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Mass Effect 3 writer: creating engaging female characters "shouldn't be such an issue"

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Mass Effect 3 Nyreen Kandros

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It's interesting when a topic as lively as female characters in games includes gender-sensitive publishers concerned with mainstream appeal (opens in new tab) , but it's also nice to hear about those who have no trouble writing a heroine. In an EA blog post (opens in new tab) , Mass Effect 3 writer Ann Lemay says the inclusion of the female turian Nyreen Kandros as a major character in the RPG's Omega DLC "was never an issue."

Originally, Nyreen existed as a blander asari mercenary unrelated to Shepard and Aria's quest to retake the lawless space station. Lemay saw a chance to expand the character's role as a balance to Aria's fiery temperament, so the cool-headed turian was the eventual result and the first appearance of a female member of the reptilian species in the entire trilogy.

"And it was never an issue," Lemay says. "Which is just as it should have been. The creation of Nyreen Kandros was an incredibly positive experience."

Granted, the smoothness of the decision-making process probably partially arose from fan demand to see a female turian, but Lemay thinks the rest of the industry shouldn't make such a big deal of the issue and just move forward.

"Creating diverse and engaging female characters—or any character that isn't both white and male—shouldn't be such an issue," she explains. "If we can move beyond the resistance to such characters in our games, both as non-player characters and as main protagonists, I honestly believe that we'll end up with richer narratives and a broader audience, and the industry ends up with a bigger and more interesting playground.

"It's a win-win all around."

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?