Mass Effect is one of gaming’s biggest icons, with the sci-fi epic amassing many fans that are well-versed in its behind-the-scenes facts.
Mass Effect is one of EA, BioWare, and the gaming medium’s icons, as the sprawling sci-fi epic garnered critical acclaim and a massive fan following across the original trilogy. Though the franchise has seen better days, the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition remastered collection helped bring those three games back into the limelight.
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Given its acclaim for character-driven storytelling and rich lore, it not only pulled in fans of these dense fantastical genres of stories but ones that are in the know when it comes to the more behind-the-scenes developments of the franchise.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the turian Garrus Vakarian remains a beloved fan-favorite Mass Effect character even after 15 years. The charming, supportive, and cool-headed turian agent has one the hearts of most of the series’ fans since the original game, and some stats to come out of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition re-release proves that that love is enduring.
The official Mass Effect Twitter account posted an infographic showing that Garrus is still the most popular character from the original game of the six presented. It must also help that he’s one of the most competent members of the main cast when it comes to combat as well.
The Mass Effect series is widely praised — among other things — for being an engrossing RPG on top of an action-packed third-person shooter. Part of those RPG elements come from how involved player choice is during the compelling character story arcs, including romantic relationships.
Garrus wasn’t originally a romantic option for Commander Shepard in the first game, but fan feedback managed to inspire BioWare to make him into a romanceable character in Mass Effect 2, which could be carried over into 3. Granted, it was only made an option for female Shepard, but it’s impressive how the community created this much of an impact on the series.
It’s no secret that Mass Effect pays homage to several iconic franchises that span multiple mediums. One of the more surprising and interesting ones, though, is how the character of Mordin Solus came to be.
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Aside from the more conventional inspiration from Hollywood aliens, BioWare also looked to later pictures of actor/director Clint Eastwood. It’s touched on in a Game Informer video on how the salarian species were conceived, with the developers looking to Eastwood to give Mordin a more experienced look and overall character design.
Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords are some of the best Star Wars games ever made. The first game, in particular, was made by Mass Effect developers BioWare. Before passing on the sequel to Obsidian Entertainment, BioWare considered making it before deciding that it would be in their best interest to move on to an original IP.
Creative director James Ohlen told Eurogamer this in a lengthy interview, where he also divulged how elements of KotOR inspired gameplay features in Mass Effect like the Normandy and how it functioned as a hub and mode of traversal throughout the galaxy. This proved to be the best of both worlds since The Sith Lords became a worthy sequel, while Mass Effect blossomed into an original and acclaimed series.
The Legendary Edition was met with strong critical reception, becoming some of the best-remastered games of last year and today. Since the content of the games dates back to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generations of gaming, the high points of this collection were how it gave a modernized facelift to the experience.
With the technological advancements on hand, players were given more control over graphics and performance settings, but the “calibration” option in Legendary Edition is also a fun nod to Garrus. Kotaku pointed it out in a piece of theirs, noting that it’s a callback to how Garrus frequently mentions he’s constantly working on some unknown “calibrations” on the Normandy.
While Garrus might be most fans’ favorite character, Tali is a close competitor among Normandy’s cast. She’s one of the most compassionate and sympathetic characters in Mass Effect, as well as being one of the popular romance options for Commander Shepard. Tali is of the quarian species, which are nomadic aliens on a pilgrimage for her people.
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However, they were extremely intricate enviro-suits due to their weak immune systems, thus explaining why Tali’s face was such a mystery for so long. Designer Matt Rhodes revealed this in a blog post, in which he revealed several of his designs for what Tali’s final look could’ve looked like.
Romance is one of several important mechanics to Mass Effect‘s compelling storytelling, even when it’s optional for the player. These character relationships and dynamics add depth to the Normandy crew, add to the immersion, and make these characters feel even more human.
However, even if Commander Shepard doesn’t romance any of the members of the crew, they’ll develop romantic relationships with each other. Some of these characters develop romantic bonds in DLC, though, both Tali and Garrus will become a couple in Mass Effect 3 if Shepard doesn’t show interest in either. It’s a good example of how BioWare made sure to flesh out their characters even if the player opts out of interacting with them in certain ways.
Courtenay Taylor, who played the traumatized and battle-hardened Jack first introduced in Mass Effect 2, has also made her presence known in a few BioWare classics. This piece of trivia is certainly for those well-versed fans of BioWare’s golden age of games, as Taylor was also the actress who voiced the Cathar Jedi Juhani in the aforementioned Knights of the Old Republic.
Likewise, she also voiced two characters — Farinden and Shaevra — in the critically-acclaimed CRPG classic Dragon Age: Origins. It’s always nice to see franchise veterans appear across a developer’s catalog of games.
Though Mass Effect did strive for cinematic storytelling by having a “set” character, it wasn’t entirely so since players could customize Commander Shepard as male or female. But while players had this choice, the original Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 didn’t use the “set” female Shepard design depicted in 3.
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It was a shame this rendition arrived so late in the series, especially since industry legend Jennifer Hale voiced the female version throughout the trilogy. Thankfully, though, the Legendary Edition collection took the opportunity to remaster this look back into the first two games.
Jennifer Hale is an actress on the level of fellow industry mainstays like Nolan North and Troy Baker, so naturally, she’s featured in many beloved video games series. On top of voicing Commander Shepard in the original Mass Effect trilogy, she also voiced a pivotal character in Knights of the Old Republic.
She played the Jedi Bastila Shan (who’s set to reappear in the upcoming Knights of the Old Republic Remake), as well as her and Revan’s descendant Satele Shan in The Old Republic MMORPG and Krem in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
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Guillermo Kurten is a journalism major at the University of Houston. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he now resides in Houston. He is a fan of pretty much anything involving nerd culture. Video games, comics, movies, TV, anime, manga, you name it. He also has experience writing about soccer, specifically, the German team Bayern Munich.

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