Leading up to the March 21st release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, there appears to be a lot of pings coming across this site and in search engines about one very important, unavoidable topic that seems to be nestled deep into the cortex of the average gamer’s thought process: why are the characters in Mass Effect: Andromeda so ugly?
The topic actually spawned an opinion article from TheGG writer Robin Ek, who literally asked that question. His answer? Well, he sums it up to SJW identity politics, and further writes…
“I just don´t get why Bioware has to make their female MEA characters so darn ugly. I mean, it´s almost like they are trying to make their female characters as unattractive as possible…(I wonder if Bioware realizes that the world consists of more than just straight male gamers? Bi and lesbian women LOVE sexy females too!). “
It’s true that the female characters in Mass Effect: Andromeda have been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism from the general gaming community. A lot of people were wondering why BioWare made the male Ryder protagonist look like his real life model, but they made the female look fugly.
An analytical report from Cyber Psychology on identity politics centered in BioWare’s titles featured a section where they talked to some members of the progressive community. Some of the people they interviewed explained that games are generally too “heteronormative” and are aimed at “straight male” audiences, with the article stating…
“For [our interviewee] Eva, games are mainly a man’s world. [She says] “They are quite sexist […]. All the women are hot, big boobs and butts […], they’re all slim and flexible. This is totally a hetero guy’s stereotypical ideal of a fantasy lesbian.”
The article explains that BioWare has attempted to take a different approach to this, to normalize opposing depictions of character sexuality and visual appeal. The idea is to target the fringe minority.
No More Lost quoted BioWare’s David Gaider during a forum exchange, where he essentially chastised a gamer who was disappointed with Dragon Age 2. Gaider explained that the “majority” doesn’t have a right to more options over anyone else, writing…
“We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention.”
[…] And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority.”
Essentially, this is why the male Ryder looks like his real life counterpart but female Ryder was made to look far less attractive, to suit the needs of the minorities who dislike straight male sexuality. This was made even more evident in a comparison between Yennefer from The Witcher 3 and Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition.
As you can see, the elf has many of the same hard facial features as Sarah Ryder, giving her a somewhat disjointed, uncanny valley look.
This issue has been spread all over the internet, from discussions about how “ugly” the female characters look from the HardOCP forums, to GameFaqs, to Reddit, and even on the BioWare Social Network, where there are pages full of complaints about how ugly the female characters are. It even managed to get BioWare’s attention where they mentioned they would fix up some of the animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda before release, as reported by PC Gamer.
Some sites like The Zero Review have attempted to argue away the issue, saying that the “ugly” characters are a non-issue due to the fact that BioWare is going for more “realistic” looking characters. They then proceed to explain that real life intergalactic space soldiers wouldn’t look like super models… because, obviously they’ve been to the future.
Frag Hero, however, wasn’t convinced that this was about making the characters look more “realistic” or “normalized”, but rather it was BioWare’s attempt to placate a certain vocal minority. They write…
“Steven Brewis’s character looks a lot like him, even down to the stubble. Then, you look at Sara Ryder- and nothing makes any sense. Bioware’s representation of Jayde Rossi looks absolutely nothing like her. It’s not even remotely close.
“Personally, I think this entire thing is a little ridiculous. Female character models in games like Fallout 4 and the Witcher 3 have nothing wrong with them, and they (for the most part) aren’t overly sexualized. Their female characters are accurate representations of the models they are based off of- as are the males. It’s a shame Bioware thinks that they need to do this to keep feminists happy.”
We’ll see how well this little tactic works out when Mass Effect: Andromeda launches at the end of March. On the upside it’s great that you can at least cutostomize your Ryder character, as reported by WCCF Tech. But even still, it’s quite telling when the most searched for item in relation to the game across this site is how people think the characters are ugly.
This only makes matters worse when you consider that a lot of people have already decided not to buy the game after one of the lead designers made it known that he is racist against a certain group of Mass Effect’s demographic.
Ads (learn more about our advertising policies here)