Mass Effect’s Space Hamster Gets A Baldur’s Gate Callback In ME3
The Mass Effect series has a reference to the Baldur’s Gate franchise, in the form of the space hamster that Commander Shepard can acquire for their quarters in the Normandy. The Baldur’s Gate and Mass Effect series were both developed by BioWare, but Baldur’s Gate 3 is being developed by Larian Studios Baldur’s Gate 3 is being developed by Larian Studios, after they petitioned Wizards of the Coast for the project.
One of the most popular characters in the first two Baldur’s Gate games was Minsc the Ranger, who had a memorable animal companion. A lot of Rangers in Dungeons & Dragons have cool animals for companions, like hawks or wolves. The legendary Drizzt Do’Urden even has a magical panther as his companion. Minsc’s companion is a miniature giant space hamster, named Boo, which is the size of a regular hamster. Boo is almost as popular with Minsc, with players willing to overlook the fact that he took up one of Minsc’s precious quick item slots.
Minsc and Boo are so popular that they’re still acting as adventurers, even though the current date in the D&D Forgotten Realms timeline is a little over a century past the events of Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. The two were turned to stone and unpetrified in the modern era, where Minsc resumed his adventuring career, with Boo still at his side. The two can still be seen in the pages of the D&D comics. It’s clear that the Bioware developers knew how beloved Minsc and Boo were, which is why they added a major reference to them in Mass Effect.
In Mass Effect 2, the player can purchase a hamster for Commander Shepard’s quarters on the Normandy. If they interact with it, then it makes the same noise as Boo did when touching him in the inventory in Baldur’s Gate. A similar space hamster can be purchased in Mass Effect: Andromeda. This means that the player can actually own a space hamster (even though it’s not a giant one).
The Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 included another shout-out to Minsc and Boo. In Baldur’s Gate, Minsc would often shout for Boo to “go for the eyes” in battle. If Commander Shepard investigates the hamster’s cage (as seen in a video on the FluffyNinjaLlama YouTube channel), they will tell the hamster to go for the eyes if anyone gives them trouble. This is especially fitting, as the two voices for Commander Shepard (Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale) both appeared in the Baldur’s Gate series and were given the chance to reference one of its most famous characters in the Mass Effect franchise.