Mass Effect is taking the bold step of acknowledging that yes, you can actually play as a completely different gender as the hero of the game, as so many women (and many, many men) have done in the previous two titles.
But it’s male Shepard that’s always gotten all the glory from box art to commercials. His chiseled jaw and space buzz cut make him look like the prototypical hero that populates so many video games these days, so it’s kind of refreshing when you actually play through the game as a woman. Bioware is having a contest to decide what exactly the “default” female Shepard should look like, as they’re giving her a slot on some of the boxes, and this is the image that’s leading the pack right now. I think you can see why.
She does look a bit like my own female Shepard, albeit missing a few jagged glowing facial scars as a result of her propensity to be the baddest, coldest bitch in the galaxy in absolutely any situation.
In short, creating your own lead makes any game better. You feel much more connected to them, as they’re a product of your own making, and it’s good to see Bioware recognizing other non-standard renditions of their hero.