As part of the announcement of the Mass Effect: Andromeda patch that's slated to drop tomorrow, BioWare said that future updates will make a number of "deeper" changes to game, among them an adjustment to conversations with Hainly Abrams. Now, the studio has taken things a step further by issuing a formal apology for the character.
The problem arises from the way Abrams, a trans character, is presented in the game. As Eurogamer explained last month, her response to a question about why she joined the Andromeda expedition is awkwardly confessional: "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."
It's a ham-fisted presentation at best that comes off more like an obligatory tick on a checklist than dialog from a properly developed character—especially when compared to Cremisius Aclassi of Dragon Age: Inquisition, whose identity exists much more naturally. And despite yesterday's promise of coming changes, the ongoing negative reaction to the dialog spurred BioWare to take to Twitter to address the matter above and beyond mere patch notes.
"In Mass Effect: Andromeda, one of our non-player 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," BioWare wrote.
"We have had several discussions with members of the transgender community, both internally at BioWare and in the broad 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 players chooses to support her."
BioWare gave no indication as to when the character will be updated, but under the circumstances I'd say it has to be pretty near the top of the priority list. I've reached out to ask about the timeline, and will update if I receive a reply.
Regarding Hainly Abrams: pic.twitter.com/nFpUKihqOjApril 5, 2017