BioWare Exec "Blown Away" By Support for Mass Effect's FemShep

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BioWare Exec "Blown Away" By Support for Mass Effect's FemShep

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FemShep's appeal isn't just about what she is, says BioWare's marketing boss, it's also about what she represents.

Back in May, BioWare marketing director David Silverman asked fans on Twitter if they wanted to the female version of Commander Shepard, lovingly referred to as "FemShep," in the marketing material for Mass Effect 3. The response was overwhelming positive, and Silverman says that he is "blown away" by the level of passion and support that fans have demonstrated.

Silverman said that it was "amazing" to be able to connect with fans on a one-to-one basis via social media, adding that it probably wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. As for why FemShep's moment in the sun has been such a long time coming, Silverman said that it would have made it very difficult to market the game effectively had BioWare given equal attention to both versions of Shepard. "When creating a rich sci-fi epic like Mass Effect," he explained. "You need to keep a certain level of consistency so people unfamiliar with the property can clearly identify who the hero is that they get to become ... had we released images showcasing both a male and female Shepard, people wouldn't be able to identify who the hero was or what was going on."

While he praised Jennifer Hale's vocal performance as FemShep and the strong script created by the Mass Effect's writing team, Silverman thought that a big part of the character's appeal was what she represented. "I think it's more about people celebrating and rallying around the fact that BioWare gives people the choice to step into the boots of a hero of their own creation and escape into an epic adventure," he said. "We want to make sure that we allow people to have full choice as to which gender they make their hero, what they look like, and even who they choose to have intimate relationships with."

"It's one of the key things that makes a BioWare game unique and why we have such a passionate fan base. Everyone at BioWare is engrained with that mission and it's why we make the games we do," he added.

While that "full choice" Silverman speaks about has occasionally been a little elusive in the Mass Effect games until now - homosexual men have had no romantic choices other than celibacy, for example - it's certainly true that BioWare as a company makes an effort to be inclusive. Dragon Age 2's lead writer David Gaider made the point rather nicely when he slapped down a homophobic fan complaining about being hit on by men earlier this year. "The majority has no inherent 'right' to get more options than anyone else," he said. "The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that's what we tried in [Dragon Age 2]."

Mass Effect 3 comes out for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on March 6th.

Source: VG247

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Can't say I "get it" myself (beyond looking at a woman's arse for 30 hours).

Jennifer Hale just sounds like she's doing an impression of a macho guy - I've not seen anything with any more range than Mark Meer (who I also thought stepped up a fair bit from the first game to the second), who sounds much more natural when ManShep is speaking.

Hale was infinitely better as Bastila in KotOR.

Meant to say this here, said it on the FB comment thing instead...

Guys like to stare at tits. Story at 11!

While it's great that Femshep is going to be represented in some form, I already have a very clear image of what she's supposed to look like.

Relatively short auburn hair, high cheek bones, and green eyes.

She has a very, 'vixen' look to her. She's also 90% renegade.

Woodsey:

Hale was infinitely better as Bastila in KotOR.

Yeah, I can't stand her FemShep impression either, it just sounds like a bored killing machine after amazing performances like Fall-From-Grace.

I tend to play as male shepard, I personally prefer the voice acting and can relate to it more :/

Well, she certainly has a better voice than MaleShep, can't says I think anything else of it though.

About. F-ing. Time.

"We have two people doing the voice acting. One is a guy who barely has a resume, the other is one of the most prestigious female voice actor's in the industry. Why don't we completely exclude her from the advertising? That's a great idea!"

:|

I actually heard that Hale asked BioWare to consider using FemShep as part of the advertising for the first game and they refused. Good to know the fans have finally set the company straight.

Edit: Rereading it, I'm a little put off by how they treated FemShep up to this point, but now their trying to take all the credit for her popularity.

Of course, it's not the Stellar voice acting or writing, it's the fact that you can even be a female in BioWare games. That's the important thing right there.[/sarcasm]

My question is if they're so dedicated to being inclusive and providing an "escape into an epic adventure," why did it take them this long? I read his excuse about providing an character for people to identify with, but that goes directly against what he said about having a "hero of their own creation." How can we have a hero of our own creation if you're telling us right out the door who you think the hero is supposed to be.

Honestly this looks like damage control. They finally realized people weren't happy about them ignoring FemShep and are backpedaling.

I love my FemShep. I actually think the story is more meaningful by having FemShep, simply because it's rare when you find a really heroic female character that isn't just sad -_-

I played a Female Shepard and then a Male Shepard... and then made two more FemSheps because honestly Jennifer Hale is an amazing voice actress. She brought across emotion that truly made FemShep feel like a person. To me the Male Shepard doesn't seem to... care about much. Obviously he does - he's saving the universe for crying out loud - but I never get much emotion from him. I like how easy it is to identify with the Female Shepard.

I'm glad that the Female Shepard is going to get some face time in the mdia as well. Well deserved.

Woodsey:
Hale was infinitely better as Bastila in KotOR.

Yup. As far as I'm concerned Shepard is, was and always shall be male. Jennifer Hale has done so many better performances than female Shepard.

Yeah, manShep didn't emote very well. He either talked normal or loud, at least femShep gave some emotion when she delivered her lines.

I think the initial advertising just came down to the fact that due to the canon, Shepard is male.

008Zulu:
I think the initial advertising just came down to the fact that due to the canon, Shepard is male.

Shepard does not have a canonical gender. When will this misbelief die?

FemShep is dull.

Don't understand why there is all the criticism against Mark Meer as his portrayal is much more varied than Hale's droll, dry tone.

At the end of the day I think it just comes down to a fanbase of guys wanting to roleplay as tough as nails girls (in space).

KotoR 2 did romance options better!

Sorry I'm trying to choke it back but it still comes out every now and then. I thought FemShep was brilliant though and somehow the female dynamic just made her far more interesting (partly because she was obviously not designed to be eye candy) and I really hope it'll open up the range of protagonists in other games

Sentox6:
Shepard does not have a canonical gender. When will this misbelief die?

When there is an adequate explanation as to why in both ME games, the Shepard in the video sequences is a male, why the default character in both games is a male and why in the ME3 teasers, Shepard is a male.

I like Hale, but thats mostly for the voice and not the acting (Not saying the acting is bad), but I get why only one gender was used for the ads, I disagree and think people are smarter than that, well I hope.

Woodsey:

Hale was infinitely better as Bastila in KotOR.

I think Bioware wants them to be bland, it can't be by accident given the talent involved.

EDIT:

008Zulu:

Sentox6:
Shepard does not have a canonical gender. When will this misbelief die?

When there is an adequate explanation as to why in both ME games, the Shepard in the video sequences is a male, why the default character in both games is a male and why in the ME3 teasers, Shepard is a male.

None of that constitutes canon, and therefore even thought there is an explanation it wouldn't change anything.

A lot of pointless news articles lately, though I guess this would be one of the most reasonable of those, since some massive geeky group of people seem to give way too much of a shit about shit not worth giving much of a shit about.
You're gonna see a chick version of the same character in a trailer or two. I'm completely missing the part where this actually means something.

And, "It's about what she represents"? The fuck? Wait, is this the same guy who said that a Mass Effect MMO would be a smart idea?

008Zulu:
When there is an adequate explanation as to why in both ME games, the Shepard in the video sequences is a male, why the default character in both games is a male and why in the ME3 teasers, Shepard is a male.

There is. It's called marketing.

Bollocks to all that, I'm only interested in Jennifer Hale's voice.

i play femshep due to playing a male irl. Games are a break from reality, yes....we have space....yes our chars apparently do exercise, but that pales in comparison to the virtual sex change. :)

Well, it's a fair balance I suppose. Male shep looks good but sounds bad. Female Shep looks ugly but sounds great.

I play FemShep because I prefer playing female characters. Even in first-person games. It doesn't have anything to do with the oft mentioned "if I'm gonna stare at an ass for XX hours" reasoning.

008Zulu:

Sentox6:
Shepard does not have a canonical gender. When will this misbelief die?

When there is an adequate explanation as to why in both ME games, the Shepard in the video sequences is a male, why the default character in both games is a male and why in the ME3 teasers, Shepard is a male.

They explained in the very article you supposedly just read. It's easier to market a character, and the game that character is part of, if you give the character a face and stick to it.

I love Jennifer Hale as FemShep, but I don't think that Mark Meer (ManShep?) is as bad as people claim he is.

It'd be nice if either Shep had certain choices available. Like white hair, glasses, piercings...you know...normal ideas like that.

Hale's got a much wider emotional range in her voice than Meer, and when the protagonist delivers a lot of dialogue that becomes very important. FemShep renegade über alles.

I prefer Male Shephard. I prefer his voice acting. Apparently Hale is an outstanding voice actress, but I personally find her terrible in Mass Effect.

Sentox6:
There is. It's called marketing.

So why not have alternate video sequences, each with a different gender?

JediMB:
They explained in the very article you supposedly just read. It's easier to market a character, and the game that character is part of, if you give the character a face and stick to it.

So why not choose a female to have in the sequences?

008Zulu:

JediMB:
They explained in the very article you supposedly just read. It's easier to market a character, and the game that character is part of, if you give the character a face and stick to it.

So why not choose a female to have in the sequences?

Because (marketing) people are convinced that male action heroes sell better than female ones?

Eh, I'd only say female Shepard's voice is only slightly better than the male one. Both versions are pretty bland, to be honest. Jennifer Hale actually has done some really good voice acting though, which leads me to believe BioWare made them bland on purpose. *shrug*

I still feel David Gaider's explanation was pretty flimsy. If you want to do something like that you spend time and characterise each person, instead Bioware felt it was easiest to just make everyone bisexual, less script and less time spent changing things.

Unfortunately, I think we will see this laziness in ME3 where pre-established straight and fleshed out characters suddenly get the hots for Shep. If you're going to do it, do it right Bioware and write in this stuff properly.

I also feel these have become less and less romances (throughout recent Bioware games) and more Shep/Hawke gettin their leg over with less and less character interaction in between. I don't know if it's the hand of EA or lazy writers but it's got to stop imo, they have stopped progressing in quality with their IPs.

I don't get the appeal of a female protagonist, being male myself. The "role playing" aspect has never worked for me, as I find it harder to connect with the character if I'm the opposite gender. *shrug* But if you like playing as FemShep, more power to ya. I love Jennifer Hale as a voice actress.

I'm surprised how many people actually prefer male Shepard. Or well, not male Shepard per se, but the male voice actor. To me, they are incomparable, and Hale just blows him out of the water. They are worlds apart in my opinion.

Well for me, it kinda boils down to the fact that all of the futuristic space suits are skin tight.

Do I, as a heterosexual male, want to watch a man's skin tight bum for 30+ hours as I blast aliens?

No, no I don't. Femshep it is!

Femshep <3

I only hope she stays the same in ME3, shes epic to play as renagade!

BITCH IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!

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