Mass Effect’s Garrus Vakarian is one of the most beloved characters in video game history. After becoming your best bud in the first Mass Effect game, he becomes a romance option for FemShep in Mass Effect 2. By the end of Mass Effect 3, his romance arc culminates in what many people believe to be the single best love story ever told in a video game – which is funny, because it was never supposed to happen.
Mass Effect 2 and 3 development director Dorian Kieken agrees that Garrus’ love story is a truly special one. “[Garrus is] not only the best romance in the series,” Kieken tells me. “[He’s] one of, if not the best romance [options] in the history of games.”
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, that BioWare devs who worked on Mass Effect could see the massive emotional potential imbued in one of the series’ most revered characters. What’s somewhat more surprising, though, is that BioWare didn’t quite anticipate the degree of turian thirst that would emerge in the wake of the first game, to the extent that, actually, Garrus was supposed to be a non-romanceable character. Honestly, I don’t think I can imagine Mass Effect Twitter without everybody’s favourite visor bird-boy.
“During [the first] Mass Effect, we didn’t intend to have Garrus romanceable,” Kieken says. “It’s because of fan feedback that we decided to do make him romanceable in Mass Effect 2.”
So, if not for the fact that so many people took to online forums to express their disappointment at not being able to romance Garrus in the first Mass Effect game, he probably would have ended up being more similar to Wrex – a close pal throughout the series with whom your relationship is strictly platonic. Speaking of Wrex, here’s why krogan have four balls. Sorry.
After talking to Kieken about Garrus’ romance arc, I remembered that Mass Effect 2’s Jack was originally supposed to be pansexual, but had her romance conditions changed to suit a heterosexual relationship in the wake of controversy stirred up by Fox News.
“I don’t think [Garrus] was ever intended to be a romance for male Shep,” Kieken explains. Jacob Taylor, on the other hand, was originally supposed to be a romance option for both male Shepard and FemShep, and reportedly had a “Brokeback Mountain” cutscene that was removed from the final game.
So, Garrus Vakarian was never supposed to be romanceable, but was made into a romance option for FemShep in Mass Effect 2 purely based on fans’ responses to the first game. It’s funny when you consider that Garrus’ romance has become so popular and iconic now, given that there’s a pretty solid chance it could have never materialized in the first place.
After all, it probably takes an awful lot to pry him away from those calibrations.
Next: A Typo Made Humanity’s Chances Of Survival Much Better In Mass Effect 3
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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