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Very First Animation Tests Of Mass Effect Were Of FemShep, Says Lead Animator

HELL yeah!

One of the best things about many Bioware games is that you can select the gender of the character you play, making the experience that much more immersive (and representational, too, if you’re a woman playing a woman). Despite that, the marketing for Mass Effect tended to focus almost exclusively on the male avatars for a super long time, until criticism of this practice finally led to a fan-voted default avatar and trailer for FemShep in 2011. Which is odd, because if Lead ME cinematic animator Jonathan Cooper is to be believed, FemShep technically came first.

Okay, that’s a bit reductive. Shephard was “always planned to be both male and female” after Bioware’s Jade Empire, Cooper notes—that’s also where the mocap for this animation test was repurposed from. But usually when there’s a gender option, the male version is designed first and the female version is later reskinned from that original animation, so the fact that Cooper’s very first tests depicted a woman Shephard is still somewhat of a novelty.

So is this, also:

This doesn’t technically make FemShep the definitive canonical Shephard, as Bioware insists that there isn’t one (they do a pretty good job obfuscating their gender even in the comics, such as in Mass Effect: Redemption where  . Nor does it excuse all the MaleShep-heavy marketing, of course. But hey, if this new bit of information further allows you to decide in your head that FemShep is the one true Shep and shall have no other Sheps before her, then who are we to deny you?

(via Tip from Glen Tickle)

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