After doing away with the Mako in favor of a more efficient flying shuttle, in Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard is introduced to Lieutenant Steve Cortez, an Alliance pilot who will frequently drop them and their squad on different planets for their missions and side missions and pick them up at the end. As an openly LGBTQ+ character, over the course of Mass Effect 3, Steve mourns the loss of his husband, Robert, who was abducted by the Collectors on a human colony at Ferris Fields. Players have the opportunity to get to know Steve, to help him through the grieving process, and, if they have chosen to play a male Shepard, even help him find love again.
Fans of the Mass Effect series will know developers never shied away from tragedy, and major character deaths like those possible for the entire squad during the Suicide Mission are a constant threat. During Priority: Earth in Mass Effect 3, after dropping off Shepard and their squad, Steve’s shuttle is shot down by a Harvester. As with any other squadmate, if players have taken time to get to know Steve and complete his hidden, unofficial loyalty mission, he will survive this crash. Players will need to be sure to get to know Steve in between missions as they get to know the rest of their squad. Here’s how to ensure Steve Cortez’s survival in Mass Effect 3.
Steve’s mini-mission requires Shepard to help him make peace with the loss of his husband and commit to moving forward with his life. To complete this mission, Shepard must do three things:
It will take a few times visiting Steve in the Shuttle Bay and chatting with him before players can convince him to take a break on the Citadel. While the Shuttle Bay is out of the way, players can also go down there to pick up a few model ships for Shepard’s collection, make purchases from shops they have visited via the requisitions terminal, talk to squadmate James Vega, and upgrade weapons.
Once Shepard convinces Steve to take some time off when the Normandy docks at the Citadel, players need to make a point to find him. He will be on the observation deck of the Docking Bay. Players should have Shepard speak with him there as well.
The next time the Normandy docks, players should make a point to stop by the Memorial Wall at the Refugee Camp in the Holding Area. Steve will be there, holding an image and recording of Robert just before he died. Shepard can convince Steve to place Robert’s picture and be there to support him as he does so.
Optionally, once all three conditions are met, Steve will invite the Commander to Purgatory bar for drinks. Players can join him to get closure on the mission and toast him as a friend, but this is not required for his survival. If players want a relationship with Steve, however, they will need to join him here to officially initiate the romance.
Steve plays a decently significant role in the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC as well provided he has been convinced to move on. Once he survives the crash, he will catch up with Shepard via hologram and can be seen at the Normandy’s Memorial Wall with the rest of Shepard’s crew at the end of the game if the Crucible was activated.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14, 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with forward compatibility for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.