How Mass Effect Went Where Star Trek Never Would By Giving Krogans Four Balls
If there’s one thing everybody knows about the krogan, it’s that Wrex and Grunt are both rocking quads. Yep – each and every one of these reptilian bruisers has four balls.
According to lore from the first Mass Effect game, krogan are renowned all over the galaxy for their unique backup organs. They’ve got two hearts, four lungs, and a whole secondary nervous system, meaning that their survivability is pretty much unparalleled. Stab a krogan in the heart? They’ve got another one – all you’ve done is activate that famous krogan Blood Rage, you idiot.
Anyway, I recently spoke to Mass Effect 3 writer Chris Hepler about some of the most fascinating lore in the series. Hepler was often regarded as the “loremaster” at BioWare, meaning he was familiar with all manner of intricacies in the universe, including krogan genitalia.
“I think the most exemplifying bit of lore has to do with the krogan,” Hepler says. “I initially thought it was super-cool to have a species with backup secondary organs, until I watched more Star Trek than I used to and realized that the [first] Mass Effect team probably got the idea from the Klingons.
“But Mass Effect went where Star Trek never would, and somewhere in Mass Effect 2, they concluded, ‘well, krogan must have backup testicles, too.’ By the time Mass Effect 3 rolled around, the dialogue was full of slang about ‘not having the quad for it.’ So the evolution from a stodgy Codex description in [the first] Mass Effect to jokes and entertaining character voices by Mass Effect 3 makes me feel like the team got better at some things as we went along.”
You’ve got to appreciate the team’s commitment here. While it would have been easy to ignore the connotations of having double organs – like Star Trek before it – BioWare decided no, we’ll consciously lean into the fact that krogan men have four testicles. And that, dear reader, is why Mass Effect is better than Star Trek will ever be.
My favourite acknowledgement of the krogan quad happens just after Grunt takes down a Thresher Maw in order to become a full-fledged member of the Urdnot Clan. Impressed by the young krogan, Wrex turns to Shepard and says:
“Next you’ll be telling me he’s a quint or craps dark matter.”
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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