Mass Effect series



Image credit

Year: 2007 (started)

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios (2007) Electronic Arts (2008-present)

Developer: Bioware

Creator: Drew Karpyshyn

Country: Canada

Genre: Role-playing

Platform: Various

The Mass Effect sci-fi role-playing game series is set in the 22nd century of human history, when humanity has mastered space travel and met with other species that form the Council space. It is possible from the start to play either as a male or female character and choose an array of “classes” to assign certain powers and techniques to Commander Shepard. The first installment of the game became famous for depicting sex scenes, including a “same sex, lesbian relationship.”

Fox News aired a story about the supposed “immoral” sex scenes in a game that children could play. In the following installment, the sex scenes and partial “digital nudity” are not present. Romance is still possible though, and LGBTQ characters are present in the narrative. In the third game the sex scenes return, and it also includes a variety of gay and lesbian romances and major characters. No self-identified transgender characters appear on Mass Effect to date, yet the Asari species is considered “monogendered.” This depiction can be problematized both as part of the fictional universe and as seen from our “real world” gaze.

The series includes three main installments, with several DLC’s, and two mobile games.

2007: Mass Effect

2009: Mass Effect: Galaxy (iOS game)

2010: Mass Effect 2

2012: Mass Effect 3

2012: Mass Effect: Infiltrator (iOS game)

LGBTQ references in this game:

Romance Options in Mass Effect series

The Asari

Lieutenant-Commander Kaidan Alenko

Comm Specialist, Samantha Traynor

Alliance pilot Steve Cortez

Nyren Kandros, Mass Effect 3 – Omega DLC

Other NPCs with possible LGBTQ references

See also QRM’s entry for this game.


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  4. Mass Effect 2. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  5. Mass Effect 2 Launch Trailer. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  6. Mass Effect 2 Review. (January 26, 2010). Retrieved from
  7. Mass Effect 3. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  8. Mass Effect 3 – “Take Earth Back” Extended Cut Cinematic Trailer (2012). (n.d.). Retrieved from
  9. Mass Effect 3 Review. (March 6, 2012).
  10. Tsweeny79. (2008, January 21). Fox News Mass Effect Sex Debate. YouTube.