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Ho Yay / BioWare

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The romances in the game are not for "the straight male gamer". They're for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention....
David Gaider, BioWare staff writer

BioWare has acquired a certain degree of fame (or infamy) in the video game industry for their LGBT Fanbase, Gay Option romance sidequests, and bi party members / NPCs/ PlayerCharacters, as well as their spirited defense of all of the above. So if you see Ho Yay in a BioWare game, chances are it wasn't accidental.


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    Dragon Age 
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Alistair is pretty good for this if you're playing a male character. Taking a certain aggressive dialogue option results in him saying (due to a bug) that you're cute when you're angry. He doesn't say this if you're a female PC. If you romance Morrigan, whom Alistair hates, they get into an argument where Morrigan teases him about being jealous, referring to you as Alistair's "favorite Grey Warden" and adding "Perhaps he'll [the Warden] pay more attention to you if you ask nicely." The best part? When she says this, he blushes! He also has a dialogue with Wynne where he insists that Morrigan's bad for the Warden, getting annoyed when Wynne is more open-minded because he's "trying to rant".
    • Oghren will drunkenly hit on the Warden sometimes, even if they're male. He also has some banter with Zevran and Nathaniel where he's Mistaken for Gay by them.
    • Sten isn't a romance option, but he will call the Warden "Kadan" after his personal quest is completed, regardless of their gender. Said word is also used by Iron Bull if romanced in Inquisiton.
    • Leliana and Morrigan have a banter where Leliana (who is canonically bisexual) compliments Morrigan's looks and offers to find her a dress that emphasizes her bust and neck.
      Leliana: Maybe we could get you in a nice dress one day. Silk. No, maybe velvet. Velvet is heavier, better to guard against the cold in Ferelden. Dark red velvet, yes. With gold embroidery. It should be cut low in the front of course, we don't want to hide your features.
      Morrigan: Stop looking at my breasts like that. 'Tis most disturbing!
      Leliana: You don't think so? And if it's cut low in the front we must put your hair up to show off that lovely neck.
    • Herren and Wade, who behave Like an Old Married Couple, though it's not explicitly stated in the game if they are one. After much speculation, this was also confirmed by Word of Gay.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • All love interests (except Sebastian) are bi, but it doesn't necessarily stop with them. Aveline, post Matchmaker Quest, can ask Hawke if there might have been something between them regardless of gender. If you've been particularly flirty, she will give Hawke a spontaneous kiss on the mouth as thanks.
    • Varric has a few flirty moments with female Hawke, but there are a few moments with male Hawke as well. He can accuse Varric of being jealous when he shows concern about Hawke's relationship. There is also the occational banter with other party members:
      Varric: If you have something to say, just spit it out.
      Anders: Are you sure you want to encourage me? I might be about to confess my undying love.
      Varric: [unfazed] I get that a lot. So what's on your mind?
    • Not to mention how awfully fond Isabela seems to be of Merrill, calling her "Kitten" and threatening to hurt Hawke (if s/he happens to be in a romance with Merrill) if they hurt Merrill's feelings. Male Hawke, particularly:
      Isabela: Look out for her, will you? Make sure she doesn't hurt herself. Oh, and if you do anything nasty to her, I'll cut off your balls.
    • Isabela gets some of this with Bethany too:
      Bethany: So you've... been with women. In bed?
      Isabela: I know. Shocking, isn't it? You see, sweetness, men are only good for one thing. Women are good for six.
      Bethany: Six? Which six?
      Hawke: Isabela!
      Isabela: [laughs]
    • While it wasn't until Mass Effect 3 that the first careful steps were made to have a gay man appearing and actually spelling it out, the side quest with the Viscount's son in Dragon Age 2 seems to be set up in a way that you can see a very strong gay subtext if you want to, but it could also be completely nonexistent if that's your interpretation. However, the son repeatedly runs away with his muscular and exotic friend, and the two of them hide out in the wilderness alone rather than staying with the other Qunari in the region. This casts, at least, some doubt on his claim that he wants to learn about Qunari culture and that his father's people should try to find ways to peacefully coexist with them. He also takes it as a personal loss when the Qunari is killed and not as a setback to his diplomatic efforts. If it had been the Viscount's daughter, there wouldn't have been any doubt what's really going on. This was eventually confirmed by Word of Gay.
  • Dorian and Cullen a couple times in of Dragon Age: Inquisition and the dialogue from Dorian has inspired many headcanons and even more fanfictions. Canonically, Dorian is attracted to Cullen.

    Knights of the Old Republic 
  • There's a hidden scene where (if your main character is light-sided and female) the formerly evil Jedi Juhani professes that she has feelings for you. Stanley Woo (Juhani's writer) explicitly stated that he intended Juhani to be not only gay, but the Gay Option. Lucasarts was not happy, leading to him dialing it down, but sneaking it in, anyway.
  • Let's not forget about perpetually grumpy Jedi Belaya, who can be seen power walking around the main plaza inside the Jedi enclave. She seems to have more than a friendly relationship with Juhani, and if you kill off Juhani in the grove, she goes Psycho Lesbian on you, says some very texty things, and the next time you see her, she's joined the Sith Academy on Korriban and is out for your blood. But surely that can be attributed to wanting revenge for a platonic friend, right?
  • Play female and talk to Juhani about Quatra in the grove. She will remark, "In my own way, I truly loved her." It could be "merely" read as the whole Master/Padawan dynamic (the only love a Jedi is really allowed to have), but Courtnay Taylor was apparently handed the memo about Juhani being gay. Knowing that this line is skipped over if the protagonist isn't female makes it read as a Trial Balloon Statement.
  • Canderous declaring, "I'm your man until the end" if you play a male Revan. This really isn't helped when Kreia in the sequel starts delivering a Breaking Speech to him with lines like "Do you wonder where he wanders now, Mandalore? Why he gave you your orders, then abandoned you at the edge of the galaxy?" Furthermore, Expanded Universe material says that not only do the Mandos not particularly care about sexual orientation, but that (spoiler for Revan) Canderous shot his own wife to prevent her from killing Revan.

    Mass Effect 
  • Mass Effect:
    • Sure, there's the canonical stuff (if you wish to pursue it) between female Shepard and Liara, but subtext-wise there's male Shepard/Kaidan. There are some lines to support it as well ("When it's just you and me, Alenko, consider it off the record..."), especially if you choose to save Kaidan over Ashley.
    • Liara T'Soni quickly develops a crush on Shepard regardless of gender, and her pairing with a female Shepard is one of the more popular pairings of the fandom. Their respective voice actresses, Ali Hillis and Jennifer Hale, took it one step further by having massive Les Yay during interviews.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • There are massive amounts of Les Yay between female Shepard and Tali after earning Tali's loyalty - Tali confesses that the most intimate thing a quarian can do is link their environments, their most important gesture of trust and acceptance. She hasn't trusted anyone enough for that, though, except... well, no quarians. Shepard can either teasingly ask if she's blushing and get first a flustered reaction, then an exaggeratedly petulant response, or Shepard can say she feels the same way but Tali doesn't have to prove anything. In that case, Tali says, "Nevertheless, I'd be honored to link suits with you, Shepard. You know, if you were a quarian and we weren't already on a suicide mission." Either way, she ends the conversation with a flustered excuse. It's clearer once you've played through as a male and gotten to that point, and she tells male Shepard that the tradition also signifies a willingness for... intimacy, then says it's not always like that. Further evidence is found in The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC: after getting access to Shadow Broker's secret files, Tali's folder will reveal that she's been repeatedly activating and turning off her suit's "neural stimulators", and gathering information about human mating practices, after you complete her loyalty mission - completely regardless of Shepard's gender!
    • Discussed when you speak with Mordin Solus constantly in Mass Effect 2 and if you're not romancing anyone. While a largely asexual individual, Mordin remarks that if he ever wanted to try a human, he would try Shepard. And yes, he says this to Shepard no matter the gender.
    • Another male salarian sends you an email about Thane which is a Shout-Out to a particular fan on the old BioWare official forums, who was well-known there for her love for Thane before the game was even out (and the e-mail is in reference to her particular style of posting).
      Seeing him changed my life, woke up something in me I don't fully understand yet. I don't know what I'm going to do, but salarian lives are too short to waste as custodians, especially when there's so much else out there. I'm going to find something that lets me capture what I saw in him, that beauty, that aesthetic perfection.
      I'm also going to buy some nice clothes.
      So if you could tell him that... or just whatever parts of that you think appropriate... I'd appreciate it.
    • Upon re-meeting Garrus, his dialogue sounds weirdly intense, and he all but admits to being utterly lost without you. If you choose to wander about in between enemy waves, he'll say, "I need you, Shepard" every ten seconds.
    • Kaidan has only two scenes with Shepard in 2, yet he somehow manages to pack even more subtext than they did in the first game. In the intro, if Ashley was sacrificed on Virmire and Liara was not romanced, Kaidan is placed in the love interest role even if Shepard is male. He is desperate to not leave Shepard behind, and only does so after Shepard pulls rank despite making it very clear that doing so tore him apart inside. Later on Horizon, Kaidan makes it clear that Shepard's death was deeply traumatic, and when it appeared that Shepard had faked his death so he could join Cerberus, Kaidan took it as a very personal betrayal. The moment he said that losing Shepard was like losing a limb was the moment when fans started to seriously wonder if it could actually happen in the next game.
    • Even if FemShep didn't romance Liara in the first game, some dialogue options in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC wouldn't feel out of place if they did, especially if you choose the paragon options.note  For a few examples, there's a few hugs, Shepard covering Liara with their body, a few "I'll miss you's" and Shephard can ask Liara to come with her several times. When Liara actually agrees to visit the Normandy, she meets Shep in her quarters, they chat a little and after she leaves, Shephard is sitting on her bed clearly saddened by her absence.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • Kaidan becomes an official romance for male Shepards. The fans saw so much Ho Yay between them that they campaigned in the Bioware forums to make it happen, and Bioware went Ascended Fanon and created the option. This does not apply to female Shepards and Ashley, since there wasn't such a demand for them.
    • Lieutenant Steven Cortez, the Kodiak pilot and the other Gay Option, seems to have a bit of a flirtatious relationship with the new recruit James Vega, who is stationed on the floor as him. When you talk to either one of them, often times they will call out to the other during dialogue, often teasing each other somewhat flirtatiously. Since James knows that Steve is gay, it seems like he deliberately does his workouts in the shuttle bay just to give Steve something nice to look at.
      Shepard: Do you maintain this armory?
      Cortez: I share that duty with our illustrious Mr. Vega. [yelling to him across the room] Though I believe the only weapon he cares to maintain is himself!
      Vega: [doing pull-ups] You know you like the show, Esteban!
    • In the last mission, if Cortez dies because you didn't complete the friendship/romance path, then James ends up completely flipping out.
      James: You're gonna pay for that you fuckers! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Come on! COME ON!
    • The dialogues between Aria T'Loak and the turian biotic Nyreen in the Omega DLC suggest that their past relationship went past mere attraction and annoyance they claim it to have been. Later on, Nyreen turns her back to the enemies to protect Aria, while Aria flies into an outright Unstoppable Rage when Nyreen is killed. And if you go for the Renegade solution, Aria will kiss you; people have timed it, and female Shepard gets a significantly longer one. Also, Aria has a very satisfied look on her face after kissing a female Shepard, but looks somewhat annoyed after kissing a male Shepard.
    • During the party after the main events of the Citadel DLC, Miranda and Jack (who have been at each other's throats since Mass Effect 2) find themselves seated across each other at the bar, trading insults (and occasional grudging compliments). Assuming Shepard romanced neither of them, he/she can actually call them out on this Belligerent Sexual Tension and suggest they just make up and make out. Both of them seem confused by, though not immediately opposed, to the idea. Jack will, if you took the time to talk with her in Mass Effect 2, also mention that she'd been in relationships that included women before (though only when there was also a man as well).
    • Garrus/Male Shepard has some fairly strong hints as well. This gem during the Citadel hangout (where Garrus does proposes to a female Shepard) says it all:
      Garrus: You're not going to propose marriage now, are you?
    • In Citadel, Kasumi can be found at one point searching through Shepard's underwear drawer, which occurs with both genders.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda:
    • During one interaction between Liam and Jaal on the tempest, which is infamously known as the "shirtless diplomacy" scene, both of them are talking to each other about their armor. However the ho yay between them comes in with the manner in which they are "dressed" in this situation and by dressed that means Liam was not wearing a shirt and Jaal was completely naked. When asked about why they were in this kind of attire, Liam claims that he and Jaal are just "swapping armor" and then goes on to call Jaal a "weaseling adhi" in an way that is similar of how a wife would tease her husband. This is absolutely Hilarious in Hindsight now that Jaal is patched into a romance option for Male Ryder.
      • Banter between Liam and Peebee in the Nomad will have her suggest that Liam is watching Ryder's back for more reason than just guarding them, whether Ryder is male or female.
    • In one quest featuring Ryder making preparations for a movie night with the Nexus crew, the quest ends with a scene featuring Nakmor Drack sleeping on Ryder's shoulder while snoring very loudly. This moment happens if Ryder did not romance anyone prior to the quest and Drack does this for both the male and female versions of Ryder.
    • Avitus Rix is more focused on finding Macen Barro, the Turian pathfinder, than finding the Turian pathfinder. His attempts to find the Turian ark are clearly fueled by his wish to see Macen again, and Macen's final recording calls Avitus "Avi". The Codex entry for "The Andromeda Initiative - Pathfinders" actually states that their relationship might have been more than platonic.

    Star Wars: The Old Republic 
  • An optional romance sidequest can be accessed on Makeb with either Dr. Avesta (Republic) or a minor Sith Lord (Imperial). The dialogue and romance option for the former are fully playable, regardless of the player character's gender, while the latter is exclusive to male characters.
  • The Shadow of Revan expansion includes an SIS agent (Tharon Shan) and a Sith Lord (Lana Beniko) as romantic options available for anyone regardless of gender or faction. The romance arcs can continue into Knights of the Fallen Empire / Knights of the Eternal Throne
  • Two of the informants on the Bounty Broker quests are very open to flirting, gender optional.
  • Mako gets plenty of it with a female Bounty Hunter. A sign she will become a Gay Option in an update, post-release?
  • Watcher Two also gets some of this with the female Agent.
  • For male Agents, this is subverted with Hunter, who turns out to be a woman.
  • During the initial questline for Sith Inquistors, you are given tasks by one Overseer Harkun. He compares you, very unfavorably, to another acolyte named Ffon, a Sith Pureblood. While this could be an example of Fantastic Racism, the fact that he does it it nearly every cutscene makes a few players wonder...
  • Kaliyo and the female Agent. See, only the male specific content was cut from her dialogue—but Kaliyo is still pretty flirty outside it, and all but stated to be bisexual. note  With these in mind, some conversations are cast in a pretty suspicious light, such as the one where she suggests they run away and become pirates together.



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