There are few universal truths in this crazy mixed-up world, but none more important than this: hard-core gamers care about their hobby more than anyone has cared about anything ever. That’s just a fact. (Also, I’m now realizing I called gaming a “hobby” in the first sentence, when really it’s a “lifestyle.” I would like to apologize, with utmost sincerity, to the gamers.)
With Breath of the Wild, the new game in the storied Legend of Zelda franchise, firmly in the rearview mirror (smh if you didn’t beat the game by playing it nonstop for 48 hours), the year’s next hugely anticipated video-game release is Mass Effect: Andromeda, itself the latest entry in popular space-opera role-playing-game franchise.
The stakes could not be higher. Fans felt so strongly about the original Mass Effect trilogy — the story of which changes substantially based on the choices that the player makes — that when BioWare put out an insufficient conclusion to the series, the developer was forced to patch in a more comprehensive wrap-up later. In Mass Effect, player choice is paramount: what you look like, who you fight alongside, who you bone.
But as more footage of the game has come out, things have felt … off. Small yet noticeable parts of the Andromeda experience have dipped into the uncanny valley, with characters looking and moving in ways just off the mark of realistic.
Take, for instance, this early GIF of player-character Sara Ryder grabbing a gun. Look at how expressive her face is.
So, uh, evocative. There’s also this GIF floating around of a botched punch that still somehow manages to land.
As we’ve gotten closer to the launch, more footage of the game has hit the web, as streamers preview Andromeda’s first few hours. And boy is there a lot of clunky animation to make fun of.
How on earth did a major AAA release get this messed up? How, in a sprawling space epic — in whose narrative players can get lost for hundreds of hours — are there some less-than-convincing animations?
One theory might be that games operating at this scale usually have a few kinks to iron out at launch, and that games of this size and scope often have small animation problems that people like to pick on in good fun as they enjoy the game.
But another theory is circulating the gaming communities on the ‘net: BioWare is intentionally screwing up Mass Effect to piss off hard-core gamers, who are being punished for being white, straight, and male. P.c. culture has officially taken over — and I’m definitely being serious here, and not joking. Aside from these janky animations, the best evidence the true fans have is the fact that the female playable character, Sara Ryder, is less attractive than the male version, Scott.
That’s a hell of a smoking gun. Gamers worldwide agree.
From an op-ed on thegg.net, which alleges that BioWare was indoctrinated into the cult of feminism by Gamergate target Anita Sarkeesian:
I mean, have you seen what the MEA females look like? Sure, I can´t speak for everyone else now, but I find that most of the females to look either really ugly or masculine to the max (like in the picture above). So I take it that Bioware has gone full SJW mode with “Mass Effect: Andromeda”. Well, at least that’s the vibes that I’ve gotten from every single female character that I have seen from the game so far. However, it’s worth pointing out that the male MEA characters look perfectly fine.
For years, BioWare employees have faced criticism for having the temerity to acknowledge that straight, white men have an uncontested amount of privilege, and that there are genders and sexual orientations outside of the standard binaries, and then working those themes into their games.
Featuring women who don’t look like supermodels in their game is yet another way that the studio is directly and intentionally punishing Pure Gamers. There is only one way to look at this situation, and it is as punishment against hard-core gamers who have been with the franchise from day one. If gamers can’t imagine themselves boning down with fictional space-police officers made out of pixels, then what’s the point?