Would you be okay with Bioware picking Shepard's first name?
59.6% (134)
59.6% (134)
28.9% (65)
28.9% (65)
Not Sure
10.7% (24)
10.7% (24)
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Poll: What if Bioware picked Shepard's first name for you?

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After careful consideration, I have decided that the Mass Effect series are some of my favorite games ever. There's just this one thing that's been bothering me since the first game, though. In fact, now that I think of it, it's bothered me more than the Mako and the texture issues in ME1, or the planet scanning in ME2. Here it is: nobody ever addresses Shepard by his/her first name.

When you're talking to Ashley about her grandfather, Shepard calls her "Ashley," and she calls Shepard "Shepard." When you're comforting Tali after her father's death, Shepard calls Tali "Tali," and she calls Shepard "Shepard." When Shepard has the "little blue babies" talk with Liara at the end of Lair Of The Shadow Broker, Shepard calls Liara "Liara," and she calls Shepard "Shepard." Hell, when you're listening to those news reports on the Citadel, they only ever refer to Shepard as "Shepard," or maybe "Commander Shepard" (in contrast with, say, "Captain Chesley Sullenberger" or "Private Bradley Manning" in the real news).

So I'm wondering, what if Bioware had just gone ahead and gave Shepard an official first name? They could've used the defaults--John for Manshep, Jane for Femshep--and then they wouldn't even have to change the lip movements too much. I think I'd be okay with that; if my Femshep is always going to be "Commander Shepard," then she might as well be "Commander Jane Shepard." I'd be willing to trade my chosen first name (which the other characters never use anyway) for that.


Well, Bioware did pick his name. Johnathan Shepard. The name is based off of the first man to be sent to space. And I think the female's default is Jessica or something.

I'd be totally cool with characters referring to him as John every now and again. It'd help some of the emotional scenes. I never think of his first name when playing. He's literally just Shepard. Shepard is his name and the only one he has.

I really wouldn't mind. It's not as if I usually even think of the name I gave him. It probably would add to the conversations a bit, allows for a distinction between a more formal talk and a more informal one. I kinda like that idea.

It's never bothered me, probably to do with the fact that it sounds natural for me to be addressed by last name.

I wouldn't object so much to them picking it, but I'd be a little disappointed that he wasn't called Awesome A. Shepard. Even if it doesn't come up, I know it and it makes me smile.

Well, Bioware did pick his name. Johnathan Shepard. The name is based off of the first man to be sent to space. And I think the female's default is Jessica or something.

John and Jane, as in John Doe and Jane Doe, the names given to unidentified bodies. Shepard is taken from Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr, the second person and the first American in space.

OT: no I don't want them to pick my Shep's name, where's the fun if you can't call your Shepherd "German"? (or Dos Santo's in my Shep's experience) Though my fem Shepherd is called Amanda, as some of the characters sound like they're saying "Manda" when they say "Commander"

Well what they did was a better option that giving you full control over your name, and then having no one ever address you by your name, like in KOTOR and many other RPGs. I'd have been fine with taking it one step further and naming the character entirely... I'm not good at coming up with names.

Having my name on the file every time I load isn't exactly what holds Mass Effect together for me.

So what? Nobody uses the last names of other shipmates, they don't use Sheppard's first name. It's even. Some people are just called by there last name.

eh, I wouldnt mind..I guess

I called my femshep Jennifer...well it seems to fit

it would be cool if they somhow said your chosen name (like an AI said it or somthing..yhatzee once wrote somthing about this)

except now that Ive said it it wont happen

Joker isn't a first name, is it?

Vut that;s what Bioware do, isn't it - they give your character a title or a last name or something, while you are expected to give their actual name...and nobody uses it, aside from maybe appearing in writing or in invoiced dialogues.

OT: I don't think Shepard specifically bothers me. I know a few people who are called by their last names, to the point where if I referred to one by his first name I may get questions "Who?" from close acquaintances of his. However, the DA:O main character was different - constantly being called Warden, <race> or something was more irritating.

Have you played Deus Ex? It is a problem with fully voiced games, and why I prefer text dialogue. It wouldn't make much difference overall would it, it is just Bioware pretending like you have some input to make in the story, just like J.C. Denton's "real" name.

I always made my Shepard's first name German, because I know it's irrelevant. I wouldn't care.

It's an rpg-lite game, it would be weird if they arbitrarily chose the name for the player, but then let the player choose how their Shepard does things for the rest of the game. Those of you who voted yes probably would be interested in ME3's action mode.

It is a problem with fully voiced games, and why I prefer text dialogue.

Yes, me too. I loved Morrowind because the text dialogue was so plenty. Compare to Oblivion where the average dialogue with a character is less than what a couple of topics you can pick with a random stranger in Morrwind.

Also, it means that choices of the player actually matter and they aren't as limited: in ME, you have three origin stories (three, right?) so you get some lines of different dialogue but overall it's not mentioned that much, you may have a couple of solutions to a problem and again, you have to make a script and dialogue for each of the consequences.

It's never bothered me. For one thing, I can see exactly why they've done it and for another, it's never broken immersion for me. Some people just go by their last names and some people by nicknames. Joker, as mentioned above, is just one example. Also, very few people in the game use Anderson's first name (David), it's either Anderson, Captain Anderson, the Captain, etc.

When you remember that Shepard is a senior officer to a lot of characters in the game, using last name makes even more sense - it'd probably be considered inappropriate for many of those characters to use Shepard's first name.

Personally I can't wait for the day that technology will have advanced to the point where game characters will use a name you provided in a natural way. Until then I think that you either go just text or they give you a name.

Well, in Bioware's defense, when you get accustomed to calling someone by their last name, it tends to stick. For example, I call many of my intimate friends by their last name despite the fact that I don't have any reason to, thats just what I learned first because they were strict subordinates at one point, and not friends. Hell, I have a friend who calls her boyfriend by his last name; its just what shes always done and she hasn't broke the habit. Though I can definitely see what you are saying. Personally I wouldn't mind to much, but I kind of prefer it as it is now.

The only thing that first names were for was to quickly identify different save files.

If I still had the ability to label my save files, I'd have no issues.

Well my Shepard's name is Poo and...I defy Bioware to come up with a better one.

Fine by me, but it'd get a bit confusing with multiple saves. but having my squadmates refer to shepard by first name would make up for it.

It wouldn't bother me if they had done that from the beginning but now that I've played two games as Joshua Shepard, I wouldn't want them to change it for Mass Effect 3.

Maybe if they did something like what was done in Facade.

Record various character saying different names, and then list the available names when you create the character.

That way, only a little is needed on both the voice-actors part and the animators, and some of the dialog could flow a bit better.

It definitely wouldn't bother me. It is kind of odd hearing your girlfriend call you by your last name. Like @AnythingOutstanding said, as long as you can label your save files without confusion, it would only make the narrative better.

Yeah, I'd like that, actually. As a general rule, I think Shepard would benefit from being treated either more like a blank slate, or more like an established personality.

I just came to think of it as Shepard wasn't only his last name but also a nickname for him. But I wouldn't mind terribly if they just gave him a first name.

Well they DID pick the name for you. It's the last name. It's Shepherd. The first name is there to give you that little trace of customization and individuality. The reason nobody says your name out loud is because that would be logistically impossible.

thats exactly how i feel! I swear i even though about making a thread about it xD

I wouldn't care - Its not like your first name is remotely important, and actual role playing is at a minimum anyway. Your only character choice in the series is whether or not Shepard is paragon or renegade, and who he/she romances, if anyone.

I named my 1 Shepard Shepard and then had a smug feeling for the rest of the game because I outsmarted Bioware :)

I named my 1 Shepard Shepard and then had a smug feeling for the rest of the game because I outsmarted Bioware :)

Hehehe, this.

I wouldn't have a problem, since I only give the character names simply so I know which save/campaign is which. Aside front hat very reason, there is no need to even have a first name in the games. It doesn't even appear in any random Codex articles in the first game, nor any e-mails in the second.

Honestly, I stuck with the defaults to begin with and tend to think of them as the official names anyways. So really wouldn't mind if they went and said John Shepard was the full name.

Honestly, yes. I'd be alright if Mass Effect, and hell every Bioware game started giving your character a default game.

As much as I like their RPGs, it gets a little unbelievable with the amount of people who refer to you by your rank, last name, or just "You". Even the people you sleep with, you'd think they would call you by name at least.

In Mass Effect in particular, I think it would hardly change anything. You still have full control over Shepard's class, gender, past and aspects of his/her personality. It'd help make conversations flow better too I think.

I'd rather they not pick a surname or a first name, personally. I miss the days of playing your own character in a role-playing game.

I don't think it would add anything to the game, but I do feel like it would take something away. Though you hardly ever see your first name in print, it is satisfying to see the identity you chose every now and then. Shepard is supposed to be a more or less blank slate, wherein you choose how he/she interacts with the world. If that blank slate were given a full name, that would further solidify the identity of that character, getting in the way of the player's roleplaying. With every NPC simply saying "Shepard," the player can in their mind specify what that means to them. It can mean their badass renegade John Shepard, or maybe they're playing a more reserved paragon Paul Shepard. If both had to be named John, it would cause the player a bit of a mental itch as they try to reset the name "John Shepard" means to them if they are replaying in a different way.

So I guess to summarize, even though it's not really that significant on the surface, allowing the player to choose the first name gives them a more solid mental barrier between all of the Shepards they might make. Also, it prevents the player from being stuck with a name that they have reservations about, or a name that doesn't fit the character they are trying to bring out in the game.

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