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BioWare on why it revealed Mass Effect Andromeda's female hero first

"People want to create their own characters, customize them, and we're embracing that."

The Mass Effect Andromeda trailer from E3 introduced fans to the new main character, Ryder. The game will let you play as either a man or a woman, and the trailer showcased the female version of Ryder. Now, BioWare has explained why it showed female Ryder in this video.

"When we debuted male Shepard back in 2006 [for Mass Effect], 10 years ago, it was a time when we drew inspiration from traditional entertainment marketing," BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn told Eurogamer. "So: 'We need an iconic main character. We need an iconic everything else.'"

"But I think the whole industry, us included, has moved beyond that," he added. "Our games let you choose your main character, I think everyone gets that nowadays. You don't need to see a character to identify with, in the same way you might on a movie poster. People want to create their own characters, customize them, and we're embracing that."

As Eurogamer explains, for the first Mass Effect, BioWare did not do much in the way of informing players they could play as a woman. Trailers showed male Shepard, and it was not until the game actually came out that some fans learned they could play as the other gender.


But will female Ryder be featured on Andromeda's box art? It doesn't sound like it. Asked if Andromeda's cover might include a gender-neutral silhouette of the main character (like Dragon Age Inquisition did), Flynn said, "We're continuing down that path."

Flynn previously told GameSpot that it was an intentional decision to feature female Ryder in the Andromeda E3 trailer to "balance out" the Mass Effect 1-3 trilogy.

"We thought, 'Actually, with the first trilogy we had male as default, we should balance that out as best we can,'" he said.

Andromeda was originally scheduled to come out in 2016, but in May, BioWare announced that the game isnow coming in "early 2017." The game was delayed "to make sure we deliver everything the game can be and should be," BioWare said at the time.

For more on Andromeda, check out GameSpot's new features below.