The way I originally ended up playing femshep in Mass Effect was that, after finishing the first game as a male paragon (like most games, I couldn’t bring myself to be “evil”), I decided to do another playthrough as renegade, and figured I’d try out femshep. Though I didn’t finish my second playthrough (at first), I fell in love with Hale’s voicework and swore to come back to it some time.

So, when ME2 was announced, I went back and restarted ME1 with Felicia Shepard. As I was shaping her face, picking her background, I came up with a loose idea in my head for her character, which evolved in my head as I played. Impatient and efficient. Unforgiving. Distrustful, but loyal once you’ve proven yourself. She values innocent life but knows that sometimes, sacrifices must be made, and any hesitation could cost even more lives.

I also like to think that she’s grown. For example, in ME2, you’ll run into minor characters that you had the chance to kill in ME1. They’ll thank you, and usually offer help or a side mission. When this first happened, Shepard saw that giving smalltime bad guys a second chance could be beneficial in the long run, so I started sparing people more often.

Even though I started out with the very basic idea of doing a female renegade, I didn’t just blindly pick the bottom options all the time. I made decisions based on how I felt my character would react. My Shepard supports the genophage, but couldn’t justify wiping out an entire species by executing the Rachni queen. At the end of ME1, she told Joker to focus on Sovereign, sacrificing the Council, because it was the logical choice, but that doesn’t mean she agreed that humanity should take over the Alliance.