The male and female player characters for Mass Effect will be brother and sister, rather than a gender-swapped version of the same character.
In the original Mass Effect trilogy, players assumed the role of Commander Shepard, who could be played as either a man or a woman. Mass Effect - Andromeda will still allow players to choose their gender, but rather than simply being a gender-swapped version of the same character, the male and female PCs will be brother and sister.
The revelation came during Sony's Andromeda showcase the other night. "We're seeing our male character, at E3 we got to see our female character. A little surprise here: These two are actually brother and sister," explained BioWare creative director Mac Walters. "They both exist in the game world at the same time. If you're playing as the female Ryder, your brother is out there somewhere in the universe."
Additionally, the father of the Ryder siblings is someone we have already seen. "The character we saw two E3s ago, the N7, is actually your father. So we have got the full Ryder family revealed. We'll do names and things in the future."
It's an interesting way to handle having a multi-gendered main character. It means that no matter what gender you choose to play, you're still "canon".