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Default Mass Effect - PC Preview and Mass Effect 2 for PC

March 15th, 2008, 02:58
Let's start with the interesting stuff first. VideoGamer.com asked BioWare's Matt Atwood about a PC version of Mass Effect 2 and got a positive response:
BioWare is yet to reveal any solid info on the highly anticipated Mass Effect 2, but with the PC game due in May we quizzed BioWare senior manager Matt Atwood about the possibility of PC gamers getting hold of the sequel at the same time as console gamers.
"We haven't announced plans for timing on Mass Effect 2, period, so at this point we're not really ready to talk about it, but because we've got a really great PC fan base we think it's really important to deliver the PC experience as quickly as possible. Look for more news on that soon," stated Atwood during an interview with VideoGamer.com.
…and Matt also demonstrated Mass Effect for the PC to them for this preview:
Control wise, with the PC having a keyboard and mouse, things have been opened up considerably, allowing for faster gameplay. A quick slot menu allows you to access your biotic talents (Barrier, Stasis, etc) instantly without first entering a menu and weapons can be switched by pressing the F keys or by scrolling through with the square bracket keys. Although seemingly small changes, being able to play without constantly brining up a menu should make for a smoother gameplay experience. These changes are optional, so if you prefer to pause and bring up a menu, that is still an option.
On the other hand, the addition of individual squad control adds an extra level of depth and tactical play. Although the grouped squad commands in the Xbox 360 game didn't cause us too many problems, the PC game will allow you to direct each of your squad members individually. We'll have to get some hands-on time to figure out how much this will really add to the experience, but if you're the kind of gamer that wants to go into every battle with a tactical formation, you're in luck.
More information.

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March 15th, 2008, 02:58
It is a sign of Microsoft's weakening position and Bioware's strengthening position that they can now offer an open exclusive deal and be direct that a PC version is coming without all of the BS we had with Mass Effect #1.

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March 15th, 2008, 03:14
EA struck a deal with M$ over publishing Mass Effect(s) what the details are though I have no idea.
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March 15th, 2008, 09:12
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
It is a sign of Microsoft's weakening position and Bioware's strengthening position that they can now offer an open exclusive deal and be direct that a PC version is coming without all of the BS we had with Mass Effect #1.
Not necessarily. As usual, they're contradicting themselves: http://www.computerandvideogames.com….php?id=184788

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March 15th, 2008, 12:22
Originally Posted by r3dshift View Post
Not necessarily. As usual, they're contradicting themselves: http://www.computerandvideogames.com….php?id=184788
I don't think so - in the general gaming media 'multi-platform' vs. 'exclusive' is all about consoles, not PC. So saying 'XBOX Exclusive then PC' actually makes sense in that context. The article author was talking about the possibility of them bringing it to PS3.

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March 15th, 2008, 14:41
Maybe this is not the right place to ask… but has anyone here actually played Mass Effect? Just curious how good / bad it is…

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March 15th, 2008, 14:48
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Maybe this is not the right place to ask… but has anyone here actually played Mass Effect? Just curious how good / bad it is…
I know at least Thaurin has, and there is some talk of it here.

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March 15th, 2008, 16:12
I have. I probably don't count, though.
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March 15th, 2008, 18:21
Originally Posted by PatrickWeekes View Post
I have. I probably don't count, though.
Seriously, though - why not? Sure you work for Bioware, but I don't think anyone here really mistakes you for some faceless corporate tool or anything.

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March 15th, 2008, 19:27
No 360 here still.
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March 15th, 2008, 19:35
Heh. Not faceless, maybe.

As I understand it, there are several different arguments running around on Mass PC, and the UI is still undergoing some changes. Apparently an early version resulted in too much pausing, and it really broke up the flow of combat and made things feel choppy and un-fun. Too little pausing, and the game balance is messed up, since pausing was assumed in some combats — you'd pause to retarget or figure out where to place your squad for best crossfire action, or to think strategically about which ability would be most helpful. Too much pausing, though, and you lose the tension, and the gameplay really suffers.

The button-mash-to-unlock-stuff minigame is gone, too, replaced by something at least sorta cooler. No idea if it's still cool after the thousandth hardened storage crate, but it's at least a step up.

And I believe that hard drive caching will fix the LOD-pops, although that will certainly depend on your machine.

re: Mass 2: Anything being said now about Mass 2 should be taken with the understanding that it's still waaaaaay early in Mass 2's development. As I understand it (I'm not on Mass 2, and likely won't ever be, unfortunately, due to some schedule overlap with my current project), they are listening hard to what people are saying on forums and in reviews, and areas to improve include:

- The inventory system (duh)
- Uncharted worlds that are better integrated with the story have a bit more gameplay on them (ideally fewer, but deeper)
- Choices that have more direct consequences — I liked the choices that were offered in the first game, but they hit hardest on the roleplaying level, not the practical-game-effect level. (As an example: in the plot I wrote with the grieving widower, you can help him or send him away sad, but either way, you never see him again. I maintain that it was written well, but the only impact is in the roleplaying sense.) They plan to address that in the sequel. The plan is ambitious, and if they can pull it off, I'll be impressed as hell.

I think that much I can say safely. That doesn't seem to be giving away anything vital.
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March 15th, 2008, 20:00
Thanks for the info everyone! I think I'll give it a go when it's released for the PC… not sure if I'll like it, but since it's not the well known fantasy setting it might be a nice change.

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March 15th, 2008, 20:57
Originally Posted by PatrickWeekes View Post
Choices that have more direct consequences — I liked the choices that were offered in the first game, but they hit hardest on the roleplaying level, not the practical-game-effect level.
Hi, I'm also an ME1 writer - I did Noveria, Ashley, and bunch of other stuff. I'm working on ME2 now, and the following is completely my own opinion, not an official BioWare statement. Disclaim, disclaim.

My concern with ME1's story design was the position taken that every piece of content must be accessible to every character. The (sensible!) argument made was that content a given player doesn't see "isn't really there" as far as his/her experience goes. If the time was to be invested in making a cutscene, building a level, voicing a character, &c., the way to get the best bang for buck was to let everyone at it. Thus the supposed Paragon/Renegade-oriented plots are actually both opened to the player - but you only get direction to the one designed for your alignment.

That decision meant there could be no "branching" content. At the conclusion of a big plot, I think a "good" choice should always show a unique cutscene, and/or open a follow-on mission that builds on the outcome that choice. A "bad" choice should always show a different cutscene, or open a different follow-on mission.

Until we make peace with the idea of "wasted content" that "only 33-50% of the players will see," I think it's going to be difficult to show actual consequences in ME. JM2C.
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March 16th, 2008, 00:02
You're Chris L'Etoile? I should have picked up on your location before. Thanks for joining in.

This is the sort of argument the "hardcore" are often going to have with Bioware. Many of us would feel branching content goes to the heart of an RPG but I've seen David Gaider argue this topic a number of times and obviously, if the average player thinks they've made some decisions and the saved resources make the game cooler in some other way, they are going to be happy.

This is why I'm not a fan of full voiceovers (but I accept that won't change). It's pretty easy to set up situations that can use the same locations and art resources - just some writing and scripting.

Still looking forward to playing ME in May, though!

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March 16th, 2008, 01:12
Full voice for NPCs is fine but adding a voice to the player character… I think that limits role-play in a way. It becomes more of a show (or film) rather than a game. I keep hearing the ME story is very good though so I'll probably be picking it up as well.
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March 17th, 2008, 09:44
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Maybe this is not the right place to ask… but has anyone here actually played Mass Effect? Just curious how good / bad it is…
If you still want another opinion, I think it is a little like an upgraded KotOR in some ways and in other ways, definitely not. It doesn't have that Star Wars feel, the combat is more action-packed and the cut-scenes indefinitely better.

Like you'll probably read elsewhere, you'll likely enjoy the main quest more than some of the side-quests, but if you ask me some of them are still quite good. I didn't care much about the non-main-quest planetary exploration, but it's there if you want it.

You want to play this game for the story, because to be honest, that's what the game was made for. Combat is fun, but if you loathe first-person shooters, if may be too much for you. Luckily, there's plenty of dialogue and an interesting world to explore, so I'd say check the game out.
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March 17th, 2008, 09:59
Originally Posted by Stormwaltz View Post
That decision meant there could be no "branching" content. At the conclusion of a big plot, I think a "good" choice should always show a unique cutscene, and/or open a follow-on mission that builds on the outcome that choice. A "bad" choice should always show a different cutscene, or open a different follow-on mission.
Like with many things, I think the key thing to consider is balance - not every (side-)quest need have far reaching consequences, but neither should none. The worst thing with no real consequences is that the world feels lifeless - it has no real sense of going on without you and that lessens the "immersion" (yay, I used the I word!) in my opinion.

The answer, I think, is for a sprinkling of quests that have consequences down the line - and try not to make it too obvious at the time which one's those are. One of the things I love about The Witcher is how seemingly small choices come back to haunt you later on. Catch that feeling of the game world not quite being fully under your control despite your best intentions and ME2 would be one of the great RPGs of our time.

And as for "wasted" content… people tend to talk about games, and I love it when I chat to someone about a game and describe an experience I had and they'll respond how it was totally different for them - that makes my experience feel special. It adds to the whole, it doesn't detract.
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