Turns out Jack’s pansexuality wasn’t the only instance of BioWare scrubbing same-sex romance from Mass Effect 2 before it shipped. Jonathan Cooper, a former BioWare cinematic animator, revealed on Twitter this morning that his team also worked on a similar scene involving party member Jacob Taylor.
“We prevized Jacob as the male/male [relationship], matching shot-for-shot from Brokeback Mountain,” Cooper wrote. “Was told at the time, ‘America isn’t ready for it.’ Perhaps it still isn’t.”
Cooper’s website, Game Anim, explains previz as the “initial planning stage” in animation that provides “rough keyframe animation to test layout of the scene, loose camerawork, and editing” as reference for motion capture. He also provides a compilation of Mass Effect 2 scenes that feature his work, which we’ve included below.
Cooper described being impressed by the scene, which was the work of another animator, due to the way the characters passionately tore at each other’s clothes despite Mass Effect 2 not having the tech to actually remove clothing from character models in cinematics.
“We matched Brokeback so it wouldn’t be unacceptable, but different rules for film and games, I guess,” Cooper added later. “Personally, I still believe it was the wrong call to cut, as we protested at the time. People with a problem with [this] can go fuck themselves, they don’t deserve to play our games.”
As with Jack’s pansexuality, removing the male Commander Shepard’s ability to romance Jacob likely had to do with Fox News’ infamous (and ignorant) panning of the first Mass Effect’s sex scenes, which talking heads described as “Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas.” The franchise wouldn’t include a same-sex relationship between men until 2012’s Mass Effect 3.