This artifact, which I dug this up out of my basement a few weeks ago, was where I first entered the universe of Mass Effect. It didn’t impress me much in 2007.
Six years ago, the Microsoft PR machine sent out hard drives with the code for Mass Effect 1 to press for previews. Mine was hand delivered during a New York City media tour and I distinctly remember the character creator being talked up as one of the game’s big features. The promo person working on the game talked about how I could recreate a stunningly lifelike version of myself to patrol the galaxy with.
Looking back at how famously rickety the first ME game was, it makes sense that Microsoft were so particular about the way they showed the Xbox 360 exclusive to press. But, really, “ooh, a fancy character creator!" Sounds very six years ago, doesn’t it? Granted, it was an early look at the game but that selling point wasn’t enough for me to get much into the first Mass Effect. In fact, I only started playing Mass Effect 1 (in its final retail version) to prepare for Mass Effect 2.
I remember being more interested in the idea that decisions I did in the first game would carry over to next. Turns out that the built-in continuity from game to game was much more of a hook for me than making Evan Shepard. Sure, the guy made in the game looked like me—still a rarity six years later—but it was the fact that things I did in the Mass Effect games built up to a sort of biography that made me fall love with BioWare’s series.