Lady Shepard To Feature In ME3 Marketing

By Quintin Smith on June 17th, 2011 at 12:45 pm.

My femshep looked a bit more like the warden of a female prison, but you get the idea

Strong news! Hot on the heels of the announcement that Mass Effect 3 will boast the series’ first optional male-on-male “romance”, RPS reader Daniel Żak writes in to point us torwards some tweets from Bioware marketing director David Silverman in which he reveals that not only are Bioware working on a trailer showing female Shepard, but she’ll feature on the box of the Collector’s Edition, which will show male and female Shepards on either side.

It sounds like the buff, tough, buzzcut-sporting, all-that-is-man male Shepard as the series’ figurehead, but this is still a step away from a deeply male-centric way of selling games, so hooray for that. A fan-made video of lady shepard doing what she does best follows…

In my game of Mass Effect 2 I oscillated between Paragon and Renegade options depending on the situation, resulting in a Shepard who stayed icy professional most of the time and but occasionally lost her shit. I liked her a lot.

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131 Comments »

  1. skinlo says:

    Never found the idea of role playing a women particularly appealing, even if it is more attractive to look at in the game. Still, cool nonetheless.

    • simoroth says:

      I usually pick female characters in games because prefer the voice acting, gravel voiced space marines and Steve Blum get old for me very quickly.

    • Holybasil says:

      I pick women because I like women :P

    • MiniMatt says:

      There’s a whole curious debate to be had there, and has been several times before I’m sure. But out of curiosity what about those games where you have no choice, eg. Portal or Tomb Raider?

      Personally I tend to be a boy super hero first play through, then strap on lady pixels for the second. Although typically I’m also far too goody goody on first runs and so second run through also ends up with Evil Lady Pixels.

    • warp says:

      I usually choose to roleplay as a woman in these games because I already get to be a man in real life so it’s nice to be something else for a little while :)

    • Urael says:

      @SImoroth: HEY! You need to take back what you said about Steve Blum or you an me are going to have words…!

      *hyperventilates in a corner*

    • Kaira- says:

      I personally prefer, given the choice, roleplay male characters, since… well, I am a man. I find it hard to try to role-play the other sex.

    • step21 says:

      With regard to playing femal Shepard, I played male first at least 1-2 times. I liked playing female Shepard as well, but after reading the comments I think that maybe I don’t really identify as much with the character as other people, (same with Male Shepard) so then I don’t find it weird or anything. (I don’t see myself as ‘role-playing’ him/her, I see it more like a movie (where ofc nobody has a problem with male/female chars?) only one that doesn’t go on without my actions.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      You know, I kinda grew attached to my FemShep, and never saw her from a sexual angle…

      Also, I never feel like I’m role-playing someone if I’m playing from a third person view. More like influencing their decisions.

    • arawavy says:

      @Raiyan 1.0

      I’m the opposite. In 3rd person view I have a better idea of where my body parts are in space, and the sounds/animations sort’ve simulate weight (like the thumping of walking).

      In first person perspective I feel like I’m strapped into a mech battlesuit that I’m piloting through a camera in its chest.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Minimatt

      That’s a good question, although I think that most of those characters aren’t very ‘feminine’ -a vague description at best, I know – apart from their appearance, so they don’t really alienate any male gamers.

      Or, as in Portal 2, it doesn’t really matter. Since she can’t speak or interact other than through the player’s actions, Chell’s being female doesn’t seem relevant most of the time.

      Incidentally, I tend to play male characters when I have a choice. Maybe that’s also because I like to play fighter-tank ish characters, which may or may not fit with any potential sexist images in my subconscious. :-)

    • RP says:

      I pick women because I’m a chick and I find it much more immersive in RPGS. Love Jennifer Hale’s voice acting in everything she does, she embodies confident, competent ladyshep.

    • Wulf says:

      @simoroth

      Do not equate Steve Blum to just any old gravelly voiced space marine! Your ears and mind may not be well equipped to parse data of the sort you’re talking about here (which I think is the case) but mine are. Saying that Steve Blum is no different than a gravelly voiced space marine is like saying that Kate Mulgrew has about the same acting talent as one of the ladies voice-acting in Silent Hill.

      Talk about topics you’re familiar with and can actually judge!

      Steve Blum has one of the sexiest voices I’ve ever come across in regards to voice actors, and ‘gravelly’ is an understatement, as is comparing him to any old marine. For one: He can voice act, he’s got an admirable amount of talent. For two: His voice isn’t merely ‘gravelly,’ that’s like saying that the Universe is big. True to a degree, but a massive understatement. Blum’s voice could vibrate a cup across a table.

      There have been so many people who’ve thought that voice manipulation was used on Blum because of how incredible his voice is. But no, he’s really like that, and if I wasn’t scared of cancer then I’d be enquiring just how many cigars I have to smoke to have a voice like that.

      (And yes, I am implying that pretty much every ‘space marine’ I’ve ever heard has about as much acting talent as the crew that did Silent Hill. See: Marcus Fenix.)

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Have to concur that Blum was excellent in ME2 (err, and I suppose ME1) – his work in the Morden quest, in particular, was superb.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Wulf: your comment about the Gears voice acting’s a bit ambiguous, if you’re saying the actor has no talent you’re into a world of wrong – VO in Gears is uniformly superb (I can understand people knee-jerking and not getting the style of dialogue, but the acting is top-notch).

    • Shaz says:

      And I never found the idea of roleplaying a man particularly appealing, but for the majority of games I’m given no choice. Perhaps if I wasn’t forced to pixel cross-dress to play game after game, I’d feel the same way as you, but since I am, I jump at the chance to ACTUALLY PLAY A FEMALE whenever I’m given the option.
      And yes, it’s cool that they’re finally advertising her, even if only in some small way! :)

    • JackShandy says:

      No, funkybadger. There’s ten shitloads.

    • Sunjammer says:

      You like women!? MISOGYNIST!

    • MD says:

      I tend to play male characters as a default option, and females only if I specifically decide I want to, which is quite rare but not unheard of.

      My first assumption is that it’s just a case of ‘I am male, so that’s the obvious option when choosing an avatar to represent me’, but I’m willing to entertain the possiblity that it’s a bit of a cultural thing, in that I subconsciously see maleness as a sort of default not because that’s who I am, but because that’s the world I’ve absorbed. Quite possible, because I don’t really identify very strongly with my video game characters, and I don’t necessarily gravitate towards humanoid vs. alien races, or faces that look like my own, etc., when given those choices.

    • battles_atlas says:

      I was halfway through ME2 as female shepard before I realise the face I’d give her was the spitting image of the hot redhead from the last couple of series of 24. I liked her even more after that.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I started playing female characters when I was regularly playing Action Quake II, as most other players didn’t and so it was easier for me to sort out when I was being shot or whether I was hearing someone else, since the pain sounds were different for women. I found I liked the idea of being someone totally different in a game, and I always go for female characters whenever I can. The added incentive of looking at a female face/body/arse not a male one is also there, if not a major concern. If I can’t play a female, I try to recreate myself as much as possible, although I’ve actually managed to create a recogniseable likeness exactly once (in The Godfather, of all things…what a shame, etc).

  2. daphne says:

    Shepherd.

  3. Snesso says:

    I feel like playing ME2 again, this time as full renegade. Some fun stuff going on in the vid, lol

    • step21 says:

      Do it, it’s nice. But sometimes I really had to force myself to be bad.

    • McDan says:

      This makes me feel like I play the game too much, with both ME1 and 2 being completed 5 times at least: one male paragon, one female paragon, one male renegade, one female renegade and then one where I do what I want at the time, so a mix usually.

  4. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    I started off with the default male Shepard, but by Cthulhu was he ugly! Facial animation didn’t help either. So opted out for the FemShep just to make it more bearable, and Jennifer Hale’s better voice acting acted as a topping.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, I kind of get the feeling that they worked more on the female model than the male one. :P …I actually got that feeling with many of the characters in the game, mostly so that they could do Team Ninja-esque pervy bumshots, which was my LEAST favourite part of a pretty good game (ME2).

      Really, if anyone saw me watching that, I would’ve died of embarrassment. Sometimes I just had to taskswitch away.

      “THIS IS NOT WHAT MY EYES WOULD BE DOING.”

      (This even happens if you play a femShep, implying that Shepard is a lesbian. It’s amazing how much this nonsense took me out of my comfort zone and had me dreading talking to female characters simply because the camera wouldn’t be able to stop perving over them like an overweight, drooling otaku. It’s something that I personally had to rate the game down for. Hopefully there’ll be less of that in ME3. Hopefully.)

      (In fact, Bioware? Give us a “Pervy, Overweight, Sweaty, Drooling Otaku Mode” checkbox in the bloody options so that I can turn that stuff off if I want to.)

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      That wasn’t even the worst bit for me, Wulf. Remember her posture every time she talked to Jacob? For God’s sake girl, don’t flirt like that while having a normal conversation! She was just a few steps away from going ‘Rawr!’ and waggling her tongue till Jacob sued her for workplace sexual harassment or something…

      Also, noticed how Cerberus, err, ‘upgraded’ Shepard’s boobs? Oh, Bioware…

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      I made my shephard completely different from the default one. Thats why its such a strange sight, watching the trailers and not recognising the guy that has shepards voice..

  5. DragonSix says:

    Female Shepard is the only Shepard.

  6. Super Bladesman says:

    I’ve never understood why a heterosexual man would choose to play a man in a game like this. If I’m gonna stare at a bum for hours whilst playing a game, you can be sure it’s going to be a ladybum.

    • Robert says:

      Do ever get past the first half of the game? I usually stare at opponents and npc’s so I can actually hit/talk to them.

    • Urael says:

      Freaked out by the thought of staring a a man’s well-toned buttocks for an entire game? Methinks the lad(y) doth protest too much…

      But(t) seriously, if you’re choosing to look at women because looking at men makes you in any way uncomfortable, you’re definitely doing it wrong. I play women because sometimes I enjoy a break from male characters and all their puerile, macho shit, although I do take your point (fnar): female bums are awesome to look at.

    • MrMud says:

      Its funny though because fem-Shep really is not sexualized in ME/ME2.
      Its one of the few female protagonists that look like a real human.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Oh, I don’t know about that. Garrus certainly “sexualized” my Shepard. If…. if you know what I mean…

    • Urael says:

      Femshep is hot in a totally different way to, say, Lara Croft. She’s a smouldering furnace compared to LC’s open blaze. I totally made mine lesbian, too; not least because it felt more natural (for me, as a man) to chat up women. It was certainly a better choice than relenting to the fuckwit macho meathead military men Bioware keep insisting on throwing at her, anyway.

      Although it has to be said my Shep would totally have done Garrus had he but asked…

    • doktorjung says:

      Heh, my female Shepard engaged in relations with Liara in ME1 because she wanted to be somebody’s daddy. Given that, no one seemed appropriate for her in ME2.

    • Eightball says:

      @Urael – not to put words in Mr. Bladesman’s mouth, but I don’t think he was creeped out by staring at dude-butt. I think he just prefers to stare at lady-butt.

      A position with which I am quite sympathetic.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Well, this heterosexual male played a male Shep for one very good reason. It’s the only option for romancing Tali. That included a nice coda at the end of the Shadow Broker DLC; a bittersweet choice between Liara (who I had romanced in ME1) and Tali, which was a neat conclusion for the game. And I hear Tali is coming back in ME3, and has “unfinished business” with Shepard. So, yay!

      Besides, most of the time you’re looking at an armored spacesuit anyway, which has its own coolness factor for guys.

    • Nick says:

      Apart from being comfortable with my sexuality (apparently unlike some people?), I don’t stare at my characters arse in third person games, reguardless of gender. I do crazy stuff like look at whats going on.

  7. talon03 says:

    That is quite possibly the most awesome video ever made in the history of mankind.

  8. Drake Sigar says:

    I still think both Shepherds pale in comparison to his royal gitness Mike Thorton.

    • deejayem says:

      Would have been amazing to have the option to play as a female character in Alpha Protocol! If only for delivering royal smackdown to Sean “Sex Pest” Darcy.

  9. Malibu Stacey says:

    When I finally get around to playing Mass Effect I suspect I will be playing it with female Shepard as going by what everyone around these parts says it makes for a better game.

  10. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    Wait, so the liberal game companies are trying to indoctrinate my children and force them to believe that gays are people who can live and love just like heterosexuals AND that weaker sex can be heroes!? This is outrageous!

    • Nalano says:

      Let’s have a spinoff where you play Garrus. So that way we can get the non-human constituency, too!

  11. Icarus says:

    Jennifer Hale’s voice acting is just better than Mark Meer’s. Sorry, Mark. Sark.

    • Flint says:

      I don’t know. While Meer isn’t perfect, he seems more… natural, especially in ME2. Hale’s delivery always reminded me of a robot trying to emote like a human.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I am pretty good, aren’t I?

    • Urael says:

      Ironic considering your avatar, Alec.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Can’t argue with a Death’s Head gravatar.

    • Grygus says:

      I’m with Flint. Hale’s voice acting being better is a nearly ubiquitous opinion online, but I don’t know what you’re all talking about. She’s certainly not bad but Meer’s voice works at least as well, and sometimes better. They deliver every line almost identically.

    • bleeters says:

      Oddly, I couldn’t really stand male Shep’s voicing for very long, but Mark Meer is by no means a bad voice actor. I have to wonder how much of it is due to direction.

    • Monkey says:

      I agree with Flint. Fem shep’s voice acting really got boring after about 10 minutes. Just sounds like she can’t be arsed and is being sarcastic.

      Plus deciding whether i want to have sex with Garrus or not is WRONG!

    • Flint says:

      @bleeters

      Similarly, I think Hale does a rather good voice acting job everywhere else but it’s only in ME where she leaves me really cold. I’m guessing a lot of the issues with both is to do with the fact that Shepard (both genders) is such an open character: one voice to fit not only a paragon/renegade character but also a multitude of visual looks. I’m not an actor, but I’m pretty sure it’s harder to act a character that is essentially several characters in one, than a character with a very clear, defined personality and look.

    • woodsey says:

      FemShep’s voice sounds incredibly annoying in that video.

      I thought Meer was a fair bit better than he was in the first – his voice isn’t exactly full of emotion but Hale sounds like she’s forcing it. Would sound much more natural if she wasn’t trying to be a male Bastila.

    • Flobulon says:

      I personally think Meer sounds like he’s talking through a mouthful of porridge.

      No, I won’t give a first name.

  12. formivore says:

    Any face building software is going to have some face types that end up looking like members of the undead. It’s best to avoid these. Copious mascara is not the answer.

    • Bureaucrat says:

      Agreed. It’s kind of frustrating, in that the even the least-makeup-intensive female options in the ME face-generator have rather prominent eyelashes. And there’s really no lip-color option that looks unpainted. I was trying to make a heroine who looks more “badass marine” and less “pretty princess.” And the military-type ladies I meet (an occupational hazard) usually don’t crowd their morning routine with a whole lot of primping. (Also, hair that can fall into one’s face is not an option. Anything that isn’t cut short or firmly tied back is against regulations, not to mention impractical in a firefight.)

    • Nalano says:

      Hell, even a ponytail can be a handle in melee, and you don’t need a handle attached to your head.

  13. RaytraceRat says:

    Holly molly! they actually read that email I’ve sent them! And now my name is on RPS! Quick, what should I do with all that fame? Will I become an drug addict? I’ve heard that what happens with famous people…

  14. testman3 says:

    I am commander Shepard, and this is my favourite website on the Citadel.

  15. Theodoric says:

    Femshep’s got the best voice acting. <3 Jennifer Hale

  16. Nim says:

    I modified Shepard’s face to something I found to my liking and called him Adrian.

  17. arawavy says:

    Where does that image originate? I need to steal that facecode for my femshep!

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      It’s kinda creepy, but that’s exactly how my Shep looks…

      Also, you’re cheating on your original FemShep’s facecode? O_O You bastard!

    • arawavy says:

      @Raiyan 1.0

      Please share! What happens on Omega stays on Omega…

    • arawavy says:

      Also, its not cheating, just a little gamesave facelift is all. Worst case scenario I kill her off and clone her save like The Prestige. o.O

  18. Bilbo says:

    Obligatory “the game’s much better as femShep/anyone who plays as a bloke is doing it wrong/especially if they use the default look” comment here

    • PopeJamal says:

      It’s really six of one and half a dozen of the other for me. Either way, it’s yet another opportunity for me to relive the “Caucasian Person Saves the Universe” fantasy.

      When do I get to be a Mexican space captain? Let me know when I get some real choice.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      @PopeJamal
      Look no further than Pedro the Infiltrator!

  19. Moni says:

    I think manShep’s voice is better at doing the super-nice dialogue, but femShep’s voice is better at being a dick, and being a dick is so much more fun.

    But I still prefer manShep because femShep’s hair is so damn greasy.

  20. sinister agent says:

    Pah. The real Shepard has work to do. She doesn’t waste her time pissing about with a litre of eyeshadow. But hey, this is good news.

    • Urael says:

      Exactly! She’s got armour to custom paint instead!

    • sinister agent says:

      Some people have no idea how difficult it is to find good armour that goes with your handbag.

  21. Very Real Talker says:

    “..but this is still a step away from a deeply male-centric way of selling games, so hooray for that”

    no comment

  22. rozpocet1 says:

    Nice Shepard! Yours, Quintin? Or ME3 Canon?

  23. Wizardry says:

    So this is what it’s come down to.

  24. db1331 says:

    I’m currently playing through the first Mass Effect as a badass fem Shep to import into the 2nd game. I never knew who this Jennifer Hale person was, so I just looked her up on IMDB. Holy shit. She has been in so many of my all time favorite games I could hardly believe it. KotOR, QFG IV, the Metroid Prime series, Eternal Darkness, just to name a few. I played almost every game she’s been in multiple times and never realized it was the same person.

  25. myaltisa says:

    I nearly never finished Mass Effect, I didn’t like the camera, I even bought the second game hoping they would have fixed the camera but never finished it either for the same reason. That was until I changed to my Female ‘Hottie Shepard’.
    Jennifer Hale’s voice acting made it a whole new game and worth completing, and caused me to have my first ‘your playing that damn computer too much’ arguments with the ‘missus’ for a few years. It was totally compelling and is some of the best gaming experience I can remember having!
    I never really noticed the camera and gave myself a very interesting dilemma (no spoilerz here, but love interests played their part!).
    I played her as paragon, then tried Male Shepard again, this time making ‘Fugly Shepard’ (you can have a lot of fun in the face editor!!) I did this thinking I’d go renegade as a male, but…. hated the camera!!!!!!!!

  26. Teddy Leach says:

    Happy now? Or will you lot only be happy if she and Tali are getting it on in the next trailer?

    • Urael says:

      Tali is surprisingly alluring. Great bod, cute/exotic voice. And what is under that armour?? Here’s hoping for a reveal (cough) in ME3…

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Tali is the only female character in the game who is sweet without being wet (Liara is somewhat feminine, but distinctly wet). I spent a lot of time in both ME games trying to find out how to get ms. Shepard into her environmentally sealed space-knickers before I realised that It Was Not Allowed. As long as it’s in ME3 itself, I’ll be satisfied. I could do without it being in a trailer. In fact, I can do without any trailers, I know I will be buying ME3, so they can reinvest that money in making the game better.

  27. Blackseraph says:

    Ooh. This is nice. Always thought it moronic that they didn’t use fem shepard in marketing.

    She is seriously much much better character than male Shepard. In absolutely every way.

    In dragon age 2 as well, although Hawke was annoying and I didn’t like her/him much, I found fem hawke to be much less annoying character than male one.

  28. wsmieszek says:

    I don’t know why, but she does look kind of like my Shepard – even though I customized a lot.

  29. Blaq says:

    She IS a bitch.

    Also, needs staring eyes tag.

    Also, she looks like she’s cross-eyed on that picture.

  30. Burning Man says:

    That video was mind-BOGGLINGLY fantastic.

  31. Shodex says:

    I’ve played Male and Female Shepard. But I always felt the series was meant for the default male Shepard. Something is just off when I’m not a male Shepard. And that’s coming from a guy who, given the option, always plays a female in third person games. Why the hell would I be starting at a dude’s ass for hours on end?

    • Nalano says:

      Can we please, just for the sake of practice, get away from the “whose arse would you like to stare at for hours on end” meme, just once, when we’re talking about gender roles in RPGs?

      For starters, the camera’s usually so close I’m practically looking over my avatar’s shoulder, or staring down gunsights, or staring at my avatar’s face during dialogue segments. Only, really, in MMOs is the camera far enough away to give me full unparalleled view to my character’s ridiculously distorted backside all the time, and in MMOs I’m largely staring at cooldown timers, not what my character is doing.

      Which brings us to point two: It’s simply not the case that you’re staring at your character. You’re staring at everything else. Your character’s largely just there to give weight to your actions, elsewise we get to the “refrigerator box with periscope” problem with world interaction. If I can’t feel what my character is feeling, I can at least see what my character is doing, which is usually gluing her backside to the closest chest-high wall.

      And third, have you seen femshep walk and run? She’s as much the burly space marine as the men are.

  32. Ajh says:

    Fantastic news!

    And to all of those asking why a guy would play a female shepard, aside from the many reasons they have, you do realize those of us who are not male also play this game right? Both Mass Effect and Dragon Age are series with decent amounts of female players.

    In other words, not everyone is you. (On that note not everyone is me either, and I’m glad they’re not cutting the male Shepard marketing.)

  33. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Holy shit! Guys! New Mass Effect 3 extended trailer!

  34. pagad says:

    Finally, marketing showing the One True Shep and not the gravelly, lumpy and overly macho space marine.

    In all honesty, Jennifer Hale’s voice acting is so superb I don’t understand why anyone would want to play as a male Shepard.

  35. MadMatty says:

    haha cool vid- i´ve yet to finish the 1 with female shep- seriously, shes so butch and macho, shes basically an army dude.
    cheesy one-liners tho, but they ARE hard to come up with, in light of Eastwood and Schwarznegger :P

  36. YourMessageHere says:

    Is that top picture the default female Shepard?

    • Betamax says:

      No they haven’t settled on it yet, although the tweets from Silverman indicate that she could end having the red hair/green eyes of the old default female Shepard – but made to look a bit more detailed and whatnot. Default male Shep has a bunch of unique textures (or something like that /clueless) to make him stand out from customs a bit, so hopefully they will do the same with female Shepard.

  37. Felixader says:

    Mine was a bitch when she needed to but also respected problems and some of the easier needs of others.

  38. Betamax says:

    Yeah I heard about this a while back, it’s great news as regardless of which you prefer I think it’s daft to try and suggest Hale doesn’t do a great job and has helped spread awareness that a larger group of people out there actually like to play strong female characters in games (although according to the stats male Shep players are still the majority ofc).

    A nice touch was that they asked players over Twitter how they thought she should look in the upcoming trailer (and thus the CE boxart presumably). The trailer was originally due to be released at E3 in fact, but got pushed back for some unknown reason. I guess the folks who picked red hair/green eyes for the original default fem Shep just knew what the fans wanted because they picked the same combo apparently.