This article describes notable characters who appear in the Mass Effect fictional universe. These characters are explored in the novels Mass Effect: Revelation and Mass Effect: Ascension, the comic series Mass Effect: Redemption, and the video game Mass Effect, Mass Effect Galaxy, and Mass Effect 2. This list describes only major protagonists, antagonists, and party members that appear in the games, novels, and comic, although these storylines feature much larger supporting casts consisting of dozens of minor characters.
Commander Shepard is the main player character in the Mass Effect trilogy. Shepard's gender, appearance, history, combat-training and first name are determined by the player before the game begins. Shepard is 29 years old in the first game, and 31 years old in the second game. The default male Shepard, the model used by BioWare for trailers, is called John while the female default name is Jane; both defaults are of the Soldier class. The female version of Shepard is voiced by Jennifer Hale, while Mark Meer lends his voice to the male version. Fashion model Mark Vanderloo was the model for the default appearance of the male commander Shepard.
Shepard is a veteran soldier who begins the game as a candidate to become a "Spectre" agent. As the game progresses, Shepard undertakes a series of important missions and is authorized to do whatever it takes to get the missions done. At the end of the game, Shepard kills villain Saren Arterius and helps defeat the Reaper Sovereign. One of the most important decisions Shepard makes is at the end of the first game, and determines the fate of the Citadel Council and humanity's role in the galaxy. Shepard can choose to have the Council saved, resulting in humans being granted a Council seat; Shepard can order Sovereign to be attacked directly, which unintentionally kills the Council and results in a new, human-controlled Council being created; or Shepard can order the Council to be left undefended, which dooms the Council and sets humanity up to be the dominant species in the galaxy.
A month after defeating Sovereign, Shepard is killed when his ship, the SSV Normandy, is destroyed by an unknown warship. Shepard's body was recovered by Cerberus, a rogue human agency who had been keeping tabs on Shepard for his actions in Mass Effect. Over the course of two years, Shepard is rebuilt with a combination of cutting edge cybernetics and nanotechnology. Upon making a sufficient recovery, Shepard investigates the disappearance of human colonies.
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