“Voicebox 360” by Tom Bissell

Bissell profiles Jennifer Hale, the actress who plays Mass Effect’s female Commander Shepard, as Hale records dialogue for Mass Effect 3.

It states that Bioware says that only 20% of players choose the female Shepard, leading to speculation that most players are uncomfortable with a woman in a position of leadership in the game.

When I played Mass Effect 1 and 2 I picked the male Shepard not because I was uncomfortable with a female lead, but because BroShep is on the box art, he was in the commercials, he’s in the preview videos. To me it feels like BioWare intended for me, and most players, to play as BroShep, at least the first time through. BroShep is the default.

If I were to replay Mass Effect I may choose FemShep, but I don’t usually play these kinds of games a second time.

  • Voicebox 360 (you’ll need a New Yorker subscription to read the full article)