Christian Donlan from Eurogamer writes:
"By the end of BioWare's first Mass Effect game, regardless of the gender, facial features, moral alignment and sexual predilections of your own personal Commander Shepard (ours was a half-hearted moral fence-sitter with a tendency to try and screw anything that moved, despite the fact that he looked like an ageing sixth-form college lecturer), they were blasting into space as a fully-fledged Spectre agent, ready to kick off some serious intergalactic shenanigans.
They were a pretty big wheel down at the cracker factory, in other words, but sometime soon after that - according to the sequel's enigmatic announcement trailer, at least - they promptly dropped dead.
Or did they? The answer to that one's a little bit confusing. BioWare used an E3 developer presentation to reveal that Shepard's definitely who you'll be playing as in Mass Effect 2, but they also wrapped things up by showing us his death - or at least one of them."