IGN: Character customization is nothing new in games. But usually it's pretty artificial. How much will Mass Effect's character creation affect gameplay and story?
Casey Hudson: The main thing that sets Mass Effect apart from the conventional game experience is that everything is centered on your character and the choices you make. That's something you hear a lot these days, but we've gone to great lengths to ensure that the promise of choice and consequence is fulfilled for players of Mass Effect. You won't be making superficial choices along a pre-determined path. In Mass Effect, you literally stand in the middle of a non-linear galaxy of story elements, which you can unfold however you like. And at any point in the game, you can be wearing your choice of armor, carry your choice of weapons, have your choice of squadmembers at your side, and all of their abilities (and yours) will be ones you've chosen to develop throughout the game. Further, the thing that you're doing in that moment will likely be a story development that resulted directly from a major decision that you made earlier.
Character creation is where you create the basis for all of that choice. You are deciding what kind of a person your character will be, what their potential capabilities will be in certain areas, and how you'd like your reputation to precede you. It's the nature of meaningful choice throughout the game that gives real value and impact to your choices in character creation.