fereldanwench: (Mood - All Out of Fucks)
[personal profile] fereldanwench
For those who've been keeping up with my tsunami of bitterness on Tumblr, this isn't news, but Friday's marketing shitshow sealed the deal: I'm absolutely not paying full price for Andromeda.

I really made it a point to not get involved with any Mass Effect shenanigans during this whole pre-release cycle with the exception of watching official trailers. I caught little glimpses of drama and discourse of varying relevance pop up on Tumblr, but I largely ignored the community, didn't get invested in any speculation, and really had very minimal and basic expectations for the game. Unlike with Dragon Age, in which fandom contributed greatly to my frustrations with Inquisition, fandom has had little to no influence in how I feel about MEA's upcoming release. My response is almost entirely a reaction to EA and/or BioWare's bullshit, exclusionary marketing after being all cute and playful with eager, enthusiastic LGBTQ and female fans on social media and even explicitly being aware of the importance of appealing to a diverse consumer base.

The news of one more "alternate" Sara trailer came one trailer and about 24 hours too late. God, they couldn't have even shown Scott with one of the gay romances for the second trailer? Even if that wouldn't appeal to me directly as someone who doesn't play male characters, I would still have a lot of respect for that decision. I would at least feel good about supporting a company that recognizes their LGBTQ fans on an official level.

And let's be real: I (can) fit into what has to be the easiest demographic to market to outside of the dude bros they've decided to continue their exclusive courtship with: I'm a white woman with disposable income who, although is bisexual and would prefer to see f/f relationships get the spotlight, would be personally content with a glimpse of a f/m relationship that puts f!Ryder front and center. I don't even have any ill will towards BioWare for their ending of ME3, as a lot of people do, nor do I bear them any mistrust over DA2, another common complaint. I love my Shepard, but I'm not so attached that I don't welcome the opportunity to create a new protagonist in that universe. I even paid full price and pre-ordered DAI and all its DLC.

In other words, I should have been a fucking shoe-in for them. And yet this publicity campaign from day one (when they released that ridiculous concept art that has f!Ryder contorting her hip so her ass is more pronounced) has left me feeling distinctly like, once again, this series is a power fantasy for straight, white men and anyone else is an afterthought.

How do you fuck that up so badly? I wanted to buy their game (and probably associated merch). I was close to giving them $70 for the digital deluxe version. I wanted to be excited. I was looking forward to making another OC and exploring new worlds and getting to know the new squad. But I'm not rewarding this shit anymore. I'm done just trusting BioWare to do the right thing if I'm not getting any evidence that they actually are.

One fandom opinion I am already tired of is "Well, we can't blame BioWare. Marketing is EA's fault!" Uhhh, maybe. Sorta. I don't have all the deets on who handles what directly; I would wager that advertising is more of EA's turf, but Flynn has had a big role in this, too, and he's BioWare. (Although credit where due: he has been very polite and receptive to criticism on Twitter.) I don't think it's all one or the other.

But whatever. Ultimately, aside from targeting criticisms and complaints to the most effective channel, I don't give a damn what company or team is responsible for what: the marketing team is still asking me to trust the developing team that this is a game I will enjoy while seeing very little advertising that appeals to me. And this team doesn't have the best track record of being socially conscientious when it comes to a lot of issues that are important to me in media.

I have no doubt that Andromeda will be a commercial success, quite possibly even another GOTY contender, so I'm sure there will be game+DLC bundles within the next year or so. It'll be hard to avoid spoilers, but I'll wait until then.

In the meantime, however, all the nervous energy did unexpectedly spur me on to return to ME3. I'm currently playing Aria's DLC in which Shepard helps her reclaim Omega from Cerberus--I really cannot express my love for Aria enough. Bona fide, unapologetic bad ass. I adore her and I am thoroughly enjoying kicking ass at her side.

This DLC also introduces Nyreen Kandros, who is the first female Turian to ever appear in a Mass Effect game after they resolved their "How do we woman a Turian? Make boobs? Give lipstick?" issues. She's voiced by Sumalee Montano (American Inquisitor VA) and I am absolutely delighted by her presence, too. Although I did notice that she is apparently wearing eyeliner.

I guess in lieu of tiddies, a nice cat-eye reassures the player that she's a lady. MUCH WOMANLY. SO FEMININITY.
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