By Your Command: FemShep Lives

By Alec Meer on February 10th, 2012 at 4:59 pm.

I prefer FemShep even the male Shep is played by a guy named Meer. I HATE MY NAME

God forbid we’d post yet another Mass Effect 3 trailer, but… well, here’s another Mass Effect 3 trailer. It stars, at long, long last, the female version of Shepard, finally getting just a tiny fraction of the official marketing acknowledgment she deserves. You will, I trust, understand.

Seriously. Come on, seriously. Why does anyone play as BlokeShep? That voice! That is the voice of authority. I’m a bit :/ about the new, more glamorous look, but as far as I can gather it’s not going to be forced onto us, and hopefully we can make female Shepards that remain very much in the not-here-for-your-entertainment vein of our ME1 & 2 characters.

I do hate the portmanteau ‘FemShep’ by the way, but it is part of popular culture lexicon now, so I suppose I can’t ignore it.

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134 Comments »

  1. Suits says:

    DuderShep

    • stealthfighterx says:

      I think Mashep would be more appropiate.

    • Ezhar says:

      She-pard and He-pard. Obviously.

    • mistergookey says:

      I never really liked that it was “Shepard and FemShep” so I’ve always called the male version DudeShep.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      If we’re going to embrace the popular culture lexicon neologism etc., shall we try to do it right? The portmanteau FemShep comes from people not understanding what others were doing. This whole thing comes from the stylistic conventions of fanfiction writing and discussion, and the correct way to do it is: Fem!Shep. The bit prior to the ! denotes how your/a given interpretation of an existing character differs from the original. You can also stack them, as in: SpaceBastardFem!Shep.

      I don’t particularly like it, either, but it annoys me that people do stuff without trying to do it right. Alternatively, you could just write it differently. I prefer ‘Ms. Shepard’ to denote female versions of Shepard.

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      Default male Shepard is called “Sheploo” (since his appearance is based on Dutch model Mark Vanderloo).

  2. Twysts says:

    There was probably going to be no pleasing me on this – but I really do not like her face. So much make-up, too much barbie-mouth.
    Jennifer Hale is awesome as always, and the lines are great. I am just a little sad they chose to “pretty her up” so much. She doesnt even look mad. BroShep is always scowling (tho he should because he sucks).

    • DaFishes says:

      Agreed. Glad to see they didn’t put her in too many Barbie poses, though, and instead had her in action.

      P.S. Now awaiting the chorus of “I saw Miranda, Jacob, Kaidan, and Samara…where the fuck is Thane?!

    • Twysts says:

      Maybe Thane is back on the Normandy, in her quarters.

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      phuzz says:

      um, you know you can pick what she(/he) looks like right? I mean *my* Shepard has scars across her face for one thing…

    • Twysts says:

      ORLY? NOWAI.
      Of course i know.

      Really what disappoints me is how BioWare chose to package the female player character to the public – everyone who knows FemShep knows FemShep – this is to bring new people to the game, which resulted in “tart her up!”. If someone new to the franchise came across this, they wouldn’t have the information that you can customize her.

      Oh whatever.

    • Fierce says:

      Sex sells. Human condition. Hormones, blood flow and endorphins. Et cetera et cetera.

      It’s already tiresome. Again.

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      lurkalisk says:

      Ad far as I know, the promise of sex in a product works sometimes, but sex itself does not.

    • Captchist says:

      Sex sells sure. But my Shep is cute, and far less tarty looking.

      I have to say, whilst I really do enjoy the gameplay in Mass Effect the thing that keeps me coming back is the Shepard character I’ve been building and role playing since the beginning.
      Somehow, with very very minimal RPG elements, but a good character editor (which makes good looking characters, not Bathesda characters) and absolutely fantastic voice acting Mass Effect has very much captured me from a role play point of view.

    • Nalano says:

      Humorously enough, sex doesn’t sell – unless what you’re selling is sex. The more boobs you put on the screen, the less you remember what the actual product is. :P

    • The Tupper says:

      @Nalano

      I assume you’re referring to games in particular and not, for example, the music industry?

    • f4stjack says:

      Actually the promise of Jennifer Hale one-liners makes me choose FemShep…

    • Nalano says:

      @ Tupper

      I’m referring to advertising in general. Everything from beer ads to car ads to ads for the next TV show to, yes, game ads.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      My Shep is a older, rugged, battle hardened war vet who’s still managed to come out on top of it all with a real personality. That’s what makes her sexy awesome. Not whatever this is.. she looks barely into her 20′s and might be as comfortable in a tennis outfit with a racquet, not a gun and ballistic armor.

      It’s Mass Effect.. not Twilight. GO AWAY.

  3. Orija says:

    Maybe one day we’ll see female warriors in video games actually looking the part.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      Perhaps, but it’s worth noting that ManShep’s model is an underwear model.

    • Jesse L says:

      Hee hee hee.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Aveline in Dragon Age II both looks the part and has the exact same armor as men. Just remember that the part your thinking of is still a stereotype.

    • Orija says:

      At least he has some flesh on him.

    • Orija says:

      @InternetBatman Isn’t that the point, that such characterizations are relegated to the side-kicks and never the protagonist?

    • Grygus says:

      I have always thought this argument was kind of arbitrary given the setting; why is revealing plate mail stupid and unrealistic, but fire-breathing dragons and spiders the size of houses perfectly fine?

      But even if that’s the point (about the protagonist) then he’s still right; if you make a female warrior in that game you wear whatever you want, including sensible armor, and they also have a sidekick who isn’t sexed-up in either manner or dress.

      The best part is that there are options: the same game offers Isabella, should you not want such progress in your fantasy games. I think that is proper. Dragon Age II had a raft of problems that enraged me, but the character design was fantastic.

    • Captchist says:

      “Why are dragons okay but revealing armor not?”

      Because it’s about internal consistency and things standing out as wrong from the world.

      “Dragons have ruled over humans for 1000 years” is a story/world premise. You buy into it by playing the game.

      “Everbody has big jugs and short skirts” is an aethetic choice (unless you want to make that your world premise,) and as a result stand out and look awkward even if the world itself is not a “normal” world.

    • The Tupper says:

      That’s true, that is.

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      Hypatian says:

      Okay. Now I kind of want to see someone try to pull off a logically consistent fantasy setting in which “Everybody has big jugs and short skirts, …, and that’s why magic works.”

    • Therax says:

      How about a magic/SF hybrid franchise where all magic users are female and 16, because the ability to use magic is a genetically engineered property that a) renders all male embryos inviable, and b) reduces lifespan to mid-20s at best?

      It goes downhill from there.

    • Felix says:

      I think I’ve seen that anime.

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      “Okay. Now I kind of want to see someone try to pull off a logically consistent fantasy setting in which “Everybody has big jugs and short skirts, …, and that’s why magic works.” ”

      I forget which one, but some tabletop RPG setting basically does this. It says that using magic generates energy in the form of heat, so sorcerers frequently wear as little clothing as possible.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Pretty sure Tera online is heading that direction :)

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      “I forget which one, but some tabletop RPG setting basically does this. It says that using magic generates energy in the form of heat, so sorcerers frequently wear as little clothing as possible.”

      My mind right now.

    • Nalano says:

      I thought the ability for women to wear their hankerchief/thong combo in fantasy RPGs with narry a nipslip was an artifice of magic.

  4. orta says:

    If only it was available on steam. Perhaps I’ll give Onlive a go.

    • oddshrub says:

      Considering there is a free phonenumber you can call on skype, the origin DRM actually has more advantages than the steam DRM.

      Now if only you could buy a box and actually own the game instead of just renting it from some online service.

    • Smarag says:

      You don’t own the game just because you own a DVD with copyrighted data protected by DRM on it.

    • Tams80 says:

      A boxed copy dammit! My shelf needs decoration if nothing else!

  5. sneetch says:

    You hate your own name? Oh come now, you’re meerly looking for attention.

  6. Dude (Darloc) says:

    I played the F version of Shepard from mass effect 1, I think it fits quite well, the voice is fantastic and it is fun to play a bitching-no-non-sense-get-out-of-my-way F Shepard. She is Fing brillant.

  7. dawfydd says:

    Why play as BlokeShep?
    Because I played around with face tools and made him look like a ginger, bearded Ron Pearlman, that’s why ;p

    • cypher says:

      hah, but then surely you’d just be disappointed by the lack of perlmans amazing voice?

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      lurkalisk says:

      I’d say it’s because “femshep” is completely unremarkable. Mascshep on the other hand has nothing if not hilariously poorly delivered dialogue, making it rather amusing to be a world class dick. It’s not fun watching femshep be… Generally sufficient.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Lurkalisk: Surely the onus is on you, then, to make Ms. Shepard remarkable? I mean, isn’t that the whole point of a character creator? I’m neither in love with or particularly disappointed by Jennifer Hale, she delivers the lines well and credibly; the only thing is that it’s an American voice, and the accent doesn’t suit the character I made. However, my Ms. Shepard is remarkable, because of how she looks (massive nose and permanently pissed off expression) and how she acts. That said, I think I took two hours plus of messing with her face options to finally be happy with how she looked.

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      lurkalisk says:

      Well that’s just it, both the male and female version can look just as unique and interesting, given the effort, but only the male delivers dialogue in an amusing way.

      I can try all I want to use the character creator to its fullest, but nothing I ever do can make femshep’s voice acting anything but boring (no real fault of Hale’s, mind you).

  8. Koozer says:

    Overought!

  9. Ultra-Humanite says:

    The mock incredulity regarding other people playing the gender you don’t play is starting to wear thin.

  10. Brun says:

    As someone who was never really that into Mass Effect (played the first one and liked it, played the second and was disappointed, might pick up the third if it’s on sale someday), what’s with the obsession with FemShep?

  11. InternetBatman says:

    God I hate Shepard. I hate him or her so much. He or she is by far the weakest part of the series. The better female voice doesn’t make him or her less of a turd.

  12. deadly.by.design says:

    That’s not Shepard.

  13. TV-PressPass says:

    I actually don’t know anyone who plays bloke-shep. While various gamer comrades create FemSheps varying from warrior-queen to goth-princess to something that looks at home in the binding of Issac. We call her GermanShep. Not as a race thing, but on account of her doggish face.

  14. Flint says:

    To be honest, one of the reasons I prefer MaleShep is the voice. FemShep sounds bored and somewhat emotionless to me and the male version, while far from perfect, works better.

    The memetic gender battles that plague ME discussion are downright stupid though.

    • Aezay says:

      It’s funny, because I have the exact same opinion, just the other way around. BlokeShep’s voice sounds so stoical and bland to me, I find Jennifer Hale a much better voice actor. But everything is cool, because we, the players, have a choice.

    • ThTa says:

      Aezay, clearly you haven’t heard of the First Decree of Internet Commenting, which states that the “opinion” of the person typing the comment is to be regarded as fact and any conflicting opinion is simply wrong. Anyone attempting to use the same decree as a counter-arguement is to be disregarded, because other commenters aren’t really people.

      But yeah, I really, really dislike Hale’s voice acting as FemShep. She just sounds incredibly overdramatic and pretend-tough. I really liked her performance as a female commander in that other space opera, though – Freelancer.
      I like Meer’s performance because he’s got a great vocal range (honestly, half of the male NPCs are done by him) and because he’s stoic most of the time, it is serious business, after all; and it makes whenever he does express emotion all the more impactful.

    • McCool says:

      I actually dislike both of the voice actors (now we need someone who likes both and we have the complete set). The spell of who my Shep is, is broken as soon as Jennifer Hale opens her mouth. Still, she is better than the male voice actor, and Shepard is a girl no-matter what anyone says, so Hale is who I get.

      At least this femshep looks a bit like my Shepard. I say a bit, because to my knowledge Shepard was never one for wearing make-up to battle.

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      Joshua says:

      I like both voice actors (Full circle!). Jennifer Hale does do some parts right, whilst Mark Meer does get some other parts right.

      Also — Why isn’t there a preset face available that looks like the actors voice acting the shepards? In line with a lot of the other characters in the game which are also modelled after their voice actors (such as Joker / Seth Green)

    • Saiko Kila says:

      @ThTa

      My reception is completely inverted – I feel the female Shepard is the stoic and cool one, that bitch, while the male is too melodramatic and emotional to me. This is why I choose female one. Only moments when I feel that female Shepard my be losing her cool attitude are later parts of ME2, but the whole ME1 and much of ME2 is great.

      Also, I don’t think the devs version of Ms.Shepard looks like a soldier, sorry.

  15. dachlatte says:

    for some reason i dont like to look at a blokes butt for hours at a time. but PLEEAAAASSSEEEE gimme the old femshep back

    • deadly.by.design says:

      I think the difference here is that some people see a butt, while others just see their player character.

  16. derella says:

    I love the prettier version of FemShep… Though I’ll probably tone down the make-up.

  17. O-2-L says:

    I remember i picked up ME2 around october of 2010, played maleshep twice then left it. I read so many people saying that femshep was much better so i decided to give it a go, and i fell in love. Femshep i so much more bad ass than maleshep!!

    Unfortunately im going to wait until all the DLC is laid out. Right now it’s all “Preorder and get this exclusive DLC, buy here get THIS exclusive DLC and buy THIS statue to get THIS exclusive DLC!….
    *sigh*

    I will buy it, no statues, no exclusives, just the standard box. I’ll wait a few days then download a save online of someone who’s already gone and done the multiplayer missions so i can focus on just the story.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    “Why does anyone play as BlokeShep?” In my case? Arbitrary decision.

    If I ever find the time to replay all the Mass Effects, I will play them as FemShep. For now though, my Shepard is a dude (although not the default fashion model). He was the guy who went to Eden Prime and he is the guy who will defeat the reapers.

    Also, what do you have against Mr. Meer, Mr. Meer? I think his performance is quite good.

  19. boywithumbrella says:

    Where’s the partial nudity promised by the ESRB badge‽

  20. Toploader says:

    Ah, my Female Shepard is better. Making her look anything younger then 30 just does not suit the voice.

  21. Chris D says:

    It’s a step in the right direction but I still don’t think it’s as good as the default female Shepard in either Mass Effect 1 or 2. Too much a conscious attempt to be pretty/sexy rather than simply being a tough, competent woman doing her job, which in my opinion is actually far more attractive.

    • WhatKateDoes says:

      For me its the fact that she appears to be to young to have the weight of experience she’s supposed to have, which is why I model her to be 30something… like me, lol.

    • Halloween Jack says:

      You may have discovered this already, but when you customize FemShep in the trial, the default that comes up on the screen isn’t the default default; it’s the default from the first two games. I was much, much happier when I saw that.

  22. Alfius says:

    Sadly decent female (lead) characters are sorely lacking in computer gaming. Mass Effect is no exception.

    Femshep fails to break the mold because her solution to the problem of the over-sexualised bimbos of hum drum gaming is to speak exactly the same lines as the male character (barring one or two jibes about shooting a guy in the dick) with as much fake attitude as she can muster.

    Yawn. Give me the default manshep any day, at least the script feels like it was actually written for him.

  23. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    For some reason I’ve never particularly interested in playing FemShep. Both Shepards are horribly anonymous and unmemorable.

    • Kadayi says:

      But if you’ve never played it how would you know?

    • Quine says:

      Perhaps he played it, then couldn’t remember the main characters names, then promptly forgot he’d ever played the game- hence his words.

    • ThaneSolus says:

      but, but, but we have voice overzzzzzzzzzzz!

  24. McDan says:

    Exciting stuff! Good to see they are actually using her in the advertising, but I was happier to see the return of old squad members more. Cannot wait. Also on the fem vs man shep I do prefer femshep, out of the about 8 playthorughs I’ve done of bothe games I’ve definetely enjoyed playing female characters more than the males, the voice acting just gives it the better edge.

  25. flib says:

    Yes! Finally!
    This is the best trailer yet! <3

  26. Premium User Badge

    tengblad says:

    About time The One True Shepard finally got some time in the limelight.

  27. Fyrus says:

    • withateethuh says:

      I made an account just to let you know that you have good taste.

  28. hoobajoo says:

    I’ve yet to see an advert with a black Shepard of either gender; until then, I will always look at ME trailers and go “Who is this wonder bread and where is Barrack Shepard?”

  29. Zenicetus says:

    People keep missing the best reason to play a male Shepard. It’s the only way you can romance Tali!

    Everything else — the voice acting, which running butt you’re looking at in 3D view — everything pales beside that option. Tali is awesome.

    I don’t think the voice acting for Femshep is all that much better. Both actors are just reading standard militaristic jargon with either fake sincerity or fake tough guy/gal attitude depending on your dialog choices. For me, the only interesting characterization in the ME series has been in the other team members. Shepard is just a cipher by comparison.

  30. Edawan says:

    What is the Prophet Skeram doing in this screenshot ?

  31. Apples says:

    She looks VERY young. ME1 and ME2 Shep, no matter what you did, always looked about 30; this one looks about 21. Her face shape is also very different in that video. I know you can design your own but it was just various features blended onto a general face shape, and if they have changed that base shape, it will be difficult to get her to look like the ‘original’ Shep.

    The makeup looks extremely silly to me, but my sister gave her Shep a trendy red haircut and tons of black lipstick/eyeliner so I imagine she’ll be pleased…

  32. Spiny says:

    Ideal FemShep – 35, scars on her face. Been around the block. Not TweenieShep

  33. Jenks says:

    Can’t wait to see femshep in the Mass Effect movie.

    Oh wait…

  34. Sentient Waffle says:

    FemShep, BroShep, why choose? I always make at least 1 run with each gender, in ME2 I had 2 BroSheps and 2 FemSheps, all on fully completed playthroughs.
    I actually had a third BroShep, but he was so ugly I decided to delete him (selfmade).

  35. Ecto says:

    “This isn’t about strategy or tactics. This is about survival” Ugh. Kill me now. What nonsensical drivel. I hope the writing isn’t all going to be that awful.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      +1, especially as the whole concept of strategy or tactics boils down to survival anyway.

    • Buemba says:

      The entire marketing department for Bioware games need to be fired into the sun. Dragon Age had “The New Shit”, Mass Effect 2 had Subject “Badass Biotic Bitch” Zero and I don’t even know what Dragon Age 2 had because I realized early on that game wasn’t for me so I didn’t pay much attention to the trailers.

      They seem incredibly skilled at choosing the worst parts of a game to put in the pre-release trailers..

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      @ Buemba

      ahh, but the ME2 launch trailer DID use Two Steps From Hell music, which pretty much single handily sold me the game.

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      bear912 says:

      @The Godzilla Hunter:

      Pretty much!

  36. Ysellian says:

    To me Femshep is much better a shame Tali isn’t lesbian though :( Oh well not romancing anyone has it’s upside too.

  37. rocketman71 says:

    Why does anyone say FemShep?. FemShep is the true Shep. If anything, MaleShep should be news.

    Also, there’s still no fucking way I’m buying this with Origin on top. Thanks EA for crippling the trilogy for me. Bastards.

    • Griefindor says:

      100% disagree. Femshep only “exists” for 2 reasons: 15% because of woman and 85% because of freaks.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    Having played both ManShep and LadyShep all I know is, my gut says maybe.

    And really, anyone who gives a damn what gender you play is no true neutral.

  39. Lemming says:

    I was more impressed that the guy’s voice I heard at the start sounded very much like Giles from The Thing!

    I’m sorry but if ManShep was mainly a black dude and had his voice, FemShep wouldn’t get a look in.

    • Vinraith says:

      One of the aggravating things about ME only having two voice options is that I can create a badass-looking black Shepard but he still sounds like a skinny white guy.

    • Angel Dust says:

      I assume you mean ‘Childs’ from The Thing and the fact is that that is in fact his voice; Keith David is the voice actor for Commander Anderson.

  40. Quine says:

    This FemShep looks surprisingly similar to the excellent freckled latino psycho who was the leader of the Third Street Saints, thus ensuring I shall have to give more cash to EA.

  41. Griefindor says:

    I profoundly hate femSheps. If the devs choose a canon Shepard players eat it and shut it, It’s good enough you can create fem characters “to look at their asses” while playing this awesome game…. When you read books do you tranform all the males to females in your minds?! godamn

  42. Vinraith says:

    I have to admit, hearing Shepard’s actual voice in one of these trailers (for once) does get me a bit excited for the game. I’m still waiting for reviews, though, to see what they’ve stripped out this time in the name of “streamlining.”

  43. caddyB says:

    I have to go.

  44. Kuroko says:

    That’s not Shepard, Shepard is blonde.

  45. Tei says:

    Woa… I am fall in love with Shepard. Not romantically, I am fall in love of his militar profesionalism, dedication to justice and ability to solve problems. I F***KING LOVE THIS WOMEN. This is all.

  46. mikmanner says:

    That music annoyed me, sounded like every other Hollywood trailer with those choirs. This game feels more corporate and manufactured than the previous two, much lik dragon age 2, it looks like the inside of fking gamestation.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Agree about the music. Dreadful, generic, inappropriate, unwelcome. Most games get as long as it takes to set up graphics and control options before I make a decision on whether or not to turn off the music. Almost everything gets its music switched off. Mass Effect was somewhat different in that doing this also switches off the music in bars and clubs (but why? Surely that should count as a sound effect?), leading to some ludicrous silent disco-type stuff going on. So I would switch it back on while in the club, then five minutes after I left there, realise what was irritating me and switch it back off.

      True Aside: the first time I saw The Fast and The Furious, it was a pirate copy that for some reason had no music at all; it was a much better experience than when I saw it again on TV, with music.

    • mikmanner says:

      Do you just hate music? I don’t understand what you’re saying. As a composer for games I’d hope that people waited a little longer than just the menu screen to decide if they’re going to turn the music on or off haha

  47. ichbinspikeface says:

    I’ve often thought that the most ridiculous combination is the black avatar/ white voice deal… It makes me wonder sometimes if Aboriginies / African Americans are disappointed by how stupid it sounds…

  48. bill says:

    After reading all the femshep love on RPS i had to search for the female option in Mass Effect 1 (it’s surprisingly well hidden) and then I discovered that I hated her. She’s just a bland annoying character. I couldn’t be bothered to try again as the bloke, so i don’t know if he’s any better.

  49. archimandrite says:

    I was going to complain about the makeup but got distracted by the “AAAAH! HEADSTOMP!”

  50. celozzip says:

    you couldn’t pay me to play as femshep. i know you guys who play as her think you’re better than the rest of us but really, she’s dreadful.

    i think you do it either to do what everyone else isn’t doing- to feel special or because secretly you’re just doing it to ogle her body or just because you have a weird need to live life as a woman. do you dress up too?

    • Griefindor says:

      +1! there are games with woman as main character. ME has a male main character live with it and don’t try to ruin the game for others

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      True Fact: On the internet, their are no opinions, only facts. Those that have “differing opinions” are lying. Also, girls don’t play video games.

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      Lakshmi says:

      My favourite part about this comment is the complete disregard for even the *idea* of women playing the game.

    • celozzip says:

      i was talking to the men on here hence the word ‘guys’ fucknut. oops. don’t feel so clever now do you?

    • Chris D says:

      Celozzip

      I’m comfortable enough with my sexuality that I’m quite happy to play as a female character. I wish you all the best with resolving your issues in this area.