The Countless Characters Of Mass Effect

The Countless Characters Of Mass Effect

The Mass Effect franchise has introduced a huge amount of characters; an incredibly diverse cast of aliens, humans and synthetics who served to make our adventure in the Mass Effect universe memorable, who made us laugh, made us cry, who amazed us, scared us and sometimes even made us think. So let’s talk about them! I’ve collected a few of them below to get us started. Note: A liberal amount of spoilers follow.

Administrator Anoleis

Anoleis is the corrupt Salarian who manages Port Hanshan in the first Mass Effect, and the mission dealing with him is one of the most complex ones in the whole game. To obtain a garage pass to leave the port, you could prove his corruption to an investigator, help him instead and turn over all the evidence to him, or even sic ’em on eachother and get them both killed. It was one of the first examples showing how differently the story can go depending on the player’s decisions.

The Collectors

The Collectors, the alien race serving as the Reapers’ enslaved soldiers in Mass Effect 2, are truly tragic figures. They are a demonstration of what evil the Reapers are capable of; a twisted shadow of a once-proud race, forced to serve the ones who destroyed them. In my playthroughs, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them.

Conrad Verner

Verner is the crazy fan archetype taken to the next level; he’s an example of a character whose personality and fate are shaped by the player throughout the three games. Or rather, that’s what the plan was. It’s the thought that counts!

Corporal Richard L. Jenkins

You might recall Jenkins as one of your first two squadmates. I often wondered what could’ve been had Jenkins actually moved on to become a “real” squadmate, instead of succumbing to the mentality of the character he’s based on. He could’ve been there at Shepard’s Spectre induction. Helped out with the suicide mission. Watched the galaxy burn as he struggled to save it. Hell, maybe he could’ve even been a romance option. Instead, he lies in a grave on Eden Prime, forgotten. A darn shame.

Jondum Bau

Other Spectres you meet (other than Ashley/Kaidan) either turn out to want to kill you or end up dying. While you only work with Jondum Bau briefly in Mass Effect 3 to expose a traitor, it’s a unique experience because for a short time, you get to see what the Spectres are all about: independent agents who sometimes meet up to help each other out.


I never considered choosing Morinth instead of Samara, but the concept is quite interesting. The sheer audacity of a scam this huge — setting out to recruit a virtuous Asari Justicar, and coming back with her black widow of a daughter instead, passing her off as the real thing — is truly amazing.

So, I turn to you, dear commenters. Which characters made the biggest impact on you? Do you have any favorites? Tell us in the comments below.

Pictures: ethaclane, padawanmage71, Astyrrean, Yakobo 15, KaineShepard, GhostlyMaiden, arcadia1701e

It’s Mass Effect Week at Kotaku. All week, we’ll be taking a look back at the last five and a half years of galaxy-saving heroism, cross-species romance and awkward dancing.


  • I’m very annoyed at the presence of Diana Allers on that banner. She was a terribly acted and underdeveloped bit role; hardly worthy of sharing the spotlight with all the big names. Steve Cortez and Samantha Traynor were the absolute best non-playable crewmates of the series, with their own personal story arcs and in-depth involvement with the plot of ME3. They should go on the banner.

    If we’re going purely by the lesser-known characters, I want to extend my love to Padok Wiks, the stellar replacement for Mordin during the genophage arc of Mass Effect 3. He had big shoes to fill and he did so admirably with his quirky personality, eccentric vocabulary and unexpectedly deep musings on the nature of life and evolution. Even if it was functionally the same as Mordin’s, his death could still move you to tears.

    • Exactly, well said. Fav characters would be Mordin, James, Garrus, Dr Chakwas and EDI.

      Mordin: always go to him to hear him ramble about the genophage or cures and have no clue what he is talking about but loved to listen.
      James: bro type of guy, have a beer with him, punch up with him, good guy.
      Garrus: Also bro type of guy but one you get advice from with history between each other.
      Dr Chakwas: only lady i could see myself getting drunk with and laughing at odd stories.
      EDI, Quirky comments would make against Joker that put him in his place and laugh.

      Doing the Final DLC and having everyone at the apartment also showed how much loved the characters.

      • It’s funny you say that James was one of your favourites, and the reasons you gave, because they are essentially the reasons I didn’t like him. I took every opportunity I could to have Shepard show him up, and not because I’m a competitive person, but because the character rubbed me the wrong way and thought so much of himself.
        My Shep beat the shit out of him when boxing, and I even did the whole 183 chip-ups to show that prick who’s in command.

        I get what the writers were trying to do with the character; a big muscle-bound ‘bro’ (god, I hate that term) who’d gone through a traumatic experience commanding his first squad. I appreciate that they tried, but I found him too full of swagger and false.

        • Guess put it that way, yeah he did seem that way, thinking about it, actually wasn’t too keen on him always calling me loco.

  • Why are there so many articles about ME on kotaku recently? It seems there’s 2 or 3 articles every day. Did I miss some big ME event or something?

    • It’s ‘Mass Effect week’ at Kotaku, apparently. The last DLC came out a few weeks ago and the series has ended for now, so they’re doing a little tribute.

  • I love Mass Effect but come on, this isn’t a 10th anniversary here. You can not push out 3 articles a day to fellate this series. It’s still too fresh to be nostalgic.

  • I, for one, am lost without ME. And I couldn’t disagree more about the Alters character. She was better acted than male Shepherd, at least, and earned her place as a secondary role. I truly liked all of the women of the Normandy, and how could you not like Jeff, Mordin, and Garrus? I couldn’t stand Vega or Cortez, oddly enough, and I wasn’t a Kaiden fan, but I did feel they had their place. Shepard (fem-Shep) was my favorite. She walked the walk, and talked the talk. Mass Effect goes down as the best console game ever. I am sad to see it gone.

  • Mass Effect week has been awesome, easily the greatest series of this generation of consoles, have loved this past week of nostalgia.

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