fans who buy into the theory that BioWare cut the same-sex Jaal romance are urging each other to use the hashtag #MakeJaalBi to voice their anger. To them, it's yet another example of the gaming world turning a blind eye to those who don't fit into the stereotype of a straight, male gamer — that anything not targeting that demographic is a secondary, unimportant goal. Others are using the hashtag simply to advocate for more male bisexual representation in general.
Mic has reached out to BioWare for comment and will update with any response.
Update: Mass Effect: Andromeda creative director responds to #MakeJaalBi
Thursday evening, Walters responded to a fan's tweet that used the #MakeJaalBi tag.
"We hear you," Walters' tweet says. "100%. Bare with us while we continue to look for ways to improve everyone's experience in [Andromeda.]"
From the sound of it, players can probably expect some new romance options to be added to the game in the future, but the team at BioWare has a lot on their plate. Between issues with the game's facial animations, bugs and a lackluster character creator, new romance content is probably not a priority at the moment.
And for a community that already feels like they've been shafted because of the needs of the majority, this isn't likely to make them feel any better — not yet.
March 24, 2017, 8:36 a.m.: This story has been updated.
More Mass Effect: Andromeda news, updates, tips and tricks
For more on everyone's favorite space opera, check out the rest of what Mic has to offer. Here's an essay on the troubling history of colonialism in Mass Effect, a story about the horrifying harassment campaign carried out against a former BioWare employee, a guide to removing Ryder's helmet, a guide on romancing Keri, a guide to romancing Reyes and a quick explainer on the different types of health in Andromeda.