Mass Effect 3: Writing same sex romance posed challenges to BioWare writing team
As exemplified in the recent breakthrough by sci-fi role playing adventure game Mass Effect 3 for tolerance in the traditionally straight male bastion of video games, making a bold move forward requires sensitivity and a lot of brainstorming. Same sex romance in video games was a big step forward and the two writers in charge of these story segments, Dusty Everman and Patrick Weekes, did not want to flub things up. The two realized early on that there would be a very focused lens on their work.
They had to walk a literary tight rope. Weekes’ first draft of Traynor’s story arc was so focused on overcoming the challenges of being a lesbian that the character was in danger of becoming something other than of a real person players can identify with. Weekes’ toned down her character a bit-her lesbian identity was present but it wasn’t made the central focus of her persona. Everman was tasked with writing about Cortez’ male-male relationship. He said he wanted to focus on creating a story arc that feels authentic but admitted that he could not write from experience because he has never been romantic with another man. Another issue involved players’ concerns about “ninja romance” where guys start out as friends and things suddenly take a romantic. Apparently, this concern seems amplified in same-sex romances. Everman and Weekes focused on writing the characters first as real human beings-characters people can relate to instead of political billboards that threaten to turn them into cartoon versions while preserving their identities.
This is a step forward because tolerance and equality of opportunity can only come from a necessary initial realization that we are all humans deserving of respect, despite our differences in gender, race, sexual orientation, country, religion, creed, color, class or ability.