Mass Effect Legendary Edition ensures FemShep’s look is consistent across all three games, and that’s just one improvement for women gamers.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition promises to bring the original trilogy into the future with improved graphics, better load times and a host of other designs meant to balance overall gameplay. One of those promises includes ensuring a consistent look for the female version of Commander Shepard across the trilogy, something that wasn’t quite possible in the past.

In the original Mass Effect trilogy, the games’ character creation tools advanced as the trilogy itself progressed, offering more options and details that weren’t available in the first two games. This often made it difficult to maintain a consistent appearance, especially for FemShep, across all three games. BioWare has also listed improved makeup features and hairstyles for FemShep, as well as expanded choices for skin colors and textured hairstyles to make for a more diverse, consistent and representative character building experience.

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The iconic version of FemShep fans have come to know and love only made her marketing debut with the release of Mass Effect 3, and how that came to be is just a little bit off-putting upon reflection.

In July 2011, BioWare began holding a contest on its official Facebook page, allowing fans to vote between six images to determine the canon appearance of the female Commander Shepard. Fans had long come to know and expect male Shepard’s face in the franchise’s marketing and packaging, as it had not changed much over the course of the trilogy. For a lot of players, it seemed as though there wasn’t even an option to play the game with a female heroine.

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In the end, the votes were tallied and it seemed fans wanted a blonde version of Shepard to represent the female players, but the fact of the matter was that no version of Shepard created in the game was ever going to look the way that version did. It caused a lot of controversy among the gaming community. FemShep supporters rallied around their heroine, arguing that she should get her due, and that the beauty pageant nature of voting to choose her appearance went against everything FemShep stood for as a strong, capable woman. For plenty of players, she was the better Shepard in a lot of ways.

In a recent interview with BioWare developers, it was also noted that in the original trilogy, there were often scenes that didn’t translate well between male and female Shepards. While there weren’t always ways to change the animation to reflect those scenes, BioWare could change the camera angle to be less objectifying toward characters like Mass Effect 2 companion, Miranda.

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However, BioWare couldn’t completely redesign Miranda, several of the Asari, or the Mass Effect AI icon, EDI. Gamer demographics have changed significantly in the last 13 years, but completely overhauling all of these characters wasn’t a feasible choice for the scope of the Legendary Edition remaster.

Ideally, BioWare will keep these changes in mind as it continues to develop the Mass Effect franchise. A new game was announced during the Game Awards, and fans probably weren’t thinking about much beyond the possibility of seeing Commander Shepard again. However, due consideration of women — both in-game and out — will certainly impact the game’s reception.

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