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Image: BioWare

"Mass Effect: Legendary Edition" modders are creating queer romance options that wouldn't exist in-game otherwise

Why it matters: Relationships and romance are a huge draw in "Mass Effect," and players are creating a more inclusive experience. Although "Mass Effect" includes same-sex pairing for the female Shepard with Liara, and "Mass Effect 3" added several explicitly gay characters for players to romance, there's still a lack of options for players who want to have same-sex relationship in-game.

  • Although "Mass Effect" includes same-sex pairing for the female Shepard with Liara, and "Mass Effect 3" added several explicitly gay characters for players to romance, there's still a lack of options for players who want to have same-sex relationship in-game.
  • Mods allow players to change games in ways its creators didn't always intend.
  • "Mass Effect" was rumored to have had more gay romance options that were eventually cut; the developers decided not to expand on those options with the re-release of the trilogy.

Driving the news: Modder Biganimefan2, who created a queer relationship mod for "Legendary Edition," told Axios that they grew up playing Mass Effect, and later realized their desire to romance crewmate Kaidan as the male version of Shepard was part of their path to their own queer discovery.

  • "I've only ever really wanted to play Kaidan's romance and didn't want to have to wait for someone else to make it. Some gamers like to play every scenario and combination, but I'm the type that will play something 100 times the same way because that's what I enjoy.”
  • "I wish the original trilogy had gone the extra mile and made the content fully from the get go," Biganimefan2 told Axios. "A lot of what mods relied on was stuff that was cut from final game but have partial content still embedded in the code, never to be seen until moders found a way to utilize it."

Other modders are mining the game’s files to incorporate queer romances that appear to have existed, at least partially. TheGamer reports that one modder, Ryan "Audemus" Ainsworth, has found dialogue for several characters that can be used for relationships — though Ainsworth notes that "just because this audio is present doesn't necessarily mean the character was intended to have a same-sex romance."

Go deeper

A game review, with one less string attached

Screenshot: Marvelous/Grasshopper Manufacture

It’s unclear if the upcoming Nintendo Switch releaseNo More Heroes 3” is good or bad, but an outcry over its review embargo raised a red flag.

Driving the news: A restriction that would have blocked critics from reviewing the game until nine hours after it went on sale was altered last night in a reminder of how fraught the game-reviewing process tends to be.

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.

Amazon's small business shield

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.