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BioWare Artist Shares Early ‘Mass Effect’ Art

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Matt Rhodes - Catalyst

Veteran BioWare artist Matt Rhodes has shared an array of early concept art from across the Mass Effect trilogy.

BioWare’s veteran artist Matt Rhodes has posted up several concept art pieces of early designs from throughout the Mass Effect series. Some of the pieces in particular are very early ideas for environments and characters, and the series’ conclusion to boot.

These concept pieces can be found on Rhodes’ blog, which also houses several concept pieces for Dragon Age

According to Rhodes, the early days of Commander Shepard’s story was very different than what fans of the Mass Effect series have known. For example a “very, very early idea for Shepard” was that he would implement himself with deadly Reaper technology in order to accomplish his goals, whilst in doing so he would become something akin to the original Mass Effect’s villain Saren.

Some of the designs nod back to the origins of the Mass Effect series. Rhodes in particular worked on a number of pieces for Tali’s face, back in the day when “her appearance under the mask wasn’t a big deal yet.” His definitive design for Tali was to have her with white skin and cat-like eyes.

Matt Rhodes - Tali

“The debate about whether or not to reveal Tali’s face was one that lasted a long time. Versions of her were being worked on fairly often,” Rhodes explained. “Personally, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to push players to the edge. Tali was like a pen pal, or a friend you’ve only ever known online. Depending on how attached to her a player was, how well could they handle her appearance challenging their expectations?

“If she looked a little too alien, just a little too repellant, would they still feel the same way about her? Or did her personality and your history together trump appearances? It’s an interesting area to explore and I hope we can find other ways to ask that question.”

As well as various design on Tali, Rhodes has also designed other armour sets for the Cerberus soldiers and he has even done a few of the Illusive Man half converted into a synthetic. EDI is also included in the bunch too.

Perhaps most eerie of all the concept pieces are the designs of the human Reaper that was the end boss fight in Mass Effect 2. One of them even has a likeness to an infant.

Matt Rhodes - Infant Reaper

Rhodes’ blog is definitely worth a look at if you’re interested in seeing early concept designs of the Mass Effect series and some lore behind them too. Early drawings of the Dragon Age series can also be found there too.

What do you think of Matt Rhodes concept artwork for ‘Mass Effect’? Let us know in the comments!

Chirps to Polygon and Eurogamer. Thank you again, and I’ll catch you next time!

About Kieran Mackintosh

Kieran "KingSongbird" Mackintosh was a fledgling freelance videogame journalist. He has resigned due to RL issues, but yearns to come back with a vengeance! His gaming interests lie in anything Sci-Fi, but he has a particular soft spot for RTSs, City Builders and any game that allows him to fly. He prefers visual aesthetics over graphical fidelity and values story, animation and character development over gameplay. For updates and shenanigans, follow him @KingSongbird!

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  • Wynne

    Omg, why was that Tali art not used? Why?! The one used made it look like nobody cared, when clearly, somebody did.

    Matt Rhodes, you’re a genius.