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Exclusive Look! Mass Effect 3 Character Design


The gang’s all here and ready to kick some Reaper ass. As Bioware ramps up for the release of the game, our friends over at Dark Horse gave us a sneak peek at the Art of Mass Effect.

via Buzzfeed

*heavy sigh*

Many people have bitched about this already, myself included, but seeing it so blithely and blatantly from BioWare’s own mouth makes me even more pissy, so here I go again. Feel free to skip if you’re sick of it. I guess it may also contain spoilers if you don’t know or want to know anything about the ME 1 characters’ updated looks.

Direct quotes from the art book:

For Ashley’s reappearance in the series, we let her hair down and gave her sex appeal…

Because of course, a woman wearing a practical suit of armor (since she is, you know, a marine) and wearing her hair tied up automatically has no sex appeal whatsoever. Mm-mm. Nope. None. Because that isn’t feminine, I guess. Or something.

Moreover, the suuuper sexy, ‘scuze me while I thrust my hips out’ poses in the drawings are just…not Ashley to me. Not the Ashley I remember from ME 1. She was more interested in blowing away bad guys with her boomstick than in parading around like a model.

As for Kaidan:

Kaidan’s armor in the original Mass Effect was hardly memorable. We wanted to change that.

Lolwut. So Ashley gets a head to toe makeover to make her practical, sensible form more acceptable to the ogling male gaze, but Kaidan, who’s just as much a love interest? Nope. It’s his armor that wasn’t memorable.

We bulked him up to show that he’s seen a lot of action…

Once again with the “character design for men equals strength and power and masculine testosterone-fueled manliness. Character design for women equals sex sex sex sex sex.” Never mind that Ashley, not Kaidan, was the pure soldier out of all the ME 1 squadmates! Does she get bulked up? Has she seen a lot of action? Just at the salon, I guess.

On the plus side:

[Liara’s] jacket is a reminder of her background in science…

They actually remembered that Liara used to be an archaeologist! gasp.

Again with this horseshit.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s still infuriating. Competence is sexy. So is practicality. I’m sorry if the character designers’ perception of sexuality is so shallow that they can only recognize the most blatant, stereotypical variety.

Personal anecdote: when these pictures of Ash were first released, I tweeted “Her hair is covering her eye! How is she supposed to fight like that?” Mike Gamble, Mass Effect producer, tweeted back “yeah…we had to give Ash a 1 point handicap with the hair so she was matched with Kaidan ;)” Way to, firstly, acknowledge that the new look was stupid while still supporting it, and, secondly, insult my favorite character (not that he could have known it was my favorite, but STILL).

God damn, Bioware used to hit all the RIGHT notes (or okay, at least more right notes than other game developers) - what is THIS shit? Even I, a pinup artist in my spare time, am going “But she was a fucking SOLDIER first and foremost!” Not that soldiers can’t be attractive, but this fresh-from-the-salon-sex-symbol look? No. No no no no no no. I didn’t play ME1 much, and she wasn’t in ME2 much, but I know damn well that this is handling the character dead wrong.

People are right to be worried that ME3 is taking the series down the generic third person shooter path; which is probably exactly what EA would like to happen. :\ Kinect integration! Multiplayer! Sexin’ up the female characters! Makin’ the male characters BUFF ‘N’ MANLY! The Fem!Shep Beauty Pageant! ME3 is just cock-up after cock-up. I’m almost afraid to play it. :P