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  • Originally posted by semicasual View Post

    Am I the only one who plays these games for the setting and non-romantic aspects of the characters?

    Honestly, I just want to see cool places, meet interesting people, and blow **** up. The sex/romance aspect of the ME games always felt to me to be a little unnecessary and sometimes distracting. Especially in ME2, where you can't finish several characters' development unless you screw them.

    That goes double for the Dragon Age games (I'm looking at you, Morrigan!).
    Bioware can't make compelling gameplay to save their lives, and I say this as a fan of theirs. If you strip away the characters and romance from Mass Effect, all that remains is a mediocre cover shooter.


    Call me Regina or Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

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    • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
      Bioware can't make compelling gameplay to save their lives, and I say this as a fan of theirs. If you strip away the characters and romance from Mass Effect, all that remains is a mediocre cover shooter.
      "Mediocre?" I'd at least call it "adequate." What games are "good", cover shooters, do you reckon?

      Anyway, you kind of danced around the issue - you like the characters, but what about the non-romantic characters? I was a lot more interested in Wrex, Mordin, Legion, and Javik than I was in Ashley, Kaiden, Jacob, Garrus, or Miranda. I think that was mostly because I was interested in the societies the characters came from, maybe moreso than the characters themselves.


      On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

      Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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      • Originally posted by semicasual View Post

        Am I the only one who plays these games for the setting and non-romantic aspects of the characters?

        Honestly, I just want to see cool places, meet interesting people, and blow **** up. The sex/romance aspect of the ME games always felt to me to be a little unnecessary and sometimes distracting. Especially in ME2, where you can't finish several characters' development unless you screw them.

        That goes double for the Dragon Age games (I'm looking at you, Morrigan!).
        That was a joke. Come on, who wants to honestly romance a Krogan? Seriously, if anyone is interested in romancing a Krogan, raise your hand. (Okay everyone, put your hands back down, that was rhetorical).

        Anyway, I generally agree with you that the romance/sex aspects in most of the Black Isle/Bioware games haven't been all that good to begin with, and are often extraneous and feel like they get in the way.

        One notable exception is Viconia's in Baldur's Gate 2, which was probably the best "party-romance" I've seen in a video game. You had to choose not to sleep with her in order for her to realize that you were interested in her and not just her body, and then when you did sleep with her later, it worked within the type of relationship you had with her, which was based on the two of you being misfits and outcasts.

        I would be tempted to also add Tali and Garrus from Mass Effect as two more. Their relationship with the main character really grew across the three games, such that when you did enter into a relationship with them, and eventually moved on to sleeping together, it felt fairly natural.

        And I admit, even though the romances weren't very well done, in Jade Empire I enjoyed getting into a relationship with both Dawn Star and Silk Fox. The polygamy option was, at least, quite unexpected.

        So I guess I can live with the romances, but they're far from a "make it or break it" for me on a video game. They're a nice option and if the romance is well written or has something surprising I'll get interested, but otherwise I probably won't even end up remembering them down the road.

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        • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
          "Mediocre?" I'd at least call it "adequate." What games are "good", cover shooters, do you reckon?

          Anyway, you kind of danced around the issue - you like the characters, but what about the non-romantic characters? I was a lot more interested in Wrex, Mordin, Legion, and Javik than I was in Ashley, Kaiden, Jacob, Garrus, or Miranda. I think that was mostly because I was interested in the societies the characters came from, maybe moreso than the characters themselves.
          It's worth noting that Garrus was my favorite character in the original series, and I was among the many, many folks clamoring for a romantic path with him. If Wrex, Samara, or Legion would've had one, I totally would've pursued those. And Thane was fantastic!

          Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

          That was a joke. Come on, who wants to honestly romance a Krogan? Seriously, if anyone is interested in romancing a Krogan, raise your hand. (Okay everyone, put your hands back down, that was rhetorical).
          [frantically waving hands around]


          Call me Regina or Lex.

          Female pronouns for me, please.

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          • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

            I remember Bioware got hit hard over Dragon Age 2 where they made pretty much every character bisexual because of so many previous complaints from fans that they liked X character, but their character couldn't romance them because of their choice of sex. But then gays and lesbians were (justifiably) outraged at the idea that sexual orientation was being treated as something that people can just pick up or take off at a drop of the hat and said that Bioware was wrong to simply make every character bisexual and then wash their hands like they did.

            Bioware definitely learned their lesson after that, and since then most of the characters have limitations on who can romance them, which of course, makes the original group of people unhappy.

            That said, I was disappointed enough with ME3 that I have no interest in Andromeda and haven't been following it, so I don't know what's going on with it.
            Dragon Age 2 had a lot of problems though, including limited options, that had a lot to do with being rushed. As a result, they basically turned off the gender check (Which had worked for the Sims) as one of their corner cuts.

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            • Originally posted by EvilTyger View Post
              Dragon Age 2 had a lot of problems though, including limited options, that had a lot to do with being rushed. As a result, they basically turned off the gender check (Which had worked for the Sims) as one of their corner cuts.
              Are you sure? All of those romance options were fully voiced and they included slightly different dialogue lines for males and females (I remember romancing Isabella as both a male and female and getting slightly different dialogue). It assumed it was intentional, unless Bioware accidentally paid the voice actors to do lines for both genders. :P

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              • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                Are you sure? All of those romance options were fully voiced and they included slightly different dialogue lines for males and females (I remember romancing Isabella as both a male and female and getting slightly different dialogue). It assumed it was intentional, unless Bioware accidentally paid the voice actors to do lines for both genders. :P
                Isabella has been Bi since DA:O, the other three it was easier to throw a few extra lines in than make more characters as part of the party, and ME3 was the first time they realized that not every romance had to be a party member.

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                • Originally posted by EvilTyger View Post

                  Isabella has been Bi since DA:O, the other three it was easier to throw a few extra lines in than make more characters as part of the party, and ME3 was the first time they realized that not every romance had to be a party member.
                  DA 1 only had 3 romance options. Jade Empire and Mass Effect also only had 3 romance options. In fact, DA 2 was unusual in that it had 5 (including Sebastian). It honestly felt like they went out of their way to make more romanceable characters than they normally did, and they chose to make them all bisexual while they were at it. While Bioware cut corners when making DA2, I never got the feeling that they cut any corners in the romanceable companion department, since they put so much more work into it than they had in any other RPG they had made until that point.

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                  • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                    It honestly felt like they went out of their way to make more romanceable characters than they normally did, and they chose to make them all bisexual while they were at it.
                    Question. I've not played the game but one of the complaints I've heard was that the characters were not bisexual, they were just whatever the protagonist required of them. Basically that their sexuality depended solely on the protagonist, and not reflected in their history or backstory. Is this accurate?

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                    • Originally posted by nofather View Post
                      Question. I've not played the game but one of the complaints I've heard was that the characters were not bisexual, they were just whatever the protagonist required of them. Basically that their sexuality depended solely on the protagonist, and not reflected in their history or backstory. Is this accurate?
                      It's been a few years since I last played it. There were 5 characters, and 4 of them were bisexual.

                      As mentioned earlier Isabella appeared in Dragon Age 1 and was presented as openly bisexual and even willingly got in a threesome with your character and one of the companion characters. So it would have been very strange if she hadn't been bisexual in the Dragon Age 2. Another character, Anders appeared in Dragon Age: Awakenings (the sequel/expansion to the first game). He came off as fairly flirty and I initially had him pegged as probably gay in that game, though the idea of him being bisexual when he reappeared in Dragon Age 2 wasn't overly shocking or surprising.

                      With the other two characters however...

                      From what I remember Fenrir was basically an escaped warrior-slave who had had very little positive interaction with other people. Meanwhile Merrill was presented as being hopeless naive and inexperienced to the world. So with their romances it felt like they happened more due to lack of real experience or knowledge than because of their personal sexual orientation, so I would agree with those two that their sexuality was dependent on the protagonist. In other words, if the protagonist didn't pursue them, they wouldn't have otherwise particularly been interested in a relationship, sexual or otherwise with anyone else.

                      So I would say for those two at least that argument is right in the sense that their sexuality was determined solely by the protagonist. Rather than being straight, gay, bisexual or otherwise, they were protagonist-sexual.

                      The last character was Sebstian, and he was straight and only romanceable by female characters, and even then he wouldn't have sex with you because he believed strongly in not having sex before marriage, and he was willing to marry you after your adventure was done.

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                      • The problem with a lot of recent Bioware characters is often framed as "pointlessly bisexual" which does the thing some injustice. I feel it also misconstructs the whole issue. Instead, I prefer to see the argument constructed as something like "Bioware companions slowly stopped being their own things and started existing mostly to progress the goal of player feeling awesome and great, which is achieved by making companions exist solely to be awed by the protagonist, unfallingly want to screw the protagonist, and have all their problems solved by protagonist, and barely if at all having anything other than that to their character". Basically, they are fanservice devices used to fellate the player in a way that proved to be very very popular. Which isn't wrong in itself, mind you, it's a valid choice that pleases tons of people. And if they have fun, then well. You could say that this shift in goals VISIBLY happened in Dragon Age 2; before, characters tended to be interesting game pieces used to give some cool lore and maybe a quest or two. Dragon Age 2 tried to be more personal and involved and character driven, but it was also very rushed, so character arcs seemed incomplete and overfocused on "you are doing all the companion quests? Be prepared to end up with everyone trying to have a swing with you".
                        I guess a lot of my problems with the Bioware games [other than their gameplay which I find extremely lacking...THOUGH I LIKED GAMEPLAY OF DRAGON AGE 2 AND PLAYED THE HELL OUT OF IT] lately stems from exactly that notion of trying to please me to the point where I feel forced to be pleased. Interestingly, I kinda liked Garrus and Tali in first Mass Effect, but super bounced away from them in ME2 and 3.
                        Last edited by WHW; 03-16-2017, 03:03 PM.

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                        • Relatively minor spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda ahead:

                          All of the promotional material has focused on a helmeted female human figure introducing us to the in-game colonization effort, an entrepreneur named Jien Garson who's seemed like a super interesting character. She's voiced by Jamie Clayton, who is trans, and I was incredibly excited to see a character with trans woman talent behind her - or possibly even be trans herself!

                          Nope. An hour into the game, an NPC casually mentions that she died months ago in a mutiny and nothing more is said.

                          Adding onto this that the exclusively homosexual love interests in the game are all relatively minor bridge crew (all of the party members are straight or bi) and Bioware's (IMHO) checkered history with queer and racial representation and I'm starting to wonder why the hell we consider them a progressive company.

                          Eugh. Just let me be space lesbians in peace.


                          Call me Regina or Lex.

                          Female pronouns for me, please.

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                          • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                            Adding onto this that the exclusively homosexual love interests in the game are all relatively minor bridge crew (all of the party members are straight or bi) and Bioware's (IMHO) checkered history with queer and racial representation and I'm starting to wonder why the hell we consider them a progressive company.
                            The sad fact is, Bioware is pretty progressive, at least in comparison to most other Triple-A game studios which typically don't bother making any nods to the LGBTQ community whatsoever.

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                            • atamajakki , have you looked at the Stories: The Path of Destinies? For whatever reason, I feel you might enjoy it.

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                              • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                                Adding onto this that the exclusively homosexual love interests in the game are all relatively minor bridge crew (all of the party members are straight or bi) and Bioware's (IMHO) checkered history with queer and racial representation and I'm starting to wonder why the hell we consider them a progressive company.
                                Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                                The sad fact is, Bioware is pretty progressive, at least in comparison to most other Triple-A game studios which typically don't bother making any nods to the LGBTQ community whatsoever.
                                Yes, this. Most of the other AAA studios keep pushing out straight cisgendered white male action heroes. On a good day, maybe there'll be a straight cisgendered character who is female, or nonwhite, but not both. Good luck getting representation in any game where you can't make your own character.

                                Ubisoft took a big step in 2015 by putting a male black dude as the lead of Watch_Dogs 2 and a female anglo-saxon as the co-star of Assassin's Creed: Unity. This from a studio that, you might remember, once refused to make female assassins because it would be unnecessarily difficult - after putting so much work into so many other superfluous parts of the Assassin's Creed series. Still no LGBTQ people of real importance. That is what Bioware is competing with.

                                The only other AAA company I can think of that even comes close is Bethesda. Fallout - New Vegas had multiple companions who were homosexual, but no romance options at all. And in Skyrim you could marry practically anyone you wanted, but most characters didn't really have much personality.
                                Last edited by semicasual; 03-17-2017, 09:23 AM.


                                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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