BioWare is asking fans to vote on Jane Shepard's new look. As someone who considers Jane to be the epitome of a female game character, it pissed me off. Jane Shepard fangirlism, it's serious.
Never play as Jane? You shouldn't be voting.
People tend to play as their own gender, so I won't knock you for not choosing to listen to Jennifer Hale's superior performance, but definitely don’t want you to have a say in how the character that defines my experience looks unless you use her too. If you've never bothered to do a playthrough with her, have no investment, why does your opinion carry any weight?
People who don't care about Jane have turned every 'BioWare wants you to vote for a Jane!' post into a hotness competition. While I completely agree that good-looking people/characters are fantastic, Jane already has an attractive face that some of us prefer sticks around. Besides, we already have Miranda (glorious glorious Miranda) and can't bed Jane anyway, so why the push to redesign her?
Completely changing the main character's look is evil. Period.
You don’t redesign the main character two games in, especially one as strong as Jane. BioWare would never redesign John Shepard at this point. While you could argue that makes sense because he's been their marketing point for years -- and you would be right -- it isn't the reason entirely. More people play as him, and backlash from the majority is what incites change (think when they tried to change Cole's look for InFamous 2). Sadly, Jane fans are the minority, and default Jane fans are the super minority.
Considering this, it's easy to see why few are fighting for her. With most people choosing to customize their character, default FemShep becomes less visible. Unfortunately, something about Mass Effect made me feel they looked right as they were, and from then on Jane became the character I always expected, and wanted, to see. She's the best female in all of gaming, and part of this is due to her looking and sounding like she does.
According to the game stats, you probably don't care.
A mere 13% of people play as default Shepard. Considering only 18% of all players choose Jane, it's guaranteed that less than 13% are playing as default Jane. Combine this with the fact that most people will have no problem getting their default character back due to save imports, and the pro-original Jane crowd thins further.
Still, even when you can get the default back, doesn't it seem wrong that the original just wasn't good enough to put on the box? Seriously, what was said at that meeting? Why isn't she marketable?
That's really where the issue comes in. Obviously BioWare isn't making a huge mistake redesigning a character that has a small userbase and can easily be imported with past saves. It's really a matter of being a fan, and being sad to see a character you adore changed so late in the story. Jane is Commander Shepard for me, the male Shepard may be on the box but he isn't the main character in the ME universe.
Getting over it for the love of Mass Effect.
So Jane is screwed and we're doomed to deal with FauxShep ads, but at least they were able to make a positive PR/marketing event out of it. "Hey you! Pick one of these attractive females for your viewing pleasure. Get curious about our space game. Here, have you seen our sexy blue alien women? Did we mention the space guns? That you have space friends? That you have a spaceship? That you have a collection of spaceship models inside your spaceship? That you can have sex with your space friends in your spaceship next to your collection of spaceship models?!"
Ultimately, if this gets even a couple thousand more people into the amazing series that Mass Effect is, then it's probably worth it. Even if it means never seeing an ad featuring the best female gaming has to offer in her original form.
With that completely-opposite-from-the-original-rant conclusion, one question remains. Why didn't they just make one of the options a hotter/edgier default Jane?