The same day they released the long awaited facial animations patch, Bioware also issued a statement dealing with the recent controversy over Mass Effect: Andromeda's trans character. The character in question is Hainly Abrams, a seemingly random NPC you can encounter while combing the Andromeda galaxy for viable planets for your fellow Milky Way travelers to live on. Abrams is a trans character, which should have been fine. Abrams is not the first trans character we've gotten from a Bioware franchise. Dragon Age has had a few notable trans characters, the most recent being Krem from Inquisition.
But Abrams is notable for a few reasons. The first being that Abrams tells Ryder her pre-transition name completely unprompted for the sole point of telling you her pre-transition name. As in, Ryder doesn't ask at all, Abrams just reveals that information. Many in the Trans community disliked this portrayal of a trans-woman, noting that Abrams seems uncomfortable giving out that information to Ryder and that giving out such information unprompted does not reflect the experiences of all trans people.
The second being that this utter mis-step is in the same game that gave us very unsatisfying gay romance options for Scott Ryder which felt like afterthoughts to the players who pursued those romances. Bioware, a company normally known as one of the most inclusive in the AAA games industry, managed to give us a game after seven years in development that takes several steps back.
Granted, their full apology on the matter is rather respectful, and we will likely get a fix for this, but the damage has already been done.
Bioware's full statement is below:
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-playable 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 broader 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 player chooses to support her.
As always, we appreciate the help, feedback, and support from the Mass Effect community.