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‘FemShep’ Becoming a Cover Girl for “Mass Effect 3”

‘FemShep’ Becoming a Cover Girl for “Mass Effect 3”  (photo)

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I’ve written in passing before about how camps of “Mass Effect” fans align themselves around the voice actors who perform as the male and female versions of lead character Commander Shepard. The masculine iteration of Shepard gets voiced by Mark Meer and the distaff version comes to life courtesy of Jennifer Hale. They’re both veteran performers but it’s been Meer’s MaleShep who’s been the face of the franchise, with his voice carrying every trailer and commercial that every been made for the series. FemShep fans have long argued that Hale’s work surpasses Meer’s when it comes to the line readings each gives Shepard. In fact, many gamers say that Hale’s not only the better Shepard, but is one of the best actors working in games today. You can see for yourself in the videos below.

Thus, FemShep loyalists everywhere claimed victory when word that their girl would grace the cover of the collector’s edition of “Mass Effect 3” alongside the male version of the character. BioWare director of marketing David Silverman confirmed reports on Twitter, in answer to fans who wanted a trailer with the female Shepard:

there will be a #FemShep trailer. We actually had a meeting on her yesterday. We are working on the look now.

both #MaleShep and #FemShep are featured on the CE. One side male, one side female.

Who’s on the front of a video game box and in marketing materials acts as a signifier. It’s not just a way of telling you who the hero is in a particular game; that character can also act a stand-in for who the purveyor wants to buy the game. I’m not accusing any publisher of any -ism, but the safest way to broad appeal is to put Standard Issue White Guy #38–hasn’t shaven for three days, short, dark hair, devil-may-care smirk, maybe a scar for character–on your cover. Whether they like it or not, consumers understand that SIWG #38 is the default and there may not even be another option. The argument for the FemShep brigade has been that their avatars have been another, superior option as the face of “Mass Effect,” so it’s nice to see BioWare acknowledging that segment of fans and Hale’s work. Of course, this could be the ultimate in marketing traps, aiming to sucker in a slavishly devoted sector of fans. But, in a game where you create a character to save the universe from a marauding race of sentient machines, the face of the franchise needn’t be restricted to just one type. Between this development and the expansion to same-sex romance options for both genders, “Mass Effect 3” may wind up being a utopia after all, provided humanity survives.

Jennifer Hale fans, are you going to pre-order “Mass Effect 3” to get the FemShep cover? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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