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]