During a particular mission on Rannoch, I found myself viewing certain historical videos from earlier in Quarian history.

After viewing one of the videos, Shepard remarks that, given the age of the video, the Quarians should have not been wearing masks. However, I was told by my guide that the video was being drawn from my mind, and I couldn't know what Quarians looked like under the masks since I'd never seen one without it.

However, I believe it's possible to see Tali without her mask on in some iteration of the Mass Effect series. If I had seen Tali without her mask, would this sequence have been different?

  • 2
    It's how Shepard thinks of the Quarians, which is still surely painted by the dozens of suited Quarians, not the one he's seen unmasked.
    – Ben Brocka
    Mar 15, 2012 at 17:05
  • Good idea ! Simpler than my understanding (see my answer) so probably more likely to be correct ;). Shamelessly adding your suggestion to my answer :D
    – Bethor
    Mar 19, 2012 at 8:20

4 Answers 4


Adding my own answer since none of the others feel entirely correct to me ;)

Playing through the game with my own ME2 save where I romanced Tali, the scene still played out as you described (with masked Quarians). I however contend that this is NOT a plot hole : Shepard commented upon this fact, with his guide (Legion, in my case) asking if he had ever seen a Quarian without his mask.

When I answered that I had indeed seen one Quarian unmasked, Legion replied with something along the lines of "then you must not associate that Quarian with the ones you are seeing". According to Murgatroid99 in the comments below, the line is something close to : "Then your memories of that Quarian do not map to our historical data".

This could, as Adeese mentions in his answer, mean that one Quarian is not enough to extrapolate a face for "any Quarian"; personally, though, I took it to mean that you thought well enough of Tali that you did not associate her with the Quarians willing to commit genocide on the Geth. I also like Ben Brocka's theory in the comments to this question : "It's how Shepard thinks of the Quarians, which is still surely painted by the dozens of suited Quarians, not the one he's seen unmasked."

  • Odd. I didn't get that bit of dialogue even though I romanced Tali in ME2, and had Legion as my guide
    – Niro
    Mar 15, 2012 at 23:01
  • I wish I had a save at the right point to hear it again :/ I'm absolutely sure Shepard comments on it and Legion asks if you've seen an unmasked Quarian (heard it again in some play through on YouTube looking for the rest of this dialogue) but I don't recall the exact wording if you answer yes.
    – Bethor
    Mar 16, 2012 at 7:17
  • 1
    I just saw it. Legion says "Then your memories of that Quarian do not map to our historical data" (approximately) Mar 19, 2012 at 5:42

Short answer: No.

Long answer: This is apparently a fairly significant plot hole. If you romance Tali in Mass Effect 2, Shepard does remove Tali's mask. Her face is Not shown to the player, but Shepard should at least have a general idea of Quarian anatomy by the time he views these memories. However, despite having seen Tali in the nude (face and all), these memories that are being constructed are still in the full suits and masks.

Having seen her face in Mass Effect 2 has no relevance to these scenes.

  • 4
    This is not a plot hole. Shepard actually comments on this very anomaly, with Legion answering that he must not think of Tali as one of the Quarians being shown murdering the Geth.
    – Bethor
    Mar 14, 2012 at 11:41
  • Regardless of whether or not it's a plot-hole, my answer is still correct in that it doesn't change the outcome if you've seen Tali unmasked. Why the downvotes?
    – Niro
    Mar 19, 2012 at 21:19
  • 1
    @Bethor That sounds like a lazy attempt to cover up a plot hole to me.
    – Wipqozn
    Mar 19, 2012 at 21:26
  • 1
    I didn't downvote but I guess people saw this answer as partial, since the short answer is correct but the long answer labels this a plot hole when it isn't (or at least is a fairly small one that the game acknowledges, if you want to see Legion's comment on the issue that way)
    – Bethor
    Mar 20, 2012 at 8:53

I romanced Tali in both Mass Effect 2 and 3, and during this mission the Quarians were masked.

At one point, Shepard asked why they were wearing masks, and the response was that these images were created based on Shepard's memories. Shepard asks if he has ever seen an unmasked Quarian, and he responds with "yes, 1" (or something similar). Shepard is then told that since he has only seen 1 Quarian that can't be used in general to show unmasked Quarians.


Tali doesn't reveal her face

until near the end of the third game, post Rannoch & only if you romanced her.

As that's the earliest time you'll be able to see what she looks like, this scene doesn't change. As far as I know, her face isn't actually even rendered in the game - you'll only know what she looks like

from the picture she gives you that's placed by your bed.

It is possible that the guide is referring to you, the player, when it speaks of constructing the appearance of Quarians. Otherwise, Shepard already has seen Tali's face (if you romance her in ME2) as Tristan mentions below, which means Bioware accidentally created a plot hole.

  • She only gives you this picture if you two are romantic interests, however. If you expect Bioware to give something more than a photoshopped stock image, you're going to be disappointed. :( Mar 14, 2012 at 2:13
  • @RavenDreamer Ninja'd with the edit ;)
    – Kotsu
    Mar 14, 2012 at 2:14
  • 9
    In ME2, she removes her mask during the romance cut-scene, but her face is not shown to the player.
    – Niro
    Mar 14, 2012 at 2:34
  • 1
    @Tristan has it right, and this answer is wrong. Tali does remove her mask (though her face is only shown to Shepard, not the player) near the end of ME2.
    – Bethor
    Mar 14, 2012 at 11:42
  • 1
    Just did (it wasn't showing when I commented). It's not a plot hole, as I commented on Tristan's answer (more in my own answer in a second). As for the contention that the guide is breaking the fourth wall and addressing the player, that's a very strange theory !
    – Bethor
    Mar 15, 2012 at 16:51

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