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Default Mass Effect 2 - Hundreds of Variables Imported

July 26th, 2009, 17:48
In an interview at PC Games with Matt Peckham, Casey Hudson explains "hundreds" of decisions are included in the Mass Effect 2 save import feature:
GO: How significant are the variables being indexed in the save games, and how threaded throughout the Mass Effect 2 experience are they?
CH: It's completely different from anything you've played before, because it's literally, potentially threaded into everything that happens. When you're playing the first game, everything that you do is setting a variable so that as the story progresses we know that you did a certain thing on a certain planet, and then internal to the game, we can reference those things. Your Mass Effect save game contains all of that information.
When you import it into Mass Effect 2, now we can continue mining all that information. And it's not just what your ending was, or a couple of the big choices, you know, where we could have stuck a conversation at the beginning and asked you what you did and moved on. This is literally hundreds of things. […]
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July 26th, 2009, 17:48
It makes absolute sense to import every single plot decision into the next game. Not only for Mass Effect 2, but also for ME3. You never know which decisions you want to refer to in future projects.
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July 26th, 2009, 20:22
It will be interesting to see the depth and breadth of the impact of those things in the game.

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July 26th, 2009, 22:40
Is this just about decisions made during dialogue, or will other things have an affect?

For instance, I wonder if any items or weapons will be different depending on what you used in ME, and what you finished the game with.
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July 27th, 2009, 04:37
I'm hoping lettiung that bug go will come back to either haunt me or help me
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July 27th, 2009, 05:25
I am currently replaying the game and just finished the ice planet. I love the confrontation with the bug queen.
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July 27th, 2009, 10:02
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Is this just about decisions made during dialogue, or will other things have an affect?

For instance, I wonder if any items or weapons will be different depending on what you used in ME, and what you finished the game with.
AFAIK, they're going to completely ignore continuity in terms of character and item mechanics.

Pretty sad decision, but there it is.
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July 27th, 2009, 10:06
From what I know, there will be continuity between ME2 and 3 (I read somewhere that they are preventing several playthroughs with the same character in ME2, to avoid making super characters available in ME3).

However, they have not said anything about items yet, but I doubt they'll be in. I assume we're talking about how you solved the main quest and various sidequests (i.e the Rachni queen encounter).
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July 27th, 2009, 10:11
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
From what I know, there will be continuity between ME2 and 3 (I read somewhere that they are preventing several playthroughs with the same character in ME2, to avoid making super characters available in ME3).

However, they have not said anything about items yet, but I doubt they'll be in. I assume we're talking about how you solved the main quest and various sidequests (i.e the Rachni queen encounter).
This is my understanding as well.

Purely story/dialogue related continuity - which is probably great for most people.
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July 27th, 2009, 12:57
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
AFAIK, they're going to completely ignore continuity in terms of character and item mechanics.

Pretty sad decision, but there it is.
That is my understanding - it is all about the setup of the rest of the universe. And when you think about it, either most of the hundreds of decisions have to terminate singly in ME2 or they are pretty trivial stuff. Probably some of both with very few branching effects leading to ME3.

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July 27th, 2009, 13:24
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
That is my understanding - it is all about the setup of the rest of the universe. And when you think about it, either most of the hundreds of decisions have to terminate singly in ME2 or they are pretty trivial stuff. Probably some of both with very few branching effects leading to ME3.
I suspect you're right. The "hundreds of decisions" sound nice, but I think we're talking about a small handful of the most decisive outcomes, and nothing more.

If not, I will be pleasantly surprised.
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July 27th, 2009, 15:01
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
It will be interesting to see the depth and breadth of the impact of those things in the game.
I think this is most important. Numerical headcount of the number of variables they import doesn't actually tell us anything; if it's just a bunch of dialogue lines being unlocked, much like the background options in Mass Effect itself, then I honestly couldn't care less. There were some bigass choices in Mass Effect, they should have bigass consequences. But honestly, even if BioWare were the type of company to do that (and I don't think they are) I don't see how they could. You'd have to design half a dozen games on top of one another to factor in the possible choices offered.
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July 27th, 2009, 16:26
I really appreciate the attempt, and have faith that we will feel the weight of some decisions in Mass Effect 2 and 3. The main plot will certainly remain unaffected, but I can see how some sidequests and options might differ. Also, NPCs would react differently or might not even appear. I am absolutely fine with many consequences being superficial, and some plot-relevant without affecting major plot points of the sequel. I think that even superficial effects can dramatically change your gameplay experience and make you feel like it's your story. I am simply happy that someone is doing this, and while this is additional work, I don't see how this would be as much work as "designing half a dozen games on top of each other".
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July 27th, 2009, 16:38
I just thought that maybe I should wait with buying until a "Trilogy Box" appears. Hopefully with DRM removed.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 27th, 2009, 21:42
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
AFAIK, they're going to completely ignore continuity in terms of character and item mechanics.
Well maybe that's not such a bad thing, since many people complained about the item mechanics anyways…
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July 27th, 2009, 21:46
Hundreds? Each with it's own separable effect? If so then they will most probably be trivial.

The tricky part will be variables where there's a combined effect that's dependent on more than 1 variable. Could lead to some strange inconsistencies and funny bugs.

Potentially very challenging, but will probably end up like the 100s of possible endings for Fallout 3.
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July 28th, 2009, 01:36
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I suspect you're right. The "hundreds of decisions" sound nice, but I think we're talking about a small handful of the most decisive outcomes, and nothing more.

If not, I will be pleasantly surprised.
I agree - but honestly, if there are ~5 fairly robust decision branches that carry through all three games, that would be really significant … and enough to get me to load up and play ME1 again to create a new save since I killed the old one when I uninstalled.

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July 28th, 2009, 02:33
Oh, I expect a lot of them will just result in small things - but all those small things add up to a lot of atmosphere. Instead of the world forgetting almost everything you did in ME1, you'll actually run into people that you helped and see how they are doing or get cussed out by people you snubbed. It should help make the world come alive.
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July 28th, 2009, 04:06
Atmosphere, not gameplay?
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July 28th, 2009, 08:16
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I agree - but honestly, if there are ~5 fairly robust decision branches that carry through all three games, that would be really significant … and enough to get me to load up and play ME1 again to create a new save since I killed the old one when I uninstalled.
Yeah, I agree with you.

It's just that I'm much more of a "gameplay" dude, and not so much a story person. I never replay games for the story variety - because the story is secondary to my enjoyment. Well, that's not true - story is important, but branching storylines just don't seem to have that much impact on the whole for me.

I typically only replay CRPGs if the character mechanics warrant it, as in experimenting with different builds or playstyles.

I realise that I'm probably in the minority for not really caring about different outcomes, but it has to do with me always making the same choices anyway. I can't do anything except what I feel is right the first time, because I like to pretend I'm really there doing something to "make the world better". Invariably, that means the same choices unless I wait for years and years to replay, where some of my opinions about what's beneficial might have changed, but that becomes increasingly rare as time goes by.

That's basically why I wished for them not to ignore character build continuity, but oh well.
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