BioWare Adding Female Shepard to Mass Effect 3 Marketing

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Internet Kraken:
I don't like this, because it seems like a pointless thing. The gender of Shepard should not matter. By making trailers for both genders there putting a lot more importance on gender than I think they should be. I know it's just for publicity, since apparently some people can't tolerate anything with male Shepard for some reason, but I still don't like it.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Bets on her cup size being at least an E, and generally fulfilling the 36-24-36 image?

Come on, we know Bioware treats all their female characters with enough respect to not sexualize them. I mean just look at Miranda!

In all seriousness that's one of the things that always struck me as odd about Mass Effect 2. Bioware doesn't seem to sexualize women but Miranda is handled horribly in that regard.

I think the sexualisation of Miranda was to balance her as an apology for her being a complete bitch! xD

The_root_of_all_evil:
Bets on her cup size being at least an E, and generally fulfilling the 36-24-36 image?

I gotta defend ME on this one, they haven't made Shepherd a man mountain on game covers etc(unlike, say, pretty much all the other male game leads) and they seem to pay due respect to things like armor and combat efficiency in character designs(yes I'm ignoring the bonkers cleavage on the matriarch =p).

The only thing I'm taking away from this article is a reminder that they've introduced homo relationships for a male shep, and the hope that all they're doing is making the new guy gay(which would be completely cool), rather then re-writing an established character to suddenly make him a trouser botherer.

jackanderson:
And that is not just my favouritism for Hale kicking in either (seriously, she's been involved in loads of my favourite cartoons as a kid.

Yeah, it is. Thats pretty much all it is.

Fundamentally its about people finding which of the two neutral performances you enjoy the most. Most maleshep fans just play the game and dont bother. Most femshep fans however have to piss and moan for some reason. (who gives a shit if they plaster maleshep on the boxes and in the marketing? They paid for his likeness, so might as well use it. Most people customise anyway).

Of course, there is a third sect like me who cant stand their choice constantly being ridiculed by certain people looking to offset the fact that statistically femshep is by FAR the less picked option.

But yeah, Jennifer Hale has done many great performances over time, so I think much of the exagerration of her performance comes from that. If it was a more voice acting unknown, I dont think people would go quite so overboard with the made up "excellence" in a fundamentally neutral performance.

Everybody on the Collector's Edition box should be variants on designs for Shepard, both male and female. That would be a great way to close out the series, especially for those who are big enough fans to buy the collector's edition in the first place.

And for all of those comments that seem to suggest that sex appeal/skimpy attire=degrading, what do they think of characters such as these:

image
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Okay, so Raiden doesn't exactly look as if he's beaming with pride right there.

More clothes don't make the character more complex...not that such a fact is even relevant when it comes to Shepard, anyway.
Less clothes would mean fewer armor upgrade options, always a bad thing when it comes to the main character of an action RPG.

Not canon? since when?

well fuck canon, to me shepard aint mister white brown haired protagonist, and Im sure its vicer versa for many others

Akytalusia:
only 1/5 use femshep? i'm surprised. i thought her VA was more popular, so i thought she would have been too. guess not.

Keep in mind that about 50% of the people who started Mass Effect 2 never actually finished the game. I'm going to assume that there's a lot of overlap between those players and the ManShap players, and much less with FemShep players.

It's basically guys who aren't too familiar with BioWare games, start up the game, play around a bit with the character customization, and then eventually get bored of the game and stop playing.

EDIT: And here is my personal canon Shepard...

image

A lot of people are saying that FemShep has a better voice actor (sorry, actress), but I don't get that. I think it's just two different people's interpretation of the character, from MaleShep's authoritative get-the-job-done voice, to FemShep's more relaxed voice which makes her sound more individualised from the military system that Shepherd is a party to. Which one you preference depends entirely on how similar their interpretation is to yours. On my two playthroughs, my maleshep was a paragon soldier, so his voice felt right, as I meant for him to be an icon of the human spirit. My second playthrough, conversely, was a renegade who voiced her opinion regardless of whether it suited protocol, and would occasionally show a softer side, which suited FemShep's more free-spirited voice.
So, I guess I'm saying that I enjoy both voice-actors, as they offer various ways to play the same character.

JediMB:

Keep in mind that about 50% of the people who started Mass Effect 2 never actually finished the game. I'm going to assume that there's a lot of overlap between those players and the ManShap players, and much less with FemShep players.

Actually, I just think people play femshep less because for a lot of folks that character or her voice is just less appealing. Shocking I know, but if youre not in denial about how "awesome" Hales performance is, or how popular femshep is, is just kinda fits in place quite easily.

Xaositect:

JediMB:

Keep in mind that about 50% of the people who started Mass Effect 2 never actually finished the game. I'm going to assume that there's a lot of overlap between those players and the ManShap players, and much less with FemShep players.

Actually, I just think people play femshep less because for a lot of folks that character or her voice is just less appealing. Shocking I know, but if youre not in denial about how "awesome" Hales performance is, or how popular femshep is, is just kinda fits in place quite easily.

I'm not saying ManShep isn't more popular, but BioWare's statistics still show that 50% of all ME2 players never finished the game. And that's players, not characters. A huge majority of those must have played ManShep, since anything else is just impossible.

at first glance: .. "well its about time!"

at second glance: .. "wait .. what if she doesnt look like my version of her .... crap."

Xaositect:
Im not interested really, since femshep is too cliche "kickass chick" for my tastes, she looks boring, and Mark Meer just does an all round better performance. Hales performance, though she is a fantastic voice actress for other characters, just sounds emotionless and a fake attempt at sounding tough when she does Shepard.

(Most of that is opinion, but since femshep fans love to insecurely spout opinion as fact, I thought what the hell, I would give it a try too.)

You suggest that people who prefer the female Shepard are voicing their opinion due to insecurity. Yet, every single time this subject is brought up around here I see you come charging along in exactly the same manner, tearing into anyone who dares to mention that they prefer one performer over another.

In short, I suspect that all the people declaring Hale's performance to be superior have made you insecure in your choice, because it quite clearly bothers you.

Xaositect:
But yeah, Jennifer Hale has done many great performances over time, so I think much of the exagerration of her performance comes from that. If it was a more voice acting unknown, I dont think people would go quite so overboard with the made up "excellence" in a fundamentally neutral performance.

I can't speak for anyone else, but when I decided Hale's voicing acting was better I didn't even know her name, let alone any of her other work.

Xaositect:
Actually, I just think people play femshep less because for a lot of folks that character or her voice is just less appealing. Shocking I know, but if youre not in denial about how "awesome" Hales performance is, or how popular femshep is, is just kinda fits in place quite easily.

I'm guessing it's because the majority of people playing Mass Effect are male and therefor choose to play a male character.

...

Lastly, I would like to add that I agree with you on one point. Some of the femshep fans can get a bit... overzealous about the whole thing. The people on the Bioware forums can get especially wierd. They're not quite as bad as the Tali people, but they're up there.

I like how the parts of her armor that are supposed to hide her naughty bits are flesh coloured.

I've only ever played Shepard as a female...I can't even conceive of the character as a male, and everything I've seen in ads or other videos of the male Shepard has been absolutely groan-inducing.

Shepard's a female to me.

Hmm. Well, I rather appreciate it. Not because I'm "taking a stand" or some such, but because I generally prefer FemShep's voice to MaleShep to much the same extent that you average human prefers a comfortable, happy life to being beaten over the head every 3-7 seconds, forever. When I first played Mass Effect, I went for MaleShep and, I kid you not, my first thought was "did someone eat your soul or something?". I don't know if his actor is always like that or it was just a sub-par performance, but if it weren't for Jennifer Hale, I would likely never have played the game (and I've never refused to play something based on voices before).

They might say it's non-canon but to me it's canon.

As pointed out by many before really only 1/5 play as fem shep? I have played as both and well actually both as good/bad (so 4 run throughs... and a couple of extras for the fun like save the reaper and the like)... I do think you miss some thing if you play as the standard (un-custom option A) on everything..) male shep, you really don't get any feelings for that generic Doe that died for the 9th time.

Liked both games and but they streamlined the 2nd for general public mases to much for my taste... More guns to the heroes thank you... ;-)

Yes! femshep is the only way.

jackanderson:
Thank holy Christ! I played the demo for Mass Effect 2 twice (because I'm a PS3 bastard), once with Male Shep and once with Female Shep. And Jennifer Hale just blew Mark Meer out of the galaxy. Meer sounded more like he was reading the phone book to himself in a library when he was under fire in combat. Hale sounded like a gorram space marine. I wish no offence against Meer (the guy's pretty damn good elsewhere) but it's Hale for me every time. And that is not just my favouritism for Hale kicking in either (seriously, she's been involved in loads of my favourite cartoons as a kid. e.g. She was Numbah 86 in Codename: Kids Next Door!)

DustyDrB:
Actually, the marketing Shepard isn't even canon...
*image snip*

So why do they insist on going with the most generic grizzled space marine they could come up with? It just makes the game look generic. Especially to Joe Average who has never heard of Mass Effect.

Why, I happen to have another Priestly post for that question...
image

That post is specifically referring to Dragon Age II, but it also addresses Mass Effect. It's blunt, but I can't really argue with the truth of it.

Edit: And just so I don't seem like a weird Chris Priestly internet stalker, those are the only two posts I saved.

I don't know why, but I just enjoy playing as FemShep so much more. Meer has such a deadpan tone, his voice never fucking changes.

Irridium:

Internet Kraken:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Bets on her cup size being at least an E, and generally fulfilling the 36-24-36 image?

Come on, we know Bioware treats all their female characters with enough respect to not sexualize them. I mean just look at Miranda!

In all seriousness that's one of the things that always struck me as odd about Mass Effect 2. Bioware doesn't seem to sexualize women but Miranda is handled horribly in that regard.

Look what they did to Ashley Williams.

image

Not exactly holding my breath over here.

Who cares, she's dead anyway because I sent her on the suicide mission so that she wouldn't compete for Kaiden's affections!

...I mean, she was the only one who could pull off the job, of course!

Eclectic Dreck:

MasochisticMuse:

Where do people keep getting the idea that maleshep is canon? There is no canon Shepard, only the default Shep they use on the box art (which understandably ticked off the people for whom the box art didn't match their own personal idea of the Commander).

How is any such rage (if it indeed exists) even remotely justified? There are untold thousands (if not millions) of possible Shepard appearances. Unless Bioware let fans order a custom printed box (at a hefty fee) how would you actually expect them to produce a cover that happened to have your interpretation of the character plastered on the cover?

I don't think it makes sense to have Shepard on the cover at all. I think it would be entirely possible for a decent artist to make a compelling cover while sidestepped Shepard completely. Not only would that not interfere with people's personal characters, but it would also deter them from getting the silly idea that there's a "canon" in a game with thousands of forking conversations, decisions and plotlines.

Or, failing that, at least give us some variety. Mass Effect, Fable, and Dragon Age (2) all suffer from the same compulsion to put white, brown-haired men on their covers, despite having games where there is no true canon character. And I get it, the average gamer is 18-35, white and male, and they want to appeal to that audience by saying, "Hey look, it's you on the cover! Buy the game!"... but would you really not buy a game because it had a woman on the front? Or a black dude? Or an asian chick? Speaking from experience I can say it gets pretty tiresome having your own demographic constantly erased.

MasochisticMuse:

Eclectic Dreck:

MasochisticMuse:

Where do people keep getting the idea that maleshep is canon? There is no canon Shepard, only the default Shep they use on the box art (which understandably ticked off the people for whom the box art didn't match their own personal idea of the Commander).

How is any such rage (if it indeed exists) even remotely justified? There are untold thousands (if not millions) of possible Shepard appearances. Unless Bioware let fans order a custom printed box (at a hefty fee) how would you actually expect them to produce a cover that happened to have your interpretation of the character plastered on the cover?

I don't think it makes sense to have Shepard on the cover at all. I think it would be entirely possible for a decent artist to make a compelling cover while sidestepped Shepard completely. Not only would that not interfere with people's personal characters, but it would also deter them from getting the silly idea that there's a "canon" in a game with thousands of forking conversations, decisions and plotlines.

Or, failing that, at least give us some variety. Mass Effect, Fable, and Dragon Age (2) all suffer from the same compulsion to put white, brown-haired men on their covers, despite having games where there is no true canon character. And I get it, the average gamer is 18-35, white and male, and they want to appeal to that audience by saying, "Hey look, it's you on the cover! Buy the game!"... but would you really not buy a game because it had a woman on the front? Or a black dude? Or an asian chick? Speaking from experience I can say it gets pretty tiresome having your own demographic constantly erased.

better yet, they could just have Shepard have the N7 helmet on him/her for the cover(everyone DOES start wearing the same thing)

Josh12345:

MasochisticMuse:
snip

better yet, they could just have Shepard have the N7 helmet on him/her for the cover(everyone DOES start wearing the same thing)

Yes, I think that would be a perfectly acceptable (and logical) alternative.

They're actually going to market FemShep? Awesome. No offense to MaleShep fans, but I'm not fond of his voice-acting.

Also, they're not shying away from homosexual relationships? What caused that sudden boldness after only having Liara the discount lesbian?

I'm starting to sound a bit mean with the sarcasm but I really am glad for the changes up ahead. It speaks well for their attention to the entirety of the fanbase.

How the hell can you discuss a canonical character when the very first mechanics in the game are establishing your own character for that individual playthrough's canon? Besides. ManShep doesn't exist. He just doesn't. Nope. Refuse to believe it. Personal canon is a female Sheppard. That's just how it goes.

MasochisticMuse:

I don't think it makes sense to have Shepard on the cover at all.

It would be strange to have a cover devoid of the Star of the experience even if some aspects of said star are mutable (i.e. appearance and, to a much lesser extent, personality). Honestly, were I to have made the ME2 cover, I'd probably have gone with a wide shot of Shepard in full armor (including helmet), taken from an angle where it's impossible to determine what gender the character is looking at the wreckage of the Normandy. This is a defining characteristic (i.e. everyone's Shepard died in the opening minutes of the game) and the event that set the plot of the second game in motion.

MasochisticMuse:

I think it would be entirely possible for a decent artist to make a compelling cover while sidestepped Shepard completely.

Sure it is possible but the question is why would you remove the star and indeed one of the primary reasons people love the series so much?

MasochisticMuse:
Not only would that not interfere with people's personal characters, but it would also deter them from getting the silly idea that there's a "canon" in a game with thousands of forking conversations, decisions and plotlines.

There is canon in the universe. The exact details of the story vary of course but that represents a very small portion of the game world's fiction. While details pertaining to the Mass Effect games themselves (and more specifically the player's interaction in the world) might be variable we do have some canon established. For example, Shepard is a military veteran holding the rank of Commander. Using modern (present day) military as a benchmark, this places him somewhere around 15 years in service and at the minimum rank necessary to command a vessel of any significant worth. Thus we know Shepard is likely mid to late 30's. We also know that Shepard has confronted the reapers directly once and their various agents on multiple occasions. We also know that Shepard is perfectly willing to work with a known terrorist organization if it serves the greater good thus demonstrating that Shepard in general sways towards the renegade persuasion.

This could go on for some time. There is a canon to the universe. And there are common threads that link all interpretations of Shepard regardless of choices.

MasochisticMuse:
And I get it, the average gamer is 18-35, white and male, and they want to appeal to that audience by saying, "Hey look, it's you on the cover! Buy the game!"... but would you really not buy a game because it had a woman on the front? Or a black dude? Or an asian chick?

Let's look at this from another angle. In Mass Effect I play a military officer who is selected to serve as Humanity's first real liaison to the council. I flew around in a Space Ship powered by impossible physics allowed by the inclusion of a magical substance that ignores all known laws of physics and visited many planets culminating in stopping, at least for the moment, a cycle that has extinguished all sentient life in the galaxy more times that I can count. In the sequel, I am killed, resurrected, and I do the same all over again. There is almost nothing in this story that remotely resembles my or my life. Sure I served in the Army, but as a grunt and I didn't spend my four years tooling around the world saving the day; I spent it sweating my ass off trying to not get shot in the face.

I am not Commander Shepard. I simply play the character as close to how I think I might react if I were a near immortal super soldier charged with the protection of all advanced organic life. Commander Shepard, regardless of my interpretation, is the star of the show and they belong on the cover. That doesn't mean you have to tell me what Shepard looks like of course. You could always play coy in a fashion like I suggested above.

Or, better still, Bioware could offer custom print options for your cover art. I'm fairly certain plenty of people would pay ten or twenty bucks extra to have their Shepard on the cover. At least then my ultra special edition would actually be special.

.

Finally! Gay relationships! If your going to shoehorn a love interest into a game and ram it down my throat, now it can at least be with the gender I actually fancy.

MasochisticMuse:

I also disagree that the protagonist of a game is required to be on the cover. Off the top of my head some games that don't depict the protagonist in the box art are Bioshock 1 (has a big daddy on the front),

The character of Jack was a literal blank slate and was devoid of defining characteristics for most of the game. Jack wasn't the star of the show, Rapture was. And Rapture is well represented by the Big Daddy.

MasochisticMuse:

Fallout 3 (has either a Brotherhood of Steel member or the protagonist in power armor,

Which follows the usual trend of Fallout cover art of showing person in power armor on the cover. Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics all had a close shot of dude in power armor (brotherhood of steel for 1, Enclave for 2, BoS for 3). The only game that diverged from this trend was the relatively terrible console title Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

MasochisticMuse:
not sure which. Either way the person is concealed), and Oblivion Elder Scrolls (another game where the character is customizable).

A game where the player has almost no character interaction. You play an avatar in Oblivion not a character.

Femshep FTW. Couldnt play the game any other way.

TOOK THEM LONG ENOUGH.

It still annoys me to no end that blandtastic manshep is cannon, though.

Logan Westbrook:
BioWare does seem to be trying to be more inclusive with Mass Effect 3 though, as evidenced by the inclusion of homosexual romance options - something the studio has shied away from before with the Mass Effect games - and this could be another part of that effort. Of course it could also be a marketing ploy. Heck, it could be both.

Well said, Logan. My thoughts exactly.

Of course it is a little dismaying that femshep will be on the collector's edition box... There hasn't been a mass effect yet where I haven't bought the collector's edition and yet I play as the canonical Male Shepard. Considering this will be Shepard's last chapter. Oh well, the first box had Saren on one side and the second had a Collector on one side. I suppose I'll live.

It is both in the sense they appeal more to women, they make other customers happy, and they can make Shepard as a woman get it on with Tali. Its a marketing gone berserk.

Played Mass Effect 1 and 2 with FemShep on first playthrough.

Worgen:
the advertising for mass effect always bugged me, they loved to stick the most boring looking version of shepard in the ads and it was annoying how they only used the maleshep since femshep had a much better voice actor, in my option

I didn't mind the voice actor of male Shepard, but I hated at how generically "I am rugged man who beats aliens ans saves the universe from the bad guyz!" he looked. I always made him look about twenty or more years older on the two times I have played as a guy. I always prefered a mid-thirty looking Female........Shepard.

<<

And also Jennifer Hale's voice is pure gold.

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