Though, for ever gamer, there exists their own version of Commander Shepard (be they male or female) that is considered canon, for BioWare there are two iconic profiles for the star-charting hero of Mass Effect 3.
The first and more recognizable visage is that of Commander Shepard's male iteration or, as we like to call him, OG Shep. The other more recent addition to the Commander Shepard collection is Fem Shep, a female version of Commander Shepard that was decided on by fan vote, was featured in her own trailers, and is on the opposite side of the game's box art.
Unlike OG Shep, though, Fem Shep has allowed gamers to peek behind BioWare's curtain and see what types of looks they were toying around with before settling on the six potential candidates for Fem Shep — the ones that were put to a fan vote. Artist Jason Chan, who helped design the various looks for Fem Shep, has a piece of his art online that should give fans a better look at the many iterations that Fem Shep could have taken on.
In fact, for those that might play through the Mass Effect 3 with a female Shepard, this could be a good source of inspiration, or just a chance to see that your Fem Shep could have made the cut.
The design of Commander Shepard has always been a major point of contention for fans of the series both because the series has such a strong focus on player customization and because BioWare decided to focus on one sex and completely alienated a portion of Mass Effect's fan base.
Now that those boundaries, so to speak, have been squashed, Mass Effect fans of all types can rejoice in not just the singular experience of a campaign play through but can enjoy the marketing for the game as well. Our hope is that other games with similar character design choices will be as open to fan feedback as BioWare.
Which of the many different iterations of Fem Shep would you have liked to see in trailers and screenshots? Did the focus on a male Commander Shepard bother you at all?
Mass Effect 3 is available now for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.