That quote, dropped by Mass Effect 3 lead writer Mac Walters in the most recent BioWare Pulse developer diary, shows that he is at least very serious about talking about making Commander Shepard show some real emotion this time around.
As I fretted in my “5 Reasons I’m Nervous about Mass Effect 3,” every time I see Shepard shooting a giant robot in the face, I get a little worried that the game is losing sight of what makes Mass Effect so great. The hard-to-plumb emotional depths of each of our personal protagonist is certainly one of those things.
But then, I pointed out in my /”Why I’m totally not nervous” counterpoint, those “best parts” of Mass Effect — the conversations, the characters, the sense of being a part of this world — don’t advertise all that well. Hearing Walters talking about Shepard showing emotion and being a human character is heartening.
Shepard has to be a versatile character, and so it’s hard to push him or her too far in one direction or another. But all the same, it seems like it’s time for Shepard to start to show some emotional wear and tear after seeing so much death, suffering so many losses, and fighting for so long.
Back when Tom Bissell did that New Yorker profile on Commander Shepard voice-actor Jennifer Hale, he talked a bit about how the vocal team tried to make commander sound weary and human, but how they sometimes had to reject vocal outtakes because they felt too “whiny.”
Here’s hoping they’ve found a way to work around that and show the toll these years have taken on our Mass Effect hero. He (or she) has been through a hell of a lot, after all.