Dr. Raymond Shen is the Chief Engineer of the XCOM Project. Dr. Shen has proven to be an invaluable asset with his decades of experience. The XCOM project is lucky to have such a brilliant, dedicated, world renowned, award winning engineer at its disposal. Please note: This artificial intelligence was created by Dr. Shen.
– XCOM Database, XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Dr. Shen appears to be of Taiwanese descent and is older than most XCOM personnel, with balding gray hair.
Dr. Shen is the head of Engineering. He offers suggestions, and recommends what equipment and facilities should be built. During missions, he gives advice on previously undiscovered alien species, along with Dr. Vahlen. The units he comments on will generally be mechanical units such as the Floater or the Cyberdisc. He also comments on alien technology and artifacts, often informing the player of their intended use or warning of their possible threat.
Throughout the game, Dr. Shen displays some concern over the extent and application of the alien's technology. He is especially horrified by the extent to which some species of alien have been genetically altered, or augmented with machinery, and questions whether humanity is headed in the same direction. His comments are often contrasted with those of Dr. Vahlen, who seems far more interested in any new alien technology the team recovers.
"That looks like the primary power source for the alien craft. I could only hazard a guess as to the amount of power it would have to be generating to propel that ship. I'd watch your fire down there... That equipment could be highly unstable."
"We're making good progress replicating the alien technology, but our lack of manpower is slowing us down. If you can recruit some additional engineers, Commander, our manufacturing time will definitely improve."
More Engineers Needed (2)
"Things have been going well so far, but we could definitely use more support in Engineering. I'm sure there are a number of qualified engineers out there who would jump at the opportunity to work on this project."
More Engineers Needed (3)
"It's now or never, Commander, if you're not going to recruit additional engineers to help manage these projects, please let me know now so I can stop wasting my time."
New Engineers Arrive
"The new engineers arrived this morning, Commander. We're always glad to have more help down here."
"With the added structural support this suit provides, I expect the troops will take full advantage of the added firepower they can carry around. They'll also be much less susceptible to environmental hazards like fire while wearing it."
XCOM Headquarters and Facilities
"We've still got some room to grow up here, but if we really want to expand our facilities, we're going to have to start excavating beneath the base. Unfortunately, the deeper we go, the more it's going to cost."
"It would be a good time for us to consider expanding the base to include additional facilities. You can view schematics and approve the construction of expansion facilities in Engineering."
"We need to start working on the housing for this device as soon as possible. Considering what we went through to get it, we should being[sic]making every effort to provide a secure location for its storage."
"Ah, Commander. I was wondering when you'd be stopping by. Welcome to Engineering. Anything they can dream up in the Research Labs, we can build it here."
Engineering Visit (2)
"Welcome to Engineering. Despite what the Research team might've told you, this is where the real magic happens. Anything they can dream up... be it weapons, armor, or new facilities, we figure out how to build it here."
"Our worst suspicions may have been true after all - they're not just here for abductions. They have something else in mind."
Alien Invasion and Human Implications
"From what little I've seen of their technology... If the aliens were intent on capturing Earth, there's not much we could do to stop them. I'm guessing they have something else in mind."
"In times of war, there is always a leader, a general... someone giving the orders. These aliens can be no different. The real question is, what sort of power or authority does it take to control such a vast range of alien species? What incentive do they have to follow through with this plan?"
"The more I see, the more I don't want to see. That twisted hulk of flesh and metal... driven by the alien technology, can we still call that life? We have to keep moving forward with the project, but the thought of treading the same path as the aliens... is troubling. What if they were like us once? Are we just part of a continuing cycle? If this is a glimpse of our future, I want no part of it."
"That hulk of flesh and metal troubles me. What do we risk with our own investigations into the melding of human and machine? Will we see a line in the sand and refuse to cross it? Or will we move forward, willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of total victory? I have to believe that is not our future. Provided, of course, that the aliens' technology remains in the right hands."
"We're coming down to the wire here. Now that we've backed the aliens into a corner, I think we'll see what they're really made of. Personally, I expect nothing short of pure desperation in their resistance - they invested too much to go down without a fight."
"Mark it in the history books... This is the end of an era for mankind. Even after we've defeated the remaining aliens, what then? Have we sacrificed our own humanity for a taste of their technology? And if we manage to exploit this power further, do we risk being consumed by it... presumably, just as they were?"
"Commander, we don't have any Interceptors available right now, which makes it impossible for us to respond to incoming UFO contacts. We should buy new jets as soon as we have the funds available."
"From here, you can arrange to have our Interceptors transferred to bases throughout the world. By stationing our fleet on various continents, we'll have a much better chance of intercepting new UFO contacts in those areas."
"When selecting a specific Jet in the Hangar, you can choose to modify its current weapon loadout to best serve our needs."
"If we're going to stand any chance against these alien craft, our aircraft are going to need more firepower, and fast."
"This looks to be a supply ship of some kind, and the potential storage capacity is enormous. If the aliens are really attempting to bring in this much outside material, it can only mean they're ramping up the scale of the invasion."
Dr. Shen has a major supporting role in the novel XCOM: Resurrection. Dr. Shen went into hiding as soon as the council capitulated and has a base of operations on a pre-war submarine, called the Elpis. Dr. Shen and his daughter Lily support Amar and his squad with weapons and armor whilst they secure the Avenger, which according to him can resurrect the XCOM project. However, during the repairs the self-defense systems of the avenger are triggered, which awakens the aliens on board who had been put into cryosleep. Dr. Shen is wounded during the defense of the avenger, due to interrogation by the aliens. This, in combination with his already fragile health due to old age, makes him succumb to his wounds three weeks later.
In XCOM 2, Dr. Shen's daughter, Lily, has taken over the operations of the engineering department. Both Central and Lily mention XCOM's old chief engineer, with Central expressing pride in the daughter of his old colleague. He is first mentioned during the introductory cutscene when The Commander visits engineering, with Lily noting that her father gave his life to ensure the ship could work and that the vessel is his 'life's work'. From then on, mentions of the elder Shen come up at random, with a few reports related to mechanical enemies occasionally expressing Lily's presumptions on what her father would've thought of them.
Raymond appears once more during the events of Shen's Last Gift, of which he plays a large role in, despite his death some years previously. Apparently some time during the events of Enemy Unknown, he attempted to upgraded the XCOM Base's AI in the hopes of turning it into a sentient program, which was subsequently seized by ADVENT during the time after XCOM's fall and repurposed for their own uses. This AI went rogue and killed the alien personnel in the facility, dubbing itself Julian and electronically attacking the Avenger in the hopes of luring Lily to his location.
Over the course of attempting to survive against Julian's assassination attempts, Lily discovers a SPARK Prototype that Raymond had developed during the invasion, along with a video message. In said message, Raymond is seen in the Engineering section of the underground base, suggesting that a portion of it remained functional following the attack on the facility. In his message, he notes that if Lily is hearing it, then he is almost certainly dead. Grimly noting that with the attack on XCOM HQ and the Commander's kidnapping, what remains of the organization will not be able to hold the base much longer, he charges Lily with the task of reclaiming Earth from the aliens. Revealing that he built the SPARK for the purposes of protecting her, he signs off, with his final words expressing great pride in his daughter and that she is his greatest gift to the world.
In the original cut of the XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dr. Vahlen and Dr. Shen were to be married. The dev team even went to the length of creating a wedding ring for Vahlen.
XCOM 2 gives his date of birth as September 9th, 1954, making him 60 years old at the start of the invasion. Had he lived, he would have been 80 years old at the start of XCOM 2.