Mass Effect 2 is one of BioWare's most successful games. The writing, characters, and mechanics are all top-notch. It got more detailed and darker than the first game. In fact, it serves as a decent introduction for new players who skipped the original Mass Effect. All the characters are easy to empathize with, especially when completing their loyalty missions.
The stakes were also high, with the story ending on a "suicide mission" where anyone from your crew could die based on in-game choices. It is no wonder the game scored mostly perfect scores from reviewers.
How was a game like this made? What are some of the secret details? Here is what we have found.
10 Garrus' Romance Is Thanks To The Fans
One of Mass Effect 2's great successes was its romance choices. In the original game, it is just between Kaiden, Liara, and Ashley. In the sequel, more aliens are involved. Through fan feedback, BioWare realized that the aliens were very empathetic and emotional characters that players wanted to romance. After all, why romance another human in a science fiction story when you can be with someone of a totally different species?
Garrus, in particular, was very popular among fans, so the creators made sure a romance with the turian was possible in Mass Effect 2.
9 Developers Looked At A Lot Of Fan Art For Inspiration
Through fan art, BioWare could analyze what players thought of their characters. This helped enhance the romance options as well.
8 Mordin Solus Was Based On Clint Eastwood
The salarian Mordin Solus' face was inspired by the appearance of Clint Eastwood. The brief for his design was "What would the Clint Eastwood salarian look like?"
Through that brief, they got Mordin's aged look. Once you put Clint Eastwood and Mordin's Solus' face next to each other, you can see the similarities in their serious and wrinkly scowls.
7 Some Characters Were Designed With The Intention Of Players Disliking Them At First
New characters like Miranda and Jack were written with the intention of players not liking them at first. According to Casey Hudson, those feelings were part of their character arcs.
Miranda is the cheerleader that people don't like at first because she's too perfect. Jack is the outsider that people have a negative reaction to, and nobody takes the time to get to know her. She builds up a shell and acts like she doesn't want you to know her. There's some interesting truth to that, and it's a character arc that extends backward outside of the game to your first impression of them when you see them online.
If you hated Miranda or Jack at any point during Mass Effect 2, the developers were counting on that.
6 Miranda Was Based On Yvonne Strahovski
Yvonne Strahovski is a famous Australian actress known for her roles in Chuck, Dexter, 24: Live Another Day, and The Handmaiden's Tale. She was also the voice actress and model for the Mass Effect 2 character, Miranda Lawson. It is a pretty big deal that Miranda's design was based off a real person since her in-game story revolves around Miranda being genetically sculptured to look perfect. That is a big compliment to Strahovski.
According to her interviews, Strahovski did not know much about Mass Effect or Miranda.
5 Some Of Joker's Lines Were Improvised
Joker was voiced by actor Seth Green, who has been known for his roles in The Italian Job, Yellowbird, and The Story of Luke. He has also done a ton of voice acting and is well-known for all his work on Robot Chicken. With the role of Joker, he followed the rules but was sometimes allowed to put some of his own humor into the script.
"They definitely let me bring some personality out when it was appropriate, like when it wasn't a technical instruction or some kind of gameplay instruction," he said. "I ad-libbed a little bit, like made something sillier or funnier."
4 Martin Sheen Would Suck On A Pen When Speaking As The Illusive Man
According to those who worked on Mass Effect 2 with him, Martin Sheen was very into his role as the Illusive Man. His performance was loved by fans, and his voice was a perfect fit for the mysterious and serious character.
Since the Illusive Man smoked and Sheen didn't, Sheen would use a pen instead of a cigarette to get into character.
3 Miranda Was Originally Blonde
Miranda Lawson as actually Miranda Solheim at first. She was first developed to be of Scandinavian heritage and was going to have blonde hair. Once Yvonne Strahovski signed for the role though, Miranda's last name was changed to something more Australian to match her model and voice actress.
As for Miranda's hair color, it was changed to black to better match her uniform and to give her a more "femme fatale" kind of look.
2 Mass Effect's Whole Audio System Changed
According to the leader of the Mass Effect's audio team, Rob Blake, they changed their entire system in Mass Effect 2.
"Mass Effect 2 was not a sequel from an audio perspective," said Blake. "We changed our entire audio system from ISACT over to Audiokinetic’s Wwise and therefore all of the assets, tech, tools, and systems had to be re-implemented. We took this opportunity to rework pretty much all of the sounds in the game; from the powers and weapons to the music system and VO."
Mass Effect 2 does feel quite different from its predecessor, and the revamped audio definitely contributed to this aspect.
1 They Wanted To Make Thane As Handsome As Possible
The drell was a new race introduced in Mass Effect 2. When creating that race, Thane was on the development team's minds. They wanted to make an alien who would be popular with the female Shepards.
"The part that threw everyone was the fact that he was to be a romance option for female Shepard characters; we just had a hard time getting that out of our heads," said Art Director Derek Watts. "I think we over thought what female game players wanted."
Character Artist Kolby Jukes said, "The original designs for Thane were a lot more humanoid. He was supposed to be incredibly handsome; the most beautiful man in the universe sort of thing."