Posted by: Dave | June 20, 2008

Familiar Face

After googling for images of these faces, I know I’m not the first person to point this out, but I’m going to anyway just for kicks.

Those of you who watch Lost will be quite familiar with protagonist Jack Shephard. I actually would not have been until recently, since I just took the plunge this summer starting from the first season. (I haven’t really watched TV through my satellite provider in a planned out way, as in knowing something was going to be on and arranging to be home to watch it, in years and years.) Anyway, Jack Shephard. Yes. And then we have good old Mass Effect, the FPS-RPG that’s loved by so many, starring none other than…well, a customized character. But the default guy is John Shephard – he’s the dude on the box’s cover art.

Jack Shephard played by actor Matthew FoxMass Effect cover art featuring default player character John Shepard

TOP: Jack Shephard of LostBOTTOM: John Shepard of Mass Effect

I mean…c’mon now, Bioware. Didya think no one would notice? And yes, I’m aware that the default player character of Mass Effect is based on a male model that is not actor Matthew Fox, but the inspiration is still fairly obvious. Not that it matters much. Most players create their own “shep” – for all custom characters have the surname Shepard in common – and so the generic John Shepard isn’t even a part of the game for many people. Kind of amusing though. (Then again, I’m easily amused.)

Subsequent thoughts: What is it about these similar characters that their creators hope will make them appealing? Can we infer anything about ourselves from analyzing trends in character design across multiple media?



  1. Actually, the character model for the male version of Commander Shepard is a model named Mark Vanderloo – check out the images that come up in google image search, you can easily see the likeness:

    I wonder why they decided on the Shepard name though. It seems to be all the rage these days, with the protagonist of Silent Hill: Homecoming also having the name Shepard. I think I’ve seen it other places too, but in any case, why is it popping up so much? Is there something about it that makes it more palatable to the public in its current mindscape?

    Not to say that Matthew Fox and Mark Vanderloo don’t look alike. They certainly do:)

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