March 7th, 2012


The Mass Effect Cock Block, Part Two

At this point I pretty much wrote off the possibility of there being any same-sex content in Mass Effect and went on about my business. It didn't make me love the series any less, and outside of a brief moment of irritation I had no negative feelings about the series in regard to its romance content. When Mass Effect 2 was announced, you'd better believe I pre-ordered the collector's edition in a heartbeat. On the whole I considered Mass Effect to be a universe in which gays simply didn't exist, which I was fine with. It's how most video game universes are, after all.

But then something happened to change that perception.

As an eager fan, I pretty much devoured the Mass Effect novels as soon as they were released, anxious for more Mass Effect content to consume. In the novel Mass Effect: Ascension we're introduced to a character named Hendel Mitra, a former Alliance Marine and current security chief of the Grissom Academy. Hendel is also the first homosexual male character in the Mass Effect series.

That surprised me, to say the least. Here was an actual gay character in Mass Effect. On top of that, Bioware released Dragon Age: Origins, a fantasy role-playing game, which features a homosexual male romance option in the form of Zevran, an elf rogue. A part of me began to hope that things would be different in Mass Effect 2. Bioware were clearly open to the idea of same-sex romances, as proved by the previous two examples. Maybe, just maybe, I'd be pleasantly surprised this time.

There is no gay male option in Mass Effect 2, though a female Shepard can have a kinda-sorta fling with the human female yeoman. I had been cock blocked a second time.

At this point it felt as if Bioware were just plain messing with me. I shrugged it off and went on to consider Hendel an anomaly, something that will only appear in the books. I had a blast playing Mass Effect 2, and completed it multiple times. When Mass Effect 3 was announced, I once again pre-ordered the collector's edition at the first opportunity. I am a huge Mass Effect fan, and whether or not it includes GLBT content is completely irrelevant to my enjoyment of the games. It would be nice if it were included, but I never considered it to be the end of the world if it wasn't.

But then the announcement came: Mass Effect 3 would FINALLY feature a gay romance option that isn't ambiguously lesbian. I suppose I should have seen this coming after the everyone-is-bi-and-wants-to-fuck-you cast of Dragon Age 2, but the news took me by surprise.

I was still a little cautious, though, determined not to get my hopes up. My Shepard had already had his heart broken by Kaiden, so who could Bioware possibly include in Mass Effect 3 that could replace him?

Oh ... oh my!

I'll be in my bunk.
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The Mass Effect Cock Block, Part Three.

The fetching slab of man-meat shown at the end of my last post is James Vega, a new party member introduced in Mass Effect 3. I had intentionally avoided Mass Effect 3 news for fear of spoilers, so I wasn't aware of him until I sat down and played the Mass Effect 3 demo. When I first saw this guy I imagined the Brokeback Mountain theme playing in the background. It looks like I wasn't the only one.

The thought that ran through my head when I first saw this guy was "OMG, if this is who we get, then all is forgiven, Bioware! He's SO worth waiting 3 games for!" I was so curious as to whether or not he was the new gay love interest that I ignored my spoiler blockade to learn more about him. Unfortunately Bioware has been extremely tight-lipped about who is or is not a romance option, so it wasn't until the game was released that I was able to get confirmation from the Bioware message board members who are playing the game.

The answer was: no Vega for you!

It wouldn't be a Mass Effect game without a cock block.

So who DO we get? Investigating further, it turns out that male Shepards get a new character named Steve Cortez, a shuttle pilot. I haven't played the game yet, so I know nothing about this guy, and I'm not curious enough to risk spoilers again to learn more about him. Maybe he's interesting, or maybe not. I'll just have to see.

So it's been 3 games and all we get is some new guy who isn't even a party member? I know I should be grateful that we got anything at all, but I'm beginning to feel a little shortchanged here. But, oh, was I in for a surprise.

Rumors had circulated that Kaiden Alenko, a returning party member from Mass Effect 1, would also be a male love interest. It sort of made sense since, as I pointed out back in part one, Kaiden was originally supposed to be a male romance option to begin with. The question of "is he or isn't he?" lit up the Mass Effect forum and sparked quite a few arguments. Rumors led to "leaked" information, some of which was publicly disavowed by a Bioware staff member as misinformation. Kaiden's romance status remained a mystery up until the game's release, when video evidence was finally made available.

Kaiden Alenko is available to male player-characters.

At first I was ecstatic. I'd wanted him since the very first game, after all. Then, shock and horror, I remembered that Kaiden no longer exists in my game! I let him die in the first game. I had a female Shepard romance him, so it seemed logical that my Male Shepard rescue Ashley instead of Kaiden so each of my characters have one of them.

Mass Effect has managed to make me unwittingly cock block myself!

You know what? No! I'm not accepting that. So you know what I did? I started over. I went back to Mass Effect 1, replayed the section where I choose to save either Ashley or Kaiden, and saved Kaiden. Thank goodness I happened to have a save file right at that point, and I only had to play about 2 hours to finish the game and make the change permanent.

I imported that save game into Mass Effect 2 and I'm playing it from start to finish, for the umpteenth time, so I can have Kaiden available to me in Mass Effect 3. I waited almost 5 years for this, and I'll be damned if I'm going to get screwed out of getting what I've wanted since the first fucking game!

I just spent the past 12 hours playing Mass Effect 2 practically non-stop. I am going to finish this game, do every sidequest, complete every god damn DLC mission, and have a perfect save file with which to continue into the third game. I planned this shit out. I intend to do all this by Sunday.

My collector's edition of Mass Effect 3 sits on my shelf, unopened. I'm not even going to look at it until I get this done. Yes, I am that crazy. Yes, I am that obsessive. Yes, I have WAY too much time on my hands. I'm doing this mainly on principal. Bioware removed content from the first game, content that interested me, and now that they've made amends I am going to reap the benefits even if I have to go through the whole goddamn series to do it.

So my copy of Mass Effect 3 will sit, forgotten, on my shelf until Sunday. Monday or Tuesday at the very latest.
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