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Meer on ME3: “Players are going to be impressed”

- March 5th, 2012

Mark Meer, star and voice of the male Commander Shepard, dishes on Mass Effect 3

Tonight, in cities across North America, millions of gamers will line up to conclude their mission to save the galaxy from the impending Reaper invasion.

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Mark Meer, voice of the male Commander Shepard and star of Mass Effect, poses for a photo at BioWare's Edmonton studio. DAVID BLOOM/Edmonton Sun

The story of Mass Effect has emerged over the last seven years to become modern videogaming’s definitive science fiction masterpiece. To show their appreciation for fans in their hometown, BioWare Edmonton is hosting a helluva midnight launch party at the EB Games store in Southgate Centre Mall.

In attendance will be the tremendously talented Mark Meer, star and voice of Commander Shepard if you went with the dude option, to sign copies of the game and greet local fans. I caught up with Meer at BioWare’s Edmonton HQ to ask how he feels now that the series is winding down.

Bad choice of words.

“I wouldn’t say they wound the trilogy down,” Meer explained, leaning back in a computer chair inside the studio’s on-site recording booth, “I’d say they ramped it up significantly. It’s gonna be something to see, I think players are going to be impressed.”

Meer, who’s seen the success and fandom of the series blossom alongside his own since Mass Effect released in 2005, said stepping back into the booth to record Shepard’s struggle to save the galaxy was thrilling.

Mark Meer, voice of the male Commander Shepard and star of Mass Effect, poses for a photo at BioWare's Edmonton studio. DAVID BLOOM/Edmonton Sun

 

The universe of Mass Effect is so fully and wonderfully realized by BioWare, Meer said, that it was easy to immerse himself back into the role.

“It was great. I would say for this game, the emotional stakes are a lot higher than they’ve ever been in the series. The stakes get raised even further and I think you’re going to see that reflected in the performance both Jennifer Hale and myself give as Commander Shepard.”

Meer spent months of four-hour long sessions to record thousands of lines of dialogue for Mass Effect 3 at Wolf Willow Sound in Edmonton, always under the direction of Voiceover Director Caroline Livingstone and Associate Producer Susanne Hunka.

Occasionally, lead writer Mac Walters would sit in on recordings if the scene was of particular importance to the story. Meer said it was the most dialogue he’s ever recorded for the series, just due to the finale’s plethora of possible plot lines and conversations.

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Mark Meer, voice of the male Commander Shepard and star of Mass Effect, poses for a photo at BioWare's Edmonton studio. DAVID BLOOM/Edmonton Sun

In the original Mass Effect, BioWare had to find the “core” of Shepard. Commander Shepard, no matter how you play him -Renegade or Paragon- is a military officer who stays cool under fire and is used to giving commands under great pressure.

He said ME3 is a more personal story for Shepard, who’s tired of telling the Council that the Reapers are a real threat.

“I think in Mass Effect 3, you’ll start to see the pressure maybe get to Shepard a little bit,” Meer said, “Because this is more pressure than any human has ever faced. I think there was more room to show the emotional side of Shepard and show how much the responsibilities are getting to him.”

While Meer hasn’t given up the mantle of Commander Shepard just yet -he’s still recording lines for the downloadable content BioWare has planned for the game- the excitement of the sound booth will always be the highlight of recording Mass Effect.

“I’ll remember that booth very well, I’ve certainly been in it enough,” he laughed, “Just getting to walk into the booth and hear actors like Seth Green, Martin Sheen, Keith David, Lance Henriksen and so on was amazing.”

Meer is a big fan of his co-stars, and was astounded by their work during a recent trip to BioWare Edmonton when he got four hours of playtime with ME3, including being fast-forwarded to later missions. He said four hours is just “a drop in the bucket” when considering the amount of time players can invest in Mass Effect.

“I’m very happy with the way things turned out and I think other people will be too.”

Excited to meet local fans in person at tonight’s launch, Meer said he hopes to see a lot of N7 gear in the line-up.

“I remember the first time I saw someone wearing a Commander Shepard outfit that they built, that was truely impressive… The dedication and enthusiasm of the fans is truly impressive.”

You can also catch Meer at Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre as well as both CBC Radio’s sketch comedy program The Irrelevant Show and APTN’s CAUTION: May Contain Nuts. Follow @Mark_Meer for more of his thoughts and musings.

matthew.dykstra@sunmedia.ca

@SunMattDykstra

 

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