Like previous Mass Effects, Mass Effect 3 permits same-sex romances. Unlike previous Mass Effects, Mass Effect 3 permits same-sex romances other than woman-on-woman. Yep, this is the first BioWare space game where Shepards of the gentlemen-inclined persuasion can express their primal urges in the form of a PG-13-rated cutscene.
Don't be fooled by our cynicism - this is genuinely a bold step, given the homophobia active in certain corners of the gaming community, and when we bumped into executive producer Casey Hudson at Microsoft's spring showcase last week, it was among the first topics we broached.
Hudson was cautious, however. "We wanted to take a step towards responding to some of the feedback we'd had, things people have asked for. We always do that. And to be more inclusive. So we do have same-sex relationships for male and female."
Disappointingly, he went onto discuss Mass Effect feedback in generalised terms. "When we design a game, that's one thing, but when millions of people play it, the feedback we get is invaluable. And it kind of reshapes our idea of what our games are and what they mean to our fans." How very not-in-particular of you, Casey.
"I think all of the changes we've made along the way, are part of - ever since Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 1 is what we thought the Mass Effect experience would be, we had a lot of improvements we wanted to make. But Mass Effect 2 and 3 are a combination of things we want to move towards and a lot of feedback that we've had."
Any BioWare Social members in the audience? What's your take on demand for/resistance to homosexual romance in Mass Effect? Our Mass Effect 3 review will be live tomorrow. Here's an interview with Casey which covers Mass Effect 4 and the next Xbox. Also, here's a video of some men having a nice friendly hugging competition.