Flashback Fridays: Profile – Miranda Lawson

Welcome to Flashback Fridays, where members of Girls Got Game revisit articles or posts they have done in the past. We let our authors republish them here, more than occasionally with revisions. This one is the first in a series done by Carlo. The originals are all up on Facebook. This particular piece can be found here.

Time to have some fun! I’m going to do a brief series here on video game character design!

This is Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2. She was genetically engineered by her wealthy, sociopathic father to be the perfect woman. Miranda introduces herself by shooting a man claiming to be helping you, then overrides your protests by saying she’s “an excellent judge of character”. She also insists that she’s “never wrong”.

Look at her color scheme. Black and white, like her worldview.

Her powerset is all over the place, combining a top-tier tech power (Overload) with a top-tier biotic power (Warp). This makes her the only squad mate who can strip the protection from any kind of enemy. She even gets more power development points than the other team members, and is one of very few effective choices for secondary team leader during the final mission. She’s an overachiever. Nobody can fault her talents, so instead everybody from Asari commandos to video game reviewers gives her grief about her wardrobe.

Miranda’s famously slinky catsuit at first seems like gratuitous fanservice, until you consider that Miranda feels no ownership over her own body – it’s a tool like any other she wields, and if it distracts an opponent at a critical moment, perfect. It also shows off a confidence that borders on arrogance: Her biotic shielding is so strong that she doesn’t bother with physical armor.

Her catsuit prominently features the logo of the terrorist organization that rescued her from her father – a foolish choice for a secret agent, but one that makes sense character-wise. It’s the only thing on her outfit that isn’t black or white, which also makes sense, because that organization is all shades of grey.

Miranda has issues. Everything about her was engineered. Because of this, she attributes all her talents and successes to a father she hates, and feels ownership of only her failures. Your character can win her loyalty by valuing her for herself, at which point she gets a new power: Slam. Slam is weird. It’s weaker than her other powers – until you realize that it’s a superb choice for a combo attack with your own powers.

Miranda’s face is modeled on her voice actress, Yvonne Strahkovski, with subtle differences. Miranda’s face is perfectly symmetrical. I’ve always found it a little “off” compared to the other women in Mass Effect 2. Then I realized why. It’s the Uncanny Valley. She’s too perfect – another nod to her character arc.

Yes, Miranda gets more gratuitous ass shots than any other video game character I’ve ever seen. But I don’t mind, because everything else about her is also well-rounded.

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Antonio Calavera

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