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BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character

BioWare tweets an apology for the way the Hainly Abrams character is presented in Mass Effect: Andromeda, admitting they didn't take enough care in the crafting of the transgender crewmember. As PC Gamer notes, Hainly's backstory comes across as "ham-fisted," and the backlash has been vocal. BioWare offers this statement on plans to update the character:

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-player 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 broad 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 players chooses to support her.

As always, we appreciate the help, feedback, and support from the BioWare community.

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74 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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74. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 8, 2017, 10:02 Prez
 
JohnQP wrote on Apr 8, 2017, 08:28:
So you don't understand the difference between theory and reality?

I understand the difference between theory and reality, yes.

Do you understand the difference between earnestness and sarcasm? Reality and parody?

Yes. Maybe I'm being dense. Could you explain what your point is?
 
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73. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 8, 2017, 08:28 JohnQP
 
So you don't understand the difference between theory and reality?

I understand the difference between theory and reality, yes.

Do you understand the difference between earnestness and sarcasm? Reality and parody?
 
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72. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 19:34 Prez
 
Quinn wrote on Apr 7, 2017, 18:26:

You forget one important aspect: ME is far into the future, and it's quite safe to say that in that future the human race has achieved true equality.

That is a valid point, but this far-future game is still&#8203; being experienced in our current time, which makes it beholden to current societal norms in most peoples' eyes I think. I always use the example of All in the Family and M.A.S.H., both popular shows of the '70's. The former was laden with jokes about black people (Meathead's black friend and the Bunkers' black neighbors used as catalysts for the jokes), while the latter literally had an early character whose nickname was "Spearchucker" (who got named so because he was black). Shows like this really wouldn't fly in today's more sensitive climate (and I'm not being derogatory with the use of the word sensitive in this case.)

Also, the problem with bringing in a black person for a black person's insight can be tricky, because today we see many black people think things happen in their life because they are black... but there's absolutely zero evidence for their skincolor being the reason for it. Easy example: getting turned down for a job.

True enough. Which is why I always accentuate cultural differences. A perfect example is two white guys, one from rural Mississippi and one from Bronx New York. Skin color is the same, but still these two men could not be more different. I am a New Yorker who transplanted to the Midsouth, and it is often funny as can be not only to see how different these two classes of white Americans are from each other, but also how incorrectly they perceive one another. Basically, most northern city folk believe that Duck Dynasty is an accurate portrayal of all "Rednecks", while the southern people believe what they watched on "Jersey Shore" is how all "Yankees" act. It's fascinating really. You need to understand one's culture to portray them accurately in any media, be it TV, books, movies, or games.

This comment was edited on Apr 7, 2017, 22:10.
 
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71. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 18:26 Quinn
 
Prez wrote on Apr 7, 2017, 10:24:

If you don't intimately understand the lifestyle and perspective of a type of person, you'll probably do a bad job at it. By the same token, if you have an all white male team maybe it's best you didn't include a black female character just because you feel you have to in the name of "diversity". Unless you have access to an actual black female who can give you detailed insight into her specific cultural and gender interests and challenges your depiction of her will likely come across as ham-fisted and can insult the cross section of people you were trying to make feel included.

Yeah but aren't we all exactly the same, except for skin color/sexual orientation? And shouldn't writing characters with different skin color/sexual orientation therefore be no different, but for one or two insignificant exceptions?

In theory, I would agree with you. But the reality is quite different. Growing up in NYC in the '70s gave me a lot of insight to the magnitude that culture, perspective, and environmental conditioning can differ between different races, ethnicities, and lifestyles.

Look at it this way - someone who lacks the understanding of the intricacies of living a transgender existence is likely to portray a transgender character in exactly the awkward way that Bioware did in Andromeda. Compare that to the way a similar character is portrayed in Watch Dogs 2 - realistically and effectively - and the difference between doing it the right way and the wrong way should become clear.

You forget one important aspect: ME is far into the future, and it's quite safe to say that in that future the human race has achieved true equality.

Also, the problem with bringing in a black person for a black person's insight can be tricky, because today we see many black people think things happen in their life because they are black... but there's absolutely zero evidence for their skincolor being the reason for it. Easy example: getting turned down for a job.
 
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"F!#& YOU, MISSILE!"
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70. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 17:25 Prez
 
JohnQP wrote on Apr 7, 2017, 15:51:
In theory, I would agree with you.

*facepalm*

So you don't understand the difference between theory and reality?
 
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69. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 15:51 JohnQP
 
In theory, I would agree with you.

*facepalm*
 
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68. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 10:24 Prez
 

If you don't intimately understand the lifestyle and perspective of a type of person, you'll probably do a bad job at it. By the same token, if you have an all white male team maybe it's best you didn't include a black female character just because you feel you have to in the name of "diversity". Unless you have access to an actual black female who can give you detailed insight into her specific cultural and gender interests and challenges your depiction of her will likely come across as ham-fisted and can insult the cross section of people you were trying to make feel included.

Yeah but aren't we all exactly the same, except for skin color/sexual orientation? And shouldn't writing characters with different skin color/sexual orientation therefore be no different, but for one or two insignificant exceptions?

In theory, I would agree with you. But the reality is quite different. Growing up in NYC in the '70s gave me a lot of insight to the magnitude that culture, perspective, and environmental conditioning can differ between different races, ethnicities, and lifestyles.

Look at it this way - someone who lacks the understanding of the intricacies of living a transgender existence is likely to portray a transgender character in exactly the awkward way that Bioware did in Andromeda. Compare that to the way a similar character is portrayed in Watch Dogs 2 - realistically and effectively - and the difference between doing it the right way and the wrong way should become clear.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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67. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 01:17 JohnQP
 
Bioware should be apologizing for overrepresenting homosexual and bisexual heroes*, out of all proportion to their share of the population.

*Nobody cares about actual diversity. All of the villains and unsympathetic characters can be heterosexual white males, and nobody who matters will complain.

If you don't intimately understand the lifestyle and perspective of a type of person, you'll probably do a bad job at it. By the same token, if you have an all white male team maybe it's best you didn't include a black female character just because you feel you have to in the name of "diversity". Unless you have access to an actual black female who can give you detailed insight into her specific cultural and gender interests and challenges your depiction of her will likely come across as ham-fisted and can insult the cross section of people you were trying to make feel included.

Yeah but aren't we all exactly the same, except for skin color/sexual orientation? And shouldn't writing characters with different skin color/sexual orientation therefore be no different, but for one or two insignificant exceptions?

its just really transparent pandering

I doubt that. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of SJWs in Bioware ranks. (Pandering means saying it when you don't believe it, to appease your audience; see any Lincoln speech).

gaming journalists have reported on sources in and around bioware that admit the female Ryder in particular (and female models in general) were deliberately "toned down" in terms of attractiveness, to better appeal to females by portraying a more "normal" and "average" type of womanly image

Sailer's law of female journalism explains a lot of this (TL;DR version: "I am a woman with a lantern jaw, ergo I stand to benefit if lantern-jawed women are made to be seen as more attractive in future; I have a job in propaganda, so why not get to it?"

As plenty of people have pointed out, being transgender tends to be an extremely sensitive topic, so it's jarring to see a character just blurt it out in random conversation. Who knows, maybe things are different in the far future. Maybe transgender people are accepted to the point that they feel comfortable being out. But her casually volunteering her former name, a piece of information that is often jealously guarded by transgender people, is being called out as a major gaffe.

And since [the current year's] values are every era's values, it will obviously be an extremely sensitive topic in the year 9000, too. Fuck your story, we have a Narrative to push.

Characters should be well written, this one wasn't. That's the problem, not that they included a trans character.

Do they really seem especially poorly-written? I'm not reading anything good about ME:A's writing, period.

I don't want to argue for tokenism, but for realistic diversity.

Nah, only racists do that. Seriously, examine crime stats, get back to me. The only people who bitch about the demographics of crime in the Marvel Cinematic Universe looking more like Iowa suburbs than actual New York city criminals are racists.

Including those born with ovotesticular DSD, a condition that produces ambiguous genitalia and gonads with both ovarian and testicular tissue.

What's the prevalance? Any reason to make them more of a thing in games than they are in real life? Do they run around naked? Do they announce their DSD-ness to people they met in the last 24 hours?

Ovotesticular DSD is the rarest disorder of sex development in humans and has an approximate incidence of less than 1/20,000. At least 500 affected individuals have been reported.

K so they've been pretty well-represented in every game I ever played...

To paraphrase Hillary Clinton: "sure, we can work the animation until it's AAA quality, and finish polishing this game to a professional state, but will that make any more of the game's heroes transgender, or black?"

The only way to win the SJW game is to not play.

Historical note, intolerance worked for 10k years or so.


This isn't an issue with diversity or "SJWs" or "political correctness" or whatever. The only issue here is that Bioware writers are terrible. It wasn't this character that was "hamfisted". Bioware's writing in general is hamfisted.

Yeah, but some terrible writing is more equal than others.

This comment was edited on Apr 7, 2017, 16:01.
 
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66. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 7, 2017, 00:20 JohnQP
 
Haha, this reads in my browser as:

BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda
Character

It even reads that way at the top of every comment to the thread.
 
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65. Re: Op Ed Apr 7, 2017, 00:01 LibertyOrDeath
 
GASP.  
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64. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 22:22 Redmask
 
NKD wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 17:39:
As an aside, the patch this morning really fixed up a lot of the human lifeless stare problem. Check out this side by side comparison of the most egregious example. Patched on left, original on right.

If that's your definition of fixed then I think you have serious rose colored glasses for this game.
 
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63. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 19:20 Quboid
 
Kxmode wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 18:47:
Squirmer wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 18:40:
The only issue here is that Bioware writers are terrible. It wasn't this character that was "hamfisted". Bioware's writing in general is hamfisted.

That's the thing. I don't even like ham. So I surely don't like it being punched! I prefer turkey clubs with a side a french fries. I'm hungry. BRB! Drool

Um, fisted doesn't mean punched. Just sayin'.

 
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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
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62. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 18:49 CJ_Parker
 
Kxmode wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 18:45:
CJ_Parker wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 17:50:
Mwahaha Mwahaha Mwahaha Mwahaha

Is that in reference to the clone wars?

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

It was a reference to this scene, of course.

But the Noooooooooooooooooooooooo might have been a reference to retarded prequel garbage .
 
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61. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 18:47 Kxmode
 
Squirmer wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 18:40:
The only issue here is that Bioware writers are terrible. It wasn't this character that was "hamfisted". Bioware's writing in general is hamfisted.

That's the thing. I don't even like ham. So I surely don't like it being punched! I prefer turkey clubs with a side a french fries. I'm hungry. BRB! Drool
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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60. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 18:45 Kxmode
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 17:50:
Mwahaha Mwahaha Mwahaha Mwahaha

Is that in reference to the clone wars?
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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59. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 18:40 Squirmer
 
This isn't an issue with diversity or "SJWs" or "political correctness" or whatever. The only issue here is that Bioware writers are terrible. It wasn't this character that was "hamfisted". Bioware's writing in general is hamfisted.  
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58. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 18:25 NetHead
 
Prez wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 10:36:
This is why I've been saying that it's better not to include alternative lifestyle characters in games just for the sake of it. If you don't intimately understand the lifestyle and perspective of a type of person, you'll probably do a bad job at it. By the same token, if you have an all white male team maybe it's best you didn't include a black female character just because you feel you have to in the name of "diversity". Unless you have access to an actual black female who can give you detailed insight into her specific cultural and gender interests and challenges your depiction of her will likely come across as ham-fisted and can insult the cross section of people you were trying to make feel included.

Oh for heavens sake, sorry but that's as bad as Bioware.

So what if someone's a black female, who cares, why does any character have to be defined by their skin colour, by their gender, sexual orientation.

You don't need a X to write a X character, happily replace X with black, white, male, female, retarded mexican sasquatch...

When saying just as bad as Bioware I mean it. Not every black person acts like X, not ever female acts like X, not every mexican sasquatch acts like X.

For heavens sake get this political correctness shit out of games, out of stories and the hell away from character design.

Unless a character's skin colour is important to the story somehow, it doesn't matter, nor do their genitalia or sexual orientation. I don't give a shit if someone identifies as an attack helicopter, I don't want to know unless it becomes relevant and just mashing it in there doesn't make it relevant.

Write and create characters, not stereotypes nor anti-stereotypes. Characters.

Bioware needs to send its writers to school, or just stop hiring people based on their race/gender/sexual orientation. Hiring someone because they are X is just as bad as not hiring someone because they are not X.

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.

Talk about a bubble.

 
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57. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 18:03 NKD
 
Overon wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 17:45:
Okay eyes are better in a still screenshot. Are all the character's eyes fixed? How are they going to fix all those facial animations?

It was a global change to all the Human and Asari eyes. They have better shadowing and reflection. As far as animations go, I feel like the lip syncing is matching up a bit better now, but that might be placebo effect, as I haven't seen a direct comparison.

I still feel that the face animations, overall, are in kind of a pseudo uncanny valley. It usually matches up pretty nicely, but those situations where it doesn't stick out so much more because of it.

The main issue with the faces isn't the animation IMHO, it's the lack of variety in the head meshes, particularly for Asari. True, in the original Mass Effect trilogy the Asari all kind of had the same face with the exception of special characters, but it's easier to get away with a texture swap on a relatively low poly model. For these higher quality head meshes, you can see they are identical instantly no matter how drastically different the texture or color is.
 
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Doors and corners, kid. Doors and corners.
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56. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 17:50 CJ_Parker
 
Apology... accepted, Captain Walters.

/forcechoke

Mwahaha Mwahaha Mwahaha Mwahaha
 
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55. Re: BioWare Apologizes for Mass Effect: Andromeda Character Apr 6, 2017, 17:45 Overon
 
NKD wrote on Apr 6, 2017, 17:39:
People and companies being at the mercy of vocal idiots on Twitter is on of the worst things to come out of the Internet. It's too easy for shitty opinions, or valid opinions that are blown out of proportion, to get amplified and stir up an unwarranted shitstorm.

The "apology" letter probably has more words in it than the entire dialogue tree of the character in question. That's how blown up this shit is.

I try not to paint with too broad a brush on this though. Not every trans person is an over sensitive Twitter retard, and a lot of over sensitive Twitter retards aren't even trans and get offended on other peoples behalf.

The other problem with this amplification/signal boosting of pointless shit is that often times they begin innocently enough. Someone is like "Hey, this line of dialogue is very strange and may be offensive, thought you might want to know." And then 12 hours later there's a shitstorm because SJWs freak the fuck out and that in turn causes the people who spend all their time bitching about SJWs to ALSO freak out.

The first few people talking about these things never get it through their heads that despite their innocent and well-meaning intentions, it can only result in a shitstorm with dogpiling and harassment.

There's just really no way to constructively give feedback on sensitive topics, even to the smallest degree, without it getting blown the fuck up.

As an aside, the patch this morning really fixed up a lot of the human lifeless stare problem. Check out this side by side comparison of the most egregious example. Patched on left, original on right.
Okay eyes are better in a still screenshot. Are all the character's eyes fixed? How are they going to fix all those facial animations?
 
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