The Mass Effect franchise is full of interesting aliens, one of which is the batarian alien race who has a reputation for being just a bit unsavory.
The Mass Effect games are full of vibrant, memorable characters, but of course some outrank others when it comes to naming favorites or the most loathsome. Most of the time, Mass Effect players are quick to name certain aliens as their favorite characters as opposed to naming a human as their favorite. Players interact with a lot of different alien races during their time in the Milky Way galaxy, but some are more well-received than others.
Garrus Vakarian is a turian fan favorite in both romantic and platonic instances, while other players sometimes gravitate towards quarian Tali’Zorah or krogan Urdnot Wrex. Not all aliens introduced, however, make it to the forefront of players’ minds or very high on their favorite list. The batarian alien race is one of those that players tend to remember, but probably not fondly.
Aesthetically, batarians are quite interesting to look at. They’re one of few alien races with multiple sets of eyes—one placed “normally” and one directly above, and neither set has pupils or irises. Their faces are covered in a layer of thin, fine hair that grows thicker and longer around their mouths. Batarians also have ears that point on the end, and their heads have ridged cartilage that protrudes on the top of their skull and all the way down their neck.
Their noses, or where a “nose” would normally be located, are an upside-down triangle with multiple ridges in place of just two nostrils. Batarians also have needle-sharp teeth and deep voices. Their skin ranges in tones, but most players encounter batarians who are dark brown with paler colored facial features. Other common complexions include light brown, yellow-brown, red-brown, green, yellow-green, and teal.
When batarians first discovered faster-than-light travel and made it to the Citadel, they were welcomed into the galactic community. The Citadel Council granted them an embassy, but the batarian alien race tends to be naturally aggressive, leading to some difficulty within the galaxy. The final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when batarians asked the Citadel Council to prevent humans from settling in an area that batarians already resided in. The Council refused, and the batarians retaliated by closing their embassy, severing all diplomatic and economic ties, and became an independent “rogue” state.
In the first DLC released for Mass Effect, titled “Bring Down the Sky,” players must fight a batarian named Balak and stop him from launching an asteroid into Terra Nova—a planet containing a human colony. Players have the choice to kill Balak, leave him to die, or let the Alliance handle him. In typical Mass Effect tradition, whatever players decide will impact later events of the games.
Culturally, batarians invest heavily in the caste system. If they’re rich enough, batarians can buy their way into better, more elite social circles. This caste system also heavily relies on slavery, which is illegal by Council law. Slavery is so ingrained in batarian society that some batarians think this law is discriminatory in nature. Also, it seems most batarians believe that alien races with less than four eyes are less intelligent than those that possess them.
Body language is key in batarian society as well, much like it can be in real life. Nonverbal cues can be essential in understanding what someone is saying and if their words match their actions. In batarian society, tilting their head to the left means they admire or respect the person they’re talking to. Tilting to the right, however, means they feel superior in comparison to the person they’re conversing with.
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