Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC was “a love letter to the fans” according to voice actor Jennifer Hale
The beloved Mass Effect 3 DLC is loved by Shepard’s voice actors, too
The Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC is largely considered the most popular DLC in the trilogy, and both actors who play Commander Shepard understand why.
Actors Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer sat down with us to chat for Mass Effect N7 day, and when the topic of the Citadel DLC was broached, they had a lot to say about it.
Hale calls the Citadel DLC a “love letter to the fans” and also gives BioWare credit for making such a touching bit of content. “To me, that also goes back to the nature of the company making this, like the heart of BioWare. It’s just so beautiful. It’s so responsive and so open-minded and open-hearted and inclusive and connected, and it’s really about what it’s about. It’s about the game and the material, and it’s not about anything else and it’s incredible,” Hale insists.
“For me, personally, it was essentially the last thing we did, this is the capstone to the entire trilogy, to these years of work, working with all these people,” Meer says. “I really have to give credit to Cathleen Rootsaert, one of the writers at BioWare she was one of the ones who championed ‘we gotta have the big party on the Citadel, we gotta get all these folks back together. That gave you the opportunity to see characters, NPCs, interact that never interacted before. You got to have Wrex and Grunt in the same room, and oh Zaeed is here as well, and you get to see the conversation between them.”
Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale reflect on playing Mass Effect’s Shepard
Two Shepards discuss the sci-fi trilogy
With Mass Effect: Legendary Edition released in May, the classic sci-fi trilogy is back in the spotlight. While we’re still quite a ways out from any new title in the Mass Effect universe, the old RPGs remain hugely influential on the genre. There’s still plenty to discuss from the original trilogy, including the stellar voice acting. A huge part of the game’s impact comes from Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer, who each portrayed protagonist Commander Shepard.
Depending on the dialogue options players choose, Shepard can be a Paragon, a selfless protector who takes the high ground, or a loose-cannon Renegade who’s OK with cracking some heads together if it means they get results. But Shepard is also a bit of a cipher; everyone has their own personal take on the character. Hale and Meer had the challenge of bringing the character to life through recording hours of dialogue, throughout the sprawling franchise and its many branches.
Polygon spoke with Hale and Meer over Zoom about recording the Mass Effect trilogy and working with the rest of the Normandy’s crew. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
With so many branches and possibilities, were you surprised as you went through the Definitive Collection?
How did you keep the core character consistent across all the variables?
Mark Meer: We relied heavily on our directors. Caroline Livingstone did a lot of work on Mass Effect 2 and 3 with us, especially as we got further into the series and the branches got more branchy. Caroline, Susanne Hunka, and Shauna Perry gave us context constantly. As Shepards, we saw the big picture more than most people, but that also made it more confusing for us because we weren’t doing this in chronological order. So Caroline was able to say, “Do you remember that scene on Virmire?
This happens right after that.“ So they were able to give us context, not only chronologically within the game, but emotionally where Shepard was.
Jennifer Hale’s reaction to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
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Mass Effect N7 Day: Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer on Commander Shepard’s enduring legacy
Voice acting royalty Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer reflect on representation, Canada, and the magic of the Mass Effect trilogy
Canada, the birthplace of legends
Both Hale and Meer agree: BioWare wasn’t trying to make a blockbuster game with Mass Effect, they just wanted to make something cool.
And part of that coolness stems, believe it or not, from being Canadian. “I’m actually going to take a step out and say that the fact that this is a Canadian team has something to do with it, because I’ve lived in both countries… and this is no shade to anybody, but there’s an element that I find in our northern allies where status doesn’t matter,” says Hale.
“Nobody cares who’s a star. Nobody cares what your last thing was; you don’t have that same pressure you might get in some of the larger markets in the US. You just need to be good at what you do, decent to be around, and then just go have a beer. I’m in love with the humanity here, the open-heartedness and the practicality… I don’t know, Mark, I’m speaking about a place you know a lot more about than me… There’s just a beautiful straightforwardness to the team.
They weren’t seeking to be stars, they were seeking to do something really cool that they loved. What do you think?”
‘Mass Effect 3’ works better as propaganda than an RPG
ve never been fond of Mass Effect 3 and I’ve always struggled to articulate why.
In 2012, the game left me feeling empty and depressed. I had no desire to replay it, which shocked me given my many completionist runs of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. Was I missing Mass Effect 3’s point? Definitely.
My mistake was expecting an RPG like Mass Effect 1 or Mass Effect 2, one where I have some agency in shaping the meaning of the story. But Mass Effect 3 is more like a cautionary tale or work of dystopian propaganda; it’s a story designed to convey a specific political message, like 1984, or Brave New World. Mass Effect 3’s social darwinist message is that multiracial societies with multicultural policies are doomed to fail: they must end in genocide, slavery, or eugenic assimilation.
I know that may sound nuts, or just inflammatory, but I’ve got the receipts. Mass Effect 3 works better as social darwinist propaganda than it does as an RPG.
Mass Effect 3’s political message is best savored “vanilla,” that is, without importing choices from Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. This might seem odd, because importing choices from game to game is what this trilogy is rightly famous for. It’s no exaggeration to say Bioware designed the series around this feature. So, why should you play Mass Effect 3 without it? Vanilla Mass Effect 3 tells a more coherent story from beginning to end: this version of the game consistently shows that racial conflict is inevitable.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition – Official Launch Trailer
BioWare shares teaser image, says ‘Mass Effect will continue’
As part of the N7 Day celebration of all things Mass Effect.
November 7 is N7 Day, when the Mass Effect community comes together to celebrate the series. In previous years BioWare has been involved to varying degrees, last year using the occasion to announce Mass Effect Legendary Edition and confirm a new Mass Effect is in development. This year was a more muted affair on the official side of things, with BioWare presumably heads-down working on Dragon Age 4, though it did share a teaser image declaring “Mass Effect will continue”.
The picture shows a squad of four characters leaving a shuttle to walk toward a crater that resembles a geth’s face from above. Looking up close one of those four is a krogan, and they’re walking toward what might be geth embedded in the ground. Is it Legion? I’m sure fans will pick apart the details in the days ahead and see what other hints it contains about the next Mass Effect.
The post also notes that Mass Effect emoticons have been added to Steam’s points store, there’s a Mass Effect section on Giphy, Soylent Cosplay put together an official guide for cosplaying Liara, and the Legendary Edition is on sale at Steam, Origin, and the Microsoft Store. It finishes with an obligatory note that “We are, of course, hard at work on the next adventure in the Mass Effect universe.”
Next Mass Effect Teased Again With New Poster
Fans desperate enough to want to zoom in and dream are going to have a field day
Though it’s not news that there’s a new Mass Effect game in development—it was first shown off in a trailer late last year—this poster BioWare released for the game today is new, and if you’re the type of fan to speculate wildly at the tiniest hints and suggestions (which would be every Mass Effect fan), then you are in luck.
Mass Effect is a science fiction media franchise created by Casey Hudson, Drew Karpyshyn and Preston Watamaniuk.
The franchise depicts an alternate universe where humanity and several alien civilizations have colonized the Milky Way galaxy using technology seemingly left behind by an advanced precursor civilization.
Mass Effect 3 is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.
A Wii U version of the game, entitled Mass Effect 3:
Special Edition, was later released in November 2012. The game is set within the Milky Way galaxy in 2186, where a galactic civilization is invaded by a highly advanced machine race of synthetic-organic starships known as Reapers. It concludes the story of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier who is tasked with forging alliances between species for the war.
Mass Effect is a science-fiction role-playing action game developed by BioWare for the Xbox 360 and later ported to the PC and the PlayStation 3. It is the first installment of the Mass Effect trilogy.
- Resolution: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3: HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p // PC: unrestricted screen resolution
- Publisher: Xbox 360: Microsoft Game Studios // PC and
- PlayStation 3: Electronic Arts
- Developer: BioWare Corp®
- Format: 1x DVD (Xbox 360 and PC), 1x Blu-ray (PlayStation 3),
- Digital Download (PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3),
- Rating: “M” for Mature (NA). Age “12” (UK). 18+ (PEGI). 16 (USK)
Changes from the Xbox 360 version
The main differences between the PC and Xbox 360 versions are tweaks to the combat GUI and the inventory system.
The Power Wheel is replaced in the PC version by a tactical HUD (similar to the PC version of Dragon Age) that allows for more precise squad commands and the ability to hotkey tech and biotic talents. The often-criticised inventory system from the 360 version is also overhauled to be more user-friendly. Other differences include minor adjustments to the Mako’s handling, an increase in speed to the Normandy’s lift, and a minor graphical upgrade and a change to the hacking minigame (used when decrypting doors or containers).
There are no extra assignments or new characters in the PC version and the story is unchanged. However, it does allow the PC release of Bring Down the Sky to be downloaded for free.
PlayStation 3 version
The PS3 version was developed with the assistance of Edge of Reality and published by Electronic Arts in December of 2012.
It is largely identical to the 360 version, utilizing the same inventory system and security bypass minigame, although Bring Down the Sky is included in the game. Bioware has stated that due to issues with the source material, Pinnacle Station will not be coming to the PS3 version.
Jennifer Hale is a Canadian-American voice actress.
She is best known for her work in video game franchises such as Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, BioShock Infinite, Metroid Prime, Overwatch, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In 2013, she was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most prolific video game voice actress.
Commander Shepard is the player character in the Mass Effect video game series by BioWare (Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3).
A veteran soldier of the Systems Alliance Navy, an N7 graduate of the Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) military program, and the first human Citadel Council Spectre, Shepard works to stop the Reapers, a sentient machine race dedicated to wiping out all advanced organic life. Shepard is neither a hero, nor a villain; depending upon players’ choices and actions, Shepard is the abstaining factor that acts as both on occasion, and will take whatever action is deemed necessary when presented with impossible scenarios.
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