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Mass Effect romance guide - which squad members can Shepard romance in Mass Effect 1

Mass Effect romance
(Image credit: EA)

Mass Effect romance options can form a major part of the storyline for players, as they look to fully immerse themselves in this space roleplaying experience. Although there aren't many romantic choices to consider in this debut adventure, it's still good to know exactly which squad members Shepard can romance in Mass Effect, as you're potentially laying ground work for the future if you're playing through the full trilogy in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Whether you decide to continue your relationship in the sequel and beyond is entirely your choice, but if you're looking for your first Mass Effect romance then these are the options available:

  • Main Romance:
  • Ashley Williams - Male Shepard only
  • Kaidan Alenko - Female Shepard only
  • Liara T'Soni - Male or Female Shepard

  • Other Romance:
  • Sha'ira (asari consort) - Male or Female Shepard

As a general rule, you want to speak to your Mass Effect romance companion as often as possible, choosing Paragon options to build your relationship with them until it can fully blossom. However, there are some specific events and decisions that are critical to your progress in this area, so follow our Mass Effect romance guide to build the best rapport with your potential paramour.

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Mass Effect romance - Ashley Williams

Mass Effect romance Ashley

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Male Shepard only

  • After the Prologue, you'll wake in the medical room with Ashley Williams at your bedside. Reassure them, then speak to them again outside the medical area once you've dealt with Captain Anderson.
  • After finishing a primary mission on Feros, Noveria, or Therum, you can discuss the mission with Ashley Williams to build your relationship with her.
  • If you speak to Liara T'Soni after she joins your crew, make sure you tell Ashley Williams your relationship with Liara is strictly professional when asked or your relationship with Ashley will end.
  • If you've been pursuing Ashley Williams and Liara T'Soni, you'll be confronted by them both after a debriefing and told to choose as you can only pursue one main romance. Pick Ashley Williams to continue your relationship.
  • During the Virmire: Assault mission, you'll need to choose to save either Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko. Save Ashley Williams or your relationship will end.
  • Back on the Normandy after the Virmire: Assault mission, follow Paragon conversation paths with Ashley Williams.
  • As you approach the final missions, Ashley Williams will visit your personal quarters and selecting Paragon options will conclude this relationship encounter with a romance cutscene. Note that picking Renegade options will cause Ashley to leave, but your relationship with her will continue to the next game.

Mass Effect romance - Kaidan Alenko

Mass Effect romance Kaidan

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Female Shepard only

  • After the Prologue, you'll wake in the medical room with Kaidan Alenko at your bedside. Reassure them, then speak to them again outside the medical area once you've dealt with Captain Anderson.
  • After finishing a primary mission on Feros, Noveria, or Therum, you can discuss the mission with Kaidan Alenko to build your relationship with him.
  • If you speak to Liara T'Soni after she joins your crew, make sure you tell Kaidan Alenko your relationship with Liara is strictly professional when asked or your relationship with Kaidan will end.
  • If you've been pursuing Kaidan Alenko and Liara T'Soni, you'll be confronted by them both after a debriefing and told to choose as you can only pursue one main romance. Pick Kaidan Alenko to continue your relationship.
  • During the Virmire: Assault mission, you'll need to choose to save either Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko. Save Kaidan Alenko or your relationship will end.
  • Back on the Normandy after the Virmire: Assault mission, follow Paragon conversation paths with Kaidan Alenko.
  • As you approach the final missions, Kaidan Alenko will visit your personal quarters and selecting Paragon options will conclude this relationship encounter with a romance cutscene. Note that picking Renegade options will cause Kaidan to leave, but your relationship with him will continue to the next game.

Mass Effect romance - Liara T'Soni

Mass Effect romance Liara

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Male or Female Shepard

  • Speak to Liara T'Soni after she joins your crew to start building your relationship, and if asked by Ashley Williams / Kaidan Alenko then tell them you are interested in Liara.
  • If you've been pursuing Ashley Williams / Kaidan Alenko and Liara T'Soni, you'll be confronted by them both after a debriefing and told to choose as you can only pursue one main romance. Pick Liara T'Soni to continue your relationship.
  • Back on the Normandy after the Virmire: Assault mission, follow Paragon conversation paths with Liara T'Soni.
  • As you approach the final missions, Liara T'Soni will visit your personal quarters and selecting Paragon options will conclude this relationship encounter with a romance cutscene. Note that picking Renegade options will cause Laira to leave, but your relationship with her will continue to the next game.

Mass Effect romance - Sha'ira (asari consort)

Mass Effect romance Sha'ira

(Image credit: EA)

Other romance option for Male or Female Shepard - this does not impact on your main romance choice

  • When you arrive on the Citadel, find the asari consort Sha'ira and talk to her about her problems with Septimus, the retired turian general.
  • Find Septimus in Chora's Den, and convince him to act like a general and change his ways.
  • Now find Xeltan, the elcor diplomat, and provide the evidence you received from Septimus to clear Sha'ira's name.
  • Return to Sha'ira and she will offer you a "gift of words" – if you express contempt at this reward, then Sha'ira will also initiate a romance cutscene.
Iain Wilson

Iain originally joined Future in 2012 to write guides for CVG, PSM3, and Xbox World, before moving on to join GamesRadar in 2013 as Guides Editor. His words have also appeared in OPM, OXM, PC Gamer, GamesMaster, and SFX. He is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 325 Platinum pots weighing down the shelves of his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.