Fox ignites Mass Effect "SexBox" fiasco

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

There's a very interesting brouhaha developing around Edmonton-based BioWare's recently released Xbox 360 game, Mass Effect. Even before its launch, the sci-fi role-playing game created a minor stir when word leaked out that a sex scene between two characters was included in its storyline. What made it even more sensationalistic was that if the player chose to go through the game as a female character, the sex scene would end up involving two women. This was too much for the moralists at Fox News, who went to town on the game in a segment dubbed "SexBox" that aired on Monday. The best quote had to come from a guest panelist who referred to the game as "Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas."

Electronic Arts, which owns BioWare, fired back with a letter to Fox that corrected many of the factual errors made by the network in its segment, particularly by an "expert" on the subject, author Cooper Lawrence. Jeff Brown, the publisher’s vice president of communications, also issued the following statement yesterday:

"EA is under new management and our CEO John Riccitiello has made it clear that we’re going to stand up for our people, studios and products. We’re not looking for a fight but if someone is telling lies about our products and maligning our creative teams, we’re going to step up and correct the record.

"Cooper Lawrence is ignorant. She doesn’t know anything about Mass Effect but there are 100 people in Edmonton, Alberta who dedicated years to making that game. They’ve got names, faces and reputations – and they’ve been slandered."

Fans of the game have also shot back, adding hundreds of negative reviews to Cooper's book, The Cult of Perfection, on Amazon.com. Cooper, as well as the segment's host both admitted to never having played Mass Effect, but both damned the game harshly. The plot thickens...