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Mass Effect writer details how a last-minute fix resulted in one of the cringiest lines ever

(Image credit: EA/Bioware)

Bioware writer Patrick Weekes knows about the cringey Shepherd line from Mass Effect 2 and took to Twitter to explain the interesting dev circumstances that led to it while also giving it a retool. 

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The line in question isn't a spoken word of dialogue, but a paraphrasing of Shepherd's line that appears as an option on the dialogue wheel in a specific scene. The scene in question is a conversation between Fem Shep and Thane (sadly, there were only heterosexual relationship options in the first two Mass Effect games) where Thane tells the heartbreaking story of how his wife died. There are two dialogue options for players to choose from, and one of them is the catalyst for a Thane/Shepherd romance. 

According to Weekes, a bug came in close to the game's ship date saying that testers found a lack of clarity around the conversation and the options it poses. "You only get one chance to choose to romance him, and they're missing it, and therefore missing a bunch of content. And some folks are opting in by accident, too," Weekes writes. 

What follows is a fascinating and hilarious look at the minutiae that makeup some of our favorite games. As Mass Effect 2 was so close to its ship date, it was impossible to re-record lines from the voice actors and the writer of the Thane storyline had left the team. So what could Weekes do? Turns out, not much, save for changing the paraphrased line of dialogue on the wheel so that it was more clear you were choosing to romance Thane - and this was 2009, so the heart emoji wasn't an option. The result was like something out of a bad Tinder convo…

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"I want you, Thane." Eesh. It's bad, and Weekes is well aware of it - but it's also a fascinating look at how difficult game dev is, even down to the struggle to write a paraphrased line. "This is what last-minute fixes look like," Weeks admits.

Luckily he's had over a decade to think of a line edit, and I think what he's come up with is ideal: "You matter to me, Thane." *chef's kiss*

We all want another Mass Effect game, so it's promising to hear that Bioware is working on a new game from one of its most "prestigious franchises." (opens in new tab)

Alyssa Mercante
Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.