It may have been quite the process, but BioWare finally released a female Shepard trailer today. For those who don’t know, Shepard is the protagonist in the Mass Effect series, and players have the option to choose Shepard’s gender. However, most players choose male Shepard over female Shepard. The very talented Jennifer Hale voices the female Shepard, and it’s a shame more people don’t get to hear her wonderful voice work for the character.
Now saying ‘female Shepard’ seems too formal. She is popularly known as "Fem Shep" by her near-cult following (follow @femshep_com via Twitter or FemShep.com for all Fem Shep news). Due to this near-cult following, there has been an extended outcry for this female Shepard to star in her own trailer. Where has the Fem Shep love been BioWare? All trailers and promotions always feature male Shepard — literally always. The community was outraged by this, so the demand for the Fem Shep trailer began.
Back in July of 2011, the official Mass Effect 2 Facebook page ran a contest to choose the official look of Fem Shep. This process included voting though various pictures of different hair styles for our dashing heroine and then choosing a hair color in the second phase. A screen shot collection is shown below.
The love for female Shepard only grew more from this point on. With an official look, fans were now ready for an official trailer. Clevver Games posted this video to YouTube back in June of this year. In this video, Andrea Rene talks about how BioWare was increasing the gender equality marketing with adding Fem Shep to their rotation. This clip mentions that BioWare’s David Silverman Tweeted that Fem Shepard will get her own trailer and that she will be on the collector’s edition box art of the game. The clip is embedded below:
Also in June 2011, there was an interview with David Silverman about the topic of Fem Shep. In this interview at E3 2011, he says “you will see your Fem Shep trailer, so there you go.” This was the ray of hope that promised Fem Shep fans that a trailer was inevitable. From this point on there was no going back, and if BioWare did not deliver there would be riots in the streets. The E3 2011 clip is posted below:
Then came the 2011 VGA Awards on December 10th. BioWare had previous announced that there would be a brand new Mass Effect trailer to showcase during the award program. The Fem Shep fans held their breaths, hoping that THIS would be the trailer they have long been waiting so long for.
Sadly, this was not the case. The day before the award show, Chris Priestly of BioWare’s Social Network posted in the official forums:
Ok, it is a hard part of my job, but I prefer to do what I call "managing expectations". When we do not manage fan expectation, people's imaginations get ahead of them and they see something cool, but since it isn't what they expect, they end up disappointed.
I can say it is not the FemShep trailer.
I can say it is footage not seen previously (not from previous demos, etc) and shows a "cool scene" on a planet that should be familiar to people who played Mass Effect 2.
I could hear the hearts breaking around the globe. To be fair, though, the Fem Shep trailer would have been too good for the 2011 VGAs. Perhaps that is just my opinion, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the VGAs this year.
Time kept a ticking, like it always seems to do. Entering February, there was still silence about the Fem Shep trailer; March 6th was quickly approaching. Then today, on February 10th, on #FemShepFriday — boom, trailer. Not only did BioWare keep their promise, but the trailer is phenomenal.
This trailer does not portray female Shepard as some wishy-washy damsel in distress; no, they show her off how she is — a complete bad ass, with such lines as “I know a thing or two about killing Reapers,” and “Tell your friends, we’re coming for them.” These aren’t the words of some prima donna. Anderson’s voice-over talks about the shit she’s done, knows that no one has seen what she’s seen, and knows that she knows how to fight the Reapers.
All in all, I’d say BioWare did an excellent job on this trailer. There are subtleties I noticed in the trailer that would be more likely true in a female Shepard playthrough. For instance, you don’t see Ashley at all, but you do see Kaidan. Well done BioWare, well done. Enjoy the trailer below, and all you Fem Shep fans can breathe easy now. Mass Effect 3 is out for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 March 6th — less than a month away.