BioWare Apologizes For Representation of Trans Character in Andromeda

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altnameJag:
So, just checking, but to be clear, the perpetually offended are being offended that Bioware apologized to a different set of perpetually offended?

I'm sorry.

OT; Given what we know about the outsourcig they did for this game, can it truly be said Bioware even made this?

I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'

Bioware just casually slides over transgender character's background, Ryder doesn't bat an eyelid at it, people complain that a big song and dance isn't made over it. Maybe a thousand years in the future when we encounter an Alien species that technically is both genders at the same time all the time (Asari) we can also not give a toss about raising a fuss over this.

Nile McMorrow:
Bioware just casually slides over transgender character's background, Ryder doesn't bat an eyelid at it, people complain that a big song and dance isn't made over it.

How do you figure that was the complaint with the characterization? If anything, Bioware's intended remedy is to make it more subtle.

Bedinsis:

Nile McMorrow:
Bioware just casually slides over transgender character's background, Ryder doesn't bat an eyelid at it, people complain that a big song and dance isn't made over it.

How do you figure that was the complaint with the characterization? If anything, Bioware's intended remedy is to make it more subtle.

Well watching the clip it was clear Ryder had no problem with Hainly and Hainly has no problem expressing that her past is she was once a man and stuck in a boring old lab where she was uncomfortable with both and felt better now as a woman and explorer, but people clearly had a problem with how causally Hainly talks about it (not like they're in a universe where blue aliens flip flop over all gender roles like they're nothing). Clearly they feel there's not enough drama over the topic and the fact she feels comfortable enough to share it with Ryder is wrong. Bioware are now making it so that Hainly doesn't trust Ryder at all from the start and has to "work" to earn the information that she was once a man and that's meant to be a reward? Seriously wtf is wrong with people if you can't play a game set in a fictional universe where a minor character is comfortable with their self and doesn't make a fuss about it?

That was the longest bit of dialogue I watched from this game, and as someone who just played through the original trilogy in the last month, the animation in Andromeda is just objectively worse. Forget the facial animations, even the way she stands looks wrong.

Anyway, I think there's nothing too wrong about it. It is just shitty writing. What I don't like is that they made it seem like Hainly went to Andromeda because of her being transgender, as if people wouldn't accept it back in the Milky Way. In a universe where people are completely comfortable fucking glowing octopi or lumbering bear things, that's just dumb.

This is why bio ware is constantly accused of being SJWs. They say nothing about mediocare game play, shitty story, shitty animations, terrible writing and game breaking bugs, yet they have to apologies for something that just doesn't matter. To people that don't care about the game. Just to get some politicaly correct points

BioWare Calls Attention To Representation of Trans Character in Andromeda

Fixed that for you.

Silentpony:
See Bioware should just apologize for Andromeda all together. And give refunds. And then apologize a second time. And never make a Mass Effect again.

So is that a genuine opinion, or is that based on shit you've seen other people say, so you're jumping on the bandwagon?

It's a genuine question. But I'm pretty sure I already know the answer.

LysanderNemoinis:

erttheking:

altnameJag:
So, just checking, but to be clear, the perpetually offended are being offended that Bioware apologized to a different set of perpetually offended?

With some tumblr bashing to spice things up. Some things never change.

It's not being offended, just stating the painfully obvious. Yet again. This stuff always happens and developers are always surprised when they trigger one group or another. I honestly find it funny when the other side eats their own, as it's a rare occurrence.

What's painfully obvious? That that was a horrifically written character? Because I don't recall events like this happening that often.

There you go, making this all about sides.

So basically, they are Apologizing to an SJW ham fisted in character and its portrayal?

Not the for the buggy and near unplayable pile of garbage that is the game?

good to know.

infohippie:

More like making the human squad mates boring as fuck for the fourth time in a row.

Hey, Jack and Zaeed were cool.

Elijin:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'

From what I've read, the issue is with the fact she mentions her old name right off the bat. Laura Dale wrote an article on the subject (because of course she did) basically explaining that for most trans people, the old name (or "dead name") can be very private, painful to recollect and just generally not the sort of thing you blab to a stranger on the first meeting. You could defend it by saying "oh, I guess she's more open about it than most", but the obvious response to that is "then why did she travel to another galaxy to get away from it?"

Yeah, it is an optional, easily missed line of dialogue. I didn't even know about it on my playthrough because by the time I found this NPC, I had stopped bothering with investigative dialogue for every random. But it stands as a rare example where the folks who bash Bioware for including "token" minority characters are actually on the ball, because the character was obviously so tertiary and poorly-researched they felt they could just sneak it in and call it their good deed for the day. Contrast with Krem in DA:I where Patrick Weekes actually put in the effort, consulted trans people and made a more three-dimensional character as a result.

People would even complain if it was simply no big topic in the fictional setting when the whole process was a matter of pushing a button and nobody in this fictional universe would have an issue. Because the struggle of today must be the struggle of the future. Because I live now. Because me. Me, me, me.

Naldan:
People would even complain if it was simply no big topic in the fictional setting when the whole process was a matter of pushing a button and nobody in this fictional universe would have an issue. Because the struggle of today must be the struggle of the future. Because I live now. Because me. Me, me, me.

More like it was an incredibly sloppily written character who just blurted out that she was transgender for no real reason, that's what the criticisms I've seen have said, but continue to carry on with that strawman argument of yours

SirSullymore:

infohippie:

More like making the human squad mates boring as fuck for the fourth time in a row.

Hey, Jack and Zaeed were cool.

Until you get to his loyalty mission and he kills/tries to kill a few hundred people for the sake of revenge, and if you keep him on the team Shepard basically just says "hey, stop that," and he says, "oh, ok."

My impression of the character was...soured after that.

erttheking:
Until you get to his loyalty mission and he kills/tries to kill a few hundred people for the sake of revenge, and if you keep him on the team Shepard basically just says "hey, stop that," and he says, "oh, ok."

Not sure if it happens every time, but my Shepard did punch him in the face to show him who's in charge. You see see the resentment in Zaeed's eyes, and I think it was a rough relationship - but I think Zaeed came to respect Shepard and everything Shepard had done. At the end of ME2, Zaeed was a loyal member of the team. I think there was a lot of character development in those games, some better written than others (Garrus) - Zaeed obviously falls a little flat as it was DLC for the sake of DLC IMO, but I still came to like the character.

The character was written in a very poor manner. Much like the rest of the game. There have been plenty of games (including previous Bioware games) that handled the LGBT community and the issues of bigotry better than Andromeda did. They're writing sloppily done cultural monoliths in place of actual characters that happen to be a part of a certain culture.

erttheking:

More like it was an incredibly sloppily written character who just blurted out that she was transgender for no real reason, that's what the criticisms I've seen have said, but continue to carry on with that strawman argument of yours

Who assesses the quality of the writing? You? When it becomes casual, why not talking about it when it has context, like why a name is different on a list of names? Or is it Bioware, which first writes, reviews, releases the written text and then only after complaints pulls back.

If it was for no real reason, I'd be on board. But you're simply wrong and nothing else in this case.

So you're making up strawmen and 'counter' them with strawmen. You do see that, do you not? And why do you allege people of doing something, being dismissive in tone without engaging in a conservation first? Is it really that satisfying? Or are you just in a heat, defending something from every and all you feel to be opposing your immediate opinion?

AzrealMaximillion:
The character was written in a very poor manner. Much like the rest of the game. There have been plenty of games (including previous Bioware games) that handled the LGBT community and the issues of bigotry better than Andromeda did. They're writing sloppily done cultural monoliths in place of actual characters that happen to be a part of a certain culture.

Maybe you can help me here. What if in the future, there is no opposition to LGBT and it becomes like tanning? What if it simply is no issue for anyone in the ME universe? And the context was given - the difference in name. And when the topic at hand is simply such a non-issue like being good at math in grade school or, I don't know, being of a religion in the past and now being an atheist for example. Why does it have to be something you have to trust someone in order to tell them?

Of course, if it is simply said just in order to say that - sure. But her name got changed and the list was false. She cleared that up. Am I missing something here?

And please don't be dismissive. Sorry for saying this preemptively, but... let's just say that it seems to be hard to come across as genuine enough over the internet when it comes to certain topics. I grew up and lived in a village with aroung 200 people. All straight afaik. Never met anyone close to LGBT until I was I think 24 and still not knowing many.

Naldan:

So you're making up strawmen and 'counter' them with strawmen. You do see that, do you not? And why do you allege people of doing something, being dismissive in tone without engaging in a conservation first? Is it really that satisfying? Or are you just in a heat, defending something from every and all you feel to be opposing your immediate opinion?

Considering the comment of yours Ert was responding to was a textbook example of a straw man argument, glass houses, dude.

Naldan:

erttheking:

More like it was an incredibly sloppily written character who just blurted out that she was transgender for no real reason, that's what the criticisms I've seen have said, but continue to carry on with that strawman argument of yours

Who assesses the quality of the writing? You? When it becomes casual, why not talking about it when it has context, like why a name is different on a list of names? Or is it Bioware, which first writes, reviews, releases the written text and then only after complaints pulls back.

If it was for no real reason, I'd be on board. But you're simply wrong and nothing else in this case.

So you're making up strawmen and 'counter' them with strawmen. You do see that, do you not? And why do you allege people of doing something, being dismissive in tone without engaging a conservation first? Is it really that satisfying?

...Is that supposed to be a serious question? Who assesses the quality of writing? Everyone. That's who. Everyone who voices their opinion on something is assessing the quality of writing. I don't see how Bioware is supposed to be "better" or whatever point you are trying to make (seriously, I have no idea where you're going with that) particularly when the general consensus seems to be that the writing is rather iffy this time around.

So, wait, I'm wrong because of your non-sequitur on who can demand the quality of writing? I don't follow.

Hello pot, my name is kettle. You're black. Because that's exactly what you were doing in your post that I replied to. So, to answer your question, because you (and in this case I mean personally you, not general you) reap what you sow. Except I really didn't make up strawman arguments.

altnameJag:

Souplex:
This seems a little backwards to me.
Sometimes trans people will be background characters, sometimes they'll be major characters.
Not everyone needs to be a major character.

Was there ever a trans major character? I'm blanking.

EDIT: well, I suppose there was that gal in Catherine.

There was also Krem in Inquisition. One step below a party member there.

erttheking:

...

Yes, I see it now. While watching the video, I got heavily distracted, twice, and understood that the player had the opportunity to get information from a list. A list of names. One of that names was Stephano. And so on.

Anyway, I rewatched that video now, again, and see what people really mean. I'm sorry for that.

Still, my question stands: When, in the future, it really is no issue at all being transgender, and then being asked as to why one gets on a trip to a new galaxy, pioneering essentially, starting a new life (that goes for the majority on the Andromeda, afaik) then why does it have to be such a big mistery? When there is no chance of receiving repercussions and it is like tanning for example, why does it have to be such a big deal?

My original point was and still is that people don't consider this, that it has to be a struggle, that transgender characters have to be something major.

For example: When I write Sci-Fi, I litteraly roll a dice to determine physical traits for minor characters that don't make a major impact on how the character behaves. Race, gender - in this fictional future, it doesn't matter almost at all. Why does it have to be a major trait?

If it is for identificational purpouses, then the problem isn't that this minor character is supposedly written sloppily. It is that no additional, important character share the traits LGBT characters can identify with, concentrating on such a non-issue instead.

And that is why I said "Me, me, me". Because in my opinion, that such traits don't matter at all for minor characters. Is this really a strawman?

Maybe I communicated that poorly. Then take this statement instead: Concentrate on real issues like underrepresentation in major plots. Otherwise, it comes across as egoistical hyper-sensitivity. Like in this case.

Like "Oh, your token character has no real reason to tell that she originally was male! Now, that offends me!" "Oh, we will totally fix our token character in order to have a proper token that works for 3 lines of dialogue and doesn't hurt anyone's feelings, satisfying everyone instead!" "Yeah, that is all we LGBT-people care about! But next time, make a better minor character!"

Naldan:
Snip

No one is arguing that it should be a struggle. The thing is, just having a character idly blurt out that they're transgender to someone they just met for the first time is taking a sledgehammer to the knee caps of immersion. The person doesn't feel real. It'd be like if you walked up to a character and they just blurted out how that they're homosexual, or mixed race, or an atheist. People don't freaking talk or act like that. I don't start conversations by informing people of my heterosexuality, my CIS-gendered-ness, political affiliations or status as an agnostic.

Stuff like that basically turns a character into a token. They're there because of diversity and that diversity is the only identity that they have. I see a lot of accusations of tokenism leveled at characters who break the mold in gaming, and this is one of the times where the label actually applies. Because, really, the only thing that matters about this character is "is transexual." That's the only identity she really has and it's depressingly on display.

Out of everything wrong with the game in its current state, THIS is what they choose to apologize for? Christ, come on...

Why must Bioware continue with this tradition of ham-fisted adding of checklist-characters. I'm fine with having diverse characters, but WRITE THEM PROPERLY for goodness sake. This is an insult to everyone regardless of identities.

erttheking:

Naldan:
Snip

No one is arguing that it should be a struggle. The thing is, just having a character idly blurt out that they're transgender to someone they just met for the first time is taking a sledgehammer to the knee caps of immersion. The person doesn't feel real. It'd be like if you walked up to a character and they just blurted out how that they're homosexual, or mixed race, or an atheist. People don't freaking talk or act like that. I don't start conversations by informing people of my heterosexuality, my CIS-gendered-ness, political affiliations or status as an agnostic.

Stuff like that basically turns a character into a token. They're there because of diversity and that diversity is the only identity that they have. I see a lot of accusations of tokenism leveled at characters who break the mold in gaming, and this is one of the times where the label actually applies. Because, really, the only thing that matters about this character is "is transexual." That's the only identity she really has and it's depressingly on display.

But she got asked by the player character as to why she starts a new life, light-years away from home. That isn't without any real reason.

By the way: Is she the only trans-character in the game?

And again: The main issue, as far as I can see, is that there is no major trans-character.

Of course: If there was a major trans-gendered character and all they did was talking about that and also doing this for no reason, then yes, it would also be the same. Reminds me of that fanfic Baldur's Gate addon people actually sold.

But that isn't the case here. "Why are you starting a new life?" "Because I want to start from the beginning, changing my sex triggered that." may also be "Why does your skin get darker every monday?" "Because I go to a tanning bed (solarium?) every monday."

Naldan:

erttheking:

Naldan:
Snip

No one is arguing that it should be a struggle. The thing is, just having a character idly blurt out that they're transgender to someone they just met for the first time is taking a sledgehammer to the knee caps of immersion. The person doesn't feel real. It'd be like if you walked up to a character and they just blurted out how that they're homosexual, or mixed race, or an atheist. People don't freaking talk or act like that. I don't start conversations by informing people of my heterosexuality, my CIS-gendered-ness, political affiliations or status as an agnostic.

Stuff like that basically turns a character into a token. They're there because of diversity and that diversity is the only identity that they have. I see a lot of accusations of tokenism leveled at characters who break the mold in gaming, and this is one of the times where the label actually applies. Because, really, the only thing that matters about this character is "is transexual." That's the only identity she really has and it's depressingly on display.

But she got asked by the player character as to why she starts a new life, light-years away from home. That isn't without any real reason.

Yes, but there's a lot of concepts in games where they clearly implemented the idea first and then worked backwards to come up with justifications for how that works. Quiet from MGSV comes to mind. Now sometimes this can work, I doubt anyone was complaining about the robot dinos being important in Horizon: Zero Dawn, but this? This is just sloppy, nothing on top of it. And even then, most people don't go idly telling their entire backstories with just a simple prompt. Even if they don't consider it a big deal, people just don't give their life stories to someone that they just met.

erttheking:
...

Alright, fair point. I still think that they could have solved that if they really had a trans-gender major character who would behave like a normal human being (in comparison to the average LGBT-NPC) with more subtlety and at the same time not making a big deal about it. Then this minor character actually would have come in handy, making it clear that switching sex simply isn't anything big for people other than the person going under that process.

Thank you for your time and the clarification. Sorry for coming across like an ass.

Karathos:
Out of everything wrong with the game in its current state, THIS is what they choose to apologize for? Christ, come on...

Why must Bioware continue with this tradition of ham-fisted adding of checklist-characters. I'm fine with having diverse characters, but WRITE THEM PROPERLY for goodness sake. This is an insult to everyone regardless of identities.

That would be what they're apologizing for, yes.

Ukomba:
How odd, the reaction of the perpetually offended at everything crowd to being pandered to was to be offended. Who could have possibly foreseen that?

100% spot on, I couldn't think of a better way to say it myself!

What brought you out here to Andromeda?

Back home, I was filling test tubes in some dead-end lab. People knew me as Stephan. But that was never who I was.
I knew what I could do. And I knew who I wanted to do it as.
"Hainly Abrams, Andromeda Explorer." That's me. Feels good. Feels right.

Going from this conversation, I find it a bit strange that people say that she blurted out that she is trans gender for "no reason", her reason for coming to Andromeda was to escape from her previous job and person, she was stuck in a job as a person that she didn't identify with, what's wrong with mentioning that?

Elijin:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'

Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.

As to OP: I always find it a bit galling when a person complains, a dev listens, and gamers get pissy about the person complaining and the dev listening. Ideally, a dev accepts criticism and is willing to admit their shortcomings, but in practise we get mad whenever they do. If someone else complains, its offended SJW whining, whereas our own complaints are obviously the only legitimate ones. If a dev resolves to fix their problems, they must have unfairly refused to solve ours! Sure, they may release patches and retrospective fixes for the game to address the things I complained about, but the very idea that they even gave someone other than me the time of day to solve their problem is too much.

maninahat:

Elijin:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'

Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.

I mean, 90% of the things the NPC's share with player characters if the PC asks fall under that purview. For some reason, we're treating this particular bit as special because.....drama? Politics? SJW?

The extent that side NPC's require you to earn their trust is to do something that benefits them. When you have the conversation with this NPC, you have established the first successful colony in the Andromeda galaxy and are the spearhead of the 'shit getting done and our lives not being ruined anymore' committee. Prior to your actions, this NPC was almost definitely a popsicle. They, just like everyone else in that same base, have no hesitation to share their deepest secrets if you press the dialogue button. We're just treating this particular one as special because they're trans.

My favorite thing about this is how everyone and their mom is now suddenly a trans expert with pin perfect insight into every trans persons head and can confidently speak for them like some sort of trans whisperer.

Like last week yall didn't know what trans was and didn't care.

Elijin:

maninahat:

Elijin:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'

Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.

I mean, 90% of the things the NPC's share with player characters if the PC asks fall under that purview. For some reason, we're treating this particular bit as special because.....drama? Politics? SJW?

The extent that side NPC's require you to earn their trust is to do something that benefits them. When you have the conversation with this NPC, you have established the first successful colony in the Andromeda galaxy and are the spearhead of the 'shit getting done and our lives not being ruined anymore' committee. Prior to your actions, this NPC was almost definitely a popsicle. They, just like everyone else in that same base, have no hesitation to share their deepest secrets if you press the dialogue button. We're just treating this particular one as special because they're trans.

So in defence of their crappily written trans dialogue, all their NPC dialogue is crap? It isn't a great defence.

I think there is a difference too. Outside of playing joke characters in comedy movies, trans people have been near non-existent in popular media and entertainment, until as recently as the last few years. So people do have a reason to pay attention when they finally start writing them into stories, because its a bit more significant when a trans character finally turns up, only to be badly written.

maninahat:

Elijin:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'

Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.

Isn't it also the issue of the character specifically saying that they came to Andromeda to escape that name? To basically leave it behind? So what do they do? They immediately tell you the name they didn't want to be associated with, and left a fucking galaxy to escape the name. That seems, a little stupid on the part of the character.

"Hey pal! Nice to meet you! I came here so that people would stop calling me what I used to identify as, I even hate the name so much I left the galaxy. By the way, that name I hate so much? That I never want to associate with? It's Stefan, just fyi."

Laura K. Buzz mentioned this on a previous Podquisition, and it sounded incredibly silly to hear. I'm assuming it's accurate, since I've not played the game, and have no intention of doing so.

And another thing, it's not like they don't have a history of trans representation in their games. That one character in Inquisition was openly trans, and I seem to recall the player base was reasonably positive about the way he was written? Is that correct? I don't really remember any uproar threads about him when that game came out. So you'd think, that they'd have better results, working off a previous character if nothing else. *shrugs*

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