Bioware Issues Apology for Handling Transgender Character in Mass Effect Andromeda

Bioware has released the latest v1.05 update patch for Mass Effect Andromeda and among some of the cosmetic changes to the game, they are also introducing some character-specific dialog changes specifically related to the game’s transgender character Hainly Abrams. Many have criticized Bioware for seemingly shoe-horning Hainly rather than incorporating her into the game organically so the character’s entrance seems as if it was just made as an obligatory tick on a checklist. When Ryder asks Hainly why she joined the Andromeda Expedition, she responds with “Back home, I was filling test tubes in some dead-end lab. People knew me as Stephan. But that was never who I was. I knew what I could do and I knew who I wanted to do it as. ‘Hainly Abrams, Andromeda Explorer’. That’s me. Feels good. Feels right.” 

The dialog fix is meant to set Hainly’s personal revelation to the main character as a reward for gaining her trust and chooses to support her. It would not be triggered instantly otherwise.  In a black background, white text formal apology issued on Twitter as an image, Bioware explains that they have consulted with various communities in making the game in order to be representative of the broader world.

“In Mass Effect: Andromeda, one of our non-player characters, Hainly Abrams, was not included in a caring or thoughtful way. We apologise to anyone who interacted with or was hurt by this conversation. This was never our intent, and was an unfortunate byproduct of the iterative process of game design and a change in the structure of the character’s dialogue,” the apology continues on to say.

There have been more noted positive transgender character integration in Bioware games in the past such as Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Cremisius Aclassi, who was a handled with care during creation and execution. Which makes the Hainly Abrams misstep seem like a symptom of a greater carelessness in how the entire Mass Effect Andromeda game was put together.

Ron Perillo

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