Monday Musing | The “Forgotten Four”…
It has been brought up numerous times in Mass Effect forums and fan threads, how little attention was paid to four of the six LI’s from Mass Effect 2, in the final game of the trilogy. Garrus and Tali are exempt for obvious reasons, since they can both be squadmates in ME3, and have a full conclusion to their romance arc. This isn’t to say that those who wish more time with their favorite turian or quarian are wrong to think so. On the contrary, fighting for more time with ALL the characters is important. Not to mention that there were many Tali fans who were very disappointed at her face reveal. This is also a valid complaint, if your reaction to the reveal was negative. But this moment of musing is directed towards those four romance options who were left with little satisfaction, and in some cases, removed as LI’s.
Miranda, Thane, Jack and Jacob. Newly introduced characters during the second installment of the Mass Effect Universe, and all given the chance to be romanced by players. For those who started their Shepards in the original Mass Effect, some may not have welcomed these newcomers as Love Interests. People can truly become attached to the characters their PCs interact with, and when they miss out on previous teammates, in exchange for new ones, it can be jarring. Regardless of individual reactions though, these new characters became our Shepards’ new squaddies, friends, and in some cases, LIs. Between those who learned to accept and grow fond of these new teammates, and those who started their ME experience in the second game, players were rewarded with some great options for romance.
The backgrounds we become privy to, when chatting up these characters, expands as the player decides to romance these squaddies. Learning about Thane’s desire to visit a desert, and revealing his new found fear in dying; losing the connections he has now gained and regained. Seeing a ”less than confident” side in Miranda, the harboring of some self doubt. Jack exposes a vulnerable side, confessing to a previous lost love, and her feelings of guilt for surviving. And depending on the path you take in Jacob’s romance, he is potentially one of the first LI’s to use the words, “I love you”. All these “jewels” of information, adding to the color of each of these characters, and making them irresistible to some who choose to romance them. This desire to flesh out the remaining romantic arc seems natural then. Yet in the third game, these characters are given much less consideration, both in quantity and quality of romantic content. In the case of Jacob Taylor and Thane Krios the ability to close this arc and experience this content is removed from the player’s control completely. No romantic arc is ever concluded, and their Paramour status is negated.
For myself, I connected quite a bit with some of the ME2 love interests; Thane and Jack, most notably. I loved my Ashley romance with my Remus Shepard, and as much as I enjoyed both Liara and Kaidan as characters, they didn’t inspire me romantically. And herein lies the issue, doesn’t it? We were given some amazing options from the first Mass Effect, into Mass Effect 2, and even in ME3. The selection of LIs covered an abundance of tastes and preferences. Many would claim that that is the crux to the problems of “equitable” content for all the LI’s. But it isn’t strictly about quantity. Quality content, and the ability to see the romance come to its conclusion - in a meaningful way - was more important than whether or not Jack and Thane got the same amount of screentime as Garrus and Liara. For many players, Mass Effect was a character-driven RPG, and how those characters were handled was as important as how good the combat was, or how we would ultimately defend the galaxy. I certainly fell into that category.
At this point, I usually pose a number of questions to the readers, regarding the content covered. Not a lot of questions to puzzle over this time, but instead, I would ask you to consider simply, how you felt about the treatment of the aforementioned LIs. Feel free to respond with your own .02 on your opinion regarding these characters and their romance arcs. With the Character & Romance Forum being closed at the BSN, here is an opportunity to voice your thoughts on some of the Mass Effect 2 LI’s.
As always, thank you for reading.