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Things You Never Knew About Mass Effect 2's Jack

The Mass Effect series is known for its high-action, story-driven gameplay and has accumulated a huge fanbase. It even has its own holiday, Nov. 7 (known as N7 Day), which was created by fans to celebrate their love for the series. Last year's N7 Day was especially momentous due to Bioware's announcement of the upcoming remastered version of Mass Effect, which will include all three games from the original trilogy.

The sci-fi video game series features a cast of memorable characters, including the protagonist Commander Shepard, who is joined by various companions, both human and nonhuman, that fight alongside them to save the galaxy. One of those companions is Jack — also known as Subject Zero — a woman with phenomenal biotic powers that far surpass the abilities of other humans. She is known for her short temper and violent tendencies, which make her a terrifying foe to her enemies.

Jack first appeared in Mass Effect 2, with her story arc carrying over into Mass Effect 3. While the biggest fans may think they know everything about her, there are a few facts that may have flown under the radar. Here are some notable things about everyone's favorite "psychotic biotic."

Jack's tattoos tell her story

Besides her badass attitude and impressive biotic powers, the first noticeable thing about Jack is her appearance. Her head is shaved, she is scantily clad, and nearly every inch of bared skin is covered with tattoos. In one cutscene during Mass Effect 2, a conversation with Jack reveals that her "ink" isn't just for decoration. Thanks to a page of concept art from The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, we can get a closer look at the meaning behind Jack's body art.

The countless tattoos which adorn Jack's body tell her rich backstory. There are tears for gang members killed, tally marks for years spent in captivity, symbols representing her status as a human, and a detailed record of the guards she has killed. There is also the symbol for an asari family name of unknown origin, as well as the faces of Jack's murdered gang members, labeled on the concept art as her "sisters." 

Also according to the Mass Effect concept art book, the choice to give Jack a shaved head was meant to give her "a genuine punk feel rather than making her a supermodel with ink."

Jack was supposed to be pansexual

Fans of Mass Effect 2 were confused by the fact that, even though admitting to having a past same-sex relationship, Jack could only be romanced by a male Shepard. The reason for this was recently revealed in an interview with Brian Kindregan, the lead writer for Jack and other characters in Mass Effect 2.

Kindregan told The Gamer that Jack was originally meant to be pansexual. However, plans were changed when Fox News heavily criticized the sex scenes from the first Mass Effect and also condemned the same-sex relationship between a female Shepard and female-presenting character Liara T'Soni. Jack's sexuality was changed because of pressure from Fox News and the fear of being a target of controversy. "I think there was a concern that if that had drawn fire, that Mass Effect 2 had to be a little bit careful," Kindregan confessed.

Kindregan did admit that he regrets the changes to Jack's romance and hopes that this can be remedied one day. With the remastered Mass Effect: Legendary Edition coming out this spring, fans can possibly hold onto hope that the romance between Jack and female Shepard could be edited back into the game.

Jack's voice actor has a lot in common with her character

Courtenay Taylor is no stranger to video game voiceovers. Her credits not only include Jack in Mass Effect 2 but also Call of Duty 2, Fallout 4, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

As it turns out, Taylor and Jack have more in common than their voice. Taylor also had a rebellious streak. She recently told The Gamer that she shaved her head in high school in protest against the school's strict dress code and that she related well to Jack's character. "I was just shocked that she was so familiar to me," Taylor said. "She talked like me, we had a lot of similarities in attitudes."

Taylor also spoke about her own emotional issues in the past and how playing Jack helped her work through them. "The anger I felt as a teenager — getting into fights and all the stuff I did — if I had the opportunity to go back, I might have done [them] differently," said Taylor. "Now I feel like the things I look back on with a little bit of regret, they've actually been really rich soil for character creation."