Mass Effect: What Garrus’ Life Was Before Shepard

Garrus Vakarian is one of the first Mass Effect characters that players will encounter as a recruit for their new crew aboard the Normandy. Initially it can be difficult to learn about Garrus and bond with him, but as the game progresses more about Garrus’ life will reveal itself. Perhaps the most obvious aspect of Garrus’ life is revealed through his species. The Turians are a strict, militaristic society that places a heavy emphasis on discipline and rule-following. While the most important chapters of Garrus’ life occur when he is in service to Commander Shepard and serving aboard the Normandy, some might wonder how he came to be in the Citadel in the first place.


The Turian society pushes its members toward military service from the age of 15, leading many to pursue a career in positions such as C-Sec, where Garrus eventually enlisted. Unfortunately, the disciplinarian mindset results in inaction from a majority of the Turians in power, too beset by standard procedure to listen to their instincts. In Mass Effect, Garrus’ backstory and personality reveals, however, that not all Turians are so burdened by red tape. Those who have played the game and are familiar with Garrus’ personality will understand why their sniper companion is something of an ostracized figure around his people.

Impatient and driven from a young age, Garrus’ combat training was started by his father, Castis Vakarian. While Garrus initially struggled with the art of sniping, Castis’ consistent pushing resulted in his son becoming one of the deadliest snipers during the Reaper War. Like most Turians in Mass Effect, Garrus began his military training at 15, and following its completion deigned to join C-Sec, also known as Citadel Security. In accepting this position, he became an equal to his father.

Mass Effect’s Garrus Vakarian Never Followed the Rules

While Garrus was an effective soldier, he was a less than stellar C-Sec officer. His impatience and urge to dispense justice at whatever cost resulted in several conflicts with his father, who threatened to lock Garrus up himself. Eventually, their relationship came to a boiling point after Garrus’ improper methods of investigation led to Castis allowing their suspect to flee. Frustrated by the limitations of C-Sec regulations, and the inaction of its officers, Castis and Garrus split ways and became distant from one another. This distance was maintained throughout the beginning of the Mass Effect trilogy.

The catalyst that led Garrus to join forces with Commander Shepard was named Saren Arterius, one of the top Spectres in service to the Citadel Council. Despite a testimony from Ambassador Udina and an unshakeable feeling that Saren had committed crimes against humanity, Garrus could not manage to secure enough evidence to convict Saren as a war criminal. The immunity and confidentiality that Spectres enjoyed succeeded in cutting Garrus off at every turn, and he was ordered to drop the case. It was the process of disobeying these orders that resulted in Garrus’ recruitment by Commander Shepard, and their long-lasting adventures together.

Mass Effect’s Garrus Vakarian is one of the most notable characters, featured heavily on promotional items alongside main characters such as Ashley, Kaiden, and Shepard. Garrus’ charming personality, amazing romance, and touching character growth makes him one of the greatest companions in Mass Effect Legendary Edition. While there are still many parts of his earlier life that remain a mystery, and likely will never be fully explained, Garrus Vakarian remains one of Mass Effect‘s greatest characters.

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About The Author

Natalie Lindner (506 Articles Published)

Natalie Lindner is a Game Features Writer for Screen Rant, creating content on the past, present, and future of games in the industry. Prior to this, she worked out of a writing consultancy in Rhode Island from 2018 to 2021, where she helped college students improve their writing abilities. Natalie has contributed her video game writing to several smaller websites and projects since 2018 and is eager to continue that journey with Screen Rant.

Working out of New Hampshire, Natalie spends the time she isn’t writing about games outside; hiking or biking. On those rainy days, she can be found striving for action on the latest FPS or perusing the latest comic books.

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