Mass Effect Video Game Offers First Relationships Exclusive to Same-Sex Couples

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com May 09 2012 2:00 PM ET

Mass Effect, the wildly popular series of sci-fi action role playing video games from BioWare, have had the option of having same-sex romances in the past, but according Bioware writer Patrick Weekes, Mass Effect 3 characters Samatha Traynor and Steve Cortez “represent the first time BioWare has written full romances that are exclusively for same-sex characters.”

Weekes and Dusty Everman, who wrote these relationships, talked about the experience on the BioWare blog

Among the highlights, Weekes, who had written previous romances that could be played out with players of either gender, he said, “Nevertheless, I’m a straight white male — pretty much the living embodiment of the patriarchy — and I really wanted to avoid writing something that people saw and went, 'That’s a straight guy writing lesbians for other straight guys to look at.'”

He says he wanted the romance with Traynor, the lesbian character, to be positive. "One of my gay friends has this kind of sad hobby in which she watches every lesbian movie she can find, trying to find ones that actually end up with the women not either dying or breaking up," Weekes says. "I think the most positive one she’s found is D.E.B.S. I wanted to avoid any kind of tragic heartbreak, to make this a fundamentally life-affirming relationship… at least, as much as possible within Mass Effect 3′s grim war story."

Everman, for his part, says that he too wanted writing that felt real. "I’ve never been romantic with another guy, so I couldn’t write from personal experience. Also, there seemed to be extra pitfalls associated with a male same-sex romance. Some players have concerns over being 'ninja romanced' — where a relationship shifts from friendly to romantic to the player’s surprise — and those concerns seem greater for same-sex romances." 

Read the full interview at BioWare.