The Mass Effect games are notorious for their many romance options but one particular romance in 2010’s Mass Effect 2 may have been cut for reasons other than development constraints. Tattooed biotic prodigy Jack is available for a male Shepard to romance but not female Shepard. Speaking with TheGamer, Brian Kindregan, writer at BioWare for portions of Mass Effect 2 including Jack and Samara, says that Jack wasn’t available for female Shepard to romance for fear of backlash like from Fox News.
“Mass Effect had been pretty heavily and really unfairly criticized in the US by Fox News, which at the time… maybe more people in the world thought that there was a connection between reality and what gets discussed on Fox News,” Kindregan said.
Fox News held an infamous “discussion” around the dangers of a game like Mass Effect portraying realistic sexual intimacy. As a result of this backlash, elements around the possible romance options were altered. Kindregan notes the team was trying to handle this with care, and that “it wasn’t like some anti-gay person high up on the Mass Effect 2 team saying, ‘we’re not going to have that’.”
Actress Courtenay Taylor who portrayed Jack said she was always of the belief that Jack was meant to be pansexual, saying “It’s funny to me because my understanding was always that she was pansexual. So I don’t know if that’s just something I inferred from the character or something that she said that maybe got cut. I was surprised there wasn’t a female romance possible because that was my understanding. I think it was the time, you know? That was, what – 2008/2009? The industry has changed exponentially since then, and BioWare was leading the charge on that.”
Mass Effect 2 is included in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition remastered collection, which is meant to release sometime in Spring 2021. Additionally, a new Mass Effect game is in development, with work being done by a “veteran team.” Platforms have not been announced but considering how far out that game is, we can safely expect it to be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PS5.