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Mass Effect 3: Gay Shepard shows games are finally growing up

Gay male relationships in Mass Effect 3 may incense some, but they show games are maturing

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SHEPARD'S FALTERING FUMBLES

Many of those who commented on the YouTube video claimed that they objected to it on the grounds of aesthetics, and it's true that it doesn't represent the finest moment in Mass Effect 3 - the conversation in a bar which leads to the seduction is saddled with rather awkward and clunky dialogue, leaving you feeling that BioWare stepped way outside of its comfort zone when making it. Which is borne out by the fact that the ability to play a gay male Shepard didn't arrive until the third part of the Mass effect trilogy. BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk told Kotaku that the move was in response to requests from Mass Effect fans for even more choice in the game.

Gay characters in videogames are unrepresentatively few and far between, although they did exist prior to Mass Effect 3: you can have gay relationships in The Sims for example and the Dragon Age series, plus Peter Molyneux has long allowed them in his Fable games. But game worlds are an awful lot less gay than the real one.

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Andy Wasley, media manager at lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall, says: "We've certainly not had a Brokeback moment in games yet, if you like. In the big blockbusters like Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted and so on, there's clearly a lack of gay representation. It's a question for developers: do they think that normalising gay relationships in their games would add a degree of realism?"

Credit, then, is due to BioWare for - even in a slightly fumbling manner - introducing the possibility of gay relationships to the Mass Effect franchise - and in a way in which only a completely unreconstructed dolt could take offence, since it's entirely up to the player to select Shepard's sexuality. After 30 years, videogames are finally showing clear signs of dragging themselves out of their adolescent phase. And it's vitally important that gamers do likewise.

What do you think? Shouldn't we finally be grateful that Mass Effect 3 has brought a new sense of maturity to gaming? Let us know what you think in the comments field below

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