[jennifer hale]Mass Effect： Legendary Edition’s Jack VA is Happy That Modders Are Correcting Jack’s Sexuality
In an interview with Game Rant, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition’s Jennifer Hale and Courtenay Taylor discuss ME’s impact and Jack’s changed sexuality.
By Marina DelGreco
Published 5 days ago
When the first Mass Effect first debuted in 2007, no one could have truly predicted how revolutionary the game series would be. It spawned two sequels, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, not to mention an incredibly dedicated fan base that would not only play, but replay the game multiple times. Even over ten years later, BioWare’s Mass Effect remains an influential part of video game history, which is why it wasn’t surprising when Mass Effect: Legendary Edition was announced in November 2020. The remaster of all three games and most of the DLC allows fans to revisit a beloved franchise, not to mention making it accessible for a brand new wave of players.
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Part of Mass Effect’s success is undoubtedly attributed to the characters in-game and the voice actors who brought them to life. Jennifer Hale voiced the pivotal role of female Commander Shepard, nicknamed FemShep, who set the blueprint for having female player characters as a standard in the majority of video games. Courtenay Taylor joined the Mass Effect cast for Mass Effect 2 playing Jack, a tough character who challenges traditional femininity. In an interview with Game Rant, Hale and Taylor discussed the influence of their characters, and how the mod community has taken to correcting one issue fans still have with the franchise.
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Hale was recognized by the Guinness World Records for being the most prolific video game voice actress in 2013, which is unsurprising given her incredibly long character repertoire. When asked about playing FemShep and having a new wave of gamers introduced to her in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Hale said:
”I will say it will always be a career and life high to have been the one who got to play that role, who got to put on the boots and join the team to kick down those doors.”
When BioWare first created the Mass Effect series, it took some big risks by not only including a male and female player character, but also by including a same-sex romance between FemShep and asari scientist Liara T’Soni. Fox News even came after the game for this inclusion, even though it was a very tame romance scene. BioWare was groundbreaking for its inclusion of not only multiple same-sex romances, but also by having “a male and female player whose lines are identical for the most part.” However, because of the initial backlash from Fox News upon the initial launch of Mass Effect, BioWare didn’t always continue to be as inclusive as it could have been.
RELATED: Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart VAs Hale and Taylor Discuss Character Parallels
When Jack was originally created, BioWare intended on making her pansexual, meaning she could have had a relationship with?either BroShep and FemShep. However, the latter same-sex romance was ultimately scrapped to try to play it safe and avoid extra backlash. Taylor remembers recording Jack’s lines and same-sex romance, especially because “pansexual” wasn’t a term that was used regularly in 2010. However, she didn’t know that Jack’s same-sex romance was cut completely because she doesn’t play video games. It wasn’t even until fairly recently that it was revealed Jack was supposed to be pansexual at all.
”Of course, for me personally, I’m always a fan of representation for all. I pride myself on being an ally for the Queer community, and so if it’s not in there I’m thrilled that they’re modding that it is and you know, that whether or not it got out there, the knowledge is out there and now [it’s] a possibility in games. That people are starting to factor that kind of stuff in, so even though it maybe didn’t work out for this game, hopefully it was a step to inspire people to put it in more games because it’s really important. Just, your gender, your sexuality, your ethnicity, all these things be represented, so the more the better.”
While it still stings for some fans that Jack’s sexuality isn’t properly showcased in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Taylor makes a great point that bringing awareness to Jack’s changed sexuality helps other games realize how important inclusion is. Additionally, it’s also great that modders make a FemShep and Jack romance possible, so in a way, it’s almost like Jack’s sexuality never changed. That being said, not all Mass Effect fans can participate in that, as console players don’t have access to mods the way PC players do.
”I believe that having conversations, discussions, and debates about this kind of stuff brings awareness and inclusion and familiarity, because a lot of people don’t know and that’s where fear and prejudice comes from is not knowing. So, keep talking about it.”
Fans of Hale and Taylor can hear them all over again in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition?or PS5 players can pick up Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, which features both of them as new female characters. PC players can even get the mods that “correct” Jack’s sexuality and make for a beautiful romance between Jack and FemShep. Either way, there’s no denying how influential both Mass Effect characters have been on video games as a whole.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
About The Author
(283 Articles Published)
Marina DelGreco has been a gamer ever since she can remember. Her earliest memory of any video game was some Tarzan game for her PC that she remembers having a hard time beating. Her gaming wheelhouse is mainly comprised of Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, The Outer Worlds, and The Sims, but she’s always looking to expand her gaming horizons. She even named her betta fish Garrus after the beloved Turian.
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