Jennifer Hale, the voice actress behind Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard, has posted an emotional response to seeing FemShep in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition trailer, tweeting, “not gonna hide it, this is pretty damn cool. @masseffect @bioware.”
Although reports show that only 18% of players played Shepard as a female in Mass Effect 2, her performance has been praised by fans, which led to the nickname FemShep and a campaign to have her character featured on the cover of Mass Effect 3.
Nominated for Best Performance by a Human Female at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2010 and 2012, for Mass Effect 2 and 3, respectively, Hale has been referred to as “a kind of Meryl Streep of the form” by critic Tom Bissell for her performances.
In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Hale said, “As cheesy as it sounds, the player is the star of the game. That’s the beauty of games—that it’s you that inhabits it. It’s not about someone else, it’s about that you get to be that person, and if I do my job right, I as a person disappear. Your experience is primary.”
Commander Shepard, a veteran of the Systems Alliance Navy, an N7-graduate of the Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) military program, and the first human Citadel Council Spectre, can be either male or female. The character is based on Alan Shepard, the second person and first American to travel into space.
Hale, who says she’s not a gamer, has applauded BioWare for not changing the Commander Shephard’s words to suit each gender. In Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, an upcoming compilation of the first three main series games, players can choose either a default male or female appearance for Shepard, an option that was first designed for Mass Effect 3.
Casey Hudson, the original creative director for all three titles, said, “Our goal was not to remake or reimagine the original games, but to modernize the experience so that fans and new players can experience the original work in its best possible form.”
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Mark Lugris is a Contributing Writer at TheGamer. After graduating from the University of Connecticut, he’s worked as a lifestyle and technology writer and editor for the past twenty years in Boston, Madrid and Zurich. Now, he’s chosen the less stressful life of freelance writing at home with his dog, where he can focus on his pop culture passions like film, television, games and sports.
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