BioWare has been incorporating LGBTQ characters in their games for quite some time now. Over the years, their efforts have been met with some pretty mixed results. In the case of Mass Effect: Andromeda, the developer introduced a rather inconsequential NPC which has elicited some rather consequential reactions from some fans.
The character in question is an NPC named Hainly Abrams. The character is involved in one or two side missions, but is otherwise unimportant to the game’s narrative. Shortly after meeting Abrams, players learn that she once went by another name back in the Milky Way.
It’s the expediency with which Abrams divulges her personal details to the player that has some upset over BioWare’s approach to the topic. In a list of future changes we reported on yesterday, the developer included mention of some upcoming modifications to Hainly Abrams’ dialogue.
Today, BioWare has addressed Abrams specifically, offering an apology for how the character was handled. The company has issued the following statement in which they detail their intent with the character going forward:
At BioWare, we strive to make games that are representative of our players and the broader world around us. We do this by actively consulting within our diverse workforce, as well as speaking with different communities.
In Mass Effect: Andromeda, one of our non-playable characters, Hainly Abrams, was not included in a caring or thoughtful way. We apologize 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.
We have had several discussions with members of the transgender community, both internally at BioWare and in the broader community, and we are working to remedy this issue. Once the changes are implemented, Hainly will only reveal certain information to Ryder after they have developed trust, and only if the player chooses to support her.
As always, we appreciate the help, feedback, and support from the Mass Effect community.
It appears as though BioWare’s intent was to convey a character that was confident in their decisions, and happy to be who they always felt they were. For some, it only deemphasizes the struggle that transgender people face in real life. Incidents such as these may well prevent BioWare from including such characters in their games in the future. Time will tell.