Characters of the Mass Effect series
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 games 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.
- 1 Commander Shepard
- 2 Characters in Mass Effect
- 3 Characters in Mass Effect 2
- 4 Major characters in other media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Commander Shepard[edit | edit source]
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.
Regarding the issue of Shepard's death, BioWare Director Casey Hudson explained that based on decisions made during Mass Effect 2, Shepard can die in some of the game's multiple endings. Hudson stated "If you do die in the ending of Mass Effect 2, it will not come as a surprise, nor will it be random. It will be pretty obvious that you headed into the final mission knowing that Shepard probably wouldn’t make it out alive." Hudson also confirmed that team members would be affected by the player's decisions as well: "You might have an ending where Shepard’s entire team survives, or where the entire mission is a bloodbath and everyone (including Shepard) is killed, or anything in between." Lastly, Hudson revealed that if the player's Shepard dies in the second game, he or she will not appear in the prospective Mass Effect 3; instead, the third game would have to be played with a new Shepard started in that game, or with one who survived Mass Effect 2.
Characters in Mass Effect[edit | edit source]
Squad members[edit | edit source]
Mass Effect has six characters that the player can recruit over the course of the game. Decisions the player makes can affect if a squad member is recruited at all, and can also lead to a squad member's death. Players can also pursue different romance storylines with certain characters.
Ashley Williams[edit | edit source]
A 25-year-old human Alliance Marine who enlisted straight out of high school, Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams is a competent non-commissioned officer. She joins the party during the first mission, replacing Corporal Richard L. Jenkins (who was killed in action). Ashley is a pure soldier, skilled with weapons and heavy armor but unable to use advanced tech abilities or biotics. She is a possible romance interest for a male Commander Shepard. She hails from a military family: her great-grandmother, grandfather, and father all served in the Alliance Navy. Her family suffers from the dubious service history of her grandfather, however, as he was the only human officer to ever surrender to an alien force, specifically the turian fleet at the colony of Shanxi. Ashley says that she and her father have been passed over for many a promotion because of the stigma her grandfather still holds among the Alliance brass. Her mother raised Ash and her three younger sisters on various colonial worlds while her father was on duty. Williams is highly religious, though her precise faith and denomination are never elaborated upon, except for her belief in Judgment Day. She also occasionally expresses "human-centric" views, as a result of her grandfather having been disgraced in the First Contact War against the turians.
Late in the game, on the planet Virmire, Ashley is one of two characters who can opt to assist a salarian commando unit in their assault on Saren's lab complex. During the assault, the player is confronted with a choice that may result in Ashley being killed when a nuclear warhead is detonated. Williams is noted as voiced by Kimberly Brooks, although many believe that she is voiced by Mila Kunis, both for the resemblance in voice and the presence of her Family Guy co-actor Seth Green..
Ashley appears in Mass Effect 2, provided she lived through the first game. The Illusive Man, using Ashley's connection to Shepard as bait, lured the Collectors to Horizon. She is first seen defending a colony against a swarm of paralyzing Collector "seekers," but ultimately is overwhelmed and paralyzed by a bug. Upon being rescued, she voices disapproval towards Shepard's alliance with Cerberus. Should there have been a romance between Shepard and Ashley, she will send him an email after her encounter with him on Horizon. In the email she apologizes for her behavior, and expresses her desire to be with him once more.
It has been rumored that Ashley will make an appearance in Mass Effect 3 and players that keep her as a romance interest (as indicated by her portrait on Shepard's desk not being face down) in Mass Effect 2 will be rewarded.
Liara T'Soni[edit | edit source]
A 106-year-old asari companion who has a passion for studying and working with Prothean technology, Dr. Liara T'Soni is an expert in the field of Prothean archaeology, specifically evidence concerning the Protheans' demise. She is, in fact, found in a Prothean ruin, trapped in a kinetic bubble prison. Liara is a possible romance interest for both male and female Shepards. The asari have only one gender, and can reproduce with any gender or species. Liara's class is unique to her as an Asari Scientist, skilled mainly in biotics, but unable to build skills in weapons and tech abilities. Unlike the human equivalent Adept, however, Liara can learn "Electronic" skills.
Liara is the daughter of Matriarch Benezia, a well-respected and powerful asari biotic. It is unknown precisely who Liara's other parent is, except that she was another asari. There is a certain social stigma attached to this, as the asari believe that for them to improve themselves, they should mate with other species to gain new genetic properties. If two asari mate as Liara's parents did, then it is believed that nothing is gained from the relationship. The term "Pureblood" is used as a cruel insult for children born of two asari. When asked about her second parent, Liara is only able to speculate that her parents were possibly embarrassed by the union, but she does not know for certain. Her face and body is modelled on actress Jillian Murray, and she is voiced by Ali Hillis.
In Mass Effect 2, Liara has a radically changed personality. Acting much more like her mother Benezia, Liara has become an information broker on Illum in direct rivalry to the Shadow Broker. Having improved as a biotic, she uses death threats and other intimidation tactics to extort information. If the player imported a Shepard from the original Mass Effect that romanced Liara, she greets Shepard with a kiss. Liara assigns Shepard an optional quest to assist her in hunting down an agent of the Shadow Broker spying on her, known as the Observer. Liara's anger at the Broker stems from when he recovered Shepard's body and was prepared to sell it to the Collectors during the events of Mass Effect: Redemption. After certain dialogue choices, it is possible to break through her shell and reveal the real Liara, revealing that her darker personality is nothing more than a facade. Liara took Shepard's body from the Broker and gave it to Cerberus so they could bring Shepard back to life. Liara knew that Cerberus would use Shepard for their own uses, but still gave them Shepard's body as she cares for Shepard and could not let the Commander go. She feared that Shepard would hate her for this, and apologizes. She declines Shepard's offer to join the team to continue her quest for revenge against the Shadow Broker, although expresses regret that she cannot join Shepard's squad.
However, she makes a new appearance in the Mass effect 2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker and joins your crew temporary as Shepard decides to help her hunt down the Shadow Broker. Shepard gradually breaks her hardened shell when he lectures her about mindlessly running into battles, but at the same time she states that she won't stop "to enjoy the scenery" until she's done. As the Shadow Broker is killed Liara sees an opportunity to take his place and takes it. She says she will use her newly bestowed powers to help Shepard in his ongoing mission. In this DLC, Liara also tells Shepard about her hand in bringing his dead body to Cerberus and that she hade been worried that he would be angry at her for doing so.
It has been rumored that Liara will make an appearance in Mass Effect 3 and players that keep her as a romance interest in Mass Effect 2 will be rewarded.
Kaidan Alenko[edit | edit source]
A 32-year-old human male who accompanies Shepard from the very beginning of the game, Alliance Navy Lt. Kaidan Alenko serves as a possible love interest for a female Commander Shepard. In game, he is what is known as a Sentinel, a soldier highly skilled in both tech skills and biotics, though with little in the way of actual combat ability. Alenko has had a troubled relationship with his biotic abilities - he is one of the rare users of the controversial L2 implants, which have since been discontinued due to the long list of horrible side-effects discovered after their initial creation. Kaidan is regarded as "one of the lucky ones" as he only suffers from migraines, though many others suffer from crippling physical pain or insanity. If questioned by Shepard, Kaidan reveals that as a teenager he killed an instructor, a brutal Turian mercenary, at the biotics training facility he attended, during biotics training by breaking his neck with a full-force biotic kick. The death had been an accident, as Kaidan was enraged when the instructor injured a girl he admired.
Late in the game, on the planet Virmire, Kaidan is one of two characters who can opt to assist a Salarian commando unit in their assault on Saren's lab complex. If Ashley is selected to lead the unit, Kaidan is the primary technician for activating a bomb that destroys the facility. During the assault, the player is confronted with a choice that may result in Kaidan being left behind when the nuke is detonated. He is voiced by Raphael Sbarge.
Kaidan also plays a role in Mass Effect 2, provided that he survived in the first game. If the player have not played the first game Kaidan will be alive by default. Since the first game's events, Kaidan had been promoted and was stationed on the planet Horizon to help protect a human colony from the Collectors. The Illusive Man, using Kaidan's connection to Shepard as bait, lured the Collectors to Horizon. The Collectors attacked the colony and Kaidan was stung by a Collector Swarm, leaving him temporarily paralyzed. Shepard soon learns that Kaidan was sent to the colony to install a network of defense cannons to safeguard against future Collector attacks. After multiple firefights with the Collectors and Harbinger, Kaidan is ultimately rescued by Shepard. The two reunite with a handshake (or a warm embrace if the player chose to import a Shepard from Mass Effect that had pursued a romantic relationship with Kaidan) and Shepard tells Kaidan that s/he has been dead for two years. However, upon learning that Shepard is working with Cerberus, Kaidan grows suspicious and refuses to join Shepard on his/her mission. Later on, if Shepard romanced Kaidan in the first game, he will send her an apology letter stating that his earlier behavior was a result of his concern and worry for her and that he would still like to be romantically involved after the Collectors have been defeated.
It has been rumored that Kaidan will make an appearance in Mass Effect 3 and players that keep him as a romance interest in Mass Effect 2 will be rewarded.
Garrus Vakarian[edit | edit source]
A male turian, Garrus is a member of the Citadel Security force (C-Sec). He has never liked or trusted Saren and was investigating his activities, but wasn't able to prove any blatant acts of treason. He chafes under the red tape, rules and regulations of Citadel Security and had become unsatisfied with his role there. He believes in using any means necessary to either prevent or solve crimes, almost seemingly regardless of the consequences; this is a direct result of a case he was involved with that came to an unsatisfactory conclusion. During his investigations, Garrus came across a case in which a salarian named Doctor Saleon had sold many organs through the black market. When his employees were questioned they were found to also be Dr. Saleon's test subjects as they were growing the cloned organs inside their own bodies, in many cases resulting in traumatic physical and psychological injuries. Unfortunately, the doctor escaped C-Sec custody and fled the Citadel, and Garrus felt that it was the hesitation and regulations governing C-Sec that allowed Dr. Saleon to escape.
Garrus was at one point targeted as a Spectre candidate, but was dissuaded against it by his father, a C-Sec officer who was strictly "by the book" out of personal fear that Garrus would end up like Saren. When given the opportunity to pursue Saren alongside Shepard - who is not bound by rules and operates outside the law - he is happy to accept. He is a turian Agent, skilled at both weapons and engineering, similar to an Infiltrator class. Depending on Shepard's advice and actions, Garrus may at one point apply for the Spectre program, with or without re-applying for C-Sec in the process. Garrus is voiced by Brandon Keener.
Garrus also appears in Mass Effect 2 as "Archangel". He had come to Omega a few months before the game's beginning and started causing all sorts of trouble, leading a team of vigilantes. In response, the local mercenary groups teamed up to try to take him down. When Shepard arrives at Omega, Garrus has already been under siege for days with just a sniper rifle at his side. Shepard pretends to be a freelance mercenary to get transportation to Garrus's location, but then turns on his mercenary allies. He meets Archangel, who proceeds to remove his helmet and reveals himself to Shepard. Shepard helps Garrus escape (while decimating the mercenary groups) and Garrus rejoins the team. After joining the team, female Shepard can pursue a relationship with Garrus.
Urdnot Wrex[edit | edit source]
Wrex is among the last of the krogan Battle Masters. They are rare individuals who can combine biotic abilities with advanced weaponry. Wrex quickly gained fame for his battle powers and became a leader of one of the smaller Urdnot tribes at a very young age. To date, Wrex is the youngest krogan to be granted the honor in 1,000 years. Following the krogan genophage (a Salarian bioweapon which causes a genetic mutation that causes stillbirth in 99.9% of the krogan population), Wrex realized that his people had degenerated from the honor-bound people they once were and had become senselessly violent, preferring death in battle rather than saving their culture through peaceful means. Wrex turned his back on his people when his father, a krogan warlord who wanted to resume the war, betrayed and attempted to kill him. Wrex escaped, though not before taking his father's life in retaliation. During the past three centuries, Wrex has worked as a bodyguard, mercenary, soldier and a bounty hunter. One operation as a mercenary was with Saren Arterius as his employer, though Wrex immediately sensed something very troubling about the turian and left the contract without even waiting to get paid. His instincts were right: every other mercenary on the ship they were on turned up dead within a week. Despite his menacing appearance, Wrex rarely loses his temper. Likewise, Wrex doesn't voice his thoughts very often. But when he does, people are more than willing to listen. The mere threat of his anger is enough to ensure that.
Late in the game, at the planet Virmire, Wrex learns that Saren is developing a cure for the krogan genophage to create an army of krogan soldiers. Uncertain as to who he should listen to now, Wrex has an angry confrontation with Shepard over whether or not the facility should be destroyed. Depending on the player's choices, Wrex can be killed by either Shepard or Ashley, or he may survive. Wrex is voiced by Steve Barr.
Wrex returns in Mass Effect 2, provided he lived through the first game. If Wrex survived, he is encountered on the krogan homeworld, Tuchanka, where he has united the various krogan clans under Clan Urdnot to strengthen his ailing race in the face of the genophage. He introduces many sweeping reforms to Krogan society, but faces fierce opposition against more traditionalist clans.
Tali'Zorah Nar Rayya[edit | edit source]
A 22-year-old female quarian party member, Tali'Zorah is introduced as a person who possesses information that can implicate Saren in the destruction of the human colony of Eden Prime. Saren himself sends assassins after her, and once Shepard rescues her, she joins the player's party. Tali is on a "Pilgrimage," which is a quarian coming-of-age rite in which a young quarian leaves the home fleet and finds something valuable, which is brought back to the fleet to prove their willingness to contribute to the community. She has some trouble adjusting to the quiet atmosphere of the Normandy because the ships she lived on at her home were all rather loud and clunky, and silence usually meant an air filter or some other important component had broken. Later on in the game, it is revealed that her father serves on the fleet Admiralty board making him a prominent figure amongst the quarians. This puts Tali under more pressure than most to ensure that she finds something important during her pilgrimage. Later in the game, either on Feros or in the main geth base in the Armstrong Nebula (in an optional side quest), Shepard can find information on the geth that can be given to Tali so she can complete her Pilgrimage.
In Mass Effect 2, Tali is again encountered on the human colony of Freedom's Progress, where it is revealed that she had completed her Pilgrimage. She is not seen again until a good deal later in the game, where she is recruited on the planet Haestrom. Her loyalty mission involves her being charged with treason by the Migrant Fleet due to her father repairing and activating broken geth parts that Tali had sent to him. A male Shepard may also pursue a relationship with Tali after she is recruited.
She is voiced by Liz Sroka.
Antagonists[edit | edit source]
Saren Arterius[edit | edit source]
Saren Arterius is a former turian Spectre and the main antagonist of the first game. He is known for 'getting results' by any means necessary. More often than not, this meant he killed everyone and everything in range—the target, any witnesses, and innocent bystanders as well. In the novel Mass Effect: Revelation, he tortures and kills his victims mercilessly, rarely having any regards for sentient life or the lives of anyone in his way from getting the job done, even deliberately killing innocent bystanders and witnesses (after he had extracted key information from them). Saren himself does not consider his methods harsh; for example, when he brutally tortures a batarian in the novel until he has been exhausted of information, Saren snaps the batarian's neck while he is unconscious and claims that it was an act of mercy and that he isn't "a monster." His seething hatred for humans is speculated by other characters in the novel to stem from the loss of his brother in the First Contact War.
After the events described in the novel, and before the start of the first Mass Effect video game, Saren takes command of an army of geth through the use of a mysterious artifact known as Sovereign, an ancient ship that supposedly predates the Protheans. With a machine army at his command, he uses them to both do his bidding and oppose the efforts and actions of the player across the story of the Mass Effect video game. One of his main goals at first appears to be to unleash the genocidal Reapers upon the galaxy once again to take revenge on humanity. In reality, he is merely assisting Sovereign in bringing the rest of the Reapers into the galaxy to prove that organics are worth enslaving, rather than exterminating.
In the game it is revealed that Saren had known about the Reaper threat and had independently tried to discover a means to stop it. It is unknown how Saren found Sovereign, however, Sovereign slowly began to manipulate Saren through subtle subliminal messages into helping him into bringing back the Reaper threat. During the Geth invasion of the Citadel, Saren uses the Prothean Conduit to gain access to the Citadel to allow Sovereign to activate the Citadel Mass Relay. The player can then either attempt to kill Saren before he can activate the relay or appeal to Saren to fight his indoctrination, prompting him to commit suicide. Either way, Shepard later has one of his/her crew members shoot Saren a final time in the head to make sure he's dead, but he is still revived and controlled by Sovereign through his grafted cybernetics, transforming him into a powerful enemy who engages Shepard and his crew in one final battle. Upon defeating the Sovereign-manipulated Saren, Sovereign itself loses its defenses, allowing the Citadel Fleet and the Alliance Navy to destroy it. Saren is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
Matriarch Benezia[edit | edit source]
An asari matriarch who is in league with Saren. She is also the mother of Liara T'Soni. During the course of conversation, Liara speculates that Benezia was ashamed of mating with another Asari, but is not entirely certain if that was the case. She is enslaved by Sovereign into finding the location of the Mu Mass Relay. She is killed by the player after revealing this fact and (if Liara is present in the shore party) making peace with her daughter. She is a master of Biotics. She is voiced by Marina Sirtis.
Sovereign[edit | edit source]
A member of the race labelled by Protheans as The Reapers, who was left behind as a vanguard and espionage unit for the next Reaper invasion, Sovereign was tasked with monitoring organic evolution and to hence activate the Citadel relay once organic advancement had reached a critical point. It is a massive (2 km), artificially intelligent starship, far larger in size and power than any dreadnought hitherto created by the presently known organic species; Sovereign is the largest ship capable of landing on a planet's surface and is believed to have a massive element zero core, whether all Reapers are of a similar manifestation is unclear, though Vigil implies that this is the case, referring to "Reaper fleets."
Sovereign possesses a power known by organic species as indoctrination, which enables the Reaper to gradually assume control of the minds of organic beings; though the details of this method of mind control have yet to be elucidated, Vigil explains that the ability is common to all Reapers, who utilise their organic slaves as spies and infiltrators, increasing the efficiency of their genocidal scheme.
During Shepard's discourse with Sovereign in Saren's laboratory on Virmire, Shepard makes the discovery that what they assumed to be an ancient Reaper warship is, in point of fact, a Reaper; aside from claiming that organic beings are of an inherently limited epistemology, such that they are utterly unable to understand the actions of the Reapers, Sovereign also demonstrates arrogance in its assessment of the threat posed by the organic species. Sovereign tries to intimidate Shepard by saying that "organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident" and by also calling itself "the vanguard of your destruction" and saying the Reapers will "darken the sky of every world".
Subsequent to Saren's death, Sovereign possesses Saren's corpse through cybernetic implants, transforming him into a robotic adversary for Shepard. The Reaper itself, after being rendered defenceless seemingly by Shepard's defeating the possessed Saren, is destroyed at the end of the game by the Alliance Fleet.
In Mass Effect 2, it is revealed that the council tried to make the rest of the galaxy believe that Sovereign is nothing more than a geth Warship. It is implied that most of its remains were claimed by "unauthorized salvage." The geth platform known as Legion also reveals that Sovereign originally identified itself as Nazara, and that the name Sovereign was in fact coined by Saren. This contradicts the fact that Sovereign introduced himself by that name to Commander Shepard, though it could be that it simply chose to introduce himself as such for convenience's sake or because it took a liking to the name, or that Nazara translates into Sovereign in the Reaper language.
Characters in Mass Effect 2[edit | edit source]
Squad Members[edit | edit source]
Jacob Taylor[edit | edit source]
Jacob Taylor is the protagonist of Mass Effect Galaxy, and is the first party member of the game. In Galaxy, he is a former Systems Alliance soldier who is re-recruited to investigate the batarians and discover why they have sent Jath'Amon, who claims to be an ambassador seeking peace with the Citadel Council. With the help of Alliance informant Miranda Lawson, he uncovers and thwarts Jath'Amon's scheme to assassinate the Council. Jacob is voiced by Adam Lazarre-White.
During Mass Effect 2, Jacob has become a full member of service and is Miranda's lieutenant. He joined Cerberus after seeing the Alliance sweep his exploits during Galaxy under the rug. Taylor is highly respectful of Shepard due to their shared background in the military. Thirteen years before, he had cut ties with his father, who was the XO (Executive Officer) of a lost spaceship, the Hugo Gernsback. Taylor joins Shepard early on in the game on the Cerberus space station where Shepard first awakens after his/her revival.
Taylor's loyalty quest involves a search for his missing father after a distress beacon activates. His father's ship, the Hugo Gernsback, had crashed ten years ago, but the beacon was only sent out just recently. Shepard and Taylor journey to the crash site and find that the survivors of the crash deranged from toxic food harvested from the planet's environment. Taylor locates his father and realizes horrible truths regarding his father's abuse of power. Shepard and Taylor may either call the Alliance to send aid to the survivors and arrest Taylor's father for his crimes against his men, leave him unarmed to be killed by those he hurt, or leave him with a pistol with little ammunition so that he'll take his own life.
Jacob is a romantic option for a female Shepard.
Miranda Lawson[edit | edit source]
Miranda Lawson is a supporting character in Mass Effect Galaxy, and also appears in Mass Effect 2 as a party member. In Galaxy, Miranda communicates with Jacob Taylor as a hologram, and is his main source of information on how to stop the batarian threat. Miranda is voiced by and modeled after Yvonne Strahovski.
In Mass Effect 2, Lawson is revealed to be a high ranking operative of the pro-human organization, Cerberus, and has been genetically altered for superior intelligence and physical traits. She is shown to be a capable leader, exemplified with her being one of the only members of the squad to successfully lead a fireteam in the final mission without anyone dying, despite feeling she doesn't command respect like Shepard does. Lawson is leader of Cerberus' Lazarus Cell, tasked with reviving Commander Shepard. Aboard the Normandy, she is Shepard's second-in-command and Executive Officer, and files mission reports directly to the Illusive Man.
Lawson was the artificially created daughter of a rich and powerful businessman from Earth. Rather than give her a human mother to randomize her genetic code, Lawson's father took his own DNA and doubled his X chromosome, hoping to create a dynasty. Unhappy with his attempts to exert control over her life, Miranda joined Cerberus and secretly sent her sister into hiding to protect her from their father. Provided the player completes a mission to prevent her sister's abduction, she ultimately becomes loyal to Shepard. In one of the story's possible endings, she proves her loyalty when the Illusive Man gives her an order to prevent Shepard from destroying the Collectors' Space Station by refusing and announcing her resignation before ending the communication abruptly.
Lawson is a possible romance option for a male Shepard.
Thane Krios[edit | edit source]
Thane is a 39-year-old drell assassin who is dying of a disease known as Kepral's Syndrome. He is encountered on the asari colony world of Ilium. Raised on the hanar homeworld after the hanar saved the drell from extinction, Krios was trained as an assassin from a young age. Krios joins the team in an attempt to atone for his actions in life. In addition to his assassin skills, he also possesses powerful close-combat biotics. Thane's wife was murdered many years ago by mercenaries attempting to capture him. This event caused him to abandon his young son, Kolyat, a decision that still haunts him. In the mission to gain Thane's loyalty, Shepard and team must travel to the Citadel to stop Thane's son Kolyat from following in his father's footsteps and taking up the career of assassination where Shepard also discovers a chilling plot about a Turian racist who extorts human rackets while promising to reduce crime in the Wards. After this mission, Krios will become a loyal member of Shepard's team.
Thane Krios is a possible romantic interest for a female Shepard.
Voiced by Keythe Farley.
Grunt[edit | edit source]
Grunt is a pureblood, tank-bred krogan that can be recruited as a party member.
Initially, Shepard is meant to recruit Okeer, a krogan warlord and radical scientist who has been developing a small army of krogan to weather the Genophage. When Shepard arrives to recruit him, Okeer is working for the Blue Suns mercenary group: they provide the funding for his genetic research, and in exchange he gives them his "reject" krogan as soldiers or live ammo subjects. However, by the time Shepard and crew blast through the Blue Suns' defenses, their leader decides to pull the plug on the project and gases Okeer's lab. Though Shepard and crew defeat the Blue Suns leader, it is too late to save Okeer, who leaves Shepard with a tank containing his "legacy," his most successful subject yet. That subject is Grunt.
In the mission to gain Grunt's loyalty, Shepard must travel to the post-apocalyptic krogan homeworld Tuchanka. Shepard and the team arrive in the Urdnot clan's bunker; here it is revealed that Grunt is coming of age and must perform a ceremonial rite to gain admission to a clan. As a member of Shepard's crew, Grunt selects Shepard as his krantt—a krogan's loyal brother-at-arms. During the ritual, Shepard's squad must survive attacks by varren and ultimately survive a Thresher Maw on foot. Defeating it will earn the "Big Game Hunter" medal and earn renown for the team: they are the first to defeat the Maw since Urdnot Wrex. After surviving or defeating the thresher maw, Grunt is inducted into Clan Urdnot. Instead of staying on Tuchanka, Grunt continues to serve under Commander Shepard, whom he names as his battlemaster.
Grunt is voiced by Steven Blum.
Jack[edit | edit source]
The product of a Cerberus experiment to enhance human biotic ability, Jack (designated "Subject Zero" by Cerberus) carries a hostile personality that is the result of the torture and captivity she endured while she was imprisoned at a remote Cerberus outpost during her childhood. She later escaped and became involved in crime, murder, and religious cults, all in an attempt to find some meaning for the horrible treatment she was forced to endure.
Jack's loyalty quest involves her finding some closure from her past; she asks Shepard to take her to the facility where she was raised and blow it up. Shepard and Jack travel to the abandoned facility, disrupt mercenary activity there, and destroy the facility. If both Jack and Miranda's loyalty missions have been completed, a fight ensues between Jack and Miranda, which Shepard must quell. If the player has a high enough Paragon or Renegade score, he/she can stop the fight. The later in the game that the fight occurs, the more likely it can be resolved in a neutral manner. Otherwise, he/she is forced to side with either Jack or Miranda, causing the other to lose her loyalty to Shepard unless he/she later speaks with her and passes a difficult Charm/Intimidate check.
Jack is available as a romantic option for male Shepard and can be approached two ways: either a one-night stand that leaves her distrustful of Shepard, or slowly gaining her trust, revealing a more vulnerable side to her personality.
Jack is voiced by Courtenay Taylor.
Mordin Solus[edit | edit source]
A brilliant salarian scientist, yet also a competent soldier due to his membership in the salarian Special Task Group earlier in his life, Mordin Solus is found on Omega and possesses a hyperactive and eccentric personality as well as a rapid and stilted manner of speaking. He is often considered by many to be a "mad scientist" with questionable ethics—he was a key member in the team that researched the remodification of the krogan genophage, an action that he feels guilty about but considers the best possible solution to a once growing problem. Mordin believes in acting in the best interests of the galaxy; his scientific work is governed by strong moral standards and unquestionable respect for all forms of life. Acquiring Solus will open up the research laboratory on the Normandy, where Shepard may unlock and research upgrades for both the squad and the Normandy.
Solus' loyalty quest involves Maelon, a former assistant and student who has apparently been kidnapped by Blood Pack mercenaries. Shepard and Solus head to Tuchanka, where they battle through the hospital-bunker of an opposing clan of the Urdnot Clan. The team learns that Solus' student had not been kidnapped at all and had been willingly researching a cure for the krogan genophage. Depending on the player's choices, Mordin may or may not kill his former student, and may either destroy the genophage cure data or keep the data for later use when necessary.
If Shepard proceeds with a romantic relationship with a crew member, Mordin will offer advice to ensure that Shepard and the crew member have a safe and pleasurable experience. However, Mordin himself is not a romantic option, though if Shepard speaks to him several times with no love interest chosen, Mordin will misinterpret Shepard's friendliness and politely decline. If prompted, he will also note that he has an interest in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and will sing an altered version of the Major-General's song from The Pirates of Penzance.
Samara[edit | edit source]
A Close to 1000-year-old asari Justicar, Samara is highly skilled in her use of biotics. A member of a highly respected and feared monastic order, Samara has forsworn all possessions and family to fight for absolute justice. She is on a quest to track down her elusive daughter, who has been killing innocents for hundreds of years by burning out their nervous systems during sexual encounters. Shepard meets Samara on Illium, where she is found investigating the Eclipse mercenary group who smuggled her daughter off-world. After Shepard aids in said investigation, Samara joins him/her.
Samara's loyalty quest involves her daughter, Morinth. Morinth may be found on Omega, in the V.I.P. section of the Afterlife. Samara and Shepard formulate a plan in which Shepard attracts the attention of Morinth and is taken to her apartment, where Shepard is to distract Morinth until Samara moves in for the kill. Depending on the player's actions, either Samara or Morinth will be killed, and the survivor will stay with the team and be loyal to Shepard.
Morinth[edit | edit source]
Morinth is the biotic, fugitive daughter of Samara, the asari Justicar. She is also an Ardat-Yakshi or "Demon of the Night Winds." Ardat Yakshi are asari with a gene mutation that causes them to ravage the nervous systems of anyone with whom they mate. The process acts as a narcotic to the Ardat-Yakshi while leaving the mate dead or in a vegetative state. Samara is pursuing Morinth in order to end her reign of terror. Morinth will only join Shepard's mission if he helps Morinth trap Samara so that Morinth can execute her, disguising herself as her mother so that only Shepard knows of Samara's death. Morinth is a possible romance option for Shepard, although it results in his or her death.
Legion[edit | edit source]
Legion is the name given to the unique geth terminal with 1,183 active geth A.I. programs housed inside it. Legion belongs to the geth (the geth fought in both games are referred to as "heretics", and do not represent the geth majority) who believe that organic life does have the right to exist. EDI gives the platform the name "Legion" based on the Gospel of Mark 5:9, wherein a man who is possessed by demons refers to himself by saying "My name is Legion, for we are many". Legion is/are separated from the geth at large, having acted as a stand-alone unit since the events of Mass Effect. It/They have a certain fascination with Shepard and save him/her on board a Reaper ship, it/they has also retrofitted itself with pieces of Shepard's old N7 armour, for reasons it struggles to fully explain. Unlike other geth, which contain roughly a hundred geth identities within each unit, Legion possesses over a thousand geth identities, this was done in order to grant this stand-alone unit with sentience, as the usual amount of geth programs would amount to little more than feral behaviour without the aid of the geth's neural network. It/Their primary mission was to find Shepard as well as destroy a virus capable of turning all geth into Heretics. In the mission to gain Legion's loyalty, Shepard must travel to a Heretic station and either choose to destroy all Heretic geth or to reprogram the Heretics own mind-altering virus so that the Heretics will rejoin the mainstream geth. After completing the mission, Legion will become loyal to Shepard and will eventually reveal that the Heretics decided to help Sovereign in the original Mass Effect in order to receive a Reaper body so that all geth could upload themselves and join together into a single consciousness. The non-heretics believed that the geth should achieve their Future through their own means and that the process is as important as the results. Legion reveals that the non-heretics intend to do this by building a massive Dyson Sphere.
Zaeed Massani[edit | edit source]
Zaeed is a human bounty hunter that is available in downloadable content that will be shipped with the game on release, holding the reputation as the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter and was the co-founder of the Blue Suns mercenary group, joining Shepard's crew solely for the cash Cerberus offers him. When joining Shepard's crew, Massani mentions a mission that he would greatly appreciate the completion of if Shepard has any free time. There is no small amount of animosity between Zaeed and the leader of the Blue Suns, Vido Santiago, the latter having shot the former in the face when the two had an argument about whether or not to hire batarians, which Zaeed was against as he saw them as terrorists. Shepard can go with Massani to the Blue Suns' base and either quest after the death of Santiago, or rescue a group of innocents from the base.
Garrus Vakarian[edit | edit source]
After the Normandy was destroyed, Garrus Vakarian went on to pursue a life of vigilantism, making his way to the Omega space station, which is riddled with criminal syndicates, and earned the alias "Archangel" after sabotaging mercernary activity there. When Shepard finds him, Vakarian is holed up in his base as three crime syndicates send waves of mercenaries to kill him. During the final onslaught, Garrus is injured by an attack from a gunship, leaving him with facial scars and damaged armor.
Garrus' loyalty quest involves a search for a former squadmate, Lantar Sidonis, who betrayed Vakarians' team during his stint as Archangel, leading to their deaths. After finding a lead on the traitor, Shepard and Vakarian locate Sidonis on the Citadel, and depending on the player's actions, Vakarian will either kill Sidonis or allow him to live to endure a guilt-ridden life.
Garrus is a potential romantic interest for a female Shepard.
Tali'Zorah vas Neema/vas Normandy[edit | edit source]
Having completed her Pilgrimage, Tali is now named Tali'Zorah vas Neema, denoting her being considered an adult in quarian society. Tali returns to the Normandy after a scientific study goes horribly awry and most of her team is taken out by geth. She joins Shepard once he rescues her from the assaulting geth force.
Tali's loyalty quest involves her being tried for treason. Shepard and Tali travel to the quarian flotilla and it is revealed that Tali had been working with her father to discover more about the geth, periodically shipping him pieces of disabled geth. For unknown reasons, the reassembled geth were reactivated and killed everyone on board the research ship Tali's father was stationed on. Once Shepard and Tali battle through said ship and recover evidence that indicates the fault lies with Tali's now-deceased father, Rael'Zorah, the team returns to the main quarian ship. The player may choose to either heed Tali's plea and deny finding evidence that would dishonor her father or present the evidence to the Quarians. However, depending on Shepard's Paragon or Renegade score, the outcome of the trial may be influenced dramatically. As a Paragon, Shepard speaks eloquently about the role Tali played in the first game and how she illustrated to the galaxy the worth of the quarian people; as a Renegade, Shepard accuses the tribunal of not caring about Tali's fate and instead keeping its own agenda about the war in mind. Additionally, if certain tasks are completed prior to the second part of the trial, a third option of inciting the crowd to support Tali becomes available. Taking any of these three paths prevents the exile of Tali while still maintaining the honor of her father. Regardless of the player's actions, the trial results in Tali staying with Shepard, whether by choice or exile, and thus gives her the vas Normandy designation.
Tali is a potential romantic interest for male Shepard.
Kasumi Goto[edit | edit source]
A human character obtained through downloadable content, Kasumi is a master thief whom Shepard recruits on the Citadel on Cerberus's behalf. However, Goto wants Shepard to help her steal back her partner's (who was her boyfriend as well) graybox containing his memories, some which could implicate the Alliance if it gets into Citadel's hands, from Donovan Hock, an arms dealer responsible for his death. Goto gets Shepard into Hock's party using an alias in order for her to break into Hock's vault (as well as stashing weapons inside a statue of Saren given to Hock as a "gift"). After getting a voice and DNA sample from Hock as well as cutting the power, the pair successfully break into the vault, arming themselves with the weapons hidden inside the statue of Saren. Goto finds her partner's graybox amongst the vault of priceless artifacts, including the Statue of David and the Statue of Liberty's head. Hock discovers them and orders his men to attack. Goto and Shepard fight their way outside where Hock is waiting for them in his gunship. Hock is killed in the battle and the pair escape. Goto listens to her partner and boyfriend's message, telling her if she receives this message, then he is dead. He tells her to destroy the graybox, as it contains information that could implicate the Alliance if it falls into Citadel hands as well as making her a target. He also tells Kasumi that he loves her and that she doesn't need his "memories" as they are already inside her. Goto either spares or destroys the information based on Shepard's choice, and if it is decided it needs to be destroyed, either Shepard or a tearful Kasumi will.
Antagonists[edit | edit source]
Harbinger[edit | edit source]
Harbinger is the main antagonist of Mass Effect 2. Harbinger is a Reaper, and directs the actions of the Collectors, an insectoid race serving as the Reapers' slave caste. Harbinger's primary avatar is an arachnid-like creature with 4 glowing yellow eyes (referred to as Collector General in captions). However, his true form shares the basic design of Sovereign, the exception being glowing eyes similar to his thrall. Implants within each Collector drone enable Harbinger to control them directly, increasing their power, and enabling him to speak through them. Harbinger develops an interest in humans after Shepard kills Sovereign, as they are the first recorded species to defeat a Reaper. Harbinger directs the Collectors to abduct human colonists and use their genetic material to create a Human-Reaper hybrid. Harbinger expresses an interest in acquiring Shepard alive, instructing his troops to preserve Shepard's body if possible. After Shepard destroys both the Collector Base and the prototype hybrid, Harbinger tells Shepard that humanity has overreached, and his/her victory is meaningless. He then abandons the Collectors, stating to the General, "You have failed. We will find another way!"; then states "Releasing control." This is likely to avoid making the same mistake that Sovereign made by not releasing control of Saren at the end of the first Mass Effect game; which ultimately led to Sovereign's demise. He is asserting that the Reapers will "find another way" to invade the galaxy. Harbinger is later seen alongside countless other Reapers, slowly approaching the Milky Way galaxy.
Major characters in other media[edit | edit source]
Protagonists[edit | edit source]
David Anderson[edit | edit source]
In the novel, David Anderson is depicted as a young lieutenant who discovered the massacre at the research station on Sidon and lead the ensuing investigation into those responsible for it. Lt. Anderson is considered one of the Alliance's 'elites', having been trained in the N7 Marine program, graduating from the Arcturus Academy, as well as serving with honor in the First Contact War between the turians and the Alliance. Before he began his investigation of the massacre at Sidon, Anderson served as the Executive Officer of the SSV Hastings. During the investigation, Anderson fell in love with key witness/prime suspect Kahlee Sanders. However, they mutually agreed not to continue a romance after the investigation, in part because she was assigned to a classified scientific project, and also that their careers made marriage impossible. Anderson was capable and had been considered a suitable candidate to represent humanity in the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance (Spectre) of the Citadel. However, Saren, a turian and the antagonist of Mass Effect, blamed the failure of a mission on Anderson, effectively eliminating his chances of being selected.
In Mass Effect, David Anderson is the commanding officer of Commander Shepard, the central character. At first he commands the Normandy, but is quickly put into early retirement to give Shepard command of the Normandy. After that, he can be found on Citadel Station, beside the human Ambassador, Donnel Udina. When the Normandy is locked down by the Council, he unlocks it by either going to the Ambassador's office and overriding it (after punching out Udina), or sneaking into C-Sec and changing it there (and getting shot in the process). After the Geth invasion of the Citadel, the player can choose him (regardless if the player decided to allow the Council to die or not) to become the human representative of the Council. By the time of Mass Effect 2, Anderson is promoted to the rank of Admiral in the Systems Alliance Navy. If he was selected as the Council representative, he retains Ambassador Udina as an advisor. Anderson is happy to see that Shepard is still alive, but harbors some distrust due to Shepard's affiliation with Cerberus.
Anderson is also a supporting protagonist in the novel Mass Effect: Retribution.
Kahlee Sanders[edit | edit source]
Kahlee Sanders is introduced in Mass Effect: Revelation, and returns in Mass Effect: Ascension and Mass Effect: Retribution; the character has yet to appear in any game. She is the daughter of Systems Alliance Admiral Jon Grissom, and participated in artificial intelligence research on the planet Sidon; it is during the events on this planet that she meets and falls in love with David Anderson, but the relationship is not pursued. A decade later, she becomes a director of the Ascension Project, which was looking into experimental techniques to improve biotics. When she discovers the Cerberus organization's ties to the Project and intentions, she becomes disillusioned and seeks to dismantle the Project.
Antagonists[edit | edit source]
The Illusive Man[edit | edit source]
The Illusive Man is introduced as the antagonist of Mass Effect: Ascension, and returns for Mass Effect 2. He is the enigmatic leader of the Cerberus organization and was responsible for Cerberus' split from the Systems Alliance military shortly before the events of Mass Effect. His ultimate goal is to elevate humanity to its "rightful place" in the galaxy.
Essentially nothing is known about the Illusive Man, except that he is ruthless and most likely a business tycoon, given the apparent ocean of wealth and resources at his disposal. His demeanor is of a driven businessman, rather than the xenophobic extremist he is portrayed as by enemies of Cerberus. He is almost never met in person, and with the exception of Liara T'soni and Miranda Lawson, deals exclusively through holographic communication. His name derives from his designation in official Alliance reports, which in turn derives from an anonymous anti-alien manifesto released during the First Contact War described as "survivalist rhetoric written by an illusive man" which sparked the foundation of Cerberus.
Although he was the primary antagonist of the novel, in Mass Effect 2, the Illusive Man coerces Commander Shepard into an uneasy alliance to investigate the disappearance of several human colonies, which both Shepard and the Illusive Man believe is somehow connected to the Reapers. Cerberus actively provides Shepard with information and supplies. In the ending, while setting up the bomb to destroy the Collector Base Shepard is provided by The Illusive Man the option of using a timed radiation pulse to destroy the Collectors in the base, thus giving Cerberus access to their technology. If Shepard chooses to destroy the base, he criticizes Shepard, claiming that he is "too idealistic" and that he chokes on the hard decisions. The Illusive Man is voiced by and physically resembles Martin Sheen.
The Illusive Man is also the antagonist in the novel Mass Effect: Retribution, and the protagonist of the comic Mass Effect: Evolution.
The Shadow Broker[edit | edit source]
The Shadow Broker is a secretive entity that serves as a sort of information broker. Though its operations often skirt both sides of the law, the Broker's presence is generally regarded as a necessary evil among the general populace. In the original Mass Effect, the Shadow Broker hires Urdnot Wrex to assassinate a traitorous operative named Fist. It is mentioned in dialogue by Wrex and others that the Broker always acts through intermediaries, and face-to-face meetings are impossible. Some even speculate that the Broker is an artificial intelligence or a group of individuals. In Mass Effect: Redemption, the Shadow Broker serves as a principal antagonist, and it is suggested that the Broker is indeed a sapient individual. The Broker is hired by Harbinger to acquire the body of Commander Shepard. The Broker communicates directly with Harbinger, appearing as a shrouded, phantom-like figure. The Broker's plans are foiled by Liara T'Soni, who has been hired by the Illusive Man to recover Shepard's body for Project Lazarus. Liara eventually confronts the Shadow Broker, only to discover a mechanical proxy in his place. In Mass Effect 2, the enmity between Liara and the Broker continues, as Liara has set up a competing organization. The Broker places an operative known as the Observer to monitor Liara and assassinate her if necessary.
The Mass Effect 2 DLC "Lair of the Shadow Broker", involves Shepard and Liara discovering the Shadow Broker's identity and hunting him down. It is revealed that the Shadow Broker is a yahg. The yahg are a race of predators discovered by the Citadel Council in 2125. After the Council's ambassadors were attacked and killed for acting as equals to the yahg, the Council severed contact with the yahg and declared their homeworld Parnack off-limits.
Jath'Amon[edit | edit source]
Jath'Amon is the central antagonist of Mass Effect Galaxy. A batarian, he arrives in Citadel space to negotiate with the Council on behalf of his people. It is later discovered that he is a terrorist mastermind, and that his plan all along was to get close to the Council members and expose them to a deadly biological weapon. His plan is disrupted by Jacob Taylor, and he is arrested by C-Sec.
References[edit | edit source]
- Hudson, Casey (2009-06-18). Just the Facts, Man.... IGN. Retrieved on 2009-06-18
- Mass Effect game dialogue
- Bisexual extraterrestrials steaming up Mass Effect. Gamespot.
- Mass Effect Community-Female Romance Options. BioWare.
- Galactic Codex - Krogan Series Part 3: Wrex, Krogan Battle Master. BioWare.
- Mass Effect 2 Xbox 360 Series - Video Preview. IGN.
- Shoemaker, Brad (2009-12-18). Mass Effect 2: The Truth About the First 90 Minutes. Giant Bomb. Retrieved on 2009-12-18
- The Cast of Mass Effect 2. IGN (2009-12-10). Retrieved on 2009-12-10
- Brudvig, Eric (2009-08-18). GC 2009: Mass Effect 2 Interview. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
- Stephen, Totilo (2010-01-19). Kotaku: Mass Effect 2 Is Latest EA Game To Sweeten The Deal For "Original Purchasers". Kotaku. Retrieved on 2010-01-19
- IMDB - Keith David. imdb.com.
- Mass Effect: Revelation. Del Rey.
- Mass Effect - Heroes and Villains. IGN.com.
- Mass Effect 2's Illusive Man is Martin Sheen. Kotaku.