With their recent success in the RPG genre, BioWare has shown that they look to offer compelling stories to gamers of both genders, keeping the choice of a male or female protagonist up to the player themselves. But with the iconic representation of Mass Effect 3 hero Commander Shepard being that of a male, the developers have revealed that the female counterpart will be given some long-awaited attention. The images the team is working on for female Shepard’s ME3 new look have been released, and BioWare is looking for fan input on which design is best.

[Update: The first round of voting has been completed, but the second round has officially begun. Check out the new choices here!]

We’ve already seen that Shepard’s team has gotten an upgrade visually, so it’s only right that the Commander herself should be eligible for an update. The male version of Shepard has seen improvements from the first to third games, with a look distinctly different from player-created faces.

Some might say that the female Shepard hasn’t enjoyed such refinements, but BioWare has made it clear that the male Shepard won’t be taking all of the spotlight, with the female version getting her own trailer.

It seems an increased amount of time in front of the camera has BioWare thinking that female Shepard could use a new look, and has released the designs they’ve worked up so far. From edgy to smoldering, it looks like the female Commander will be able to give her male counterpart an even better run for his money the third time around.

Have a look at the designs below:

There’s definitely a range of looks here, so be sure to head over to BioWare’s Facebook page and cast your vote. The blonde look is currently in the lead, and while the developer hasn’t confirmed that the winning choice will be used for future advertising, speaking your mind won’t hurt.

Those of you who have played through the first two games as the standard version of she-Shepard will have no doubt grown attached to the current look – which will still be a selectable face in the final game – but it’s hard to argue that the new designs are far more fierce and intense than the past. Considering the task at hand for ME3, if there was ever a time for Shepard to look ready for a fight regardless of gender, it’s now.

If you’re not sure about the new looks, but have grown tired of the same old Shepard, you’ll be happy to hear that an imported version of Mass Effect 2‘s character will be adjustable. Executive Producer Casey Hudson confirmed as much via Twitter, although exactly how much will be ‘tweakable’ is still unclear. Anything is better than nothing, we suppose.

What’s your take on the new designs for a leaner, meaner female Shepard? Glad to see them giving her more attention, or do you wish they would have done it sooner? Be sure to cast your vote and opinion in our comments as well.

We’ll get to see how both version of Commander Shepard handle themselves against the Reaper threat when Mass Effect 3 is released for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on March 6, 2012.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

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