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The Mass Effect Character Who Was Inspired By Clint Eastwood

The Milky Way galaxy is brimming with intelligent life in BioWare's sci-fi epic, "Mass Effect." Some species are more prominently featured across the series' timeline, like the asari and turians, but there are also several more obscure alien races like the hanar and drell. Each of these races has its own history and interacts with galactic civilization as a whole in different ways. The quarians, for instance, lost their homeworld Rannoch to the geth 300 years before the events of the games, forcing them to live as nomads on a flotilla of ships. Because of this, Tali and the other quarians must wear protective suits to safeguard them from infections, as they now have compromised immune systems due to generations of living on sterile spacecraft.

The development team at BioWare took inspiration from a multitude of sources to construct such a diverse population of alien species. Some were based on animals, like the krogan, which associate art director Matt Rhodes told Game Informer he designed after spending a lot of time sketching insects and bats. He modeled their faces after the Centurio senex, a.k.a. the Wrinkle-faced Bat. Other alien races had different sources of inspiration. Rhodes explained that the amphibious race of scientists called the salarians was largely based on the proteogenic gray aliens, like the Colonists from "The X-Files." However, the only salarian crew member in the trilogy, Mordin Solus, actually has Clint Eastwood to thank for his design.

'The Clint Eastwood salarian'

Rhodes talked in detail with Game Informer about how the team developed the good Dr. Solus' design. He showed several images of a salarian in various medical suits that were designed by Benjamin Huen, stating that they wanted to portray that he was "a field medic or a scientist" with a lot of experience. Once they had the body ready, they focused on the face.

"With Mordin, this was a chance, again, to explore what happens to the alien races either early on in their life or later in life," Rhodes said. "So, Mordin, the design brief was: ... What would the Clint Eastwood salarian look like? And so ... we took a shot from one of Clint Eastwood's latest movies and tried to paint some of those features in there with the intense squint and getting the wrinkles in, and that's how we got our old experienced salarian out of it."

Clint Eastwood might seem like an odd choice as a template for a character who is a scientist first and foremost, but it's important to remember that Solus was also once an operative of the salarian Special Tasks Group. As such, he is no stranger to combat and has seen more than enough violence in his life to justify matching The Man with No Name's infamous thousand-yard stare.