It all started with a light interview over at CVG with Casey Hudson, Mass Effect’s Executive Producer, and Derek Watts, Art Director. When asked the question, “All the characters have been given a redesign for Mass Effect 3. Do you ever worry about fan reaction?”
“You know, they’ve been pretty receptive to the changes we’ve made. We haven’t really had much negative feedback from them. We changed Tali – that was tough because people were very passionate about her. A lot of people want to have her face revealed and obviously people are going to be pissed off either way.
Like ‘I thought she was going to look beautiful!’ or “I thought she was going to be the most hideous thing ever!’ So we’ve had a lot of debate over Tali’s face, but that’s the one we kind of dread a lot. We’re always ‘well, let’s talk about something else for a while!’ That’s something we’re going to have to decide.”
Immediately countless news outlets picked up this bit of information and ran with it sparking a great debate on whether or not BioWare should unmask Tali and assign a face to the mysterious Quarian race, or should they keep their mystery intact forever.
To understand, according to the Mass Effect universe, Quarian wear full bodied suits because of their unique immune system. Their immune system is naturally weak due to the lack of harmful diseases on their homeworld. Furthermore, what few virus that did exist were actually somewhat beneficial to them. In the game Tali states that their immune system is adaptive rather then a steel wall of defense. The Quarians created the Geth, the hive mind protagonist of the first game. They were run off their homeworld after losing a bloody war trying to eradicate their forsaken creations. After fleeing and being stripped of support, they were forced to live within their colony of ships ‘The Migrant Fleet’. Forced to keep a sterile environment within the fleet deteriorated their immune systems even further resulting Quarians always wearing a suit even in the safest of environment.
This forms the base players use to argue why BioWare shouldn’t reveal Tali’s face because they personally feel it will bastardize their lore and remove that sense of mystery Tali and by extension the Quarians have. Players got to know Tali through her personality and story, creating this strong bond with her and feel it should stay that way; that by removing her mask or any others will make the Quarians just another alien species in a world filled with them. Then there is the question of what would she look like if they choose to remove her mask. Everyone has their own idea as the quote above states they won’t be able to satisfy everyone no matter what they do.
Strong arguments and many issues they would have to contend with, but I personally would love to see them take on the challenge to reveal her face. If you speak with Tali, she mentions at the possibility that she could only remove her suit on their homeworld. Whether that was a statement made out of wishful thinking or fact it’s no coincidence that we will have to deal with the conflict between the Geth and the Quarians in Mass Effect 3. I believe that they have the potential of setting up a really powerful and meaningful scene. It has to have a strong impact if they’re going to remove the mystery.
Even though I do have an image of what Tali looks like, I wouldn’t mind settling with whatever BioWare comes up with. Apparently, she’s pleasing to look at, since male Shepard smiles when he takes off her mask during their love scene, and I know countless number of people romanced her with the hope of finally seeing what’s behind the mask. To me, revealing her face will fill in the missing chapter. They do in fact have a plan in motion already, whether or not they reveal their face or not is something to look forward to March 6, 2011. Until then, what do you guys think? Should they reveal what Tali’s face or they should they keep it under wraps?