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BioWare is known for being more progressive than most with their games. When introducing Mass Effect: Andromeda's main character, for instance, they made a point of showcasing the female version first. But one attempt to be inclusive in Mass Effect Andromeda has sparked a bit of a backlash among the very community they're trying to promote.
When talking to NPCs in Andromeda, one of your choices is to ask them what prompted them to spend 600 years traveling to another galaxy. On Eos, a character named Hainly Abrams explains her motivations.
Yep. In her quest to start a new life, Hainly immediately outs herself, and uses her former name to boot. It didn't take long for the image to begin making the rounds in the transgender community.
This is literally the worst possible way you could write a trans character. NOBODY DEADNAMES THEMSELVES https://t.co/0QfW9TAoIe— ❄️ Athene ❄️ (@AtheneAllen) March 20, 2017
One thing: just about 0.000000000000001% of trans people will just tell you their deadname on first meeting, what the FUCK is this— Lone (@lonelytiefling) March 20, 2017
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.
From that, it seems that an attempt at a minor bit of inclusion has backfired owing to a lack of attention to detail. I reached out to BioWare to see if they have any comment, and I will update if they respond.
Sadly, I wasn't too keen on the rest of the game either, ultimately awarding a three out of five in my review. Mass Effect: Andromeda is available now.
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