Though players have always been given the choice of playing as either a male or female Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series, the protagonist has always been shown as male in the promotional ads and box art. Today, we found out that the savior of the galaxy was originally created as a female.
This comes to us from Jonathan Cooper who was formerly the Animation Lead on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. On Twitter he posted a test animation for Commander Shepard.
Ten years ago this month, my very first anim test for Mass Effect. Yup, Commander Shepard was originally a woman: pic.twitter.com/FhC2E0FSrA
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) January 9, 2015
This is very interesting stuff but I can’t say I’m surprised by the sex change. While having a female lead nowadays wouldn’t be anything special, back in 2007 when Mass Effect was released it would have been; specially since it was the heyday of the bald, white, butch, male protagonist. That image is the one the gaming industry wanted to sell to gamers at the time. Granted, it was a Bioware game and you would have had the choice to play as either gender but this was the logic behind having male Shepard be the default one used to promote the game.
As for me, this just validates my belief that the real Commander Shepard is female.
Source: Jonathan Cooper on Twitter