Like many other fans, I was disappointed in the canon "revelation" of Tali's face. But then I remembered that Tali doesn't represent your average quarian. She's considered a genius even among an already tech-savvy species, the daughter of an admiral who can become an admiral herself, and a regular squadmate for Commander F***ing Shepard! In other words, she's special. So maybe there was a way I could work with it to come up with how the more common quarians would look. Here's my take on playing around with the quarians' features under those masks and suits:
- The Tali photo and some anonymous person's comment on the novels seem to imply that quarians have pointed ears like elves.
- They have glowing eyes that may be very sensitive to light, which could explain the opacity of their masks. The Migrant fleet ships have to be kept brightly lit for the plants they grow for food and oxygen exchange, so the masks also double as shades.
- 3d models show females with humanoid nose shapes but males with flatter faces. This could be a part of their sexual dimorphism, since the sexes also have a different number of toes. Before first contact with humans and drell, this nose shape was mainly seen on quarian women and asari. So maybe quarians see it as a feminine trait, and thus even male humans look somewhat womanly to them. They would most likely think humans look like a hybrid of quarian and asari.
- Practically no one in-universe seems to know or remember what quarians look like despite pictures most likely being widely available on the extranet, even from 300 years ago. I'm guessing that even before the quarians lost their homeworld and embassy, they already had to wear the enviro-suits whenever they were traveling off Rannoch and their colonies.
- Quarians have hair, but most probably shave it off for practicality, especially right before pilgrimage where they may not be able to safely trim or cut it for quite a while. Tali may have grown hers out after hearing that long hair is attractive to humans. After all, the picture is only seen if she's in a romance with Shepard.
- Quarians are stated in the novels to generally be shorter and of slighter build than humans, but also tougher and stronger. So they must be denser and heavier than they look. Tali's height in canon is 5'8", making her unusually tall (hence why her suit would look different from all the npcs'; it was custom made for her size).
- Their skin would be pale due to always being covered, but individuals can have freckles, birthmarks, etc. Based on Tali's photo, the skin pigmentation appears to be a purple-bluish gray.
- Javik may not be the most reliable source since he's a troll, but he did say that the primitive quarians were considered attractive to protheans. So they may have some prothean-like traits as well. I integrated the basic head shape, and the men's flat faces.
But this was fun.
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