Bioware director Aaryn Flynn has given an explanation for the studio’s decision to make reveal Mass Effect: Andromeda’s female hero, citing a change after the male-dominated covers of the first Mass Effect trilogy.
The male version of Commander Shepard was on all three covers, but now Bioware will start going Dragon Age: Inquisition on all of its covers, showing a gender-neutral protagonist.
Mass Effect: Andromeda’s female hero was first unveiled at the EA conference at E3, where at the very end of the trailer we saw what appeared to be the female version of Ryder, the name of whom was previously hinted at in another trailer for N7 Day, narrated by Jennifer Hale.
Though the protagonist’s name was still in doubt as of that trailer, it seems to be confirmed now, along with the ship we’ll be using, called the Tempest.
Bioware has something of a reputation for diversity in many of its games, with LGBT people, various races, and the possibility of female characters having major roles in contrast to many other games that go with a male protagonist as the default. T
he studio even made two different versions of the “Take Earth Back” trailer for Mass Effect 3: one with the male Commander Shepard, and one with the female version.
The name “Ryder” could even be another diversity thing, as Ryder could be named after Sally Ride, the first female astronaut. That is most likely another reason for why Bioware decided to put a female protagonist as the first version of Ryder’s face that we see in the trailer.
Mass Effect: Andromeda’s female hero is likely going to be the “canon” (at least in the trailers) version of Ryder, but however it turns out Andromeda will likely be a very good game, the same as nearly all of Bioware’s games.