Online role playing game Mass Effect 3 has come under attack after giving users to choose the sexuality of their virtual avatar.
Users can choose whether the main character Commander Shepard (who can be a man or woman) will interact romantically with members of the same or opposite sex.
Through a series of choose-your-own adventures, users essentially have the option of making their character gay or straight.
Choose gay? Male characters slowly lean in for a passionate kiss as the scene cuts to Shepard and fellow spare adventurer Cortez lying in their underwear on a bed together.
Shepard: “Stay here with me, ‘til the call comes?”
Cortez: “Of course, not one moment for granted.”
Check out the various gay and lesbian scenes below.
(Note: May contain spoilers if you haven’t played the game but are planning to)
“As a medium develops, you kind of uncover different perspectives that people have,” explains Mass Effect 3’s Executive Producer Casey Hudson. “Our goal is always to be inclusive, so that’s why we’ve made changes for Mass Effect 3.”
When the game was first released however, the backlash from fans was telling. Users largely gave the game a rating of 1 or 2 on reviewing site Metacritic.
Gamer ‘Bastal’ believes the game has neglected the “Straight Male Gamer” and writes “privilege always lies with the majority because if your goal is to make a game that will be liked by as many fans possible, then it makes sense to focus on that largest group.”
But supporters of this latest venture argue the game changes are all about increasing options and no one is forcing these characters to interact romantically.
“As we add things into the simulation, it starts to become a more and more complete simulation,” Hudson believes.
Erik Cain, the video game reviewer for Forbes.com, believes the reviews for the game shouldn’t be as bad as they are and largely attributes this to the gay sex scene.
“The response to the male Shephard scene on YouTube and elsewhere has been abysmal – the homophobia so transparent and vicious that it really does make one despair a little about the gaming community,” he writes.
“Maybe someday we’ll see users on Metacritic rate a game based on the quality of gameplay, graphics, and production rather than their feelings about sexual orientation. Or am I asking too much?”