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Why BioWare showed Mass Effect Andromeda's female hero first

"Moved beyond" male Shepard reveal of 10 years ago.

BioWare didn't show much of Mass Effect Andromeda at E3 2016, but one thing it did reveal was Ryder, the game's protagonist.

Or, to be exact, the female version of Ryder.

Like many BioWare games, Andromeda will let you play as a character based on either gender. Unlike many BioWare games, and Mass Effect in particular, the developer has chosen to reveal its female protagonist first.

Times have changed since the reveal of Mass Effect 1's Shepard a decade ago, BioWare explained to Eurogamer at E3 last week.

Back then, there was no marketing to say you could even play as a female version of the character - many fans simply stumbled across the option during the game's opening character creator.

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

"But I think the whole industry, us included, have moved beyond that. 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, customise them, and we're embracing that."

Previous BioWare release Dragon Age: Inquisition notably showed an androgynous silhouette of the game's protagonist on its cover - something which I asked if Andromeda would do too:

"Very much so," Flynn concluded. "We're continuing down that path."

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Want to know more? Here's everything we know about Mass Effect Andromeda.