Several new characters join the Normandy crew in Mass Effect 3, and many of them, including Shepard’s shuttle pilot and mechanic Steve Cortez, are romance options. When Shepard first meets Steve in the Normandy Shuttle Bay, they will find him still mourning the loss of his husband, Robert. To romance Steve, Shepard will need to help him cope with the loss and move forward from it. As one of the possible LGBTQ+ romances in Mass Effect, Steve is only available as a romance option for a male Shepard. Shepard will follow the same steps used to keep Steve alive if he wants to romance him.
Steve’s romance will not trigger until after Shepard encourages him to take some Shore Leave and visits him at the Memorial Wall at the Holding Area on the Citadel. Once Shepard joins Steve at the nightclub on the Citadel, they have the opportunity to lock in the romance. They will not be able to romance anyone else after the romance has been locked in. Steve is also a prominent character in the Leviathan and Citadel DLCs, especially if he is in a relationship with Shepard. Here’s how to begin a romance with Steve in Mass Effect 3.
Before Shepard can begin a romance with Steve in Mass Effect 3, he will need to be sure to visit the shuttle pilot between missions. Shepard will find him in the Shuttle Bay, the lowest level of the Normandy, often bantering with squadmate James Vega or tinkering with the shuttle. Shepard should make a point to ask questions and get to know Steve. Eventually, he will open up about his partner, Robert, who was taken from a human colony by the Collectors a few years prior.
After a few conversations with Steve, Shepard will need to convince him to take some time off and visit the Citadel next time the Normandy docks there. Steve will eventually agree, admitting he finds it difficult to say no to Shepard. When the Normandy docks, Shepard should make a point to meet Steve there. He will be by the viewing deck across from the Normandy Docking Bay. The two can have a lengthy conversation. During this talk, Steve will confess he has thought about putting Robert’s picture on the Memorial Wall on the Citadel to help him move on.
The next time the Normandy docks at the Citadel, Shepard can find Steve at the Memorial Wall in the Docks Holding Area, hesitating to put up Robert’s picture. Shepard can comfort and encourage Steve as he honors his husband with a proper goodbye. These are the same steps Shepard must take if they want Steve to survive Priority: Earth.
Shepard should receive a message from Steve at their Private Terminal when they are back on the Normandy. He will ask Shepard to meet him at Purgatory, the nightclub on the Citadel, for a drink. Shepard should agree to this, as it counts as the lock-in point for Steve’s romance. After having a drink, Steve will comment on the energy and life of the place and talk about the “eye candy.” At this point, Shepard must take the Paragon dialogue options, I’m eye candy too, and I’m waiting on the right man, to express his interest. The other options, I’ll be watching the ladies, and I’m waiting on the right woman, ends the opportunity for romance. Steve will ask Shepard to dance, and he should agree. Finally, Shepard will need to select the dialogue option I want more than friendship. The two will kiss, and the romance will officially begin.
Steve will continue to converse with Shepard in the Shuttle Bay when he comes to visit. He is also prominently featured in the Leviathan DLC, particularly toward the end when he, Shepard, and their squad get stranded aboard the derelict ship on 2181 Despoina. Steve plays a larger role in the Citadel DLC missions as well, serving on Team Hammerhead during the archive infiltration. Steve will also take Shepard on a drive in the Shuttle, visit Shepard at his apartment to watch a biotiball game, and may be invited to Shepard’s party. At each point, the two may cuddle, hold hands, and even be intimate the night of the party.
Ahead of the assault on Cerberus Headquarters, Steve will visit Shepard in his cabin and can stay the night, if Shepard agrees. He will offer words of comfort and encouragement ahead of the final push against the Reapers. A romanced Steve will always survive the Shuttle crash at the start of Priority: Earth, as Shepard took all the necessary steps to save him when they helped him move on from Robert.
Shepard can call Steve later, just before the run up to the beam, to say goodbye. This will mark the end of the romance. If players choose the Mass Effect 3 Destroy ending, and Shepard has built up enough Galactic Readiness and Total Military Strength to keep Steve alive like the rest of the squad, he will be seen at the Memorial Wall aboard the Normandy putting up or refusing to put up Shepard’s name.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.