Commander Shepard Has Finally Played A Mass Effect

Commander Shepard Has Finally Played A Mass Effect

Jennifer Hale, celebrated voice actor for the female version of Mass Effect lead Commander Shepard doesn’t play video games. Writer Tom Bissell, who profiled Hale in this week’s New Yorker magazine does and cajoled her to play Mass Effect 2 with him, just for a bit.

She decided to play “middle-of-the-road Shepard,” as she defines her choice to Bissell. “I want to hear my middle responses, because they’re the hardest to land. Filling them with energy and emotion takes a lot of focus.”

She only played the beginning of the game. She thinks she could have nailed her first line in Mass Effect 2 better, isn’t so good with a right analogue stick, and is able to possibly enjoy about an hour of the game before she’s had enough. She doesn’t seem to be smitten with Mass Effect 2 — not from playing it, at least — but she does seem to enjoy acting the role. That’s great, because the new Mass Effect contains hundreds of scenes. That’s a lot of being Shepard. Bissell estimates that, by the end of recording voice-work for Mass Effect 3 she’ll have played the game’s commander for more than 300 hours. It seems, from the article, that she may wind up having played as Shepard for only one. That’s fine, right? She’s doing an excellent job so far. And if you’re playing this series only as male Shepard, you’re missing out.

If you wish to read the least spoiler-y transcript of a short Shepard-“A/K” scene ever, go read Bissell’s full Hale profile. Or read it for the explanation about how this voice-acting stuff on video games works. Nolan North even pops up in the article, because, you know, he’s in everything.

Voicebox 360 [The New Yorker, subscription required]


  • I’d recommend that anyone interested in AAA games and the compelling experiences that can come from them read Bissell’s book ‘Extra Lives’.

  • What’s with all the hate fir the MaleShep voice. Yeah some of the lines are awkward or flat. But some of them, most of them are spot on, mainly the outwardly aggressive dialogue.
    Even Jennifer Hale stumbles over some of the lines, especially the romance lines or anything where she’s aggressively flirty (actually come to think of it, both actors are terrible at the romance/flirty dialogue). I just don’t see her voice attached to a hardened soldier. I love Jennifer Hale, she does good work. I just don’t understand all the hate for MaleShep. Why can’t we all just get along.

    • I think both MaleShep and FemShep have fantastic voice acting. It’s absolutely stellar in videogaming terms and just in general terms they both do a fantastic job to bring the character to life.

      I’d say unless you’ve played through as both Male and Female Shepard you’re missing out. Seriously excellent work from both of ’em.

      • I agree.

        From day one I have loved the voice acting for male shepard, fits the look and character type perfectly.

  • Yay people who agree!!!! I like both male and fem shep voice actors. I just wish all gamers could get along…I guess the hate fir male/FemShep stems from Mass Effect being a really personal experience. I even go so far as to create little back stories for my sheps, it helps steer my decision making and then I become quite attached to them. I can’t wait to see the resolution for my Quintin Shepard, Liana Shepard and new addition Leon Shepard.

  • Fanboys and Fangirls envenomed me against Jennifer Hale.

    Ever single time i read her name or hear her voice, all I hear is my head is the buzz of whiny gamers crying how Mark Meer is mediocre and how Jennifer Hale is superior.

    I need a fanboy detox.

  • I liked Jennifer Hale as Bastilla in KOTOR, not such a big fan of her in the Mass Effect series.

    That being said, I love the renegade voice acting that Mark Meer does for Shepard in Mass Effect. If anyone wants to be seriously amused, check out youtube for the “Commander Shepard is still a jerk” video homages.

  • It’s nice that Jennifer Hale sat down and played an hour of ME with the guy, even if she doesn’t really like games.

    One of Yvonne Strahovski’s interviews gave the impression that she had never seen the game in action whatsoever and had no care to, she didn;t even appear to have a general idea of what happens in the game, even to her character, but she may be too busy with angry birds for that!

    Wouldn’t you want to see your character in action after everything is finished? I find it funny, I mean Hale can play as herself in a sci-fi setting, how cool is that?

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