Another Mass Effect 2 gay romance was cut due to mainstream media backlash, according to a former BioWare employee.
Jonathan Cooper took to Twitter (opens in new tab) to share a Polygon story (opens in new tab) and point out that Jacob Taylor was initially meant to be a romance option for MaleShep. Jacob Taylor is a Black male character who joins Shepherd's crew and is a romance option for FemShep only - but that wasn't always the case.
Cooper's Tweet (opens in new tab) reads: "I animated both scenes for Male & Female. We prevized Jacob as the male/male, matching shot-for-shot from Brokeback Mountain. Was told at the time 'America isn't ready for it'. Perhaps it still isn't'." Cooper goes on to say that the BioWare team matched a scene from Brokeback Mountain so Mass Effect 2 "wouldn't be unacceptable - but different rules for film and games I guess. Personally I still believe it was the wrong call to cut, as we protested at the time. People with a problem can go fuck themselves - they don't deserve to play our games.
The news that Jacob Taylor was initially meant to be a love interest for MaleShep comes shortly after news that Jack's pansexuality was cut because of heavy criticism from Fox News. Jack has voice lines in Mass Effect 2 that make her pansexuality very clear, but her lead writer, Brian Kindregan, told TheGamer (opens in new tab) that Mass Effect 1 sex scene backlash from outlets like Fox News led to BioWare removing Jack as a queer romance option for FemShep.
It's a shame that one of the best RPGs of all time was initially way more inclusive, but felt the need to cut that inclusivity out for fear of media backlash. A pansexual woman and an openly pansexual Black man in Mass Effect 2 would have been an incredible step forward for the industry - here's hoping they re-add those options in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
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