Mass Effect actor says he doesn't mind if you play as his female counterpart, because you'll be forced to listen to him anyway

Mass Effect
(Image credit: BioWare)

The voice actor behind the male version of Commander Shepherd says he's not worried if you choose to play as FemShep instead, because he voices so many of the game's NPCs that you'll end up hearing him no matter who you pick.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Mark Meer said that when people tell him they've only played as 'his' version of Commander Shepherd, he hits back with "'why are you denying yourself the excellent performance of Jennifer Hale?'" Hale, of course, voices the female version of Shepherd, and while the majority of Mass Effect playthroughs opt for Meer's performance, FemShep has a noted cult popularity.

Beyond the chance to offer his support for Hale's performance, Meer has another reason for encouraging players to pick FemShep: Even if they don't hear his Shepherd, they'll almost certainly hear his voice somewhere else in the game. "I'm afraid you'll be forced to encounter me as Niftu Cal and Blasto and any vorcha you run into and various other things in the game."

Meer's full Mass Effect credits run to a total of four named NPC roles; Niftu Cal is a Volus who can be found in a Mass Effect 2 sidequest; Prazza is a quarian who's encountered in a similar way; the Vorcha are an entire species, all of whom are voiced by Meer; Blasto is a Hanar action hero who appears in several in-universe films. Meer also boasts 'additional voices' credits across all three games in the trilogy, with those voices also encompassing the vast majority of the Hanar species, as well as several more Volus.

It's not uncommon for voice actors to lend their talents to several roles in the same game, especially for sizeable RPGs like the Mass Effect series. It's a little more rare, however, for those RPGs to boast two protagonists, and for one of them to have left a bigger audio footprint on the game than the other. I'll confess to having only played Mass Effect as BroShep, but if I return to the series ahead of Mass Effect 5, I'll be sure to play as FemShep so that I can be on the lookout for Meer's other roles.

Mass Effect 5 is in good hands, as its director confirms the long-awaited RPG sequel is being led by four BioWare veterans.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.