BioWare has released a new patch for Mass Effect: Andromeda adding a new romance option for its male protagonist Scott Ryder, improvements to the character creator, some bug fixes and more.
Ryder's Angaran squadmate Jaal, a native of the Andromeda galaxy, can now be pursued as a same-sex romance option for Scott.
The change comes after the developer faced criticism over the game's lack of same-sex romance options, in addition to various technical and graphics issues.
"Scott Ryder did not have a same-sex squadmate available as a romance option, nor could the achievement for completing three romances be achieved with only male same-sex partners," BioWare explained in a blog post.
"And as the angara have expressed their fluidity in how they perceive gender, it seemed only natural that Scott could have a relationship with Jaal. The relationships with your crew are some of the most loved and cherished parts of our games, so we wanted to make sure we got it right."
Many players complained at launch that the number of heterosexual romance options outnumbered those for same-sex relationships, particularly for Scott Ryder, who players play as if they choose to be male at the start of the game.
Another in-game LGBTQ character that also came under fire was Hainly Abrams, a transgender woman who casually divulges her masculine birth name, or "dead-name", to Ryder without any prompt — something that the trans community said was inaccurate and very unlikely to happen in real life.
BioWare said it consulted with members of the LGBTQ community both within and outside the studio to develop an authentic romantic option that "made sense for Jaal, Scott and the Angara".
"Our writing, editing, and animation teams worked together to ensure this change made sense for Jaal's character, and the result is a relationship we hope feels as fulfilling and memorable for Scott as it does for Sara," BioWare wrote.
Besides the new romance option for Scott Ryder, the patch also brings improvements to the character's creator to give players more control over Ryder's appearance including new male and female head models, another complexion option and a wider range of skin tones. It also added a new bald option and unlocked all hairstyles for both sexes.
Players will also be able to change their Ryder's appearance mid-game onboard the Tempest, Andromeda's replacement for the Mass Effect trilogy's Normandy ship.
The update also included multiple bug fixes for both single and multiplayer, including one issue in the latter mode that prevented melee attacks if the revive icon was near the centre of the screen.
Here are the patch notes for Mass Effect: Andromeda's Patch 1.08: