In a turn of events that are less surprising than you’d think, it’s been discovered that Jack, the feisty, biotic squadmate you recruit in Mass Effect 2, is actually pansexual.
This news comes from Cian Maher’s interview with Brian Kindregan, Jack’s writer, as well as Samara, over at The Gamer. In the interview, Kindregan explains that while Jack was written as pansexual, it had to be changed as Mass Effect developed.
“I was trying to chart out the arc of [Jack’s] romance, which for much of the development – it was actually very late that it became a male/female-only romance,” Kindregan tells The Gamer. “She was essentially pansexual for most of the development of that romance.”
However, the pressure of making Jack an option for Male Shepard’s only – giving queer, Female Shepards a grand total of 0 meaningful same-sex romance options in the game – came from a source that might have you raising an eyebrow or two: Fox News.
That’s right. Fox News made BioWare cave to homophobic trolls because, at the time, people actively seemed to believe the BS that news network spouted out.
It’s clear that Kindregan regrets that the team ended up removing Jack’s pansexuality, despite it being obvious in her dialogue. According to Kindregan the team at the time were very open-minded and progressive, but the higher-up’s had pretty big concerns about how queer sexuality would look for their sci-fi RPG.
“If [the first] Mass Effect, which only had one gay relationship, Liara – which on paper was technically not a gay relationship because she was from a mono-gendered species – I think there was a concern that if that had drawn fire, that Mass Effect 2 had to be a little bit careful.” Kindregan states. And well, that explains the lack of same-sex romance and the picture it draws is not a flattering one.
Of course, as Kindregan clarifies, the decision to remove Jack’s original romance wasn’t due to some homophobic attack. “it wasn’t like some anti-gay person high up on the Mass Effect 2 team saying, ‘we’re not going to have that.'” Still, it’s disappointing that BioWare allowed Fox News – of all things – to force their decision making.
Despite the erasure of Jack’s pansexuality, her voice actress Courtney Taylor summed it up well in her interview with The Gamer.”My sense was always that she was [pansexual] and it just didn’t get followed through. Of course, the community modded it immediately, so you can have it your way.”
With the Mass Effect Legendary Edition coming sometime in March, will Jack’s romance for Female Shepard be placed back where it belongs? We highly doubt it.