Urdnot Wrex

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Urdnot Wrex
Mass Effect character
Urdnot Wrex.png
Wrex as he appears in the first Mass Effect
First appearanceMass Effect (2007)
Last appearanceMass Effect 3 (2012)
Voiced bySteven Barr

Urdnot Wrex is a fictional character in BioWare's Mass Effect franchise, who serves as a party member (or "squadmate") in the first game of the Mass Effect trilogy. He is a krogan, an alien race near-sterilised by other galactic races for their violence and high population growth. Introduced as an experienced krogan mercenary, his role changes in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 where he becomes leader of an expanding krogan clan and eventual head of state for the krogan as a whole. After 1000 years of aimless apathy, Wrex seeks to bring back hope to his people and reverse the genocidal-plague placed upon them.

Able to die in the first game in a stand-off with the player-character, the character will appear in the second and third games if the player imports a savegame where Wrex lives. In the Citadel downloadable content for the third game, he is available as a squadmate again for the DLC's duration. In addition to the games, he is the star of the Mass Effect: Foundation comic series' second issue. Merchandise of the character has also been made available.

Krogan faces drew inspiration from bats. Their bodies were given a thick exoskeleton expressive of their battle-hardened nature. The krogan had to fit into human animation skeletons, limiting designs and making developers focus on their backs to increase their size. Wrex was given a "splash" of red color and scars to separate him from others of his race. The scars further stress his combat experience. His stand-off with the player-character was presented as an example of Mass Effect's cinematography.

The character was positively received, with praise going to his humour and writing. His stand-off with Shepard in the first game drew attention.

Character overview[edit]

A famous bounty hunter and mercenary, Wrex is among the last of the krogan Battle Masters. They are rare individuals who can combine biotic abilities with advanced weaponry and tactics. Wrex quickly gained fame for his battle powers and became a leader of one of the smaller Urdnot tribes at a very young age. To date, Wrex is the youngest krogan to be granted the honor in 1,000 years. Following the krogan genophage, Wrex turned his back on his people when his father, a krogan warlord who wanted to resume the war, betrayed and attempted to kill him after a feigned attempt at reconciliation. Wrex escaped, though not before taking his father's life in retaliation. During the past three centuries, Wrex has served no master except himself, working as a bodyguard, mercenary, soldier of fortune, and bounty hunter. One operation as a mercenary was with Saren Arterius as his employer, though Wrex immediately sensed something very troubling about the turian and left the contract without even waiting to get paid. His instincts were right: every other mercenary on the ship they were on turned up dead within a week. Despite his menacing appearance, Wrex rarely loses his temper. Likewise, Wrex doesn't voice his thoughts very often. But when he does, people are more than willing to listen. The mere threat of his anger is enough to ensure that.[1]

Creation and development[edit]

The faces of krogan were based on bats, particularly the wrinkle-faced bat.

Associate art director Matt Rhodes drew inspiration for the faces of krogan from bats after drawing various different animal species.[2] Originally, their eyes were located on the sides of their heads. However, as they were being modeled the modeler noted that this was a trait of prey animals; thus, the eyes of the krogan were moved to the front to match their predatorial nature. This had the benefit of both making their design more believable, and worked better in conversation.[2]

As a battle-hardened race, something akin to a thick chitin exoskeleton was given to the race.[2] Limits were brought as krogan still had to fit into a human skeleton for animation purposes, a problem with many of the races. As the back area of a race was a "safe" area, allowing designers to play with the silhouette without negatively impacting combat animation and conversations, it was often greatly increased for bigger races like the krogan.[2] The heavy skin of an Indian rhinoceros was used as the reference for the krogan's body.[3]

In order to distinguish Wrex from other krogan, his head was given a "splash" of red color as well as deep scarring.[3] These scars across also demonstrated his combat experience.[3]

Steven Barr voiced Wrex in each game.[4][5] In the first game, senior writer Mac Walters focused on the character in addition to Garrus Vakarian.[6]


Mass Effect[edit]

Wrex makes his debut appearance in 2007's Mass Effect. A bounty hunter, Wrex is hired by the Shadow Broker to assassinate Fist, a former agent who had defected to the rogue Council Spectre, Saren. Wrex is first seen trying to intimidate his way through Chora's Den, where Fist is based, but is unsuccessful. Later, Commander Shepard meets with Wrex, looking for Fist as well. Wrex agrees to join Shepard, since they share a common goal. When Fist is found, after he tells them that he sent a quarian who had information on Saren to meet with agents of the Shadow Broker, who were going to kill her, Wrex fulfills his contract by killing Fist. After a brief reprimand from Shepard, they then invite Wrex to join their team, which he accepts, and spends his time in the cargo bay of the Normandy. In conversations with Shepard, Wrex talks about how he used to be a "battlemaster", which holds him in high regard in the krogan military, but the constant wars between the clans of the krogan homeworld, Tuchanka, brought forth by the genophage, caused him to leave, with the final straw being that Wrex's own father tried to kill him. Wrex also reveals that he was hired by Saren before, but during the mission with him, Wrex felt uneasy about Saren and left. Wrex's uneasiness with Saren proved accurate, as everyone else that Saren had hired for the mission ended up dead.

During the mission on Virmire, salarian Major Kirrahe tells Shepard that Saren has created a cloning facility, meant to try to cure the krogan genophage, a bioweapon created by the salarians to alter krogan fertility rates, to keep krogan populations in check. When Kirrahe talks of destroying the facility, Wrex vehemently protests. Shepard then confronts Wrex, trying to reason with him that the facility needed to be destroyed. This causes Wrex to draw his gun on Shepard. At this point, based on the player's choices, Shepard can either convince Wrex that the krogan clones will just be slaves for Saren's army—which Wrex will agree with, and stand down—or Wrex will refuse to fall in line, and either Shepard or Ashley Williams will be forced to kill him.

Mass Effect 2[edit]

The character returns in 2010's Mass Effect 2, though is not available as a squadmate. If the player imports a Mass Effect save where Wrex was recruited and is still alive, he will appear on the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka and greet Shepard warmly on arrival.[7] He will reveal he united many krogan clans under Clan Urdnot, and is instigating reforms as leader to prevent the krogan's eventual destruction.[8][9] Should the player perform Grunt's loyalty mission, which involves letting Grunt join Clan Urdnot, Shepard will talk to Wrex and must then help Grunt on his "rite of passage".[10] In Mordin's loyalty mission, he will point Shepard to a scout to continue it.[11] Alternatively, if the player imports a save where Wrex died or was not recruited, his more bloodthirsty traditionalist half-brother Wreav will appear in his stead.

Mass Effect 3[edit]

If a save where Wrex is alive and was recruited is imported again, Wrex will appear in the trilogy's third game. He will appear as the leader of the krogan, and appears as part of a questline to cure the Genophage. In the Citadel downloadable content, he becomes a party member for the DLC's duration.

Mass Effect: Foundation[edit]

Wrex appears in the second Foundation issue.


Prior to the release of the first game, Ray Muzyka, CEO of BioWare, believed that Wrex would prove one of the more popular squadmates.[12] In addition, lead designer Preston Watamaniuk has called him his personal favourite character in the trilogy.[13]

Upon release, Wrex received a positive reception. In a list of 50 characters, Gameplayer called him the sixth best Xbox character, praising "his no-nonsense approach, cool head, and poignant speeches".[14] Tom Francis, writing for PC Gamer, wanted to see Wrex most out of all returning characters in Mass Effect 3, noting his popularity in how him simply saying "Shepard" had become a meme.[15] In an article for Game Informer, Jeff Marchiafava named him the fictional character he'd bring round for Thanksgiving if he could.[16]

Wrex is well-regarded as a party member. Official Xbox Magazine awarded him "Sidekick of the Year", saying "Brilliant dialogue, pitch-perfect voice acting, and incredible comic timing made Wrex the most charming, fun, and just plain cool giant armored lizard we’ve ever (virtually) met."[17] VideoGamer.com's list of "Top 10 Video Game Companions" placed him seventh and called him their favourite Mass Effect character, noting the humour in his bloodlust.[18] Adam Biessener of Game Informer listed him second in his "The Top 5 Wingmen Of The Decade" article, commenting how his quality of writing separated him from other stereotypical "brusiers".[19] GameZone's Dakota Grabowski placed him sixth in his list of top BioWare companions, noting the "entertainment value" in his conversations.[20] Similarly Steven Hopper, for IGN, listed him as the third best squadmate in the Mass Effect games, calling him "stubborn" and "tough as nails".[21] In IGN's reader-vote for "the ultimate RPG party", Wrex was the twelfth most requested.[22]

In a look at different RPG archetypes, GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan called the character an example of the "Grizzled Veteran".[23]

His stand-off and potential death scene in the first game drew attention. Ryan Hodge, writing for GamesRadar, called it one of "gaming's most heartbreaking betrayals", commenting "The most heartbreaking part of Wrex's betrayal is he didn't want to do it. He wasn't evil all along or even being coerced."[24] In an article titled "The Toughest Life Or Death Choice In The Gaming Universe", Kotaku's Stephen Totilo called the choice "shocking", noting how there was no obvious right answer to the dilemma.[25] Toby McCasker, writing for IGN, felt a "pang of uncertainty" when he had his character kill Wrex, not due to the "brutality" of it, but rather pointing out how it felt incongruous to the story, as if he made the "wrong" choice. He then noted a sense of "narrative displacement" again when meeting Urdnot Wreav in the second game.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Galactic Codex - Krogan Series Part 3: Wrex, Krogan Battle Master". BioWare.
  2. ^ a b c d Ben Hanson (April 25, 2011). "Mass Effect: The Origin of Species". Game Informer. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Hudson, Casey; Watts, Derek (February 2, 2012). The Art of the Mass Effect Universe. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 978-1-59582-768-5.
  4. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Tech Info". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  5. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Tech Info". GameSpot. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Stephen Totilo (July 9, 2009). "Mass Effect 2 Is More Than What Meets Our Eyes". Kotaku. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  7. ^ BioWare. Mass Effect 2. Scene: Meeting Wrex. Level/area: Tuchanka. Wrex: [warm handshake, pat on arm] Shepard! My friend!
  8. ^ BioWare. Mass Effect 2. Scene: Meeting Wrex. Level/area: Tuchanka. Shepard: Looks like helping me destroy Saren and the geth has worked out for you. Glad we didn't have to kill each other on Virmire. / Wrex: Ha! You made the rise of Urdnot possible. Virmire was a turning point for the krogan, though not everyone was happy about it. Destroying Saren's genophage cure freed us from his manipulation. I used that to spur the clans to unify under Urdnot. / Gatagog Uvenk: You abandoned many traditions to get your way. Dangerous. / Wrex: [headbutts Uvenk] Speak when spoken to, Uvenk. I'll drag your clan to glory whether it likes it or not.
  9. ^ BioWare. Mass Effect 2. Scene: Talking to Wrex. Level/area: Tuchanka. Shepard: Sounds like you've got big changes ahead for the krogan. / Wrex: We are making a neutral ground where all clans are welcome. Fertile females can be shared among clans. We will strengthen the race as a whole. / Gatagog Uvenk: You threaten everything that makes us strong. It will not last. / Wrex: Maybe. Until then, you're lucky to be a part of it.
  10. ^ BioWare. Mass Effect 2. Scene: Talking to Wrex. Level/area: Tuchanka. Wrex: So, Grunt? Do you wish to stand with Urdnot? [...] Grunt: It is in my blood. It is what I am for. / Wrex: Good boy. Speak with the shaman -- he's over on the second level. Give him a good show, and he'll set you on the path.
  11. ^ BioWare. Mass Effect 2. Scene: Talking to Wrex. Level/area: Tuchanka. Shepard: I'm looking for a salarian. He was captured by the Blood Pack and brought here. / Wrex: My scout commander can direct you. He's probably near the perimeter running target practice.
  12. ^ "Mass Effect 2 - Ray Muzyka Interview". Official Xbox Magazine. January 28, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2015. -- down, replace with https://web.archive.org/web/20110104202852/http://www.oxm.co.uk/article.php?id=16897
  13. ^ "Loyal crew: BioWare's favourite Mass Effect characters". Official Xbox Magazine. August 3, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2015. <-- replace: https://www.webcitation.org/6HeEf9xGR?url=http://www.oxmonline.com/mass-effect-interview-bioware-leads-pick-their-toughest-death-and-more
  14. ^ "The Top 50 Xbox Characters of All Time". Gameplayer. The Age. September 30, 2008. Archived from the original on October 6, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ Tom Francis (February 16, 2011). "15 things we want to see in Mass Effect 3". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Kimberley Wallace (November 22, 2012). "Characters We Want At Our Thanksgiving Table". Game Informer. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  17. ^ "OXM's 2007 Game of the Year Awards". Official Xbox Magazine. March 17, 2008. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  18. ^ "Top 10 Video Game Companions". VideoGamer.com. January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  19. ^ Adam Biessener (November 22, 2010). "The Top 5 Wingmen Of The Decade". Game Informer. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  20. ^ Dakota Grabowski (January 28, 2010). "Top Ten BioWare-created Squadmates". GameZone. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  21. ^ Steven Hopper (January 5, 2012). "10 Best Mass Effect Teammates". IGN. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  22. ^ Justin Davis (December 17, 2014). "The Ultimate RPG Party Revealed". IGN. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  23. ^ Lucas Sullivan (August 21, 2014). "The 15 types of characters you meet in every RPG". GamesRadar. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  24. ^ Ryan Hodge (May 17, 2011). "Gaming's most heartbreaking betrayals". GamesRadar. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  25. ^ Stephen Totilo (January 11, 2013). "The Toughest Life Or Death Choice In The Gaming Universe". Kotaku. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  26. ^ Toby McCasker (January 29, 2012). "BioWare: Choices and Consequences". IGN. Retrieved January 30, 2014.