Commander Shepard had become one of the bigger icons when it comes to sci-fi video games. Players had the chance to explore countless worlds, meet countless new aliens and friends. The Mass Effect trilogy took players in many different areas and showcased the ups and downs of someone in Shepard's position. Mass Effect: Andromeda is upon us in the coming weeks, but that doesn't mean we'll ever forget our crazy adventure as Commander Shepard. It's not very often in games today that you get to spend that much time with a brand new character as interesting and unique as Shepard. It may seem as though Shepard's story was just getting started, but whether you enjoy the trilogy's ending or not, it seems that it's in the best interest we move on and let Shepard live on through our memories.
Now, the interesting thing about Shepard is that the character was so unique to each individual. Everyone, for the most part, had a unique Shepard in sex and appearance. The pronouns I may use underneath are simply for the context in relation to the awesome thing you didn't know about Shepard. We may all know about Shepard's disdain of reporters and secret love of the dance floor, but we're going to be running through all of the lesser known facts that you may not know about. Was Shepard's backstory choices nothing but a facade? Did Shepard actually play favorites without us knowing? Is Shepard a really good dancer? Let's find out below.
15 Shepard's Not a Gamer
The female voice of Commander Shepard, Jennifer Hale, has stated that she doesn't really play video games herself. This isn't really that surprising coming from someone who voices a character in a certain medium. For many actors, they enjoy embracing new challenges and trying to make the characters come to life. The more interesting thing about Hale is that she has stated numerous times that she's committed to growing the narrative and story-telling aspects of games to the next level. Hale has worked with BioWare on numerous occasions as well as appearing in Bioshock: Infinite, For Honor, Halo 5, and much more. Hopefully, we see Jennifer pop up in the Andromeda galaxy, but if not we will always remember her as our female Commander Shepard.
14 Fans Get What Fans Want
One of the best parts of playing through Mass Effect is being able to choose who you're going to be romancing for the better part of the games. Though Garrus, everyone's favorite Turian sniper, is a fan favorite when it comes to snuggling up in Shepard's quarters, this wasn't necessarily BioWare's original vision. Due to a tremendous amount of fan feedback following the release of the original Mass Effect, BioWare decided to make Garrus a romantic option for everyone's Commander Shepard. This was a fantastic move on BioWare's part, seeing as Garrus was not only one of the strongest characters in the franchise, but also a crew member players felt was more than just an ally at times. Interesting to see a developer embrace a community's feedback so willingly.
13 Shepard Was Supposed To Walk Alone
During the original pitch, allies Shepard had grown close to and created cherishing relationships with were supposed to die as they stormed the final reaper. The storytellers felt that these actions would lead to the gravitas of the final battle and erase any and all levity in the matter. Instead, players simply had their beloved friends and crew members vanish unexpectedly and poorly explained. Through the release of the Extended Cut, which only a percentage of Mass Effect 3 owners even bothered to download and play, BioWare fixed a lot of an ending that seemed rushed and patched together. It would have been interesting to see the reception of the ending if this original pitch of a final storming really played out the way it was pitched and explained.
12 Shepard the Match Maker
Commander Shepard isn't the only crew member with the ability to ignite a spark and start a relationship. Depending on certain romantic choices you make, other characters will have blossoming relationships around you. This goes for plenty of fan favorites as well as unorthodox buddies. Tali and Garrus will court one another if Shepard isn't involved with either of them. This fortunate side effect also happens with Normandy engineers Ken and Gabby as well. Lastly, if you haven't courted Ashley or Vega by, or during, the Citadel DLC, they will embrace one another as partners. These type of secondary relationships lead to the immersion and connection between the players and the game. Hopefully, we'll see some of these types of things happen in Mass Effect: Andromeda and beyond.
11 Shepard Makes the Rounds
Electronic Arts knew the popularity of the Mass Effect trilogy was incredibly high and, because of this, they injected Commander Shepard in many of their other games. Players could obtain Shepard's N7 armor in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for playing the Mass Effect 3 Demo. A special set of N7 armor could also be obtained in Dead Space 3 if the player also owned a copy of Mass Effect 3. One of the most interesting appearances Commander Shepard made was in a Final Fantasy game. Yes, you read that right, Shepard did indeed appear in a Final Fantasy game. Players could obtain an alternative Shepard skin for both Serah and Noel within Final Fantasy XIII-2. Though this is a very odd pairing of properties, it's great to see nods to games within games.
10 Someone Call A Medic
Commander Shepard is known for his/her iconic gray armor with hints of both red and white, and the N7 logo representing all of the training and rigorous hours of combat. Shepard's armor was originally just red and white. The change was made to gray after designers felt the character was giving off the vibe of a medic. It would have been interesting to see what a Shepard in red and white would have looked like in the original Mass Effect. Thankfully, players are given the ability to customize their armor in Mass Effect 2. So, if you ever feel like seeing what the original Shepard armor design would have looked like, you have all of the necessary tools available. It's said that the red on Shepard's sleeve symbolizes the bloodshed the character has had to perform and endure.
9 A Temporary Voice
Many people have come to love the very authoritarian and even-toned voice of Commander Shepard over the course of the trilogy. Ironically Mark Meer, the voice of male Shepard, was only ever supposed to be a stand-in for the voice. Apparently, his voice was simply demo talent used for the team to work through the prototype process of the game. The fact that Meer was from Edmonton played a huge role in him landing the voice permanently. BioWare felt that it would be great to give someone local a chance and would also allow them to focus on things outside of the main character's audio replacement down the line. It also didn't hurt that Mark Meer's voice for Shepard was a perfect tone and direction for the type of character BioWare wanted to create.
8 A Model Modeled
Now, in most games, the character is actually a motion-capture representation of the actor voicing and performing said character. In terms of default male Commander Shepard, this isn't necessarily the case. Commander Shepard's face is not only modeled after someone not named Mark Meer, but is modeled after an actual model. Shepard's sculpted male face is that of Mark Vanderloo, a Dutch professional model. It's easy to see why BioWare chose to model Shepard after Mr. Vanderloo, though gamers have the ability to adjust his look however they please. Mass Effect is a situation in which the face of the franchise isn't exactly the face of everyone's individual story.
7 What's in a Name?
Commander Shepard's name actually holds a lot of weight when it comes to space, science fiction, and a human's experience with space travel. Alan Shepard was a pioneer in his craft and a remarkable human being. Alan Shepard was the second person ever, and the first American, to travel to space. BioWare felt that his All-American attitude and his stern personality really related to their vision for the main protagonist of Mass Effect. They also felt that because Commander Shepard was set to be the first ever human spectre, it made sense to name the character after the first American to ever travel to space. It's interesting to see how much thought goes into a video game character's name and BioWare made a great choice, naming it after one of the most important people in American history.
6 Meerely A Voice
We've already talked about the fortunate set of circumstances that led Mark Meer into being the voice of Commander Shepard. Another interesting tidbit about Mr. Meer is that he's actually the voice of numerous characters across the series. He's voiced everything from the Vorcha to the Hanar. That type of vocal range is phenomenal and shows the types of talent Meer has. It would have been even more phenomenal if Mark somehow voiced female Commander Shepard as well. It's interesting to sometimes see behind the curtain and come to an understanding that having a strong relationship with people can lead you into a remarkable set of circumstances. We hope to see Mark Meer's name in the credits once we finish the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda.
5 Shepard's Gender Actual Matters
Players had the ability to choose what gender their personal Commander Shepard was going to be. Now, this apparently will affect some parts of Mass Effect: Andromeda's story. Little is know about the extent to which this will shape and craft the events of this new game. Some people believe that it will simply change the pronouns in a few callbacks and nods to the original trilogy. Others believe that Shepard's mark on the Andromeda galaxy may be bigger than any of us think. Either way, this is and interesting way to craft Mass Effect: Andromeda to feel uniquely personal from the very beginning. Shepard's sex for most was simply just an aesthetic choice. Others felt that being able to command such a powerful and respected character through the portrayal of a woman led to many young girls falling in love with a universe and story they could more easily relate to.
4 Why the Hate, Vanderloo?
According to multiple sources, Mark Vanderloo never wanted anything to do with the Mass Effect games. He's turned down offers to play Commander Shepard at cosplay events around the world. Vanderloo has also had zero interaction with any of Mass Effect's press materials. This is a very odd set of circumstances considering Vanderloo is the face of one of the larger video game franchises in recent history. Maybe the guy isn't a fan of video games? Maybe he doesn't understand how big the character is? Or more than likely it was a simple business deal that asked for permission to his likeness and he moved on with his life. Still, it would have been awesome to see the literal real-life representation of Commander Shepard at a cosplay event somewhere in the world.
3 Jack of All Trades, Sarah of None
BioWare has been very open about countless pieces of data related to the Mass Effect franchise over the years. One of the coolest collections of data BioWare has shared with fans has to do with name choices for Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 3. The two most popular names are obviously the default male and female choices, being John and Jane. The most popular male and female names that weren't default option might come as a bit of a surprise. In descending order, the top 5 male names in Mass Effect 3 were Jack, James, Chris, Alex, and Michael. Whereas, also in descending order, the top 5 female names were Sarah, Kate, Alice, Jessica, and Alex. Naming a character in most games is nothing but an afterthought, but the fact that Alex topped both lists is somewhat impressive.
2 Shepard's A Good Guy
One of the biggest components of the Mass Effect trilogy has to be the Paragon/Renegade system BioWare implemented and refined over the course of the three games. Many players seem to go in with the sole intention of creating and crafting an experience that's all their own. Sadly, it seems that most people end up being the prototypical good guy when it comes to navigating Shepard through this story. According to data released by BioWare, over 64% of players ended the games in Paragon alignment. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, seeing as most people truly are good at heart. It would be interesting to see how many of those 36% Renegade saves were a byproduct of completing the complementary achievements and trophies.
1 Shepard's In Andromeda?
Now, we've heard for months, if not years, that the newest entry in the Mass Effect franchise is a completely new story. That it follows a set of new characters, traveling to brand new areas. For the longest time, it felt as though there would be no connection to the original trilogy and as though Shepard's accomplishments would simply be a casualty to time. According to some early reports about Mass Effect: Andromeda, there will indeed be some type of connection between Shepard's actions and the brand new adventure. At the beginning of the game, players have some options to select in relation to who exactly their Shepard was. Since the game has yet to release, we don't exactly know what this means for players, but we're excited to see how this plays out.