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Default Mass Effect 2 - Interview @ USA Today

January 17th, 2010, 21:35
Casey Hudson, Projector director for Mass Effect, sat down for an interview with USA Today last week when the Consumers Electronics show visited Las Vegas, USA. They talked about how well the first Mass Effect game was received and what will surprise you in Mass Effect 2:

GH: What will fans of the series be most surprised at when play Mass Effect 2?
Hudson: How good the overall gameplay and combat feels. I think everybody expects the story to be really cool and interesting characters, and it has all those things, but the surprise is when you pick it up it feels like a top shooter with precise shooting. But instead of being just great combat in between points of a story, I think you'll find you want to get back to the story and see what the results of your fights are. This usually isn't the case in a shooter. So we think we're offering a nice balance there.
Bioware seems to be admitting that Mass Effect 2 will be more of a shooter than an rpg.
How do you think fans of the first Mass Effect game will react to this ? And will Mass Effect 3 be more of a shooter game than Mass Effect 2?

More information.
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January 17th, 2010, 21:35
Hmm … not sure they are really saying that, at least to my mind. I read the article and it sounds more like a hybird between the two. Certainly they are putting a lot of emphasis on the shooter aspects. But they also talk about all the unique characters, the story between the combat and some of the cinematic aspects (which they mention in the interview - how one person could just watch another play like a movie). Although that made me think of a more linear JRPG than the non-linear RPG that they said in the interview.

I am still playing ME1 (got it recently) and it seems very shooter heavy … but it does have a lot of story to it. On the other hand the characters seem a little flat to me - but that could be in comparison to DAO which I have been playing as well.

My answer would be it is somewhere in the middle … yet also more clear cut between the two. My feeling playing ME1 is that there is not a merger of the two types as much as them being on two side. For instance you get into a combat mode … and that is all that it is really. Lots of shooting and next to no story or interaction to break it up much. Then you go into dialogue heavy story scenes.

I would guess, from that article, ME2 is similar. They talk about how you will want to return to the story after combat to see what the effect is.

On a related note I also read, in another interview, that Bioware execs said they felt ME2 was their best game yet , that it was the best of everything they had been working on (sorry I can't recall where that was … if I find it I will post it).

I found that to be … disappointing since I am not a big fan of shooter games. Of course it doesn't mean they plan to focus on shooter games now - just that ME2 is the best game in general they have made. Perhaps the next RPG game will be even better.

Still this statement, along with some clear influence of EA (or maybe just changes with Bioware, not sure who to blame), is slowly making me a bit cautious towards Bioware lately. Don't get me wrong - I love DAO (although dislike the way they are doing DLC) and still like Bioware … but they are no longer on the pedastal I once had them on.

[EDIT: Tried to search for the article based on key words and found a few but not the one I wanted. Still here are some comments:

CEO Interview
Ray: I'm confident this is going to be seen as the best game yet from BioWare. We're always striving for excellence, and our future work is always going to be better than our last work. I really feel Mass Effect 2 exemplifies that.
Adrien Cho Comment
Elsewhere in our interview, Cho calls the sequel "the best game that has come out of our studio in the history of BioWare." The hype is on.
Nexus Interview
In reference to ME2: It’s bigger and better in every way, and I think it’s going to be the best thing yet from BioWare when it comes out.
In reading them over I am probably reading to much into it … sicne they state they just want each game to be better than the last.

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last edited by wolfgrimdark; January 17th, 2010 at 21:50. Reason: some quotes added.
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January 17th, 2010, 22:38
Well I for one am looking forward to this. In some ways the action parts make it a but more interesting for me…its a nice change, not to say I don't like turnbased but sometimes you want something a bit different.
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January 17th, 2010, 23:07
Just like decent RPGs, shooters with a good Story and RPG elements aren't exactly common . So bring it on!
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January 17th, 2010, 23:13
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Just like decent RPGs, shooters with a good Story and RPG elements aren't exactly common .

Neither are crpgs with a sci-fi setting, that's the main draw of Mass Effect for me.
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January 17th, 2010, 23:58
I'm curious how many thought of system shock 2 as an rpg? Do they think the same of mass effect?

I'm my mind they are both rpg's.
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January 18th, 2010, 00:13
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
I'm curious how many thought of system shock 2 as an rpg? Do they think the same of mass effect?
System Shock 2: Yeah, definitely. RPG light, just like Deus Ex and Bloodlines. Mass Effect: not so much. I blame the scaling — talents, items, etc. were almost completely superfluous, and if there's only story and shooting (granted, with lots of dialogue) … it's a shooter-adventure thing. Not classical adventure, mind. Plus I don't remember there being any kind of distinctive paths through ME. The only game I can think of that was even more shooter and less RPG was Bioshock, although that one was very atmospheric, which I liked. It's a pity, really, because like JDR I'm drawn to ME mostly for the sci-fi setting. I wouldn't mind a little more RPGishness though, but from what I've heard there will be a little less in ME2 instead.

I'd also love it if there were a new game to offer talking / sneaking / fighting gameplay. Are there any beyond the three I mentioned? (SS1 too I guess, never played it)

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January 18th, 2010, 01:07
I can't say I agree with you…there were many times in the game that you had to make a choice(which rpg's are about choices and consequences) which effected what would happen…The game had everything that say NWN or baldurs gate had, but with an fps combat system…you had character building, levels…I'm not sure what it was missing for it to be an rpg in your mind.
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January 18th, 2010, 04:06
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
RPG light <snip> Bloodlines.
Wait - Bloodlines, one of the best and deepest RPG's of the last decade, with a character system that allows varied play to a larger extent than most anything … a "RPG light"?!?

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January 18th, 2010, 09:35
It sounds like they're trying to make the combat feel less like the repetitive slog between choices and character interactions that it was in the last one. From where I sat, the two weakest parts of the last game were combat and the side missions. While some of the background info and story behind those missions was fairly decent, the overall experience of going on them was on par with a graphically updated might and magic I dungeon in terms of interest and variation.

From what I've read, it sounds like the depth and importance of the character interactions should improved in this game over the last- since it affects the loyalty and performance of your team members and ultimately the entire game's outcome. The writing sounds decent so far and the range of choices offered in interactions with join-able and major non-join-able NPC's sounds fairly good too. What remains to be seen is whether this ensemble cast of characters will be engaging or annoying. I worry a little that some of them may fall completely into the stereotypes they've presented as in the teasers rather than being deep characters with those stereotypes serving merely as a surface look. Still, I had thought that would be the case with Wrex and, if you actually talked through his complete dialogues, you'd see that he was a bit more complex than that.

I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that there will be LESS rpg elements in this game compared to the last one though. I am a little concerned about the changes to the character/leveling system- but they've shown us so little of that I don't really know which way that will go. It looks more simplified, but it may be that we've only seen on tab of it. Hopefully they'll release more details about it closer to launch.

In terms of how much of which genre this game falls into, I'm not sure where to place it myself. I don't think it'll be any less of a CRPG than the last one, but that doesn't really help me place it. It also depends on what someone defines as the desirable characteristics of an RPG. For me, one of the real basics is that a game lets a player guide the growth of their character- in a literary and RPG stat sense. Fallout is probably the hallmark for this trait. The next is that the game allow the character to make real and meaningful choices with regards to interactions with other characters and the progression of the story. Ideally these choices should have a meaningful impact, if not in real time then in the endgame. The game should also have a good story; while this isn't something a requirement that's unique to RPGs it is perhaps uniquely important to them. Choice and character development don't really mean much if you don't care about what's happening.

I have high hopes for ME2 on the second two of those desireables. If the first one is at least as un-terrible as the first one, then it will slate my RPG thirst for a short while at least. In terms of "rpg-ness" I think I'd estimate this game to end up being more of an RPG than System Shock 2 (great story and atmosphere, no real sense of choice or identity for your character though) and less of an RPG than Fallout. For me it comes in around, but probably above, Deus Ex in terms of being an RPG as opposed to a story-driven shooter.
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January 18th, 2010, 10:19
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Wait - Bloodlines, one of the best and deepest RPG's of the last decade, with a character system that allows varied play to a larger extent than most anything a "RPG light"?!?
Well, I think he is right. As much as I liked Bloodlines (as much as I liked Deus Ex) the twitch elements are too heavy with certain character builts to be overlooked.
Some level designs (Crackhouse and the Chinese Vampire HQ) had a very FPS feeling to it).

So, while the RPG elements are very good, the underlying playing mechanics make it feel more hybrid and so "RPG light".

I think that most modern 3D RPGs are heavy on the twitch elements (FO3) or are just plain shooters with RPG elements (Borderlands).
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January 18th, 2010, 11:04
I don't understand what action elements have to do with whether or not a game can be called an RPG. Is there some unwritten rule that an RPG can't have action or "twitch" elements?
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January 18th, 2010, 12:25
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I don't understand what action elements have to do with whether or not a game can be called an RPG. Is there some unwritten rule that an RPG can't have action or "twitch" elements?
That was what I was wondering … I mean, have we just hit another 'you cannot be a REAL RPG if … ' criteria? If so, I'm not buying it.

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January 18th, 2010, 13:21
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Wait - Bloodlines, one of the best and deepest RPG's of the last decade, with a character system that allows varied play to a larger extent than most anything … a "RPG light"?!?
I apologize if that sounded wrong. "RPG light" according to that "RPG meter" thing we worked on back on the Dot. Bloodlines and the other two games are perfect examples of FPS/RPG hybrids for me. I love those more than classic RPGs. I want more of them — ME didn't do it for me in that regard. It was too washy.

Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
The game had everything that say NWN or baldurs gate had, but with an fps combat system…you had character building, levels…I'm not sure what it was missing for it to be an rpg in your mind.
Putting levels or character building in a game is not enough for me. It needs to make a difference, make an impact. As I said, too much scaling probably made all of those RPG things too watered down to be special. Blaster 1, blaster 2, … blaster 7. Level up, put some skill points in a talent, never mind the fact that those points hardly seemed to matter.

When I think back to ME what I liked best was the setting, story, dialogue and presentation. I liked the game a lot for those things alone. The dialogue offered "choices" (sort of) but sounded natural. Even so, the thing is that I could have played the game completely without skills or levels and it wouldn't have made much of a difference. Lockpicking felt even worse than the implementation in Dragon Age.

Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
In terms of "rpg-ness" I think I'd estimate [Mass Effect 2] to end up being more of an RPG than System Shock 2 (great story and atmosphere, no real sense of choice or identity for your character though) and less of an RPG than Fallout. For me it comes in around, but probably above, Deus Ex in terms of being an RPG as opposed to a story-driven shooter.
Yeah, I guess it does boil down to what someone wants from an RPG. System Shock 2 met my personal criteria simply by offering different paths, including non-combat paths (stealth / hacking), as well as — if I recall correctly — interesting and clearly defined talents. Deus Ex improved upon that, Bloodlines improved upon it even further. ME on the other hand didn't have these things to the same extent and was thus not even in the same league, that's all I'm saying.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Last edited by Arhu; January 18th, 2010 at 13:33.
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January 18th, 2010, 13:37
I guess I just disagree with the 'RPG Meter'. Because it sounds like *NO* game with real-time combat in a first-person perspective could *ever* be a 'real' RPG by that metric.

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January 18th, 2010, 13:44
Mass Effect was an interactive movie.

Mass Effect 2 looks to be a movie with improved and even more streamlined interaction
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January 18th, 2010, 13:50
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I guess I just disagree with the 'RPG Meter'. Because it sounds like *NO* game with real-time combat in a first-person perspective could *ever* be a 'real' RPG by that metric.
Hehe, yes, it could look that way … the lightness in that classification scheme however referred only to the amount of "RPG elements", not to their quality, and hinted at particular RPG types — possibly but not necessarily subgenres. Morrowind for instance came out as "RPG heavy" (sandbox), Gothic leaned more towards the normal/lighter side (less sandbox).

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January 18th, 2010, 14:15
I guess I would call that meter either broken or useless … since classifying Bloodlines as anything but RPG heavy pretty much misses the boat IMO.

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January 18th, 2010, 14:33
Well there's no doubt in my mind that Bloodlines was an RPG, and a damn good one.

I feel the same about Mass Effect… to a lesser degree.
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January 18th, 2010, 14:37
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Mass Effect was an interactive movie.

Mass Effect 2 looks to be a movie with improved and even more streamlined interaction
ME was the game that immersed me the most in a lot of years.

I agree that it in some ways felt like a movie, but a movie in which I were the main character and could make my touch felt.

As other have stated, we are rather starved for good, epic sci fi.

Its space man!, Space!


(without anything resembling star trek, thank you very very very much)

/C
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