By Alec Meer on July 25th, 2011 at 9:28 am.
Oh dear, there appears to have been some kind of mistake here. Bioware, as part of their long-awaited marketing acknowledgement of the female version of Mass Effect hero Shepard, have offered fans the option to vote for which of six new versions of FemShep (I really dislike that portmanteau for reasons I can’t entirely pinpoint, but it seems rather too late to resist it now) will be added to the character creator options in Mass Effect 3. However, none of them look like the FemShep I know, and thus presumably you know. Mysterious! Someone must have uploaded some fan-art by mistake, right?
Somewhat depressingly, the blond, blue-eyed, most trad-sexpot of the six is currently winning this Facebook-based vote by around 10,000 Likes. And they all seem rather more geared towards young’n'hot than the FemShep of old. There’s obviously no reason at all Shepard can’t have conventional (or even extraordinary) good looks, but for me at least part of the appeal of the character is that she’s a million miles away from so many other games’ depicition of female heroes.
I’m sure this is really only about expanding the range of visual options for the character, but there is this niggling worry that maybe someone hopes to recast FemShep as something more marketing-friendly – given the news that just 18% of ME players plump for a female starship captain.
Still, don’t panic: ME 1&2′s default FemShep will remain alongside whatever the new one ends up being, and obviously we’ll be able to have a good old face-tweak again too. And, of course, the excellent Jennifer Hale will return for voice duties, which gurantees that regardless of how the character looks, she’s going to be that familiarly wry, no-nonsense hardnut we so admire.