The lead writer for Mass Effect 2 has revealed that Jack was originally planned to be pansexual.
Since its launch in 2007, the Mass Effect series hasn’t been shy in its depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships.
However, a planned same-sex relationship for the second game, Mass Effect 2, ended up getting cut after a Fox News backlash to the sex scenes in the original game.
The game did have some same-sex options, but none of these would develop into full relationships.
In an interview with The Gamer, lead writer for the series, Brian Kindregan, confirmed that the character of Jack in the second game was supposed to be pansexual, and she even had dialogue confirming relationships with women.
“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,” he explained. “She was essentially pansexual for most of the development of that romance.”
Bringing up the criticism from Fox News, he said: “Mass Effect had been pretty heavily and really unfairly criticized in the US by Fox News, which at the time… maybe more people in the world thought that there was a connection between reality and what gets discussed on Fox News.
“The development team of Mass Effect 2 was a pretty progressive, open-minded team, but I think there was a concern at pretty high levels that 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.”
Brian was quick to emphasise that the decision wasn’t from an “anti-gay” higher-up, but more to avoid the sadly inevitable controversy, however he was aware of the questions that gamers had over the decision, given some of Jack’s dialogue.
“I’ve definitely heard a lot from people who were surprised that Jack turned out to not be open to that,” he explained. “I understand why. I would say that there were a lot of seeds planted in her conversations that certainly implied that she was pansexual – she once specifically references being part of a thrupple.
“She says there was a guy and a woman she was running with that invited her into their robberies and into their bed. She definitely references those things. That was explicitly to start sending the message that yes, this is a character who is pansexual.
“In the eleventh hour revision of cleaning that up, she’d already been partially recorded with voiceover. Not all of that could be changed.”
One of those questions even arose from Jack’s voice actress, Courtenay Taylor, who in a separate interview with The Gamer, said it was her “understanding” that the character would be pansexual.
Recently, developers of Mass Effect have begun listening to gamers rather than Fox News when it comes to same-sex relationships in the games, and after an initial backlash over the lack of same-sex relationships in Mass Effect: Andromeda, patch was released allowing for more same-sex relationships.