Mass Effect 3 - All News
Tuesday - May 07, 2013
Ars Technica - The Lesson Learned From 369 Hours of Mass Effect
Ars Technica has a four page editiorial on the entire series after having played through the entirety of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 over the course of nearly 400 hours.
That's nine 40-hour work weeks of time spent in the Mass Effect universe, according to the combined reports of Steam, Origin, and my creaky old Xbox 360. Eighty-six hours went into the original Mass Effect (three playthroughs), 189 hours into Mass Effect 2 (six playthroughs), and 94 hours into Mass Effect 3 (three playthroughs).
Commander Shepard and his crew—sometimes her crew, but we'll get to that—have done plenty of galaxy saving under my control. They fought aliens, robots, clones, politicians, and reporters. They stood united against enemies vast and unknowably timeless. They have, in the words of James T. Kirk, "been through death and life together."
They're my friends.
OK, they're not really my friends; claiming to be buddies with imaginary characters is a little too geeky even for me. The Mass Effect series is not without its flaws, and some are truly Reaper-sized. But it has gripped me like nothing else in the history of video games, and video games and I go back a pretty long way.
But take heart, as Shepard himself says near the end of the series. Even if Shepard must be a hollow man for the sake of the player, the ease with which the player can fill his shoes means that Bioware made the correct set of design decisions.
I didn't feel quite so maudlin about the series until the Citadel DLC came out, but now, it's like I know all these aliens. They're real, hanging out in the back of my head. We are Commander Shepard, and the crew members of the Normandy are our friends. Garrus. Tali. Liara. Thane. EDI. Joker. Jack. Wrex. Grunt. All the rest.
The ending of the series is this: Commander Shepard, surrounded by his team, ready to board the Normandy and set sail back out onto the ocean of night. That's where they'll always be.
Shepard's squadmates are right: we've had a good ride.
Friday - March 29, 2013
Mass Effect 3 - Retrospetive for ME Series at PAX East 2013, Statistics for ME3
Bioware has uploaded their ME series retrospective panel held at PAX East 2013 to youtube.
You can meet Lead designer Preston Watamaniuk, lead cinematics director Parrish Ley, level designer Dusty Everman, writer John Dombrow and executive producer Casey Hudson and hear the statements and opinions on the ME series. You can watch the retrospective panel here.
Kotaku has some statistics for ME3, being revealed at the same retrospective panel mentioned above. The most important news seems to be that about 82% played as male while 18% played 18% as female, and 64% played as Paragon while 36% played as Renegade. You can watch the statitics from Kotaku here.
Friday - March 08, 2013
Mass Effect 3 - Citadel Review @ VGU.TV
VGU.TV has posted a review of this game. No score, but a positive review:
[Some spoilers for the DLC to come in the next bits, so read at your own risk].
Here's a quote about humour:
Humor actually plays a very important part in making this DLC stand out and the character interaction during the main mission just highlights why so many gamers are invested in these characters. The witty banter, the cheesy lines, and the throwbacks to events in previous games are all phenomenal fan service and just plain fun to witness.
And a quote about a certain party:
The atmosphere of the party can be changed several times to see how the guests react and watching who decides to mingle with whom is interesting (for example, Zaaed, Javvik, Grunt, and Wrex all get together to start with since they all have similar attitudes). All in all the party gives players a great chance to reconnect with characters and watch them all interact with one another in humorous and touching ways.
Thursday - March 07, 2013
Mass Effect 3 - Citadel Review Roundup
Citadel, the last DLC for Mass Effect 3, has been received well and has the following reviews to show that:
For players like me who are emotionally invested in the series, "Citadel" is excellent. It's like a gift from Bioware, a perfect bit of fanwankery made canonical. Whether or not it fits in with the larger tone of Mass Effect 3 is questionable, but it gives us all one last chance to see Shepard and his crew happy. This can sometimes be a bit too much, like eating your entire haul after trick-or-treating, but who doesn't want to overdose on candy every once in a while.
Hey U Guys Gaming
Weighing in at a touch under 4GB (it’s a huge download), the DLC comes in two parts. Just one quick thing before we jump into it…you can’t just dive into the DLC right from the start. You can only get into the new mission after the attack on the Citadel but BEFORE you take on the Cerberus base. You will find an email from Admiral Anderson in your personal messages and he pretty much orders you to take some well deserved shore leave while repairs are made to the Normandy.
It's been a bumpy 12 months since Mass Effect 3 was released. Those who disliked the game's three-flavour ending will probably find no solace in Citadel's three-choice party scenes, and it's a fair to assume that many will have moved on from the game in the intervening year. For those who've stuck by the series, however, and are willing to revisit it one final time, BioWare has excelled itself. The developer has clearly had a lot of fun creating a send-off to its characters that's worthy of the series' history and reminiscent of some of the saga's finest moments.
Once Citadel is pretty confident that you've bought into the flimsy pretense for a vacation, it smacks you in the face, in a grand, sophomoric "HAHA JUST KIDDING" prank. What follows isn't necessarily the best subplot in the series, but it's comes wrapped with a delightful spark - bringing back nearly every squad mate that's lived up to this point. There's no apparent purpose behind the grand reunion, other than bringing back a bunch of fan favorites for one final goodbye. One that feels even more gratuitous when you know how this tale ends.
More than anything, Citadel gave me more time with the characters I've grown to love and feel such a close connection to over the past three games and hundred-plus hours. Everyone comes out to play at some point. Having friends whose strengths and abilities I knew alongside me in battle was just as powerful here as any other part of the series, maybe even more so given how lackluster the last few add-on missions were. The party after the "mission" is over was a clever way to give me another chance to say goodbye to my friends. This is a going-away party on at least a few levels: this is the last I'll see of Shepard and company, and it's the last mission BioWare is releasing for Mass Effect 3.
There's plenty more: Every scene is stuffed with in-jokes and references, a bit in the Citadel archives allows you to relive various key moments in Mass Effect lore, and there's some great overheard enemy dialogue, if you take the time to listen. Some of the social sequences towards the end seem like they could play out dozens of different ways, given the fact that they involve each player's specific cast of surviving characters. I play as a female Commander Shepard, and the wonderful actor Jennifer Hale brought her A-game to Citadel. Shepard's last hurrah is a rangey, well-written part that's as surprising as it is warm and genuinely funny. Hale must have had a lot of fun bringing her character across the finish line.
Saturday - March 02, 2013
Mass Effect 3 - Citadel FAQ
BioWare has posted a basic FAQ for their upcoming Mass Effect 3 DLC, Citadel. It covers questions such as what gameplay stage you should tackle the DLC:
Should I Have Everything Else in the Game Done Before Playing Citadel?
There is no right or wrong time to play the Citadel DLC, once it’s unlocked. If you play the Citadel DLC with everything else unlocked (just before attacking Cronos Station), the new DLC content will all be unlocked. If you play the Citadel DLC right after stopping the Cerberus coup attempt, the DLC content will unlock naturally over the course of the main game.
Does the Citadel DLC Affect the Ending?
No, not beyond the possibility of adding new war assets to increase your Galactic Readiness score. You may of course continue on to play the endgame after completing the Citadel DLC, but there is also a natural “stopping point” that should make it clear where the DLC content ends and your return to the main game begins.
Thursday - February 21, 2013
Mass Effect 3 - Citadel DLC for Singleplayer Announced
Eurogamer brings news (via RPGCodex) that Bioware has announced the final DLC for the ME singleplayer campaign. It is called Citadel - and will be released on all platforms
(PC, Xbox 360 and PS3) on March 5th 2013, for PS3 in Europe the date will be March 6th.
All good things must come to an end, and that includes the Commander Shepard trilogy. However, just because it is coming to an end, that doesn't mean we can't go out with a bang. Introducing the final Mass Effect 3 single-player DLC: Citadel! When a sinister conspiracy targets Commander Shepard, you and your team must uncover the truth, through battles and intrigue that range from the glamour of the Citadel's Wards to the top-secret Council Archives. Uncover the truth and fight alongside your squad - as well as the cast from the original Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. When the adventure is over, reconnect with your favorite characters from the Mass Effect Trilogy, try your luck at the Citadel's Silver Coast Casino, blow off steam in the Armax Combat Arena, or explore and furnish Shepard's own living quarters on the Citadel. With unique content and cinematics featuring your friends and romance interests in the Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect 3: Citadel offers one final chance to see the characters you have known for years and rekindle romances.
Source: RPG Codex
Tuesday - January 29, 2013
Mass Effect 3 - New DLC Teased?
VG247 reports on some Mass Effect 3 screens tweeted by BioWare and presumably teasing a new DLC - one that involved eight or so writers from Edmonton:
The images below were shared separately but almost simultaneously by executive producer Casey Hudson and producer Mike Gamble on Twitter. Both images were retweeted by other BioWare staffers, but the developer has kept silent on the import.
Still, it seems pretty likely the screens are from Mass Effect 3′s next DLC, which apparently involves every writer at BioWare Edmonton. Voice work for the module was being prepared in December.
Saturday - December 29, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Controversies of 2012
Among the various 2012 wrap-ups on the 'net, Edge Online and PC Gamer have looked at the Mass Effect 3 ending as part of their respective major story collections. From Edge's Mass Effect 3, BioWare, and the new age of entitlement:
So, what was actually wrong the ending to Mass Effect 3? As a final act, it was flawed in two distinct ways. Firstly, it was bad in the conventional way that endings are often bad: it was abrupt, plot-holed, and dramatically unsatisfying. The kind of badness you might expect from a suddenly cancelled TV show that had a season’s worth of plot arcs to tidy up and 42 minutes of screen time with which to do it. Secondly, Mass Effect 3′s ending was bad in a way unique to the series: it didn’t offer players a sense of meaningful choice, or the feeling decisions made over three game’s worth of galactic adventuring had actually mattered, in direct contradiction to what Hudson and other members of the team had promised. If BioWare had avoided one of these issues, they probably could have gotten away with the other. They didn’t of course, and inside the slow-cooker forum threads bubbling with resentment, the Retake Mass Effect campaign took shape.
...and from PC Gamer's Five Greatest Gaming Controversies of 2012:
They had valid complaints. Mass Effect 3′s ending was really weird, but demanding a new ending from Bioware and then writing one for them perhaps went a little too far. “Fans of the Mass Effect trilogy have put far too much time, effort, and money into the game to be abandoned with such a fate,” the group insisted.
“Bioware desperately needs to resolve this issue. New DLC (something long) to add a new, more satisfactory ending to the game, or even a full expansion based as an epilogue to the trilogy.
“Some possible ideas include Shepard retiring or settling down with his/her love interest, returning to work as a Council SPECTRE, or traveling the galaxy as an inter-species diplomat.”
I won't post it separately but PC Gamer's second controversy is Diablo III's Error 37.
Sunday - December 02, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Creating the Omega DLC
The BioBlog has a dev blog on making the Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3:
In this DLC, Shepard must make decisions based on Aria and Nyreen’s knowledge of Omega while balancing their radically different points of view on how to go about liberating the station. This leads us to moral choices, and we want the player to answer the following question: how far are you willing to go? Omega is a densely populated area, and the choices you make will have a tremendous impact on the civilian population. Following Aria’s vengeful path will certainly be efficient, but it comes at a cost. Nyreen’s approach will protect the people of Omega, but it’s a riskier mission.
Balancing Omega’s gameplay to accommodate Aria’s powerful biotics was a challenge for the BioWare teams in Montreal and Edmonton. Omega is a complex space that made combat design difficult. We also introduced two new enemies: the Rampart mech, a Cerberus killing machine built to control the civilian population, and a second enemy that I’ll let you discover for yourself.
Creating Nyreen, the first female Turian we’ve used as a central character in the series, was also a challenge. We wanted to make sure she would be identifiable as a female Turian on first sight. It took several iterations from our concept and character artists, softening the shape of her head and making subtle changes to her body, to reach that point while staying true to the turian morphology.
Wednesday - November 28, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Omega DLC Review Roundup
Here is a collection of reviews for the Skyrim DLC Omega, with one being really negative.
I found Omega competent enough, but unexiting, in the end. Maybe it’s Mass Effect fatigue at this point, or perhaps the heavy emphasis on action on Omega over RPG elements, or maybe it’s just that the storytelling in these DLC excerpts has found no real way of conveying smaller tales that are worth hearing in the frame of Mass Effect 3. That said, if you want to revisit Omega, see its locales, and shoot lots more guys — that is, if you want more of the superficial elements of the Mass Effect 3 formula — then it’s here, and there’s a fair bit of it, and you’ll feel your $15 was well-spent. The rest of us, though: we might be a little bored.
Some might moan that Omega should have been part of the main game. I'm glad it isn't, although I do believe it would have worked better shrunk down to the length of a single mission. It's refreshing to get to the point where BioWare doesn't feel the need to address the main game's faults yet again in its DLC (the Extended Cut and Leviathan's story points were all conceived post-release) - but it's also worrying because Omega has been planned for far longer. BioWare has had a year to get Omega right. It didn't.
Kotaku says Yes
In the end, then, Omega is a worthwhile romp, entertaining in its own right and valuable for how it expands the world of the game it's attached to, as well as the world before it. It does connect back out to the larger story of Mass Effect 3, even while remaining concerned entirely with itself. (A lot like Aria.) Afterlife always had its motif of flames by its entrance, a futuristic LED display mockingly leading its visitors to hell. When the actual station is on fire, and the galaxy around it burning too, its gaudiness feels eerily prophetic, a little too on-the-nose.
Tuesday - November 27, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Omega DLC Released, Trailer
BioWare has released the Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3:
Revisit one of the best games of 2012* and one of the most beloved franchises of this console generation when Mass Effect™ 3: Omega launches today. This thrilling new piece of single player DLC expands upon the events of Mass Effect 3 by allowing players to return to the seedy and unsavory levels of Omega to fight alongside fan favorite Aria T'Loak. This new chapter in Commander Shepard’s journey will also add powerful weapons and introduce never-before-seen characters to the franchise.
Cerberus agent Oleg Petrovsky and his squadron have seized the infamous black market trade post known as Omega. As its self-proclaimed rightful leader, the legendary biotic Aria T’Loak plots her revenge to reclaim her domain by teaming up with Commander Shepard and another mysterious ally. They must put aside their differences and fight side-by-side to defeat the Illusive Man’s reign over the space station and free the enslaved people of Omega. In addition to the new story content, Mass Effect 3: Omega also includes two bonus weapons, the N7 Valkyrie Assault Rifle and Chakram Launcher, previously only available through pre-order promotions.
Mass Effect 3: Omega will be available to download on Xbox LIVE® and Origin™ starting today and on PlayStation® Network in North America on November 27 and in Europe on November 28 for £11.99 or 1200 Microsoft Points.
...and there's a launch trailer here.
Friday - November 09, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Omega DLC Preview @ CVG
Omega's an epic - so large that even during our lengthy playthrough, we barely scratched the surface. What we did play was, amongst other sections, a ripping combat scenario against new enemy type, the Rampart Mech. Built by Cerberus, the Rampart Mechs primarily control populations and disperse crowds - essentially, riot vans on legs. As well as being heavily armed, they're also heavily armoured, blessed with the ability to pass harmlessly through force fields that can instantly kill organics. That's hardly playing fair, but then, Omega's meant for battle-hardened ME veterans who've braved numerous encounters. It's a made-to-order challenge with new threats and faces, even for those who've sunk a few hundred hours into the series.
Wednesday - November 07, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Omega DLC - first female Turian
Eurogamer writes the upcoming Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3 will offer two new party members - Aria T'Loak, the asari mob boss and Nyreen Kandros, the first female Turian seen in the series:
Nyreen is ex-turian military, but, despite this, she is a biotic (turian military hierarchy prohibits biotic powers). Her powers aren't as devastating as Aria's, but she's still useful in combat. Her Biotic Grenade ability does exactly what it says on the tin, and Biotic Protector raises a magic shield, useful for keeping her alive when the chips are down.
Condominas said designing Nyreen was quite a challenge. While a female turian did pop up in one of the Mass Effect comics, there was no video game reference point (and there are female turian soldiers in the game, but they're background soldiers who go unnoticed, apparently).
“We wanted to make sure the first time you see her you realise she's female and not a male turian, so we had to do a bit of work. We changed subtly some shapes to give her a smoother face. I can't wait for the players' feedback!”
Saturday - October 13, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Omega DLC Announced
BioWare has announced a new single-player DLC for Mass Effect 3, titled Omega. The pack will sell for $14.99 and will be released on November 27/28. Appaently this will be "the biggest expansion in the series to date":
Soldiers of the Milky Way,
Disturbing reports from the Citadel suggest that something big is about to go down. If our Intel is accurate, Aria is on the move. This was anticipated, as we did not expect her to sit idly by while Cerberus ran roughshod over Omega. With her biotic capabilities and well-documented mean streak, what happens next won’t be pretty.
Our informants believe that Aria intends to seek out Commander Shepard for assistance. We are aware of the Commander’s ties to Aria, but are unclear about how deep they run. What we do know is that Aria will be relentless in her fight to take back Omega, and with the Commander at her side, she may very well be unstoppable.
We will be observing this situation closely as it develops. Continue to monitor this channel for further communication.
The war for Omega begins—How far will you go to end it?
Mass Effect 3: Omega (Single-player DLC) – Coming November 27th to PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 (November 28th to PS3 in Europe).
$14.99, 1200 MS/BW Points
Saturday - October 06, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Retaliation MP DLC
BioWare has announced an upcoming multiplayer DLC for Mass Effect 3 titled Retaliation:
Today we are excited to announce Mass Effect 3: Retaliation, a new expansion to the critically-acclaimed Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode, and our largest upgrade to date! The Retaliation begins on October 9th (October 10th for PS3 in Europe), and will be free to download for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Watch the Mass Effect 3: Retaliation trailer now!
What’s Included in the Retaliation Pack?
New Enemy Faction
Prepare to face off against the Collector Praetorian, Scion, Abomination, Trooper, and Captain. Reports have also come in that Cerberus has enlisted the Dragoon to their ranks and the Geth are deploying new Drones to the battlefield.
New Class Kits to Unlock
A host of new characters have joined the war to fight this new threat, including the Turian Havoc Soldier, Turian Ghost Infiltrator, with many more being added on a regular basis.
New “Hazard” Versions of Existing Maps
A host of new characters have joined the war to fight this new threat, including the Turian Havoc Soldier, Turian Ghost Infiltrator, with many more being added on a regular basis.
New “Hazard” Versions of Existing Maps
The Collectors have also brought deadly new weapons to the fight: the Collector Assault Rifle, Sub-Machine Gun, and Sniper Rifle. Unlock these weapons and new equipment upgrades to build to your arsenal.
New Powerful Upgrades
Outfit your weapons with new ammo modifications and fortify your gear with unique upgrades to defeat even the toughest foes.
New Multiplayer Challenge Feature
Think you are the best soldier in the Alliance? Make sure to track your progress in the new “Challenges” database. Complete various multiplayer assignments and feats of strength to unlock titles and banners to display in-game, and then compare your progress against your friend.
Tuesday - September 25, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Reviews
Just in case you've missed the previous lists of reviews for the Mass Effect 3 DLC Leviathan, here are 2 more.
Reaction Time rates it with a 7/10:
Mass Effect 3 Leviathan is worth playing if you can swallow the price tag, BioWare have not been known to reduce prices or have sales on DLC so it stands to reason that this will not change. If a few more hours (took me around four on insanity) of Mass Effect 3 sound worth the price of admission and an unsatisfying conclusion doesn’t put you off, Leviathan is available now.
GGSGamer though, thinks you should just skip it.
It is not that the DLC is overly bad, but it never really reaches heights that were set with Mass Effect 2’s DLC. Maybe a few more releases in, we will get some solid content, but the elephant in the room probably will still hurt those releases. If you are a super fan, or a completionist, you will probably want to own the Leviathan DLC, but don’t look for it to add any significant punch to the lore of the series. Instead, look to the detective element as an opening for a cool C-Sec, or SPECTRE styled game set in the Mass Effect series – I know I did.
Monday - September 17, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Reviews # 4
Here is a collection of Leviathan DLC reviews:
Wednesday - September 12, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Reviews # 3
Here is a new list of Leviathan Reviews from the last days:
Friday - September 07, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Review @ GameTrailers
Set before the events of the finale, Leviathan occupies an odd place in the story, but if you’re invested in the Mass Effect lore, you’ll dig the payoff at the end nonetheless. The road, however, littered with routine interactions and no-frills firefights, will feel too familiar to be terribly exciting. Mass Effect lorehounds will eat Leviathan right up. Those hoping for a more interesting take on the Mass Effect formula, though, will be left wanting.
Sunday - September 02, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Review @ Gamespot
A quote about how this DLC compares to ME2's DLCs:
Compared to Mass Effect 2's finest add-ons, which matched emotional storytelling with exciting gameplay, Mass Effect 3: Leviathan comes up short. That oceanic reverie is singular but brief, the gameplay already having drawn to a close before you reach the story's climax. The bulk of the adventure occurs in a laboratory on the Citadel, where a scientist has discovered signs of a creature or being so powerful as to be a potential reaper-killer. Thus begins your career as detective Shepard, walking around the lab and clicking on things until you're allowed to continue.
Friday - August 31, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Reviews #2
Here's a second small collection of Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC reviews.
Off to IGN first, who say the story elements impress but not the repetitive combat for a score of 7.5/10:
While the combat isn’t as motivated or as strong as it could be, let me be clear: the story told here is exciting, and worth playing for the weight it holds within the entire series. It does an amazing job of making you feel awkward and uneasy as you’re exploring strange areas that are decidedly unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Some of the set pieces, like the ocean wreckage you’ll come across, are desolate and destroyed, but beautiful just the same, and will have you stopping to take in the new environments unique to the series. The locale also makes a perfect place to surprise you with Leviathan’s final revelation.
CVG agrees on the way to a 7/10 score:
After multiple helpings of multiplayer add-ons comes the first slice of campaign content since From Ashes, which launched with the game six months ago. Most have seen the end of Shepard's war against the Reapers. Thanks to the recent Extended Cut, some have seen several. This is a problem.
...and 1Up's RPG column isn't strictly a review but their post agrees the story saves the DLC from combat "mediocrity" but the 6 month delay is a real issue:
You could play the Leviathan content as part of your initial playthrough, in which case you'll be able to experience it in the right context. However, coming nearly six months after the game's launch and numerous sales, I have to believe most hardcore fans -- the ones most likely to care about the topics revealed in Leviathan -- will have already played through the game. In that case, you'll be playing through the DLC after beating the game, possibly months after having done so, and the DLC is simply not structured to remind you oh-my-god-the-Reapers-are-coming-and-we're-all-going-to-die, even though that's the mentality you need to have to see a point in what you're tasked with doing.
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC -Review Roundup # 1
A few reviews have been penned on various websites. I'll quote from two of them and list the rest:
Kotaku recommends playing it. A quote about on Shepard's story:
Leviathan nevertheless conveys the sensation that Shepard's time is up. Her adventure had its grand finale in Mass Effect 3, which leaves this mid-mission expansion feeling like watching a very long deleted scene. There are no great secrets to be learned about Shepard. Her narrative and emotional arc was already complete.
Gamespy gives it a 7/10. A quote on how they feel about this DLC:
Here's the problem. Leviathan is easily one of the best bits of DLC that Bioware has ever put out - at least matching the quality of Lair of the Shadow Broker, and arguably surpassing it in many ways. It shakes up Mass Effect 3's style, tries a few new things, offers a couple of cool new locations, and is far more than simply a new mission to throw onto the pile. Unfortunately, it's about the Reapers... and while digging into their backstory might have been cool once, that ship has long since sailed. Right into an iceberg.
Reviews are also on the Official Xbox Magazine 8/10
and on The Controller Online 9/10
Wednesday - August 29, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Bioware Should Release Alternate Ending @ Games Radar
Games Radar has an editorial in which they think that Bioware should release an alternate ending for this game. The writer's main argument seem to be new DLC e.g. Leviathan just enhances the game, since we already know how the game ends. A quote:
That’s why BioWare should be open to releasing downloadable content that provides a completely new ending to Mass Effect 3--not because Mass Effect 3’s regular ending is broken or needs fixing, but because it is the only way downloadable content will actually matter. It has already confirmed that it’s working on a ton of post-release content, and it’s likely that a majority of it will be new plotlines for DLC, so it might as well make it take place near the end of the campaign, instead of randomly shoved into the middle.
Tuesday - August 28, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Released
Chris Priestly has made at the Bioware forums saying that the Leviathan DLC for ME3 has been released, he also has this to say:
Please remember BioWare does NOT control the times that new game content is released, that is up to the individual partners. All times are approximate and not a guarantee. The expected release times are as follows:
PC - Now Available Xbox 360 - Now Available PS3 - Between 4-5pm MDT
Monday - August 27, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan Trailer
I didn't get around last week to posting BioWare's trailer for the upcoming Mass Effect 3 DLC, Leviathan - check it out here, courtesy of VG247.
Thursday - August 16, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Dated
From the Bioblog:
We are very pleased to officially announce that the Mass Effect 3 Leviathan single-player DLC will be released on August 28th, 2012 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Please note that on Playstation 3 in Europe, it will be available on August 29th.
To help us celebrate this joyous occasion, we are also releasing a fresh batch of Leviathan wallpapers for you to enjoy. Get ‘em here.
Wednesday - August 08, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Fireflight Pack Released
BioWare has released the Fireflight Pack, a DLC which adds MP weapons to the SP game:
After a thorough sweep of the galaxy, new pipelines within Alliance channels have opened up access to additional firepower to support our efforts. Surviving this war against the Reapers is going to require strength, skill and courage beyond anything you have experienced before, but an added boost to your arsenal may help you tip the scales in our favor once and for all.
Unleash hell with the Firefight Pack! Firefight adds seven weapons for use in the single-player campaign: the Indra and Krysae sniper rifles, Reegar Carbine, Harrier battle rifle, Geth SMG, plus an all-new Blood Pack Punisher SMG and Adas Anti-Synthetic rifle!
Available now on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3! Cost is $2.00 or 160 MS points.
Friday - August 03, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Preview Leviathan DLC
I've just played a chunk of one of the combat missions in the new Mass Effect 3 DLC, Leviathan. There was a boat. There was water. There was a mech. And Shepard dove to the bottom of the sea, Abyss-style.
The preview ends like this:
Shepard's mech landed on the sea floor, huge shapes looming in the distance, and he shot a flare onto the ocean floor. The sea life looked colorful and very BiosShock ian. I took control of the mech, and its heads-up display had changed to register air pressure, and it looked like the weapons were now offline. I walked forward a bit, at which point the demo ended; clearly things were about to get more interesting. Underneath the sea, my name's Commander Shepard. My favorite mech!
And now the facts:
Leviathan will be 2 to 3 hours long, probably closer to 3 hours. Clifford said they were shooting for about a Lair of the Shadow Broker depth.
The story will take place in the middle of the Mass Effect 3 story, with no specific place in the storyline.
There are 3 main combat missions, which will take place all over the Mass Effect universe.
There will be new weapons, some of which were previously pre-order bonuses.
The story begins on the Citadel, but goes beyond that. (All the way to the bottom of the ocean. Well, an ocean.)
It will be out on all platforms simultaneously.
It will be out this summer, after the Firefight weapon pack, which comes out August 7 Th.
It will cost $9.99.
Thursday - August 02, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Description
Joystiq has a description of the upcoming Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3. It's only a single paragraph on an EA fact sheet but it's the only detail officially released so far:
Mass Effect 3: Leviathan is the first story-driven, single player DLC to be made available since Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut. Leviathan expands upon the events of Mass Effect 3 with gripping and emotional storytelling, compelling new characters, powerful weapons and unique upgrades. Players will be able to discover more about the origins of the reapers as they race across the galaxy to unravel the mystery that surrounds the fabled Leviathan.
Tuesday - July 24, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Panel Video @ Comic Com
Tazzmission from the BSN's ME3 forums have found this video of the panel discussion at Comic Com between ME3 fans and ME3 developers at Youtube. The 53 minute video covers multiplayer, their plans for possible future DLCs, the ME3 ending, the Extended Cut and much much more.
In other news, the Bioware blog has an interview with David Mergele, software developer at Bioware. He talks about what he is doing in his job at day to day basis:
A quote then on what he does at work:
What does an average day look like for you?
Get myself coffee and possibly some breakfast. Take a quick glance at my inbox for critical emails, and send responses. Stand-up meeting with the team. Review new emails in-depth. Coffee again! Backlog and feature planning and/or discussions about improvements for the team. Lunch/gaming break. Bug triage. Bug fixing or feature development. Go home.
Wednesday - July 18, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Single Player DLC teased @ Comic-Con
That single-player DLC, whatever it is, will still be about Shepard, not someone else in the universe. "Mass Effect 3 is Shepard's story," said Gamble, "so the single-player DLC forMass Effect 3 will probably focus around Shepard."
Mass Effect 3 - Earth MP DLC Released
Earth multiplayer DLC for Mass Effect 3 has been released:
The fighting is fiercest when it’s your home at stake! Mass Effect 3: Earth adds mods, gear, and new maps for Rio, Vancouver, and London. It features 3 new weapons: Piranha assault shotgun, Acolyte pistol, and Typhoon assault rifle. Six new human N7 classes are also available: Destroyer Soldier, Paladin Sentinel, Demolisher Engineer, Slayer Vanguard, Shadow Infiltrator, and Fury Adept! Each come complete with new and powerful abilities and melee attacks.
Wednesday - July 11, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Earth MP DLC Announced
BioWare has formally announced the rumoured Mass Effect 3 multplayer DLC, Earth:
When is Mass Effect 3: Earth available?
Mass Effect 3: Earth is available on July 17th for Xbox 360 and PC worldwide. For PlayStation 3 owners the pack will be available on July 17th in North American and July 18th in Europe.What is included with Mass Effect 3: Earth?Firebase Rio, Vancouver, and London are available to play on as soon as Mass Effect 3: Earth is downloaded. The new weapons, characters, and equipment are available as rewards inside existing Reinforcement Packs.How much does Mass Effect 3: Earth cost to download?Mass Effect 3: Earth is available to download at no additional charge.How do I get new items in Mass Effect 3: Earth?As with the Resurgence Pack and Rebellion Pack, new items will be unlocked in existing Reinforcement Packs. Make sure to look out for promotional packs and weekend challenges for other ways to unlock the content.
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Confirmed
Eurogamer has confirmed the rumoured Mass Effect 3 DLC Leviathan via voice actor Anthony Skordi:
Mass Effect 3's rumoured Leviathan DLC has been confirmed by voice actor Anthony Skordi.
The actor confirmed to Eurogamer he would play the Reaper named Leviathan in the unannounced add-on.
The news ties in with previously-leaked script details spotted within the code of the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut.
Saturday - July 07, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Jeff Vogel Review
Mass Effect 3 has been reviewed by Jeff Vogel from Spiderweb in a two-part critique. The first is titled The Good Stuff:
I think the Mass Effect setting is one of the best in computer games. BioWare has this stuff down to a science. It was only when I was playing ME3 and revisited all the great conflicts in the series: Salarian vs. Krogan. Geth vs. Quarian. Humans vs. Everybody, that I really started to realize how much stuff there is. How complex and nuanced the issues facing the characters are. How interesting the setting is and how that, in turn, leads to interesting stories.
Between Mass Effect and Dragon Age, I personally think that BioWare is the best maker of computer game settings. I hope they keep doing it.
...and from The Ending, Before and After! (despite Jeff's "no spoilers" comment, this has some major spoilers:
Some criticized the ending for creating some plot inconsistencies with things learned in the DLC for Mass Effect 2. (Namely, that blowing up a mass relay destroyed the solar system before and now it doesn't.) The horrors.
DOES ANYONE REALLY ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THIS!?!? IF SO, RAISE YOUR HAND.
I didn't think so.
Also, some put a lot of time into proving Shepherd was actually under Reaper control and the last game was a dream or something. (The famed Indoctrination Theory.) Of course this wasn't true. This was a AAA mega-million dollar game series that had always approached everything in a reasonably sane manner. They weren't going to end it with goofy Sixth Sense trickery.
Wednesday - July 04, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut Review @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer has a review of the Extended Cut in which the author ask the question "EC - a happy ending?" Link to the Eurogamer article - spoilers to follow, so read at your own risk.
The author begins the ME3 Extended Cut review with these lines:
They're the same endings. A little better. More or less.
Whether you'll prefer them or not depends on exactly what you didn't like about Mass Effect 3's original finale - not to mention whether you think BioWare changing anything in the wake of all the complaints was a matter of creative cowardice or just the narrative equivalent of patching a bug. Ultimately, it's ended up a little bit of both.
Sunday - July 01, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Why the Extended Cut can't fix everything
Joystiq's regular RPG column from Rowan Kaiser this week turns to the subject that keeps on giving, the Mass Effect 3 ending and and the Extended Cut:
BioWare's free response to the Mass Effect 3 ending hoopla, the "Extended Cut" add-on, was released this week. In many ways, it acts as a direct response to the most common criticisms of the ending. If your primary problems were that the ending choices weren't properly explained beforehand, or that it was unclear what happened to the universe and the specific characters after the climax, the "Extended Cut" will be a notable improvement. But it doesn't actually change the quality of the ending, it just adds more content.
Thursday - June 28, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Files Hidden in EC DLC
Bioware forumite ULT1M4T3XPL looked through the files of the Extended Cut for this game and found some hints for a Leviathan DLC. Then it was uploaded to Pastebin.
Eurogamer has a summary - spoilers abound so read at your own risk:
Shepard is sent to rescue the scientist Ann Brynson, who you find at a Reaper-indoctrinated mining facility. The colony has been controlled by a Reaper named Leviathan for 10 years. Leviathan is referred to as a defector, a traitor who killed one of its own kind. One dialogue line hints to more information about the Reapers' creators, briefly alluded to by the Star Child in the game's ending. "So the Reapers did not fully exterminate their creators. That suggests they are fallible, even on large or long-term scales."
Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut Review @ RPS
John Walker has reviewed the freshly released Extended Cut for Mass Effect 3, although those that joined the masses storming BioWare's walls when the game was originally released might note he liked the original ending enough.
Spoilers follow in this excerpt - so be warned.
I won’t repeat myself on why I enjoyed the original endings. And I’m just so damned delighted to see the giant F-YOU that BioWare have given to those demanding they rewrite it. All three endings have been enormously embellished, lots of new detail and fixes have been added, and there’s a fourth brand new ending too. But they’ve stuck to their vision, and kept an ending that sees Shepard sacrifice her life in order to bring about massive change to the galaxy. Change that, sure, makes lots of what came before seem irrelevant. Because that’s what change does.
Eurogamer also writes about the Extended Cut, although it isn't a review:
As far as the parts we already saw go, very little has changed and nothing of any great import. There are some new scenes, a few new lines and some clarification, but at heart we're dealing with a (much needed) editing pass rather than an intensive rewrite. We find out why the Normandy apparently abandoned Shepard at the end for instance, but understandably other more fundamental problems remain.
Wednesday - June 27, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Editorials on Extended Cut DLC, CVG, Bitmob
Both CVG and Bitmob have editorials about the newly released Extended Cut DLC for this game.
Link to article at CVG: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/355421/blog/
Here's a quote on the Indoctrination theory - spoilers abound so read at your own risk:
The 'Indoctrination Theory' is a popular one among Mass Effect fans. The thesis is that, based on one super-short clip in ME3's perfect ending which showed Sheppard gasping to life amongst a pile of rubble, that the whole final sequence was a battle for Shepard's mind between the Reapers, who had been subtely indoctrinating him over the course of the last three games, and Shepard himself.
Moving on to Bitmob's editorial: http://bitmob.com/articles/
Eduardo Moutinho from Bitmob has this to say - in the conclusion:
Do I want closure? Of course. Do I want to learn the fate of my crew? Definitely. Do I want to build a house on Rannoch for Tali’Zorah where we could live happily ever after? You bet your bosh’tet I do. But we didn’t get that the first time, and I hope we don’t get that with this new content. The Indoctrination Theory is just that -- a theory. And it developed because some fans dug deeper into the story instead of digging into BioWare. The most iconic fictional franchises make you think -- sometimes through controversy. Mass Effect is part of that hallowed fraternity. I don’t want an update to take away the intrigue of the current finale or change its implied purpose. BioWare caved in from the pressure, and I’m worried that the ending, like Shepard, will be caught in the rubble -- or the rabble.
Tuesday - June 26, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut Released on Xbox 360 and PC
Bioware has released the Extended Cut DLC for ME3 on Xbox Live
Here's the info for the Extended Cut:
An expanded ending for Mass Effect 3. Additional scenes and an extended epilogue reveal the impact of Shepard's choices on the future of the galaxy.
In this thread at the ME3 forums at the BSN Tully Ackland from Bioware says this:
Confirming that it's live on Xbox 360 and we're aiming to have it on Origin sometime before noon MST. PlayStation Network will receive their update later today when Sony update the store.
Link to thread: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/324/index/12690832&lf=8
Apparently, the PC version is now to be downloaded form Origin as well, though I have had no succes as of yet. Link to thread where this is being discussed around page 80 or so: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/324/index/12690832
For good measure here's part of the press release courtesy of Gamebanshee
BioWare announced today that the Mass Effect™ 3: Extended Cut, a piece of downloadable content available at no additional charge* that expands upon the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy, is available today. Featuring new cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut gives fans seeking further clarity into the final events of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. To experience the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, fans will need to download the DLC and load their last autosave point in the game before the final mission on Earth. The Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut is available for download now on XboxLIVE®, PlayStation® Network in North America and on Origin™ for PC. On July 4, PlayStation® 3 users in Europe will be able to experience the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut by downloading the DLC through the PlayStation® Network.
Link to the press release at GameBanshee:
Saturday - June 23, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Audio Interview Extended Cut DLC
Jessica Merizan, community manager at Bioware talked to Casey Hudson and Mac Walters, the two leads for Mass Effect 3. The result is an audio interview lasting nearly 11 minutes.
They talk about why the ending to ME3 was received the way it was, what their intentions behind the original ending was, they also explain what the EC really is, it'll give closure, especially to player's choices throughout the story, it'll also incorporate some of the feedback from the Bioware ME3 community.
Remember that the ME3 EC DLC is being released on 26th of June as Dhruin's post here tells us. http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17445
Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut Released From June 26th
BioWare has announced the anticipated "Extended Cut" DLC that re-tools the ending of Mass effect 3 will be available from June 26th in NA and everywhere else on July 4:
The Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut is a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of Mass Effect 3. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Extended Cut will include deeper insight to Commander Shepard’s journey based on player choices during the war against the Reapers. The Extended Cut will be available to download at no additional charge for Mass Effect 3 game owners starting on June 26 for PC and Xbox 360 customers worldwide. Playstation 3 customers in North America will be able to download the Extended Cut DLC on June 26 and the rest of the world on July 4.
There's also a FAQ - here's a sample:
How much is the Extended Cut?
- The Extended Cut is available to download at no additional charge.
When does the Extended Cut release?
- The Extended Cut will release on June 26th on Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 in North America and July 4th for PlayStation 3 in Europe.
How large is the Extended Cut?
The Extended Cut requires roughly 1.9 gigabytes of storage.
Wednesday - June 13, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Advertising Standards Agency Complaint Not Upheld
Do you rememember the complaint brought to the UK's Advertising Standards Agency claiming EA falsely advertised the player agency in Mass Effect 3's endings? The ASA has not upheld the complaint, reports Eurogamer:
The ASA's verdict on the complaint?
"Not upheld," the ASA website declared.
But: "The ASA acknowledged the complainants' belief that players' choices in the game did not influence the outcome to the extent claimed by EA.
"However, we considered that the three choices at the end of the game were thematically quite different, and that the availability and effectiveness of those choices would be directly determined by a player's EMS score, which was calculated with reference to previous performance in the game(s). We also acknowledged that there appeared to be a large number of minor variations in the end stages of ME3, and that those were directly impacted by choices made by players earlier in the game(s).
"The ASA acknowledged the complainants' belief that players' choices in the game did not influence the outcome to the extent claimed by EA."
Advertising Standards Agency
"Whilst we acknowledged that the advertiser had placed particular emphasis on the role that player choices would play in determining the outcome of the game, we considered that most consumers would realise there would be a finite number of possible outcomes within the game and, because we considered that the advertiser had shown that players' previous choices and performance would impact on the ending of the game, we concluded that the ad was not misleading."
Wednesday - May 30, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Rebellion Pack today, new patch later this week
Mass Effect 3's multiplayer Rebellion Pack should now be available, offering new objectives, maps and gear - the BioBlog offers details and a video for the DLC.
There's also a new v1.03 patch expected some time this week and Chris Priestly has posted patch notes on the BioWare Social Forums - it's too long to quote, so head over for a look.
Sunday - May 27, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Scifi Writers Discusses the Ending@ CVG
"I personally prefer the hanging questions," says Green. "Life doesn't end with a medal ceremony or dancing Ewoks, and even when it does, somebody's still going to have to clear up all those discarded streamers the following morning. But there needs to be some form of emotional pay-off for all those people who stuck with the over-arching story from day one. When it comes to a huge game like Mass Effect 3, to have an ending which negates any of the travails of the player is a mean-spirited and lazy thing to do."
"The ending was bad," agrees Abercrombie, "but in no way spoiled the experience. I was vastly more disappointed by Dragon Age 2, which just seemed generally shoddy throughout. BioWare only owed players a great game and I think they largely delivered that. Shepard's relationships were actually paid off really well."
Friday - May 25, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Rebellion Pack DLC
More multiplayer DLC for Mass Effect 3, with the release of the Rebellion Pack:
BIOWARE UNLEASHES NEW MULTIPLAYER CONTENT WITH MASS EFFECT 3: REBELLION PACKStrengthen your forces and battle for new territories with the next downloadable content pack for Mass EffectTM 3 multiplayer! Available to download at no additional charge*, the Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack adds two brand-new maps, a new team objective and a new equipment slot to the game’s critically-acclaimed cooperative experience. The Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack will also introduce new unlockable characters, including the Vorcha, ex-Cerberus operatives and Male Quarians. Also available are all new weapons and items that can be obtained through reinforcement packs in the game’s multiplayer store.
The Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack will be available starting May 29 on XboxLIVE® and the OriginTM client software and on PlayStation® Network in North America on May 29 and in Europe on May 30.
The Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack includes the following content:
As part of the Mass Effect 3 Galaxy at War** system, success in the cooperative multiplayer experience in Mass Effect 3 links back to the player’s single-player campaign, helping Commander Shepard rally the forces of the galaxy to eliminate the Reaper threat once and for all. Multiplayer puts players in the role of a team of elite Special Forces soldiers sent to protect resources and assets that can help the greater war effort.
- Two New Action-Packed Maps – Land on Firebase Jade, located in a Salarian STG base on Sur’Kesh and fight to control Firebase Goddess on the Asari homeworld of Thessia.
- Six Powerful New Unlockable Characters – Level and promote six new unlockable characters, including the ex-Cerberus Adept and Vanguard, the Vorcha Soldier and Sentinel or the Male Quarian Engineer and Infiltrator.
- New In-Mission Objective – Randomly occurring during waves 3, 6 and 10, this new objective will demand that teams retrieve a high priority package and securely escort it to a designated extraction zone on each map
- New Gear Slot – A new slot will be available on the equipment screen, offering players a persistent gameplay bonus that will not expire after the end of a match. These new items will vary from weapon upgrades to character enhancements and will be available through reinforcement packs.
- Lethal New Weapons – Eliminate the enemy with deadly new weapons, including the Cerberus Harrier, Krysae Sniper Rifle, and Reegar Carbine.
Monday - May 21, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Voice Actors Return
G4TV caught up with Lance Henriksen in a video interview to talk about the new ending for Mass Effect 3, confirming BioWare's "extended cut" will feature all new fully-voiced scenes and not just slides or similar:
Since Bioware announced its plans to "address gamer concerns" over the the ending of Mass Effect 3, we've been anxious for any news as to what "Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut" will be. At a recent press junket for upcoming animated series Tron: Uprising we got some insight into what Bioware's ending-clarity initiatives might mean. We spoke to actors Lance Henriksen and Tricia Helfer, and both confirmed they have recorded voice-over work for Mass Effect 3's expanded content, which almost certainly means EDI and Admiral Hackett will return.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Monday - May 07, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Patrick Weekes on Same-Sex Relationships
BioWare writers Patrick Weekes and Dusty Everman write answer canned questions on the BioBlog about writing same-sex relationships in Mass Effect 3:
How did you approach writing a gay character in Mass Effect 3?
PW: Liara’s relationship in Lair of the Shadow Broker can be with players of either gender, so I was familiar with writing dialog that needed to work for a same-sex romance. Nevertheless, I’m a straight white male – pretty much the living embodiment of the Patriarchy – and I really wanted to avoid writing something that people saw and went, “That’s a straight guy writing lesbians for other straight guys to look at.”
I also really wanted the romance with Traynor to be positive. One of my gay friends has this kind of sad hobby in which she watches every lesbian movie she can find, trying to find ones that actually end up with the women not either dying or breaking up. I think the most positive one she’s found is “D.E.B.S.” I wanted to avoid any kind of tragic heartbreak, to make this a fundamentally life-affirming relationship… at least, as much as possible within Mass Effect 3′s grim war story.
Wednesday - May 02, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Survey @ masseffect-universe.de - can be answered in English
Majinbuu1307 from the BSN's ME3 forums has discovered an online survey about Mass Effect that Bioware apparently is making. It would certainly seem this way since the words leading up to the survey are these:
Mass Effect 3 has now been on the market for almost one and a half months and most of you beated it by now. Shortly after the release there was a lot of criticism regarding the DLC “From Ashes” and the endings of the Shepard trilogy. Please tell us how good or bad Mass Effect 3 was in your opinion. To evaluate that, we launched a survey and hope that you will fill it out. We are going to send the results of the survey to Bioware and EA, so it would be great, if as many as possible of you could fill it out. Please rate the game and tell us also whether the endings had a big influence on your rating, choose your biggest emotional moments and tell us what you think of the new multiplayer. All this and a lot more is included in the survey. Please fill out the survey and also tell your friends about it, for we need as many results as possible to be considered relevant. If anything isn’t clear, or if you want to give critical feedback regarding our survey, you can do this using the commentary function below. The staff of MEU will answer you as soon as possible. Thank you for your answers and have fun with Mass Effect!
A link to the survey - can be answered in both German and English. Just click Launch Survey and select the language you'll be using when answering this survey. The survey is an extensive one and does require you to have played the game - yes, the ending as well.
In this thread at the BSN ME3 forums, Doom Maniac mentions Jessica Merizan's
tweet about this survey (quote taken from DoomManiac's thread since no tweet link to Jessica M.'s post on Twitter was given)
"After you've finished ME3, fill out this survey conducted by our German community :) Can't wait to read the results!"
Saturday - April 28, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - The Probletunity of Mordin Solus
BioWare has posted a video of a PAX panel featuring writers Patrick Weekes and John Dombrow discussing the creation and evolution of Mordin Solus:
Part of the reason why the writers of Mass Effect have a great time while on the job is the fact that they get to create and breathe life into so many memorable characters found throughout the series. However, an interesting problem presented itself when senior writer Patrick Weekes was tasked with creating the architect of the Krogan genophage in the Mass Effect universe. This simple concept turned into the genesis of Mordin Solus, and the trick to creating this memorable character, as with others in the series, lay in the depth he had to offer.
In the following video, you’ll be treated to a character discussion of Mordin Solus, as explained by Patrick Weekes and senior writer John Dombrow at the “BioWare and Mass Effect” panel at PAX East 2012. Take a look at how Mordin was created, how he evolved over the series, and of course, how the writers decided to send off the scientist Salarian.
Monday - April 23, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Narratological Review @ RPG Codex
CrustyBot, a forum member on the BSN's ME3 boards points to a review of Mass Effect 3 made by TNO from RPG Codex. As the title says it takes a narratological look at the ME3 game in the review. Spoilers abound, so read at your own risk. TNO discusses everything in the series as well as the ME3 game itself, from the characters to the Choice&Consequence, akaC&C, as well as the ending.
Here's a bit from the beginning of the review just to get us started, as TNI sees it, Mass Effet 3 jumps the shark here:
And here - within the first five minutes - is when ME3's plot jumps the shark. Why isn't this the game over screen? ME1's entire plot hinged on the fact that if the Reapers show up, the galaxy is finished (and this is repeated in the Arrival DLC). All the backstory shows that a single Reaper can only just barely be taken down by the might of the entire galaxy, and now hundreds have arrived. You're told how they crippled the Protheans in a single decapitating strike and then mopped them up piecemeal.
A quote on the characters in the game:
By contrast, the new companions you get in ME3 mostly suck. There's your new Marine sidekick Lieutenant James Vega: Jersey Shore meets Jarhead with a side order of roid abuse (amazingly, not a love interest). Or the flatly-acted and fanservice-costume equipped Diana Allers. Or the new EDI, whose fairly limited 'AIs are so zany!' shtick is horribly overplayed when Bioware make her a party member with a scavenged cybernetic body and drum up a romance with Joker (!!!). Worst of all is Kai Leng, a cerberus henchman/space ninja who fell out of the metal gear solid tree and hit every cliché on the way down. The one passable addition is Traynor, your communications expert, assisted by an able voice actor (she also replaces Kelly Chambers as your starship NPC emotional distress monitor).
And finally, TNO's thoughts about the ending:
C&C: The three final choices, besides being foisted in (and working via) incredulous space magic, are just recolourings. The plot coupon readiness system effectively serves no purpose besides arbitrarily determining the availability of particular colours. You also never see the consequences of anything you've done, and so the 'long range' outcomes of having Wreav instead of Wrex as Krogan leader, making peace between the Quarians and Geth versus taking one side, and so on, are nil.
Do you agree with TNO?
Thursday - April 12, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - The Ending Continued
The Mass Effect 3 ending continues to generate columns of copy - even the Better Business Bureau has weighed in. Zohaib sends in this article from Brad Tramel, who argues the current ending is appropriate:
Players have many problems with the final minutes of Mass Effect 3, but the lack of impact previous choices have on the ending is perhaps the most apparent complaint. It seems fitting that a series rife with variety and choice would, well, carry that variety and choice to the end. Sure, you cured the Genophage, but why didn’t BioWare show Wrex or Grunt charge at a Reaper full bore? Why didn’t the Rachni Queen, if you saved her, swarm a Reaper or two with its smaller creepy-crawlies close behind? And why didn’t we see Tali and Legion, having just debated the incorporeal essence of being, follow up with the meaning of life on their way to London, the final battleground?
The answer is simple. It’s because Mass Effect is about Shepard—not Wrex, Grunt, Legion, or Tali. Moreover, it’s about you, the player, as an extension of Shepard. The player has always infused Shepard with a part of him or herself, and player values are injected into Shepard by way of player choice. This is true of the game’s final moments, too. The last choice you have to make is brilliant, because rather than provide one of x number of endings, it gives you three and tells you to choose, after all that has happened—after every laborious choice you have made—what is most important.
Kotaku has news the US Better Business Bureau blog supports the idea that BioWare's advertising was misleading. I've got to tell you - whatever you think about the ending, this is a slippery slope:
The issue at stake here is, did Bio Ware falsely advertise? Technically, yes, they did. In the first bullet point, where it states “the decisions you make completely shape your experience”, there is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute.
...and Eurogamer reports on what the Extended Cut will offer:
Gamble reiterated BioWare's previous stance that the new content would not "re-imagine" the current ending or add a new one. So why wasn't the Extended Cut part of the game already?
"The dev team stands by what was released in the core product, and we're very proud of it," Gamble concluded. "It was important though for us to listen to the community, and a lot of that feedback didn't come until the game came out. Once we were listening we decided to include the extended cut. It wasn't in the game because we didn't know there was such a huge demand for it, to be honest with you."
Wednesday - April 11, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Resurgence Pack Released
A BioWare Mass Effect 3 tweet announces the promised free multiplayer Resurgence Pack has been released:
Mass Effect 3: Resurgence Pack, new weapons, characters, and levels. Available now at no additional cost! http://bit.ly/IgtZOb
...though Zohaib points out someone stuffed up and there is an incorrect listing on XBL with a cost of 320 points in addition to the correct free one - obviously, don't buy it.
Friday - April 06, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Patch, Free MP DLC Coming
BioWare has announced a patch for Mass Effect 3 will be released next week and a MP DLC titled 'Resurgence Pack' is also on the way:
Join the war for Earth in Mass Effect 3! Owners of Mass Effect 3 can download the first multiplayer expansion for no additional cost. The Mass Effect 3 Resurgence Pack adds new unlockable content: deadly weapons, new consumables, and powerful characters for each class in multiplayer, including the Asari Justicar, Batarian, Geth, and Krogan Battlemaster. Additionally, the Mass Effect 3 Resurgence Pack also includes 2 new maps, Firebase Condor and Firebase Hydra. Download this pack on April 10th and take the battle online in the critically acclaimed Mass Effect 3 multiplayer experience.
Thursday - April 05, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut Announced - Ending Explained
Derek Larke from Bioware has made an announcement on the ME3 forums that this summer there'll be an extended cut version of ME3 available "at no cost to you - the fan". There's a mini FAQ attached to the announcement - a few quotes from this as well:
Are there going to be more/different endings or ending DLCs in the future?
No. BioWare strongly believes in the team's artistic vision for the end of this arc of the Mass Effect franchise. The extended cut DLC will expand on the existing endings, but no further ending DLC is planned.
What is BioWare adding to the ending with the Extended Cut DLC?BioWare will expanding on the ending to Mass Effect 3 by creating additional cinematics and epilogue scenes to the existing ending sequences. The goal of these new scenes is to provide additional clarity and closure to Mass Effect 3.
When will the Extended Cut DLC be available?Currently the Extended Cut DLC is planned for this summer, no specific date has been announced at this point.
The story first broke on the BSN's ME3 forums when f1rstorm made this post about the Extended Cut version of ME3 citing the press release from businesswire.com. A few quotes from the press release as well, citing both Ray Muzyka's and Casey Hudson's statements on the release of the ME3: Extended Cut version:
We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe.”
Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series added, “We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.”
The question is this then: are these actions and statements enough to calm the waters?
Tuesday - April 03, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Analyzing the Plot
Gareth Fouche (Naked Ninja) has a lengthy examination of the plot in Mass Effect 3 on his blog. Since I haven't played much of ME3, I haven't read most of this, but the summary is pretty negative:
I’m uncertain where to lay the blame though. My instincts say that Bioware is changing since joining the EA collective, 2 games in a row now with such obvious missteps. Also, ME3 introduced team-based multiplayer and is built around a core mechanic that allows easy plug-in DLC and expansion products. Maybe if they’d spent less resources on building an MP architecture and more on what their existing fans love them for, roleplaying and storytelling, the SP game would be better? But you know what the publishers are saying right, gotta fight them pirates. Every big new game property needs an online component and has to offer a “platform” for DLC now. It could be that Bioware has simply reached their pinnacle and slipped over the edge into decline, as is the natural cycle of things, but I suspect EA is giving them a push here, as they have so many other developers in the past.
Mass Effect 3 - Artist Profile @ BioBlog
The BioBlog has a profile interview with Mass Effect 3 artist, Jon Dombrow:
What is the best part about your job?
Having the job! When Mass Effect 1 came out in 2007, I was a BioWare fan like so many others. I ran over to Gamestop on release day and snagged a copy because all the previews I’d seen about the game looked amazing. I remember playing it and thinking “Wow, this Garrus guy is cool” or “This Wrex guy sure is a bad-ass” and then pondering all the questions that Mass Effect 1 posed like “I wonder what’s going to happen with this genophage problem?” Or “What were Protheans really like?”
So jump ahead to 2010 when I’m working on Mass Effect 3 and I got the writing assignments for bringing closure to the genophage issue, writing Wrex, writing Garrus, and writing our Prothean squadmate, Javik. And BioWare was going to pay me to do that? Wow. It was a dream come true, taking the passion I felt as a fan of Mass Effect 1 and applying it as a writer to Mass Effect 3.
Friday - March 23, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Review and More
ComputerGames.ro submitted their review of Mass Effect 3, which carries a comparatively low score of 75% - heavy spoilers on the last page, apparently:
Devilschoice: unfortunately, not all the aspects of the story are so polished. Besides the main missions, the secondary ones are mostly fetch quests, repetitive and boring, mostly because all you need to do is go scan a planet and return to the Citadel. And I even had the bad luck of running into some annoying bugs: one mission went MIA, while another didn’t trigger even though I had the quest item with me.
Bossman: yeah, except for a couple of more... elaborate missions, the secondary quests were pretty much ignored. And the mentioned fetch ones reminded me of the MMO grinding to get some more resources for the final showdown. I did however like that you can get missions on the fly just by listening to people talking in the Citadel, without clicking like a maniac on every NPC in hopes that someone will give you something to do.
Thursday - March 22, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - From Ashes Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has a review of the DLC first-day Mass Effect 3 DLC, From Ashes:
The unfortunate fact about "From Ashes" is that, while Javik is a great character and probably the most interesting new face Mass Effect 3 has to offer, the mission on Eden Prime is fairly short (about 30 minutes long), and you don't get much else beyond his assistance in combat, his story arc, and a new, overpowered Particle Rifle to play with. While "missions" are advertised, the reality is that you only visit Eden Prime once, and the second mission is really just a secondary objective that involves finding intelligence terminals within the same environment.
Wednesday - March 21, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - New content will offer "more clarity"
BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka has posted an open letter to fans, responding to the Mass Effect 3 endings controversy. Get your wallet ready - more content is promised that will apparently offer "more clarity". A further announcement will come in April. Unsurprisingly, the Mass Effect saga isn't over with Muzyka signalling a new game is also in the works:
As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility. [...]
To that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I’m honored to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.
Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.
If you haven't had enough of this:
Tuesday - March 20, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - The Indoctrination Theory
Yes, those Mass Effect 3 endings just won't go away. RPGFool sends this article in from Game Front, who examine The Indoctrination Theory. I haven't read it (spoilers, obviously) but here's an introductory snip:
The fervor over Mass Effect 3‘s endings continues to roil throughout the game’s expansive community. Our analysis of why many fans hate the ending of the game — and why they’re right — has kicked up a big discussion. Many of you agreed with our analysis, while several have explained a lot of the problems by pointing to an idea known as the “Indoctrination Theory.” Ross Lincoln and I have devoted considerable brain space to this explanation of the game’s controversial ending, as well as the possibilities of the Indoctrination Theory, and we’ve come to a thrilling conclusion: Maybe.
While we're on the subject, Jay Barnson wonders if gamers have too high a sense of entitlement:
Okay. You know what? I hated the ending of Fallout 3. It’s especially stupid when you have a super-orc or robot companion that should offer an easy alternative to a ‘terrible decision’ you are supposed to make. I guess there’s some DLC for it that kinda retcons it a little bit, but after completing the game and getting that ending I simply felt like I was “done” and had no more interest in playing further (or buying DLC). I had a blast playing up until that point. But then I voted with my wallet.
Monday - March 19, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Issue with MP, More on Endings
A couple of Mass Effect 3 tidbits.
First, Domein writes about some player frustration with "Kits becoming relocked in Multiplayer". I don't know what that is but I'm sure those that do will be interested in this thread on the Bio forums.
Next, there are signs BioWare is wavering on the Endings controversy with Mass Effect 3. Here's a post from their Facebook thingy (thanks, Blue's):
We are aware that there are concerns about a recent post from this account regarding the ending of the game. In this post it was stated that at this time we do not have plans to change the ending.
We would like to clarify that we are actively and seriously taking all player feedback into consideration and have ruled nothing out. At this time we are still collecting and considering your feedback and have not made a decision regarding requests to change the ending.
Your feedback and opinions are of the utmost importance to us. We apologize for any confusion this has caused. Our top priority regarding this discussion is to keep communication with you, our loyal fans, open and productive.
...and in related news, RPS argues What's Right With Mass Effect 3's Ending.
Sunday - March 18, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Miscellaneous Roundup
Here's a handful of Mass Effect odds and sods.
Quarter To Three has a review of ME3 with a score of 4/5, despite a number of issues:
Character writing is still clumsy in Mass Effect 3. The subject at hand is the impending destruction of the galaxy, but almost every other moment is filled with relationships, moralizing, influencing people, simplistic sacrifices, and personal problems. Melodrama infests even the cool galactic conflict between races. That’s because Bioware writes young adult fiction. There’s a lot of finding one’s way, overcoming prejudice, struggling with relationships, and growing and learning. It’s good that games like this exist. But characters need to be real and believable first. None of the other stuff Bioware is trying to do will ever be effective until they meet that minimum. Bioware knows how to write good characters. The exceptions in Mass Effect merely show how weak most of the cast is. When I said my goodbyes to most of the crew, I realized how little I’d miss all the melodrama.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun finds the multiplayer surprisingly satisfying:
What I most get out of ME3 multiplayer though is what’s always been sadly absent from Mass Effect singleplayer – playing directly as one of the increasingly iconic alien races, rather than being locked into Shepard’s boots. Krogan, Turian, Salarian, Quarian, Drell, Asari – all humanoid and thus not that different from playing as one of the boggo humans, but they move differently, they have voices that evokes ME’s beloved cast and they have species-specific powers. Sure, there’s no roleplaying or destiny-questing, but I got a surprising kick out of discovering I’d unlocked a Krogan Soldier, then a Drell Vanguard and, my current favourite, a Quarian Infilitrator.
RPS also weighs in on the ending - heavy spoilers, so I haven't read it myself and can't quote.
There's a multiplayer event this weekend called Operation Goliath, by the way.
Finally, Kotaku reports that BioWare Montreal was developing a standalone shooter called Mass Effect Team Assault before it was rolled into ME3 (thanks crilloan!):
BioWare's Montreal studio was developing a competitive first-person shooter called Mass Effect Team Assault in 2010 before transforming that effort into the third-person multiplayer mode in Mass Effect 3, according to a new behind-the-scenes iPad app created by gaming journalist Geoff Keighley.
Friday - March 16, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee writes they have a review of Mass Effect 3. The overarching plot is heavily criticised but, otherwise, it seems many systems have been improved. On the other hand, quests, exploration and dialogue have been pared back:
The side-quests in Mass Effect 3 have also taken a big blow. Most of them take the FedEx format, and are often built to maximize the travel time between A and B. These are most commonly found on the Citadel, and despite offering little fun or variety, eat up several hours of game time and are generally necessary for players who want to get the best ending or who want to afford as many upgrades as possible. Because many of them can only be obtained after completing a certain number of other side-missions, this also leads to constantly re-treading the same areas of the Citadel over and over in order to find NPCs who have quests to offer, or to trade completed ones in. Those side-quests that feature actual gameplay are almost always given during the main plot at set intervals, and generally take the form of shooting galleries in the game's multiplayer maps, with little narrative content or context.
Players who were frustrated at Dragon Age 2's "find an item in a box and bring it back to someone" quests will find that these make up the vast majority of Mass Effect 3's optional content - not only is it obviously a way to pad out the game without providing any "real" content, it's also colossally disappointing to players who were drawn into Mass Effect by its promise of a near-infinite galaxy to explore, or even RPG fans who just want to have fun outside of the main plot. While creating meaningful optional content is difficult, BioWare didn't even try here. The main sequences of the game are more polished than ever, but all this does is draw attention to how anemic the rest of the experience is.
Wednesday - March 14, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Casey Hudson Interview
BioWare's Casey Hudson has answered some questions about Mass Effect 3 over at Digital Trends. Fan input, romances, the DLC controversy and, of course, the ending are discussed:
What are your thoughts on the reaction to the game’s endings?
I didn’t want the game to be forgettable, and even right down to the sort of polarizing reaction that the ends have had with people–debating what the endings mean and what’s going to happen next, and what situation are the characters left in. That to me is part of what’s exciting about this story. There has always been a little bit of mystery there and a little bit of interpretation, and it’s a story that people can talk about after the fact.
...and I thought I'd toss in Matt Barton's feelings on the ending:
GROW UP, GAMERS. Every friggin' game can't end with the Ewok cuddle patrol dancing and chanting "You sure are special, kid!"
Tuesday - March 13, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Endings Controversy and More
I'm going to collect a few miscellaneous Mass Effect 3 items here.
First, Irian writes the controversy over the endings and the impact of MP on achieving those endings continues with a poll on the BioWare Social Forums showing overwhelming support for a "brighter" ending. The poll hints at the ending (I think - haven't played it) so beware spoilers. As of writing, 36,601 voted "endings suck" vs 881 for "Fine as it is".
On the other hand, Kotaku argues for creative risk and integrity, saying the ending should never be changed (spoiler free, according to Kotaku):
There’s a tremendous difference between arguing and discussing how Bioware should have handled Mass Effect 3’s ending, and demanding they change it. Some are too entitled to tell the difference, but it’s paramount.
A game like Mass Effect, which is clearly designed and carefully built — with every detail of the universe accounted for — could not bear the damage a fan-demanded change to its fiction would create. Its integrity would collapse. This is Bioware’s story — no matter how personal your own existence within Mass Effect’s universe is, that existence was made possible within the confines of Bioware’s authorial intent. Full stop. You don’t get to change that. Once a word is said, it cannot be unsaid.
Similarly, CVG argues the "backlash is idiotic".
Back to Kotaku, someone discovered some From Ashes assets on the disc, suggesting the content wasn't developed after the main game was finished. EA hit back with a statement:
From Ashes is a 600 MB+ download with all new content, including the mission on Eden Prime, new dialogue options and conversations with Javik, new cinematics, the Prothean weapon, and new appearances for all squad members. All of the above content was completed while the main game was in certification and are not available on the disc.
As stated previously, in order to seamlessly integrate Javik into the core campaign, certain framework elements and character models needed to be put on disc. We did something similar with Zaeed and Kasumi in Mass Effect 2.
VG247 has a editorial arguing Mass Effect takes the "role-play" out of RPG:
As manifest in-game, BioWare is constantly railroading players into an established character which exists without the player’s input. I concede that there is one character choice only BioWare should make – Commander Shepard is an excellent soldier. Mass Effect has never pretended to offer anything other than the chance to role play a military hero. Shepard is not an empty slate like many action protagonists; the Commander has established habits, preferences and mannerisms attendent to his or her long and distinguished career.
But within the limits of this characterisation, there should still be plenty of scope for player choice in forming the hero with whom they may spend hundreds of hours, and Mass Effect just doesn’t deliver that. Although the player seemingly makes decisions dependent on what approach they feel suits “their” Shepard best, the game mechanics expose the illusion of choice which glosses over a linear experience. The “morality” system is stricter than a dominatrix, thanks to the Persuade skill – perhaps “binary personality” is a better description.
Lastly, Chris Priestly posts on the official forums that some unlocked MP kits are getting re-locked (they are investigating) and the BioBlog is offering a number of contest opportunities.
Saturday - March 10, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - 3.5M Shipped Worldwide and More
EA has announced Mass Effect 3 has shipped 3.5M units worldwide, according to VG247:
EA’s announced, following today’s European release, that Mass Effect 3 has shipped 3.5 million units worldwide.
Dr Ray is, quite naturally, happy at the news, as well as paying tribute to series executive producer Casey Hudson.
“We have been truly humbled by the amazing response from fans and critics for Mass Effect 3,” said BioWare GM Muzyka.
Apparently sales were 900k on the first day.
Meanwhile, Chris Priestly has responded about the face import issue on their forums, offering a fan-made tool as a temporary solution:
We are aware that some players are having issues importing the faces of characters from Mass Effect 1 or Mass Effect 2 into Mass Effect 3. The issue is likely in how faces were detected when imported from Mass Effect 1 into Mass Effect 2, and we’re working on the best way to correct it for affected players.
As our teams work hard to address the importing of face codes we would like to call out a fan made tool that may be able to help PC users in the short term:
Mass Effect Tools
And detailed instruction from a fan on how to use them here.
Edit: Update: Hi Everyone.
We want to keep everyone up to date on this issue as we know how strongly many you feel about this. I will continue to update this thread as we have more information.
We have determined that faces importing incorrectly is an error with how codes were detected when transferred from Mass Effect 1 into Mass Effect 2 and then on into Mass Effect 3 or importing a Mass Effect 2 saved game with New Game +. The Mass Effect team continues to investigate fixes for these issues and they are top priority concerns for
Again, when we have more news, we will let everyone know. Thanks again for your patience.
Lastly, Gamasutra talks with BioWare's cinematic lead Jonathon Perry to talk about "contrastive juxtaposition", which is apparently the key to their stories:
The first central element of contrastive juxtaposition is polarity, Perry explained. "I like to think of contrast in terms of polarity. We have positive and negative polarities that we're all familiar with--good vs. evil, light vs. dark. But they don't have to be good and evil--up and down, for example," Perry said. "Polarity lets us see how a character is changing over the course of a story, shifting in polarities over time. As players in a game, we like to be the one that's driving that change." Mass Effect 2's Paragon/Renegade system is perhaps the most obvious example.
Friday - March 09, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Other Gamers' Underpants
There's an excellent piece at Rock, Paper, Shotgun with Richard Cobbett discussing his lack of connection with Shepard after he couldn't import his ME2 saves and instead used BioWare's defaults. Along the way there are some good observations about choices in games and ceating characters. On the latter:
It’s notable that of the last few major single-player RPGs, only Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur: Chinny Reckoning have embraced the idea of creating your own character. Fable 3 gives you moral choices, but is essentially locked down unless you want to put on silly trousers and fart around the kingdom instead of saving it. The Witcher 2 was built around Geralt and his existing story. Mass Effect has a very specific canonical Shepard, even if he is the wrong gender. Dragon Age 2 picked up on this with Hawke, which also subtly pushed players towards the character Bioware wanted them to play as by offering a higher-fidelity look than you can create by playing with the sliders, as well as heavily pushing a consistent vibe in marketing and advertising.
This part is increasingly important. Characters are, at least, one of the most important parts of any narrative driven IP. They’re the face of the game, and typically the most instantly recognisable thing about it – even if they’re not the specific hero. Bioshock for instance has a cool city and premise, but it’s the Big Daddies and Little Sisters rather than Jack and Ryan who provide its most iconic elements. In Crysis 2, the character isn’t the guy you play, Alcatraz, but the Nanosuit he wears. Still, the same rules apply, even with an inhuman face.
This is a lot of both creative control and marketing power for any company to give up, even discounting the additional effort it takes to offer character creation tools and heavy customisation. Without a big license or established lore, it’s easier to sell an experience as “This could be you!” than “You could meet this guy!”, as well as dodging issues of why you’re not playing as whoever it was who drew you to the franchise in the first place.
Mass Effect 3 - Review @ PC Powerplay
Purpleblob sends in this review of Mass Effect 3 from PC Powerplay, which makes a number of critical points - though I found the final score of 8/10 a bit out of place against the text. On the consequences of previous decisions - spoiler warning for Mass Effect 2 if you haven't played it yet:
Mass Effect 3 is the worst possible entry point for the series. EA and BioWare want us to tell you otherwise, but they’re nuts. This is a conclusion to a trilogy, through and through. Those coming into the series now will have little grasp of the significance of cataclysmic events that take place, nor will they really care. Though this may be the beginning of the galactic war against the Reapers, the relationships between the state of galactic politics, inter-species conflicts and the roles of significant characters reach critical mass. You need to be invested in that fiction to get the most out of Mass Effect 3, because this game is all about the payoff.
But fans who have held onto their save files since Mass Effect 1 are still going to find that payoff lacking. The worst sin BioWare has committed with Mass Effect 3 is a tactless avoidance of consequences to major decisions made in the first two games. Saving or destroying the Collector Base at the end of Mass Effect 2 has zero effect beyond a line of dialogue that tells you whether you saved or destroyed it. Killed the Rachni queen in the first game, and thus brought the entire race to extinction? It doesn’t matter – the Rachni are back in Mass Effect 3 either way, with Shepard’s apparent act of genocide lazily explained away in a few lines of insipid dialogue. Yes, one of your major decisions can get re-written so that the outcome is that of the choice you did not pick.
Tuesday - March 06, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Save import problems, Metacritic woes, MP impact
If Mass Effect 3 isn't the biggest thing in your life today, you aren't doing it right it seems. Here's a handful of miscellaneous odds and sods.
First various sites are complaining the X360 save game import feature is broken, which EA has confirmed:
While Mass Effect 3 supports cloud saving for new or successfully imported Mass Effect 2 saves, it does not support the importation of endgame saves directly from the cloud. Additionally, this can cause it to not recognize save files that have been transferred via cloud to a console other than the one where they originated.
It looks like disenchanted players (or those with a certain political agenda?) have targeted the Metacritic score, possibly for including a gay romance scene. The user score is currently 2.4, which may please some, but just goes to show review consolidation sites are as unreliable as the games press. Thanks, CVG.
Lastly, PC Gamer unveils just exactly how the multiplayer impacts the single-player portion, with the Readiness rating having a tangible impact on your SP game:
Mass Effect 3 is about a war with the Reapers, and as you play the single player game, the people and armies whose help you earn count as War Assets. The game’s still story-driven, and it doesn’t end until you’ve completed the main series of missions. But when you do, what happens in the final cut-scene depends on how many War Assets you have accumulated.
That part is kind of cool. But the balance is incredibly harsh: I did every proper quest I could find in Mass Effect 3, made sensible decisions that didn’t conflict with my choices in the previous games, and brought people together. But I still got a gallingly bleak ending.
That’s because I’d never played the multiplayer. It’s a co-op mode where you and up to three other players have to survive waves of AI enemies and complete objectives. If you succeed, you get an increase to your Readiness rating – a percentage by which your single player War Assets are multiplied by. These are specific to each sector fo the galaxy, so if you have a lot of War Assets in the Terminus Systems, you’ll gain more by playing on a multiplayer map set in the Terminus Systems.
Mass Effect 3 - Review Roundup # 2
More reviews for this game have been posted.
The overall presentation in Mass Effect 3 is the best we've seen out of BioWare yet. From the deep booms of explosions to the digital noise sound of Reapers and on to the wonderful soundtrack and spot-on voice acting, the game sounds simply amazing. The architecture and design are wonderful, and I want to give a special shout-out to BioWare for finally fleshing out the Citadel enough to make it truly stand alongside other great science fiction mainstays, like the Death Star or Serenity. Now, I'm finally confident that a future spin-off game taking place entirely on the Citadel could be a huge success.
PC Gamer's Review 93/100 which is totally spoilerfree - A quote, though, on war assets:
The multiplayer is a cooperative survival mode – you and your friends pick a class and fight off waves of enemies. It’s not switched on at the time of writing, so I can’t tell you how that plays beyond what you can try for yourself in the demo. But the way it affects the main game is needlessly problematic. In singleplayer, everything you do accumulates ‘war assets’. When you finish the game, how many of these you have determines how good an ending you get: how well the final fight goes for your side. Success in co-op multiplies your war assets, up to twice their normal value. That means that if you only play singleplayer, or want to finish singleplayer first, you’ll have to grind the living hell out of its most tedious fetch quests to get the best ending.
A quote from the review's conclusion:
Shepard is the best game character I’ve ever played. She’s been an ongoing improv collaboration between me and BioWare to build a hero that works for their plot, but suits my tastes. Since we composed her first inspiring speech to the crew when she took charge of the Normandy, a commanding, brutally effective woman has emerged through 60 hours of tough decisions.........But she has also formed conflicted, quiet, sometimes touching relationships with some of the alien weirdos dragged along on her mission. Relationships that gave her character a gentler side I didn’t expect, but which made sense of the person I had in my head.
They also have an article written by the reviewed asking the question: Is Mass Effect everything, we want? A quote about one of the things that they wanted that they got:
1. A little faith
We were frustrated, then incredulous, then just kind of bored of people not believing the Reapers were real. For a long time, BioWare said Mass Effect 3 would start with you on trial for killing thousands of Batarians to stop the Reaper’s arrival, because people were still sceptical the Reapers were coming. They changed that, thank God. You’ve been discharged for “the shit you’ve done,” as Anderson puts it – which to be honest is fair enough.
The Reapers are everywhere. No-one doubts it. And as a result, working with the various races to rally them together is a much less frustrating process.
The conclusion from this article:
That’s 11 of our 15 wishes fulfilled – pretty impressive, given that all of them were things Mass Effect 1 or 2 failed at. It does mean, however, that my review score of 93% was incorrect. Mathematically, we can see that the game is really only worth 73%.
A quote about the Mars mission translated from the original German via Google Translate:
Go Shepard rescue mission on Mars, where his goal is in the Library of Protheans to find a weapon against the Reapers. Shepard has with the Reapers that threaten not only his home planet, already have their hands full, but on Mars yet another adversary appears: Cerberus, the organization that Shepard in "Mass Effect 2" brought back to life mix, apparently also. What roles are taken up by the unknown with his organization in this galactic war.
The original German version of this can be seen down below:
Los geht Shepards Rettungsmission auf dem Mars, wo sein Ziel darin besteht in der Bibliothek der Protheaner eine Waffe gegen die Reaper zu finden. Shepard hat mit den Reapern, die nicht nur seinen Heimatplaneten bedrohen, schon alle Hände voll zu tun, doch auf dem Mars taucht noch ein weiterer Widersacher auf: Cerberus, die Organisation, die Shepard in „Mass Effect 2“ ins Leben zurückholte, mischt offenbar auch mit. Welche Rollen nimmt der Unbekannte mit seiner Organisation in diesem galaktischen Krieg ein?
Mass Effect 3 - Review Roundup #1
The review embargo has been lifted and virtually every major site already has their Mass Effect 3 critique online. Here's a random roundup of sites I thought of checking before signing off for the night. As for the game itself, it appears to be nearly perfect from the early rounds.
Eurogamer, 10/10. "The first truly modern blockbuster":
From third-person shooter to conversation-led adventure, from resource hunting minigames and role-playing skill trees to multiplayer battles, Mass Effect 3 attempts to be all games in one, and does a surprisingly good job of pulling it off. No single element truly excels, but together they create an experience that engages on multiple levels. Everything ties in to something else, creating a dizzying web of interlocking metagames that encourage you to explore every corner, undertake every mission and exhaust every conversation.
IGN, 9.5/10. "Amazing". This is a critical snip just to provide balance:
But some changes aren’t as positive. Mass Effect 3 totes a far looser side quest system that’s less compelling and interesting than its predecessors’. It’s easy to earn a bunch of side quests only by overhearing conversations in certain locations, with no real context as to what you’re supposed to do. While the main quest is heavy on story and action and certainly fulfills in its own right, Mass Effect 3’s slant on side quests feels wanting, making the 30 to 40 hours it takes to complete everything in the game just a little more arduous.
BioWare has somewhat down-scaling the RPG-centric nature of the series, but thankfully this dumbing-down is totally optional. Mass Effect 3 still very much acts the part of action-RPG, but players will be given options to lessen the role-playing if you want to jump only into the action or story. Then again, BioWare has made Mass Effect 3 deeper in some ways, too, with features like enhanced weapon customization. So not all is lost.
GameSpot, 9/10. "...a poignant and memorable roleplaying action game":
The series' focus on player choice is as vital as it has ever been in Mass Effect 3. The effects of choices in previous installments have an impact in extraordinary ways here, more so than in Mass Effect 2. Sometimes the nods to prior choices are subtle. A lover might fondly recall her previous entanglement with you, while still supporting your new romantic interest. At other times, the impact is far more dramatic. Entire quests, conversations, and characters shift as a result of your actions in previous games (not to mention, your decisions in this one). As a result, you might be delighted by characters other players never meet, share intimate talks with crewmates other players never interact with, and deal with decisions other players never make. And as in previous Mass Effect games, your entire attitude when choosing dialogue options (paragon or renegade) can drive you to conclusions other players could never consider.
Giant Bomb, 4/5, though "not the best game in the series":
Along with building your alliances, scientists will also be constructing something that they think can stop the Reapers. But those old space racists at Cerberus have their own ideas about how best to proceed. So along with ending centuries-old conflicts via 30 minutes of third-person shooting and a few choices on a dialogue wheel, you'll also fight your way through human enemies, along with Reaper husks or others, depending on the scenario. Much of the side content in Mass Effect 3 is combat-focused, to the point where the game's multiplayer levels appear as "N7 missions" in the campaign, and most of these have you running around a relatively small area, hitting buttons and fending off waves of enemies. Sometimes a mission will simply stop and give you the objective of "survive," which feels like an artificial way to pad some of these missions out. It's not that the combat in Mass Effect 3 is bad--it's cleaned up and feels a bit tighter than ME2's did--but it's still not substantial enough to serve as the centerpiece of the game.
When all is said and done, Mass Effect 3 is the conclusion of Shepard's career and as fine a conclusion as they deserve. The story is more fast-paced than anything BioWare has done before and still feels like it's affording the player as much time as they need to explore and discover. While some niggling issues do persist in terms of controls, the storyline is supremely satisfying right up to its climax, which contains one of the most interesting moral dilemmas found in videogames (from a standpoint of long-term implications).
It’s been easy for me to dismiss Mass Effect over the years. It is just Star Trek with more blood. It’s just Guns & Conversation. It’s just Starship Troopers with dicey trans-lunar moral dilemmas. It’s just… I really don’t want to just lazily quip away what Bioware have tried to do here. Even putting aside the endless high-bandwidth hyperbole stream being emitted from the blackhole mouth of Electronic Arts, there’s something hefty in this final game.
Kotaku - 'Yes'
GameSpy - no score until they test the MP
Monday - March 05, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interviews with Casey Hudson
Two interviews with Casey Hudson has been made. One by VentureBeat and one by Game Informer. In the one by Venture Beat Casey talks about the From Ashes DLC and the reviews that have been made to the game as well as how the fans help create ME3 and how ME3 has improved from ME3.
GB: Is there something that comes to mind there, examples of that, where fans made a difference in how it turned out?
CH: When we started the Mass Effect series, we had no way to tell how compelling our characters would be in terms of the emotions… Especially with the aliens, we didn’t know if they would be able to portray compelling human emotion. So we didn’t build the love interests into some of the alien characters like Garrus… He has the exoskeleton face and stuff like that. But because a character like Garrus just has great voice acting and animation, and a personality that’s really well-written, a lot of people wanted romances with him and with some of the other alien characters. So we decided to try that with Mass Effect 2 and that was very successful. They’re some of the most popular romances, people love those characters. That was a surprise to us, but we kind of had to finish Mass Effect one and then listen to some feedback before we tried incorporating that.
The Game Informer interview is in the form of hands-on three page preview.
This preview originally appared in the # 226 issue of the Game Informer Magazine. And has bits of comments made by Casey Hudson added in. Spoilers appear in this preview, so read at your own risk. A spoiler free qoute from the end of the preview:
If it delivers on its promise, Mass Effect 3 is poised to be a revolutionary first for the game industry. We’ve seen plenty of plot-heavy video game trilogies, but never has a franchise tied together so many complex and variable stories across three games, weaving a web of player choices that pulls you ever tighter to the narrative and your effects on its conclusion. As I talk to Casey Hudson about this impending finale, I can't help but notice how tired he looks. His voice is hoarse, and he's clearly been spending many late nights with the rest of his team finishing the game. It's been a long, dramatic eight-year journey for Commander Shepard, the developers at BioWare, and Mass Effect fans, but the conclusion it has all been building to is finally almost here. "I think it will all be worth it in the end," Hudson reassures me with a knowing smile.
In other ME3 news The Lone Star Games has two-minute interview with Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of Bioware. They talk about Mass Effect 3 even it says they will talk about Bioware's MMO, SW:TOR. You can watch here - thanks to Youtube.
In other ME3 news, David Silverman, marketing director from Bioware, talks about the ME3 Space Edition. He talks about weather conditions were unforeseen and how some gamers apparently had to crawl up into a tree. David Silverman can be seen talking about this at Bioware Pulse TV - courtesy of Youtube.
Friday - March 02, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Launch Trailer @ Official Site
Bioware has released a 2:44 minute Launch trailer for this game. You can watch it here.
In other ME 3 news, there's a 7½ minute video over on G4 Casey Hudson, Mac Walters, and Preston Watamaniuk talks about how they've seen the goals for the game, the differences between the three game modes, the search and rescue mechanic they've added to galaxy exploration, how the reapers take over and combine creatures into bosses, and much more.
Mass Effect 3 - Bioware @ PAX East
I'm pleased to announce that Mass Effect will be a part of the Penny Arcade PAX East event in Boston Mass from April 6 through April 8! I can't reveal our full plans for PAX East yet, but I can now confirm that we will be having a Mass Effect panel in the Manticore theater on Friday April 6 from 4:30 till 5:30. Immediately before the Mass Effect panel is a Dragon Age panel in the same theater from 3:00 till 4:00. Think about watching both!
Over the course of the game, your reputation will increase. Sometimes it will increase in Paragon ways, sometimes it will increase in Renegade ways, and sometimes it will increase without being Paragon or Renegade.
¡Confronted on the Citadel by a desperate refugee with a gun, you give her some credits and help her find a place to sleep. (Paragon)
¡As a human colony falls to Reaper forces, you order down an orbital strike, brutally killing thousands of colonists to prevent the Reapers from turning them into husks. (Renegade)
¡You land at a turian fuel depot taken by Reaper forces and clear it out, enabling allied forces to keep fighting. (General Reputation)
Paragon and Renegade actions are always the result of decisions – if you only have one way to do something, then doing it increases your reputation in general. So if you want to play as a purely Paragon player without ever getting Renegade points, you can do that.
In other ME3 news, people who bought the game, ME3, through Origin's digital service can
preload the game on Friday the 2nd of March from 10 AM PST time.
Mass Effect 3 - How Mass Effect Challenges Definitions of RPGs
GamaSutra has an editorial about how the author's definition of an RPG has been challenged by Mass Effect. The conclusion seems to be that once RPGs were novels, with Planescape Torment as the pinnacle of this development, but now they're movies:
Torment was also one of the last games to fit that mold. Through the 1990s, more and more games started to utilize the conventions of film. This charge was led, ironically, by a series of role-playing games: Final Fantasy. Nothing demonstrates this better than the opening credit sequence of 1994's Final Fantasy VI, as the ominous music plays and evil appears to march on the innocent. And while BioWare is a western RPG developer, much of their success, from Knights of the Old Republic on, has come from successfully combining the the tropes of both Western and Japanese-style role-playing games, including the use of visual, film-like storytelling instead of novelistic storytelling.
The Mass Effect games are the culmination of this trend. Their voice acting sounds like a movie, the camera angles look like a movie, the storyline is divided into movie scenes, and thanks to the film effect, it even has the visual feel of a movie. And this, I think, is what makes many RPG fans react so emotionally to its occasional placement in the role-playing genre. Mass Effect's surprising popularity seems to say that RPGs aren't novels, they're movies now. If that's something a player is fine with, they'll probably like Mass Effect just fine. But if not – then it's not just a game to be liked or disliked, but it's a symbol of everything that's wrong with video games today – bigger, flashier, and dumber.
And that stringent scientific outlook, which gives the Mass Effect universe its Hard SF backbone, was there from the very beginning. A lot of research was done during the development of the original Mass Effect. "The entire writing team was constantly reading and researching and reviewing anything we could," remembers Walters. "Everyone was thoroughly immersing themselves in science at the time, and where these things could really go." After all, they had an entire universe to create.......
"I have friends and what they love about it is the characters that they meet. They might be blue and have tendrils, some of them might be reptiles – and that's definitely in keeping with the Sci-Fi genre – but what's more interesting to them is the characters and what they're experiencing. For them Sci-Fi is context, a background; they're really in it for the characters and their relationships.
He also mentions that one of the inspirations have been the Star Trek reboot:
Surprisingly, one of the strongest science-fiction influences on the narrative of Mass Effect 3 isn't Arthur C. Clarke or Robert A. Heinlein. Walters cites the recent Star Trek reboot as being a big influence on the latest instalment. "From a narrative point of view one of the things I really appreciated was the way the new J.J. Abrams's Star Trek handled itself. I'm a Star Trek fan, but I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of the series – I'm not a die-hard Trekkie – but at one time or another I've watched all of the series. But I just love the new movie, and the way that they've made it contemporary – they've brought it forward, and the fact I can go watch it with friends who aren't even familiar with Star Trek. They just love the movie.
Thursday - March 01, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - IGN Continues Review in Progress - Interview @ AusGamers
At IGN, they've continued their ME3 progress review. This second time, it'll is a Q and A progress report. A quote about the story telling:
stowcenter93 asks... BioWare stated there were less squad members onboard to focus more on their personal individual story. Is there a major increase in story telling for each of the characters?
Colin answers... Story-telling in Mass Effect 3 feels different. Because of the exceptionally dire situation surrounding the events of the game, more emphasis has been placed on telling personal stories within the confines of the existential threat permeating the entire galaxy. Mass Effect has always been about story, but getting to know both new and familiar characters alike feels far more personal than it did in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, especially because the decisions you're making and how you're treating different people can easily play-out unexpectedly during the course of the game. But is there a "major increase in story telling" as you play through Mass Effect 3? Yes and no. I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that you'll certainly get a different feel for familiar characters and quickly get to learn about new characters, especially if you choose to invest the necessary time in the game to do so
In other ME3 news, AusGamers did an interview with Robin Theberge, associate producer at Bioware. You can watch or read the interview here. Subjects deal with the game iOS spinoffs, the DLC plans, multi-player as well as our romance options and much much more. A quote about the iOS options and single-player:
AusGamers: So there’s no downgrade for anyone that doesn’t have an iPad or doesn’t want to play multiplayer? If you just play the single-player, you can still come through and survive? Because I brought all my characters from the second game right through, they all survived at the very end and a lot of my friends didn’t do that. So I want to make sure that I don’t have to do any extra curricular stuff -- as much as I want to, because Mass Effect is a great game and everybody should play it -- I just want to make sure that you’re not locking people into having to go out and buy apps and blah, blah, blah.
Robyn: We just wanted to provide the option. It’s all part of the customisation of the experience. Some of our fans want multiplayer -- that’s something that a lot of people have been asking for -- so we wanted to offer that variety. If you are a true hardcore RPG fan, you’ll have no problem being able to identify where you’re at in your single-player campaign. You can go do another side mission and gain more assets all over your single-player campaign and play into that Galaxy at War system. So you’ll be very, very aware of where you stand in the overall war.
Mass Effect 3 - Odds and ends # 3
We seemed to have missed some various odds and ends for this game.
We start with Casey Hudson being interviewed at Gamespot's Hot Spot. It runs for about an hour, Casey is discussing both ME3 and also talks about chances for an ME3 MMO. You can hear or watch it here.
Patrick Weekes has made a rather humorous post about Turrets: An Informed Debate.
A quote in which the Turret has something to say:
I am feeling shy. I will sit here very quietly. Maybe she will go somewhere else. I will be sad if she does, because I love saying hello, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. She might have other things to do besides making friends with such a small thing like me.Maybe she does not even like to say AVAST like a pirate. Oh, here she comes! She DOES like me! She wants to be my friend! Hello new friend! Hello new friend! Hello new friend! She’s charging at me! Her hugs feel like sunshine! Hello new friend! Hello new friend! And now she has fallen over and gone to the happy place! Yay!
Mac Walters has also made a post on the Bioware blog regarding The Roadmap to Love and Happiness. A quote about dynamic interactions:
Now, more than ever, the relationships in Mass Effect evolve naturally. Characters react to your choices and actions, including, of course, romantic ones. We give you the opportunity to make every interaction mean something in the long term. It’s not simply about completing a conversation to get on to the next one; it’s about how you interact during each conversation. And it’s about each choice you make to evolve that relationship.
360 Magazine: How on Earth are you going to end Shepard’s story in a satisfactory way for everyone?
Mike Gamble: There are many ways to end Shepard’s story, right? I wouldn’t necessarily say ending Shepard’s story means one thing or the other, like life or death or whatever. It comes to a conclusion and how you get to that conclusion.
There a risks involved in how you get there or how you completely not get there. As in the previous games, you’ll make a decision and you’ll see the outcome and there are huge risks to all of those decisions. It’s not cut and dry.
There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? But I can’t say any more than that…
Tuesday - February 28, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ Kotaku
Kotaku has two articles about Mass Effect 3. The first one features Ray Myzyka and Greg Zeschuk discusses why you can play as a gay man in ME3. A quote about why this is so:
The corners BioWare may have considered to cut are not being cut. Hence, among other things, a Commander Shepard who now might be a gay man. "We are doing it as a service to our fans, because we think it's part of the expectation of a role-playing game," Muzyka said. "It's part of the expectation of a BioWare game because of the way our games have been for the last couple decades. We've had that kind of choice going way back to Baldur's Gate back in the 90's. It's been refined. We think it's a good thing to offer players. Choice is always a nice thing, when it works. When it's high-quality." BioWare today is, alongside Rockstar and a handful of other big-name game studios, an outlier. Most games, as violent as they are, remain sexless and void of talk or depiction of any sexual identity other than straight. The doctors know that puts them on the edge. "I would say, our entire career, one of the frustrations has been not just in this but in all kinds of areas we've been held to a really high standard," Zeschuk said. "It's always, ‘we can totally innovate everything. We can do this. We can do that.'
The second article on Kotaku is a Q and A with Ray Myzyka and Greg Zeschuk discussing rather humorously whether Mass Effect and Dragon Age are in the same universe?
Apparantly, the doctors have a Matrix feel to it all:
Me: So you're telling me Dragon Age is a video game series within the Mass Effect universe. I like that idea. Shepard is playing Dragon Age.
Zeschuk: In the future, it's the greatest franchise ever.
Me: I like it. I think every game should be played in one of the others. And it should just telescope out.
Muzyka: Maybe we're in a game right now.
Zeschuk: Think of all the emotional engagement we could have.
Muzyka: And I'll tell you one thing, Stephen, if that's not emotionally engaging, I don't know what is.
In other ME3 news, MCV brings news that pre-orders for Mass Effect 3 have been above expectations. On top of the Mass Effect 3 games attached to the launched weather ballons,
EA has planned some other PR and Marketing stuff:
“TV, cinema, online, print and outdoor activity will help capture the mainstream audience,” said EA product manager Will Graham.
“For the core Mass Effect fan, we’ve been building on the immersive nature of the game with a host of trailers, social media activity and fan site activation.
“Currently our pre-orders have broken the targets set, we are well ahead of where we were at the same point with Mass Effect 2 and we have all of the platforms aligned for launch, which is a first for the Mass Effect franchise,” Graham added.
Monday - February 27, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Odds and ends # 2
A few odds and ends exist for this game. First, Friday's lore update on the Bioblog, then there's a new trailer called Fight and lastly EA has made the 18th episode of their PWNED series an ME3 20 minute special. The special has interviews with producer Michael Gamble, voice actor for Femshep, Jennifer Hale as well as an interview with Liara's voice actor Ali Hillis. The two Bioware doctors, Ray and Greg, also has something to say. And you can watch a making of the new live action trailer Fight.
CITADEL – A report by the salarian Special Tasks Group, warning of the increasing danger of human-supremacist group Cerberus, is garnering attention in the halls of the Citadel Tower. ANN has agreed not to publish the classified report’s contents, but experts within the STG, speaking on condition of anonymity, warn that what was once considered a small and extremely select group has grown drastically in size and power. “There has always been a segment of the human population that believes the Council government is lying to them,” said one agent. “Cerberus exploits that fear.” A confiscated recruitment video included in the report states the Cerberus mentality plainly: “Other species may talk with us, trade with us, even live with us, but when a crisis comes, we are on our own.”
If you're up for some pics of standard and bonus armour, head over to this thread created by f1r3storm at the ME3 BSN forums. A little warning, though - small spoilers inside.
Sunday - February 26, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ Penny Aracade plus Q and A @ Reddit
Penny Arcade has an interview with Ray Myzyka and Greg Zeschuk, the two co-founders of Bioware. They mainly talk about the SW:TOR MMO, but there's also talk of ME3 and the chance of MMO in the Mass Effect universe. As always, a snip, this time about the lose ends:
I brought up my favorite loose ends from the past games, such as the Genophage and the Rachni. Muzyka counted them off on his fingers, saying each one will come to a conclusion. “Pretty much everything that people want to see wrapped up, or to be given answers, will be,” he explained. He also pointed out that you should feel confident playing if this is your first Mass Effect title. “You don’t need that prior knowledge. We want this to be the most accessible entry point into the series. We wanted this to be the game that answered all their questions… if you’re wondering if three is a good place to enter, absolutely. Yes. It’s the most emotionally powerful entry point. It’s the most polished of the franchise.
In other ME3 news, community manager Jessica Merizan answered people's question over at Reddit. A quote about how Bioware collects fan feedback:
this is a GREAT question and accounts for quite a bit of my job ;) Right now, we have daily "sentiment reports" that go out to our marketing team, and the leads for the development team (such as Casey, Aaryn, Preston, Derek Watts, Mac and sometimes even Ray). These reports are a rundown of what people are saying on the forums, on Facebook, on Twitter -- and sometimes external sites like IGN, Penny Arcade, and Kotaku -- and a rough percentage of the number of positive, neutral, and negative comments........ I can personally point to several things in ME3 that I directly influenced based on what I gathered from the community and my own thoughts as a "super fan". People worry about whether their opinion really matters, and it does. In fact, my only wish is that MORE people would speak up. And that more people would tell us what they LIKE. Because we hear so much about negative features, it's sometimes difficult to gauge what we're doing right. Community works as 90-9-1. 90% of the community will consume content but not say anything (....) 9% will contribute to the dialogue, posting comments, "liking" a picture on FB, sharing etc. 1% will create new content like funny memes, costumes, fan art, or even as simple as creating a new forum thread.
And a quote about the day 1 dlc situation:
I think there's a lot of misinformation out there and I wish the guy who made the initial video about it would have had an open mind before jumping to conclusions based on a leak we weren't ready to address. Since I'm a BioWare employee, I know people won't automatically trust me, but I hope people will consider that it wasn't cut content from the larger game. I was in Edmonton when we were finishing the game in November/December and I was in Edmonton again last month when they were working on the Day 1 DLC. It definitely was only possible to do because the main game was in certification (which means we had to wait for people to test it and make sure everything was good etc before we could get the greenlight to sell it). I also played the game WITHOUT the DLC in my first playthrough and honestly, it's an awesome addition but I was more than happy with what I was given in the game. It's bigger and more expansive than ever. Of course, I understand the concern but I hope we can all have an intelligent conversation about it and cover what the facts are in this situation.
Mass Effect 3 - Interview with Associate Producer Robin Theberge
Robin Theberge, Associate Producer at Bioware has been on a promotion tour for Mass Effect 3. She has talked to Atomic Gamer, Stevivor and Games.on.net. First Atomic's article style interview:
“It got really stripped back for Mass Effect 2,” Robyn said, “but we’ve tried to bring back a lot more customisation. The game’s gone deeper again with the things you can tweak and upgrade, so we’ve had to make sure the GUI is up to all that. There are more powers, now, more detailed progressions with skills, and armour and weapon customisation is much more detailed.” The lack of detailed gear, and an inventory, in ME2 was possibly one of the most contentious changes between the first and second Mass Effects, and some loved it, others... not so much. “You can do all kinds of things with weapons now, like adding different clips, scopes and ammo,” Robyn told us, sounding quite pleased. “We’ve added a lot back.”
Now, you work closely with the Audio team as well as the GUI and Visual Effects teams when it comes to Mass Effect 3. Of all the streams you manage, which is the most exciting, and why?
Robyn: I like them all, and I like them for different reasons. It’s kind of like being a parent, and I’m a den mother to my teams at times. Audio, I love because they’re familiar. I’ve done a lot with them already, and I feel very good about how much ownership those guys have, and how well we work together; we’ve got very good processes down. I like Effects because they’re very low maintenance as well. They’re just a two person team. I can check in on them once a day, and they do very well on their own. I like the GUI team a lot, because there’s so much I can learn. I joined them very late in the project, and I feel like I’m still learning a lot from them, and I feel that there’s so much we can do. I’m excited to keep working with them, at least for the next few months, with the DLC. There are things I see that I can do to make their lives easier as developers, and I’m excited to implement those changes
How much of an impact did player feedback – both in the form of forums etc. and in the telemetry data – influence the course of ME3’s development? Were there any major changes made as a result of how the community reacted to certain features in ME and ME2?
Robyn: FemShep is a pretty good example. Fans asked us: “You’ve got an iconic male Shepard, so where’s the female version?” Okay – done. Now we have one. Multiplayer is another good example. A lot of our fans, the true hardcore RPG players, didn’t ask for it, but there were a lot of people who did. People who got a taste of the Mass Effect universe and wanted to enjoy it with their friends, to team up and fight these battles. Now they can do that. Romances too: a lot of the choices we made with the way romances play out in ME3 was influenced by what players told us they wanted.
Mass Effect 3 - Review @ German GameStar Magazine
Game Star, the German Magazine, has penned an offline review of Mass Effect 3. The score is 9/10 which tells us that the review is a postive one. At the BSN ME3 forums, hagren has been kind enough to provide us with a resume of the review. Some of the points in the review:
15-20 hour-long main quest
-Around 40 hours playtime in total- side missions are vital to amass enough opposition to the Reaper threat
-90 minutes of cutscenes
-No loose ends or cliffhangers, the game is truly an appropriate end to the trilogy with a very intense and touching finale
-More than 100 scenes, conversations and/or events change depending on our choices after importing a save-game from ME2- from something small like someone thanking us for completing a mission to bigger repercussions which would be to spoilerous to write down- you are definitely going to feel the consequences, and not always like them
-If and how many of these quests we complete influences how the game ends, and who- individually and globally- survives
-While the game can be enjoyable for newcomers as well, because the game is strong on its own mechanically and story-wise, it is recommended to play the first two entries to make more sense out of the wealth of information that the game builds on
-There's an interesting sequence after the end credits
-The „Role-Play“ mode of the game (In contrast to „Action“ and „Story“) feels very much like ME1
-The game gives you more opportunity to customize your Shepard. Each class has 8 talents with 6 levels each, and up from Level 4 there are two branches to choose from to level up each individual talent differently. Weapon customization is also a factor and noticeable, but the effects (which have both pros and cons) are only marginal
-Balancing isn't optimal
-The game is noticeably more difficult up from „Medium“, which makes using the correct weapon mods and talents integral to survive. Shepard also shoots more accurately in cover.
Gamestar.de also has an interview with Casey Hudson in German. Via Google Translate, you can read it in English. A quote:
The question remains as Shepard recruited his buddies. Casey Hudson says. "He draws people to his side, as he understands their problems and helping them to solve the" one Grast so easy like in Mass Effect 2 from planet to fulfill orders and crew members to hire? Including, but not only. Because EVERYTHING Shepard is doing has an impact on the war: story missions, side quests, mini games even exploration. The focus is a kind of score that indicates how strong the anti-Reaper armed forces are present.
Mass Effect 3 - Impressions from the Doctor - Ray Myzyka
Bioware's co-founder Ray Myzyka has talked to Kotaku about the game. Before he talked to Kotaku he played the game and obviously he is proud of ME3. A quote about how the rpg and shooter elements have blended:
A lot of the [series'] elements have been refined: the progression system, having a weapon bench so you can tinker with your weapon and mod them, it's really fun. It's cool. The mining experience… using it to find materials that are required for quests. It links together really well. The multiplayer, the way it's integrated in and the seamless way it helps amp up your galactic readiness and gives you more resources to build your fleet, your alliance against the Reapers. They're very thoughtful the way they're apportioned and is building on a foundation from ME 1. I think it's really taking the best of what we've seen and added significant elements of innovation too.
Saturday - February 25, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Review in Progress and More
IGN has a review-in-progress for Mass Effect 3 that will be spread over several entries, just like they did with Reckoning. As you'd expect this is very positive - though the author seems able to ignore some significant issues:
It's also worth noting that a few technical issues arise on the PS3 version as soon as you start playing, too. Fairly serious framerate issues plague the opening cinematic on Earth, and while this particular problem clears up as you play further through the game via future cutscenes, these hitches certainly concerned me early on. Likewise, lip-syncing is almost always off and characters sometimes appear stiff and can even flicker in and out of cutscenes when camera angles change.
The good news is that these problems don't injure a title that relies almost entirely on its otherwise top-notch presentation. If you can get past these sorts of aesthetical hiccups, you'll find a title drowning in a deep, well-fleshed out story surrounded by intriguing characters, both familiar and unfamiliar. Remember that the original Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 also had their own technical problems -- long load times and some severe texture pop-in, for instance -- but that those problems didn't at all erode away the overall story-driven experience.
IGN also has a video of the first mission after the demo - Mars.
Wednesday - February 22, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Preview, Unboxing and FemShep Cover Flip Video
A preview, based on the first 1½ hour of the game, can be found at The Guardian.
Spoilers abound, so read at your own risk. A quote on the story - from the mission to Mars:
There we found an unexpected enemy, human and heavily armed: Cerberus operatives. In Mass Effect 2, of course, Shepard was reconstructed by Cerberus and worked for the company, discovering uncomfortable truths about it. But normal service has been resumed in Mass Effect 3, with him once again in implacable opposition to the shadowy organisation. Here, the scene-setting cut-scenes at last gave way to proper, sustained gameplay. Albeit gameplay with a heavy focus on action – we came across one puzzle, involving arresting a horizontally scanning pair of forcefields at a precise point to enable us to get through a door, and there were no safes to hack or characters with whom to converse.
In other ME3 news David Silverman from Bioware unboxed a copy of the game while revealing a cover sheet that can be flipped between female and male Shepard cover art. You can watch the video here.
Mass Effect 3 - From Ashes DLC to Cost $ 10 on Day of Release
At Game Informer they've noticed an Xbox Listing for the From Ashes DLC. It has since been removed from Xbox marketplace. The title was From Ashes and this is what we know about it:
Unearth lost secrets from the past and recruit the Prothean squad member in Mass Effect 3: From Ashes.
In the above linked thread a Bioware representative said this:
We're happy to confirm that Mass Effect 3: From Ashes DLC will be available at launch for all platforms. For those of you who have purchased the N7 Collector's Edition (including the PC Digital Deluxe Edition), you will get this content at no extra charge. We'll have a lot more details for you later this week! Stay Tuned!
From what I've gathered of this statement, it confirms that BioWare is bucking the trend it set with Dragon Age and followed up with its sequel and Mass Effect 2 by making the content a separate purchase for anyone who picks up the standard (non-Collector's or Digital Deluxe) edition of Mass Effect 3.
Previously in Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age, the only in-game content associated with the Collector's Editions were additional armor and weaponry. As I mentioned earlier, content as large as the DLCs including Zaeed and Shale were always included free of charge. Dragon Age 2 went a small step further, by restricting The Exiled Prince DLC to "Signature" copies of the game, which all pre-orders were upgraded to.
This has changed.
Tuesday - February 21, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Extended Take Earth Back Trailer @ Youtube
Bioware has released an extended version of the trailer seen in The Walking Dead show.
It features 67 seconds not shown in the original trailer and goes for about 3:10 minutes.
You can watch it here.
Monday - February 20, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Jumping the Shark?
Although Mass Effect 3 is not released yet, I'm filing this editorial from Gameranx here. The author thinks the ending to ME2 was really bad and thus refuses to have anthing to do with the ME3 games - end spoilers to ME2 abound, so read at your own risk. The author does not like the ending and feels this way about the ME universe:
Given this total thematic collapse of the franchise, I lost all interest in any further games. I may have enjoyed some of the individual episodes, but the endgame and overarching plot Mass Effect 2 presented was just so outrageously bad and so horribly clashing with the rest of the series, that I’m not even sure if it wasn’t just the writers trolling. And that just denies me the possibility of ever taking Mass Effect serious again.
Do you agree with the author?
In other ME3 news, Bioware has released the Take Earth Back trailer seen in The Walking Dead show last night. You can watch it here.
Sunday - February 19, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Most Important SCI FI Universe @ iO9
A quote about the different alien species in Mass Effect:
Sometimes there are a few aliens that look suspiciously similar to humans, save perhaps a few odd markings, ear shapes, or nose-ridges. True aliens, those with confusing cultures or bizarre rituals, are represented by a token character who acts as a stand in for the race (Spock, Worf, Quark). Not so in Mass Effect. Run around the Citadel and you'll be damned if you find more than two or three humans out of hundreds of citizens milling about, shopkeepers hocking their wares, and government officials eyeing you suspiciously. The entire government of the galaxy, known as the Council, is run by non-humans. The majority of characters on screen at any given time are alien. Being able to render any race with equal ease means that as a human, you truly feel like the minority species we are.
And a quote about why Mass Effect is important:
The reason is this: Mass Effect is the first blockbuster franchise in the postmodern era to directly confront a godless, meaningless universe indifferent to humanity. Amid the entertaining game play, the interspecies romance, and entertaining characters, cosmological questions about the value of existence influence every decision. The game is about justifying survival, not of mere intelligent life in the universe, the Reapers are that, but of a kind of intelligence. Therein the triple layered question – What value does galactic civilization bring to the universe; What value does humanity bring to galactic civilization, and What value do I bring to humanity – forces the player to recontextualize his or her participation in the experiment of existence.
In other ME3 news, Chris Priestley mentions in this thread at ME3 BSN forums that people should see the show The Walking Dead as it will have a trailer for ME3 at about 9 PM US Eastern time. For us in Europe, Bioware will put it up on their website just when the show is over. This means about 5 or 6 AM in Europe, maybe a little later.
Mass Effect 3 - Odds and Ends
Here are a few Mass Effect tidbits I didn't get around to posting during the week.
First, Drew Karpyshyn, lead writer on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 has left BioWare to focus on his writing career:
I just got back from Vegas. Now, I don’t really need an excuse to go to Vegas, but this time I had a good reason. You see, I was celebrating a major life milestone. As of last week, I have officially retired from BioWare. (I’ll give all you gamers a second to let that sink in. Just to be clear, the parting was completely amicable, and 100% my decision.)
For the past twelve years I’ve had the privilege to work at one of the best companies in the video game industry, side by side with the most talented and incredible group of people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. I’ve enjoyed my time at BioWare immensely, but it’s time for me to move on.
I’m leaving to focus more time and energy on my novels and other non-video game related projects. But even though I’ll no longer be working on games for BioWare, I’m not going to be severing all ties with them. Many of my closest friends still work at the company, and I’m also in the process of writing the next Star Wars: The Old Republic novel, though I can’t say too much about it yet.
If you don't already know, the MP demo has been unlocked for all.
CITADEL — Diplomatic relations between the quarians and Citadel Council have chilled after the Migrant Fleet refused to consider visitation by Council weapons inspectors.
The move comes several months after the Migrant Fleet allegedly acquired dual-use ship materials, which could be used to create dreadnought-scale weaponry.
But next week, a select intrepid few will have the opportunity to play the full game before it hits stores. Publisher Electronic Arts will be launching copies of the game into space using weather balloons that will be released in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Berlin, London and Paris.
Each game has a GPS tracking device onboard and fans can track their return to the Earth on masseffect.com to find a copy and play it a week or more before the game hits stores. (Might not be a bad idea to follow @MassEffect, either.)
Saturday - February 18, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Impressions and Preview Roundup # 2
Three more previews with impressions from the demo has been written. The first one comes from Penny Arcade, the second one from Atomic Gamer, and the third and final one from Nightmare Mode. Some spoilers will abound, so read at your own risk.
Penny Arcade about the single player and the multiplayer mode:
The Single Player portion of the demo is just stuff I’m gonna have to play all over again, so I wish I hadn’t. The second bit has super interesting shit about Krogan society, which I thought was worth checking out, but still: you could restrict yourself to the multiplayer and still have gotten an excellent demo. The game comes out March 6th, so I mean… You could conceivably hold out. No? That’s fine, me neither. Ths multiplayer, though. Holy shit. “Horde Mode” is an insulting characterization. The characters you create in this mode accrue experience and invest in skills just like a single player character would, except here you’re earning money that you use to buy what are essentially CCG style Booster Packs of varying quality. These packs contain single use items to help you through tough rounds, weapons and weapon upgrades, along with alien races to play as. It has many, many barbed compulsion mechanisms affixed to tentacles which dance and sway.
The fights here involve a fairly diverse set of enemies in some well-designed levels that allow you to get the high ground, flank, and outsmart Cerberus. You'll need these advantages, too, because the AI seems better than it ever has been in Mass Effect, and some enemies carry large riot-style shields that protect them from most small arms fire. One of the easy ways to take them out is to simply get behind them, so that even if they turn around to protect themselves against you, your squadmates can fire at their unprotected flank.
In fact, if the first Mass Effect was an RPG with shooter elements, and Mass Effect 2 was guns and conversation, this feels like someone took an RPG and a shooter and shoved them together with no idea of how to balance the two. “Give the adept an assault rifle and a shotgun,” seems to be how they balanced the class. Because yes, giving the space wizard a bigger sword definitely makes them a better space wizard. Ironically, the power I found most useful was Adept FemShep’s Magic Grenade, which speaks for itself.
Friday - February 17, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interview with Casey Hudson
CVG has a three-page interview with Casey Hudson where he talks about DLC, the alternate endings, mobile tie-ins, facebook apps, the system to replace the planet-scanning from ME2, the exclusive deal with Origin and much much more. To start us off, here's a quote about how tie-ins from iOS apps will work in the single player game on pc or mac - at least this is how I understand this quote:
If I'm, say, playing Mass Effect 3 on the Xbox 360, presumably I'll still be able to finish it without playing the iOS app?
It's interesting because, on the one hand, people really don't like the idea of any kind of fiction or any kind of gameplay outside the game experience that has nothing to do with it, and they also don't want to be required and essential. So we look at it as providing options for people to choose where they want to spend their time. So, for example, you might be only able to put so much time into the single-player story, but you might do a lot of commuting, so you can play the iOS game and find ways to get better and better degrees of success in the single-player story by doing some of that other stuff
And a quote about the different endings in the game
Are there alternative endings depending on what you do in the game?
It's not so much that there is a fixed set of alternative endings, but all of your choices really determine how things end up in the universe. So, how you approach the end-game, for every player, you're going to have a different set of results in terms of who is alive and who is dead, and which civilisations survived and which ones were wiped out. There is a huge set of consequences that start stacking up as you approach the end-game. And even in terms of the ending itself, it continues to break down to some very large decisions.
And a quote about the combat:
I think we've gone full circle in terms of the combat: people are playing it, and saying it is competitive with the very best shooter experiences, and yet it has so much more as a game, with the role-playing elements and a really great interactive story. That's probably the key thing: that now you're able to experience a whole new level of combat gameplay.
Thursday - February 16, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Impressions and Preview Roundup # 1
After Bioware launched the ME3 demo, several previews and impressions for this game game have been released. I'll quote from two of them and list the others.
If you’re intense and opt to play on Hardcore or Insanity difficulty then you will need some real battle tactics to survive. Mass Effect 3 will follow the trend of several games now and ask users to choose how they’d like to experience the game. Players can choose to either play the game in Action Mode, Story Mode or RPG Mode. The first has automatic replies for conversations and normal combat difficulty. Story Mode will have manual replies in conversations and minimal combat difficulty. The last is your typical ME experience with manual conversations and normal combat difficulty.
The game will also feature multiplayer for the first time with up to 4 player co-op. Players can choose from a variety of classes and races and variety will be a good thing as you will have to work with your squad members by combining powers and abilities. The co-op will also have an influence on the single-player and give players an alternate method of doing things.
The series has messed with anything of this scale since that incredibly memorable spacewalk outside the Citadel at the end of the first game. It’s a fantastic scene and really hammers home that things have finally properly kicked off in the Mass Effect universe. This is no small raid on a colony but a full-scale attack on a species home planet. You and Admiral Anderson are amongst the few survivors of the shock attack and set off to get rescued by the Normandy.
Places that also have previews and impression for the ME3 demo:
Mass Effect 3 - Meet the Doctors and More
IGN has an interview with the BioDocs, titled Meet the Doctors, with some silly thoughts sandwiched between the questions:
Me: That seems to be the biggest challenge facing game makers today - managing options and choices and giving people a real sense of consequence. How difficult is that as a storyteller?
Ray: We've done a lot of work on choice before but now we've really focused on having those choices have decisive consequence and emotional impact on you. If you go this way, well this is going to happen and it just hits you in the gut. It makes you sit back and say, 'holy crap'. It's emotionally powerful.
Greg. For us this is a passion, this is a craft. We see it as an art as much as a science. So the team really takes it seriously. It helps that so many of us have been working together for a long time. That continuity helps.
Ray is clean-shaven. Greg is splendidly whiskery. Neither of these observations help me. I consider making some wise-ass comment about them being actual real life doctors. 'Can you take a look at my tonsils? Haha.' Perhaps not. The doctors are in full flow. I allow them to continue talking about how they crafted one of the year's biggest entertainment events.
Ray: There aren't any real tools you can get off the shelf to do this stuff. There's no book you can read to tell you how to do it. It's very much experiential. The fact that this has been an all-consuming goal for many, many years, from a largely consistent group of people has given us a lot of ability to do this.
It's really neat to see where we started and our original conservative goals, and how we have ended up way past where we thought we could get. There are emotionally engaging stories that we've done that I didn't think would turn out as good as they did.
It became a positive reinforcement to do more, so the actions that we take are very, very refined.
...and the BioBlog has a community interview with combat designer Corey Gaspur and producer Billy Buskell, focused on multiplayer:
How did the inclusion of multiplayer affect how you approached combat?
BB: From my personal experience, I think multiplayer ultimately improved the combat in the game as a whole. The more we played multiplayer as a team (every night at supper for at least an hour ) the better we were getting at dealing with enemies, using power combos, etc. Because of this extensive play testing, the team was really able to ramp up the challenge on the higher difficulties. To beat Insanity in the single player campaign, you’re really going to have to work for it! The same can be said for Gold difficulty in multiplayer. You’re really going to need to prepare for a Gold match much the same way as real life N7 operatives would. Know the battlefield, bring the right kits, and equip the best gear to get the job done.
CG: Everything in ME3 was designed to feel powerful but balanced; this philosophy applies to SP and MP. The big challenge was ensuring that fans felt that each character and race had unique powers and builds which in-turn make’s each kit interesting and fun to play. It was very important to us that each power and ability matched the characters race, playstyle and backstory. We pushed very hard to ensure there is very little difference between gameplay in Single Player vs. Multiplayer.
Lastly, there's a 15 second preview of a 90 second "Take Back Earth" ad that will premiere on the weekend on the same page.
Wednesday - February 15, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Impressions @ GameBanshee
It's very clear from this demo, and from much of what we've seen of the game elsewhere, that Mass Effect 3 is being marketed as an action game first and a role-playing game second. While that was true of Mass Effect 2 as well, there are few dialogue options or choices to make during the demo, and the focus on forward momentum and moving through one set-piece to the next serves to reinforce that Mass Effect 3, at least on the surface, is more interested in paying tribute to Gears of War than Knights of the Old Republic.
Like the Reapers set to take over the galaxy, however, I admit that there are some doubts in my mind Mass Effect 3, and the time I spent with the game did not help diminish them. I haven't yet mentioned the game's dialogue yet, and with good reason: to be frank, I found it rather poor. It's clear that BioWare were going for a strong action film aesthetic, with pithy remarks on war and one-liners every few minutes, and it just does not work. Mass Effect, while cinematic, has always managed to avoid going into Die Hard territory... when Shepard utters lines like "we fight or we die!", or watches a young boy get blown up by the Reapers while a soft piano score plays, I found it hard to avoid rolling my eyes. Even picking Earth as an invasion site comes across as a little manipulative rather than dramatic - it seems the "humans are special" rule is in full force here.
Tuesday - February 14, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interview with Writer Sylvia Feketekuty
The BioBlog has a profile interview with Mass Effect 3 writer Sylvia Feketekuty:
What’s a geeky thing about you?
I play a lot of pen and paper role-playing games. I started back in college, and it probably helped get me my current job. Some of my favorite systems and settings are Call of Cthulhu (both Chaosium BRP and D20 Modern), Over the Edge, Paranoia, Spirit of the Century, Unknown Armies, and D&D’s Planescape. Shadowrun also has a special place in my heart as one of the first RPGs I ever played (and died horribly in).
I play a lot of board games, too. My current favorite is Cosmic Encounter, an amazing game with a 34-year history. I’ve also fallen in love again with a quick, dice-based game called Button Men. (For any other Button Men fans out there, you can find printable versions of the players online for free. How cool is that?)
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Released
The Mass Effect 3 demo is now available through Origin for the PC (go to "store", then "free games") and through XBL and PSN:
BIOWARE UNLEASHES ITS FIRST STRIKE IN THE WAR TO TAKE EARTH BACK BY ENLISTING VETERANS AND NEW RECRUITS WITH THE MASS EFFECT 3 DEMO“Take Earth Back” CG Trailer to Debut Sunday, February 19 During AMC’s “The Walking Dead”EDMONTON, Alberta – February 14, 2012 – Commander Shepard -- a battle hardened, no-nonsense leader -- wants you to join the fight to take Earth back! Today BioWare, a label of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), released the demo for Mass EffectTM 3 on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Mass Effect 3 is the most anticipated game of 2012, blending world class combat, deep customization options, cinematic storytelling and blockbuster action on a huge scale. The demo delivers a preview of this powerful combination, whether you are an N7 veteran or the galaxy’s newest recruit. BioWare has designed Mass Effect 3 to deliver the satisfying payoffs veterans have been waiting for while also making sure it is the best entry point into the franchise for new players.
In continuing the lead up to launch, BioWare also revealed today that an all-new CG trailer for Mass Effect 3, “Take Earth Back”, will make a worldwide debut on Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead”, AMC’s critically-acclaimed, post-apocalyptic horror series*.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished with Mass Effect 3, and am very excited for fans around the world to experience something really special when they play the demo today,” said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series.
The Mass Effect 3 demo kicks off with the devastating, all-out attack on Earth by an ancient alien race known as the Reapers. It also includes another thrilling single player mission from later in the game. Players will be able to choose the name, gender and appearance of their Commander Shepard. These initial choices along with choosing Shepard’s background cause the game to re-write itself, ensuring the player knows everything that happened in previous games, and can hit the ground running. Additionally, Mass Effect 3 allows players three different ways to experience the epic battle for Earth: “Action” allows players to focus mainly on combat, giving them the opportunity to pre-set the tone of decisions made during the interactive cinematic scenes; “Story” focuses more on the conversations and scales down the difficulty of the action; and “Role Playing” presents the classic Mass Effect experience which blends both challenging, intense action with rich, interactive storytelling where the choices lie with each player. All settings can be adjusted throughout the game, and all are available in the demo. Mass Effect 3 will also be one of the first pre-launch demos to support full voice recognition functionality on KinectTM for Xbox 360.
Also included in the demo is a sample of the new multiplayer mode in Mass Effect 3. For the first time in the franchise, Mass Effect 3 will feature a fun, addictive co-operative gameplay as part of the Galaxy at War System**, which gives players an opportunity to link progress made in multiplayer or other applications directly back to the player’s main campaign to save the galaxy. The co-op portion of the demo will unlock on February 17, 2012. Gamers who have activated their Battlefield 3TM online pass will be able to unlock the co-op portion of the demo beginning today***.
Monday - February 13, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Impressions
Some websites seem to have been able to get access to the ME3 demo early. One of them is OXCGN. Spoilers abound, so read at your own risk.
The moment that gameplay began, I immediately felt at home. The overall feel was intact, the weapons we’ve always known were there, the characters I care about are in front of my face… and all of that was about to come to an end as a giant Reaper battlefield was raging before my eyes. Immediately, Anderson and I began to escape the tower via rooftop access. We take a running jump over a gap, sprinting for our lives from the Reapers. Continuing to move as quickly as we can across the roofs, everyone’s favorite enemy makes an entrance to the party: Husks. Anderson and I make quick work of them, but I run out of ammunition for my pistol, and have to get up close and personal with the new melee system.
Another one is Evil Source Gamer whose reviewer, Gator, admits that he never played
any of the first two Mass Effect games. After the demo for ME3, this is how he sees it:
This demo has got me greatly interested in the game to the point that I feel like I might have missed out on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, but feel that even if you haven’t played both like myself you are not missing out or totally clueless about the story. For those wondering how the Kinect features are with the game, they are responsive and work as advertise, no frustration in repeating anything or having to overly say anything. Simple tone of voice seemed to work fine for me. Great job at this from the guys that worked on this part of the game does give it more involvement which in turn makes you feel more part of the story and in control. I will be looking forward to reviewing this game.
Mass Effect 3 - Gone Gold
Mass Effect 3 has gone Gold, announces BioWare's Casey Hudson on Twitter:
After an awesome effort by our team, I'm proud to announce #MassEffect3 is officially GOLD! Many surprises await you - this week and beyond.
...and a reminder the demo is released tomorrow:
That is correct. The demo will be released for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3 on Feb. 14th! :)
...unless you get early access for the X360 via Facebook.
Alternatively, hit up the BioWare Blog to read about making the Femshep trailer.
Source: Blues News
Friday - February 10, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Fem Shep Video Released - New ME3 website
Bioware has released a trailer for the female version of Shepard, FemShep for short. A discussion of the trailer can be found in this thread at the BSN ME 3 forums. In other ME3 news, Chris Priestly announced in this thread that Bioware has completely relaunched the ME3 website. You can view the new ME3 website here. You can watch a 2 minute trailer about interactive storytelling here as well as a trailer about the enemies you'll face here.
Wednesday - February 08, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - iOS Tie-ins and DLC
EA has announced a third-person shooter for iOS titled Mass Effect Infiltrator, which will offer rewards in Mass Effect 3. From Joystiq:
Players will receive awards for collecting evidence of cerberus crimes in their mission, with each discovery and rescue increasing their Mass Effect 3 Galaxy at War Galactic Readiness rating. Actions in Infiltrator can affect the larger Mass Effect 3 storyline, and weapons unlocked in the mobile version can be used in Mass Effect 3.
Revealed at the same New York event as the news above, Datapad is an app that ties the iPad with Mass Effect 3 in some way.
Finally, Joystiq also has an apparent photo of a receipt from GameStop for a DLC titled From Dust, which a shopper preordered for $10 - no word yet on exactly what From Dust offers. I've not seen a DLC sold through retail before release previously, so this is an interesting move if everything is as it appears.
Tuesday - February 07, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Video Interview @ Gamespot
An 8-minute video interview where producer Michael Gamble talk about ME3 can be found at Gamespot. He talks about how they've provided much more of an RPG focus this time around, what routes they could take with DLC, how they've formulated the dialogue so that experience with ME1 and ME2 isn't required, why they've reduced the number of playable characters from Mass Effect 2, the possibility of a Mass Effect 4, and much much more.
Mass Effect 3 - Interview with Level Designer Raylene Deck
The Bioblog has been updated with an interview with ME3 Level Designer Raylene Deck. Topics include what she does at Bioware, advice for those who want to get into the industry, what she is playing at the moment and much more. A sample
What does an average day look like for you?
As a level designer, I think an average day really depends on which stage of development we’re working on. If it’s the beginning of the project, I will be in a lot of meetings to discuss what kind of level we want to make. We’ll figure out the overall story, setting and gameplay, and from there, I will start making the level layout. If it’s mid-production, we have the bones of the level figured out and so now I would be doing tasks such as combat layouts, boss fight mechanics or exploration puzzles. At this time, I’m working very closely with my artist, writer, gameplay designer and cinematic designer to figure out all the details of the level and most importantly, make the level fun. If it’s getting close to the time of shipping the game, the level is already fun so now it’s time to fix all the bugs. I switch gears and work with the QA team. Some of the bugs I’ll be fixing range from logic errors, memory and frame rate issues or collision problems.
Monday - February 06, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ CVG
CVG has an two page interview with Michael Gamble, a producer at Bioware Edmonton. Topics include the introduction of multiplayer in ME3, why they've reduced the RPG elements in the series, how the storyline has evolved across three Mass Effect titles, and much much more.
Has the structure of the story changed over the course of the games?
We knew the overall arc, we knew Shepard's story from the beginning. How each story gets developed, the individual missions come out of their specific developments. We also listen to feedback from fans all the time. The audience, when they give us feedback in terms of being inclusive of this element, or combat stuff that doesn't work - we bring all that in. And, to be honest, you're crafting your Mass Effect story as much as we are anyway.
How do you ensure, when there are so many narrative threads and possibilities, that what comes out of every player's choices is a story that's worth telling?
Without sounding facetious, it's just a really talented team. We have an amazing group of writers who have to conceptualise all of the myriad possibilities of relationships and who might still be alive at certain points and come up with amazing story arcs based on these permutations.
Mass Effect 3 - Achievements Leaked
For those interested in such things, the Mass Effect 3 Achievements have been leaked and you can check them out at CVG.
Sunday - February 05, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Live Action Trailer Director's Cut, Previews and More
A Director's Cut of the Live Action trailer shown at E3 has been released. It contains 15 seconds of new gameplay and is also edited slightly.
A range of preview has been penned for this game. I'll quote from one of them and list the others:
It all starts however, as your correspondent recently discovered during a play through the game's opening hours, on terra firma. The setting is futuro-Vancouver, and it's the day that the Reapers make their dramatic return. Shepard and Anderson have been called to an emergency meeting of Earth's leaders, during which contact with other cities and colonies is gradually cut off. Suddenly the outside world erupts in white light, the room is filled with glass and blood and vast Reapers can be seen piercing the clouds.
Other sites that have previews are:
In other ME3 news OXM Magazine talked to Art Director Derek Watts about the level design in the game, especially when it concerns the London, the Krogan homeworld, Mars and the Citadel. A sample:
Good environmental concept artworks are invaluable, he says, because they give designers something to fall back on when their ideas threaten to run away with them. "You don't want the designers to do too much of everything, because otherwise it becomes too much just what we want at the time. You want the artists to be involved to see how it's going to look and what the views will be."
In yet other ME3 news, Bioware, via Chris Pristly in this post in the BSN adresses concerns
that fans had over the release of the ME3: Deception novel. A sample:
The teams at Del Rey and BioWare would like to extend our sincerest apologies to the Mass Effect fans for any errors and oversights made in the recent novel Mass Effect: Deception. We are currently working on a number of changes that will appear in future editions of the novel.
Mass Effect 3 - Keep your saves
You'll be shocked to learn that while the Mass Effect trilogy will soon be ending, BioWare has hinted that may not be the end of the IP. It might be worth hanging on to your saves, according to BioWare producer Mike Gamble:
BioWare's Mike Gamble has told GamerZines that players should probably hold onto their Mass Effect 3 save files, because you never know what may come in future.
"Obviously I can't say anything, but it wouldn't be a bad idea," he said.
In an earlier article also at CVG, Gamble also talked about the range of potential options they have:
"Without going down any specific path, you can think of many, many different areas throughout the IP, throughout the history, where there are large wars to be won, battles to be had, and a lot of development to be done around where these races came from, how they came about.
"We have so much to draw from. We haven't made a decision about whether we'll do anything in the future, but if we were to do something, we just have a lot of information to choose from.
Anyone think they really haven't already started planning the next Mass Effect?
In other Mass Effect news...
Thursday - February 02, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - The First Two Hours and More
Before we get into a couple of previews, Kotaku has news the Mass Effect 3 demo for X360 will include "a limited time Gold access pass" for those that don't subscribe to Live.
Anyway, head to CVG for Mass Effect 3 - The First 2 Hours:
Before all that, unless you're importing an existing Shepard, you'll have to make a brand new one, fiddling around with your eyes and nose until they look really strange, picking your class and backstory, and telling the game a little bit about some of your actions in the previous adventures - who lived, and who died, for example. Then you have to decide which of three different versions of ME3 you'd actually like to play.
Your choices are pretty simple, thankfully. Story mode dials down the combat but allows you to make all the big decisions throughout the game, choosing what happens at crucial - and not so crucial - moments, and who you end up making sweet, slightly creepy, dead-eyed zero-gravity love to.
Action mode offers you exactly the opposite experience, turning conversations into standard non-interactive cut-scenes, while providing you with a straight-up cover-based shooter, with no morality nonsense to get in the way of the headshots.
Role-playing mode, finally, is the traditional Mass Effect mode. If you're reading this, it's the mode you'll almost certainly end up playing. (If you're not reading this, what's on telly at the moment? Is it time for Diagnosis Murder yet?)
...and a similar preview at Eurogamer:
You can expect a linear path as Mass Effect 3 opens, but while the wide wonders of space are shut off for two hours at least there's a suitably epic feel to proceedings. Your favourite characters are coyly drip-fed into the story giving you repeated bursts of anticipation for what comes next, and it's all topped off by the reintroduction of Martin Sheen's Illusive Man. The settings meanwhile - both the vista of destruction on Earth and the desolate Mars base in the shadow of a gigantic brooding dust storm - really must be read as a statement of intent on the part of Bioware.
Tuesday - January 31, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - "All Star Cast"
BioWare has announced an "all star" cast for Mass Effect 3, including the return of several stars from the previous games:
BIOWARE RECRUITS ALL-STAR CAST TO TAKE EARTH BACK IN MASS EFFECT 3In a series known for delivering one of the most cinematic experiences in all of interactive entertainment with an emphasis on high quality digital acting, BioWare is aiming to once again set a new bar with Mass Effect™ 3. Today, BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc., unveiled the cast for 2012’s first blockbuster game, Mass Effect 3. The ensemble will see the return of fan favorites, including Martin Sheen as the Illusive Man, Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale as Male and Female Shepard and will introduce Freddie Prinze, Jr. as James Vega, a marine who will help Commander Shepard take Earth back.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the passion and emotion the entire cast brought to their performances in Mass Effect 3,” said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series. “In a story where Earth and the entire galaxy are at war, we needed to take the performances to a level of dramatic power and intensity that we’ve never previously attempted. This extremely talented cast delivered.”
The star-studded cast for Mass Effect 3 includes the return of Golden Globe winner Sheen (“The Departed”, “Apocalypse Now”), Seth Green (“Robot Chicken”, “Family Guy”) as Joker, Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) as the Normandy’s A.I., Yvonne Strahovski (“Chuck”) as Miranda, and Carrie-Anne Moss (“The Matrix”) as Aria T'Loak. Other returning fan favorites include Meer and Hale as Male and Female Shepard, Ali Hillis as Dr. Liara T’Soni, Keith David (“Platoon”) as Captain Anderson and Lance Henriksen (“Aliens”) as Admiral Steven Hackett. Prinze, Jr. (“24”) and Jessica Chobot (G4 TV), as news reporter Diana Allers, are the newcomers to the series.
“I have always loved science fiction and I have always loved games and Mass Effect is really the first time both come together successfully,” said Prinze, Jr.- “It is a completely immersive game where you really feel like you’re part of this journey inside this universe. It will make you think, you will care about the character you are playing, and you will care about the characters that you bring into battle with you.”
Friday - January 27, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Special Forces Trailer
The Bioblog has a new Special Forces trailer for Mass Effect 3, accompanied by a blurb written by Patrick Weekes called 'So Your Friend is a Vanguard':
You’ve taken a defensible position. A Singularity is blocking the side doorway to keep you from getting flanked. Everyone is ready to turn the street ahead into a veritable killzone as soon as the enemy comes around the corner.
And then your friend zips halfway across the battlefield in a burst of blue light like Leroy Jenkins and you’re all left sitting there going, “Umm… so… should we run after her?”
Don’t panic! Everything is going to be fine. You’re just experiencing a common condition known to the BioWare Dev Team as “Someone’s Playing a Vanguard.” And we can help you through it.
Tuesday - January 24, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Spoilers @ IGN
IGN has played through the upcoming Mass Effect 3 demo and is "talking about major spoilers" in a new video preview.
Mass Effect 3 - Action Figures with DLC
I usually ignore promo stuff like sales of action figures and the like - I assume that if you like that sort of thing, you'll seek it out - but this one is interesting because BioWare has bundled an upcoming set of Mass Effect action figures with in-game DLC items:
These products contain codes that can be redeemed for a downloadable content pack for Mass Effect 3 multi-player. They are slightly randomized during the registration and could include powerful new weapons and new characters. The pack could also include character boosters, weapon modifications, and weapon upgrades to make your multi-player squad stronger. (Only supported on XBox360 and PC.)
Source: Blues News
Friday - January 20, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interviews and Gameplay Videos @ GT TV
GameTrailers has been to Bioware Studios to get inteviews with Casey Hudson and Lead Writer Mac Walters and ME video footage. During the latest GT TV episode Casey talks about how multiplayer will function, also he talks about the role that the Illusive Man will play this time around, as well as a bit about the storyline in the third part of the series. Mac discusses how we'll be using Prothean technology to take down the Reapersthe as well as the importance of Mars. The video footage also gets us the first look at Mars. This part starts at about 10.00 and last very few second in the GT TV episode. Caroline Livingstone then talks about the squad and the characters in ME3 around the 10.25 mark. Around the 15 minute mark, Casey Hudson talks about multiplayer - you can play as an Asari or a Krogan in multiplayer mode.
Thursday - January 19, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Better with Kinect
...or so the Bioblog says. They have a video showing a demo of Mass Effect 3 with Kinect at Las Vegas to the press and the reactions. If you want more, VentureBeat has an interview on the topic.
Wednesday - January 18, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - System Reqs and More
I would have added this to the ME3 demo newsbit but there are already comments for that one, so forum users would miss the update
From the BioWare forums comes a FAQ with the system requirements for the demo (presumably similar for the full release):
What are the system requirements for the PC version of the demo?
OS - Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1, Win 7
*Supported chipsets: NVIDIA 7900 or better; ATI X1800 or better. Please note that NVIDIA GeForce 9300, 8500, 8400, and 8300 are below minimum system requirements, as are AMD/ATI Radeon HD3200, HD3300, and HD4350. Updates to your video and sound card drivers may be required.
CPU - 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (equivalent AMD CPU)
RAM - 1GB for XP / 2GB RAM for Vista/Win 7
Disc Drive - 1x speed
Hard Drive - 15 GB of free space
Video - 256 MB* (with Pixel Shader 3.0 support)
Sound - DirectX 9.0c compatible
DirectX - DirectX 9.0c August 2009 (included)
OS - Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1, Win 7
CPU - 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (equivalent AMD CPU)
RAM - 2GB for XP / 4GB RAM for Vista/Win 7
Disc Drive - 1x speed
Hard Drive - 15 GB of free space
Video - AMD/ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB or greater, NVidia GeForce 9800 GT 512 MB or greater
Sound - DirectX 9.0c compatible
...and what the demo will contain:
What content will be included in the Mass Effect 3 demo?
There are two sections in the Mass Effect 3 demo, both included as part of a single download: The single player section includes 2 areas: the opening level featuring the Reaper attack on Earth, and a level further into the game where Shepard travels to an alien home world to seek their assistance in the war effort. This will be approximately 1 to 2 hours of content.The co-op multiplayer section includes 2 maps: Slum and Noveria. This section will be open to players who have qualified for the early multiplayer access as of Feb 14, and will then open up to all players on Feb 17.
There's also a video and blurb on the BioBlog.
Finally, adding credence to the "Dragon Age 3 will have multiplayer" rumours, Ray Muzyka told Wired.com "multiplayer and online interactivity will play integral roles in many of its upcoming games".
Mass Effect 3 - Demo on Feb 14
EA and BioWare announce the Mass Effect 3 demo will be released on February 14th:
BIOWARE UNLEASHES MASS EFFECT 3 DEMO FEBRUARY 14BioWare Gives Everybody Something to Embrace this Valentine’s Day with the Release of the Single-and-Multi-Player Demo for 2012’s Most Anticipated GameGUILDFORD, UK – January 18, 2012 – Award-winning developer BioWare, a label of Electronic Arts Inc., announced today that the demo for 2012’s first blockbuster game, Mass Effect™ 3 will be available beginning February 14, 2012. The extensive demo will allow players to experience the all-out galactic war against an ancient alien race known as the Reapers from multiple fronts, including the mind-blowing opening attack on Earth that kicks off the single-player campaign. Players will go deeper into the campaign and also get a taste of the franchise’s new co-operative multiplayer mode as they preview the epic story, adrenaline-pumping action and deep customization options that lie ahead when Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6, 2012. The Mass Effect 3 demo will be available for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Mass Effect 3 will also be one of the first pre-launch demos to support full voice recognition functionality on Kinect™ for Xbox 360.
“We are excited to be able to give gamers an expansive demo that will put them right on the front lines of this all-out galactic war,” said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series. “The entire scale of the game is bigger than anything we’ve ever done. With its intense action, deep customization and raw emotional power, Mass Effect 3 will deliver a spectacular action RPG experience to fans of the series and newcomers alike.”
Saturday - January 14, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - EAs Origin Required - No Steam
Chris Priestly mentions in a post on the Bioware Social Forum that Mass Effect 3 will require EA's Origin service both for single player and mutiplayer. Here's a quote from the announcement:
1) Will Origin be a requirement to play all versions of Mass Effect 3? (Digital and/or from a retail brick and mortar store)
Yes, Origin is required for all PC editions of Mass Effect 3, physical or digital.
2) Is constant Origin connection required or is it a single one off authentication when the game is first installed. Is there also a limit to the number of installations available?
Mass Effect 3 will require a one time, single authorization for the single player game. There is no limit to the number of installs. Playing Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer will require a constant connection.
3) Is Origin required for the retail versions of the game?
Origin is required for the PC versions of Mass Effect 3, both physical and digital.
4) Will ME3 be available on Steam?
During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content. We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.
Friday - January 13, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Story Writing Dev Video
The latest BioWare PulseTV video focuses on story writing. Here's a quick snip, courtesy of CVG:
"Overall, it's looking like it's going to end up being bigger than any of the games in the Mass Effect series, but also, I think, the emotion, the depth of writing that we have in there, has also gone up another level," he says.
"When a videogame can make you feel something, you know as long as it's also fun and still entertainment then, well, I think we've done our jobs."
Head over to watch the full video.
While we're on ME3, IGN has a wiki guide under the heading Everying We Know About Mass Effect 3.
Wednesday - January 11, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ Game Informer
Game Informer has published a three page interview with Casey Hudson from Bioware.
They talk about multiplayer, DLC plans, the presence of a "clearer foil" for Shepard and his crew, the alleged superior gameplay variety in ME3 and much much more. Some spoilers abound, so read at your own risk:
Here's something about the narrative structure in ME3:
You mentioned that mission structure of Mass Effect 2 – you’re collecting these crew members by going around and recruiting. Does Mass Effect 3 have an identifiable mission structure like that? The feeling that I started getting from the bit of the story that I got to play was that you’ll be recruiting the different races in this one and getting them to come help you, but does it play out in that identifiable way?
No, it’s different, because it’s unclear to Shepard and the player what you have to do to win the war against the Reapers. Part of what you’re trying to do is to explore the story and the galaxy and the experience so that you can understand what has to be done. Some missions start to shed light on what you need to do. As things progress in the high-level storyline, we’re constantly trying to do redirects. You think you win the war by doing one thing, and then you realize it’s something else.
And here's something about the Citadel:
Yeah, when we got to the Citadel during my demo just now, we loaded up a different save. I was a little bit disappointed. I kind of just wanted to walk around the Citadel and talk to people and see what was going on there.
The Citadel is really big in this game. It’s bigger than it’s ever been, in terms of stuff to do. But yeah, it’s those moments where there’s fun and silly, neat stuff to explore. Once you get out into the missions, it returns to seeing the face of the galactic war. What we’re doing with Mass Effect 3 that’s a little bit different than what we’ve done before is exploring the idea of getting the player to understand and feel what Commander Shepard is experiencing versus just reacting to other characters.
And here's something about the three modes we can choose as playstyles:
When you start Mass Effect 3, you have to choose between three new game modes – action, roleplaying, and story. How early into development did you come up with the idea of splitting it up into the different types of players who are likely to be checking this game out?
That’s actually another thing that we wanted to do in previous games. It’s simpler than it seems. It looks like we’ve done something really crazy, but all it’s doing is – first of all, we realized that it’s not ideal that when someone starts the game, they don’t know that much about it and we dump a huge options screen on them. Automatic squad powers and this and that – you’re asking them to make too many decisions about stuff they haven’t even played yet. That wasn’t ideal. We also have a lot of feedback from people who say, "Your games look really cool, and I love the idea of the story and the characters. It looks awesome when I watch it on YouTube, but I’m just not that coordinated with a shooter. I would play it if I could figure out how to do combat." So we always thought we should have a mode where combat isn’t going to kill you. You still go around and fight, but you’re playing it for the story experience. We thought we should be able to do that relatively easy, but there’s still work involved in that.
Tuesday - January 10, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Incoming
From a short tweet on the Bioware twitter profile we learn that Bioware will release a demo for Mass Effect 3. Details to follow soon apparantly:
Yes! We are absolutely doing a demo prior to launch. More info soon! RT
Monday - January 09, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ Game Informer
Game Informer has penned a review for this game, and Bioware Social Network member didymos1120 has made what is called a lawyer-friendly resume of Game Informer's preview. It does not seem like the article quoted from is online. Nevertheless, here's some points from the preview - spoilers abound so read at your own risk.
This is the mission we've seen on the galaxy map footage called "The Shroud", and it's basically the sequel to the Sur'kesh one. Basically, your goal is to get the Genophage cure finished and distribute it. First off, the salarian government has learned about this, and has made an offer to Shep. What you get isn't clear (probably their support in the war), but they basically want you to fake distribution of the cure. The writer chose to not to take the deal. It not clear if you're also forced to tattle on the salarians if you decide to go along, but that can happen. Anyway, you get attacked, separating you from Mordin, Wrex, and the female, ending up in some catacombs that lead to the City of the Ancients. Once there, you run into an old painting of the uber-Thresher, which was apparently given the name "Kalros" (sure it means something suitably bad-ass in Old Krogan or whatever). You run into some Ravagers (the husked rachni) and some Marauders (the husked turians). Eventually, you make it to the Shroud: the giant glowy tower seen in the VGA trailer. Seems to be some sort of old weather-control device or something. In any case, you'll use it to distribute the Genophage cure into Tuchanka's atmosphere.
Mass Effect 3 - Know Your Mass Effect History @ UGO
With Mass Effect 3's release fast approaching, UGO has made a historical timeline so we can cacth up on the events happening in the Mass Effect universe so far. As always, a quote, here on the pre-council era:
•37,000,000 BCE: 37 million years before the founding of the Citadel Council, an unknown race fired off a giant mass accelerator round of devastating power. This round ripped through a Reaper, a highly advanced organic, sentient starship.
•48,000 BCE: The Protheans' reach spans countless galaxies and planets and their empire grows to enormous proportions before they mysteriously vanish. The Mass Relays and the Citadel is believed to be leftover Prothean technology.
•1900 BCE: The Krogans, native to Tuchanka, discover nuclear power. Unfortunately, this spirals out of control and WMDs go off, causing global devastation. As a result, the Krogans fall into a primitive, savage, clan-based society.
Mu Relay Lost
•1800 BCE: A supernova explodes, propelling the Mu Relay, the only Mass Relay connected to the Pangaea Expanse. The relay is lost in the abyss of space and the Pangea Expanse is cut off.
•580 BCE: While experimenting with what was thought to be Prothean technology, the Asari start exploring the various Mass Relays and where they lead. Eventually, they stumble upon the Citadel and set up camp. 60 years later, the Salarians find the Citadel and open diplomatic relations with the Asari.
Saturday - January 07, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - 5 Reasons I'm Nervous @ Kotaku
Kotaku has 5 Reaons I'm Nervous About Mass Effect 3. I'd say they're mostly flimsy - and often only tangentially related to the actual game. A small spoiler applies to the first reason:
I sincerely hope that the rest of this game isn’t so obvious and manipulative. I have been known to bawl like a baby during emotionally engaging dog-food commercials, but the idea of crying after seeing this sequence is simply beyond me. I’ve always enjoyed Mass Effect for its morally ambiguous characters and conflicts, its well thought-out background, and its slightly campy, Star Trek vibe. This was some straight-up Michael Bay crap, and I think that the series can do better than that.
Tuesday - January 03, 2012
Mass Effect 3 - Incentives for Pre-Ordering Revealed
Best Buy and GameStop has announced their incentives to get people to pre-order this game.
If you pre-order it from GameStop, you'll get an N7 Valkaryia Rifle and a Defender Armour.
If you pre-order it from Best Buy you'll get an Argus Rifle:
The high-powered Argus rifle is an excellent close-range weapon, and its bursts of fire conserve ammunition during lengthy conflicts. Others across the galaxy are adopting the Argus as their standard rifle, for both its intimidation factor and suppression power.
Saturday - December 31, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ Best Buy's @Gamer e-magazine
@Gamer has a preview for this game. It is Best Buy who is behind this, so if you don't feel like playing 15 US $ a year, there's a four page download here. It contains the full preview article. As usual, a sample:
THE COMING BATTLE…
As the game begins, Earth comes almost immediately under attack by the Reapers in a devastating sequence reminiscent of the alien attacks in movies like Independence Day and Mars Attacks! In a matter of seconds, Earth’s defense headquarter is decimated in a surprise assault by massive ships that dwarf the structures beneath them. Now that the Reaper threat is known to be real, Shepard is ordered to the Citadel to persuade the Alliance Council to join the fight. But first, a pit stop on Mars awaits. Has the Alliance uncovered a device that could wipe out the Reapers forever?
Thursday - December 22, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Shepard Off-Duty
BioWare has re-booted the official BioBlog, with the first new item a short story penned by Patrick Weekes titled Shepard Off-Duty:
My squad piles into the shuttle at the end of a tough mission. A turian squad got pinned down by Reaper forces after their mission went horribly wrong. My team and I saved as many as we could.
After a quick debrief with my superiors, I, Commander Shepard, am officially off duty.
Tuesday - December 20, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Soundtrack Details
Worthplaying has a press release on the soundtrack in Mass Effect 3:
Like previous Mass Effect games, a number of talented composers will play critical roles in the game’s musical development, with direction led by BioWare’s acclaimed audio team. The roster of composers for Mass Effect 3 includes:
- Clint Mansell, Golden Globe nominatedHollywood composer recognized for scoring celebrated films including Black Swan, The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream.
- Christopher Lennertz, Emmy nominated Hollywood composer known for his work on the recent movie Horrible Bosses, also composed Mass Effect 2: Overlord, Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker, and won the Interactive Academy Award for Medal of Honor.
- Cris Velasco, known for composing the God of War series’ score, has also worked on downloadable content Mass Effect 2: Kasumi and Mass Effect 2: Arrival.
- Sam Hulick, veteran to the Mass Effect series having composed the score for Mass Effect, Mass Effect: Bring Down the Sky and Mass Effect 2.
Sascha Dikiciyan, video game industry veteran, known for composing the score for TRON: Evolution and the scores of Mass Effect 2: Kasumi and Mass Effect 2: Arrival.
Thursday - December 08, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - A More Dynamic Shepard
From the Mass Effect 3 site:
BioWare Pulse - A More Dynamic Shepard:
This week's BioWare Pulse takes you deeper into the game animations and shows you the detailed nuances that the developers added in combat. You can expect a more dynamic Shepard March 6, 2012!
Friday - December 02, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ 360 Magazine
Casey Hudson has been interviewed at 360 Magazine about Mass Effect 3:
360: Mass Effect 3 has already been described as the end of Shepard’s trilogy, but how much of a conclusion can players expect? Is there a definitive ending and how much of the individual choices players have made over the three games impact the conclusion?
CH: Yes, everything we’ve been working towards is geared towards giving players a spectacular, satisfying, and definitive ending to their story as Commander Shepard.
360: Each Mass Effect game has promised hugely divergent choices for player’s that has always been represented through the characters Shepard interacts with. Has there been a technical or writing limitation on how far this idea can be taken in the third game?
CH: With Mass Effect 3 we are in a unique position of being able to let the player’s decisions have greater consequences than ever before. In previous games we had to be careful to leave certain story threads intact so that they could be continued in the next game.
Thursday - December 01, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - "Multiplayer is a good thing" @ IGN
IGN has an opinion-piece on Mass Effect 3, explaining why they think the addition of mutliplayer could be a positive:
It Could Improve the Core Mass Effect Gameplay
Mass Effect 2 was an improvement in most ways over its predecessor, from the interface to the basics of gameplay. However, the combat, while improved, still didn't feel quite as strong as it should. The combat was never the most important part of the Mass Effect experience, but that could change with the added multiplayer element.
Mass Effect 3's co-op will be a combat-heavy experience. Therefore, it's safe to assume that BioWare will be going through the game's combat and tightening up what wasn't so great before to make for a better combat experience. This will carry over to the single-player campaign, so we can expect ME3's combat to be generally better than what we've seen in the past.
While we're on ME3, BioWare has a new PulseTV episode that looks at the combat:
If you missed the Mass Effect Collector’s edition video that went live last week, today’s BioWare Pulse will show you all of the amazing things you will get if you pre-order it today.
You will also get to meet Eric Fagnan, Mass Effect 3 Gameplay Designer and Corey Gaspur, Mass Effect 3 Combat Designer as they take you into the new features around combat. Learn about the new and unique heavy melee attacks that each class gets and take a sneak peek at the Vanguard and its new power Nova.
This is definitely an episode not to be missed!
Tuesday - November 29, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Includes plot-line axed from ME2
News via OXM UK that some Citadel missions axed from Mass Effect 2 will be included in Mass Effect 3:
"There was a Mass Effect 2 plot that was a kind of callback to the first Mass Effect that was going to be on the Citadel, and we cut it. But now it's made a resurrection in Mass Effect 3, so I'm happy, but I can't say what it is. That's the nice thing about trilogies, sometimes you get a second chance."
A cherished Mass Effect 1 environment, the Citadel was accessible to a very limited degree in the sequel. According to Mass Effect 3's lead writer Mac Walters, BioWare considered adding more Citadel quests but decided against it. Mass Effect 3 will revive at least one of those lost plot threads.
BioWare has confirmed that Shepard will return to the Citadel in Mass Effect 3, and revealed that you'll be able to tackle Citadel missions originally slated to appear in Mass Effect 2.
Monday - November 28, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ Atomic PC
Atomic PC has a preview of Mass Effect 3 based on a presentation and roundtable discussion with the Biodocs and invited press. Among the subjects covered was "the future of RPGs", with this snip featuring Eugene Evans, GM of BioWare Mythic:
Out of the many topics, the future of RPGs was perhaps the most interesting. There was a lot of discussion of multiplayer, the supposition that single-player will die off in the not-so-distant future and how interconnected mobile platforms can add to the RPG experience. All members of the panel had their own spin on how they saw the future of the RPG, but Eugene summed it up best with his stance. “I think the always-connected person, the person with the phone that’s as capable as it is now and will be in the next couple of years, means that they expect that to be part of their everyday life. We should expect that to be part of their everyday gaming life, too. And the opportunity to make that an extension of what they’re doing in a game, is going to be very, very powerful; as a way to keep them engaged.”
“Because you only have so much time to play; but you do have time when you’re on the bus, you do have time when you’re waiting around for whatever. It’s a way to keep them engaged and re-engage them so that they’re going to want to get back home to play the game. They’re going to want to get back to their couch, their desk, wherever it is to play. And that’s only going to, I think, create more excitement around games, because that excitement comes from being pulled back into that universe all the time.”
Saturday - November 19, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Collector's Edition Detailed
- Premium metal case featuring commemorative artwork of Commander Shepard.
- 70-page hardbound art book featuring hundreds of unique and gorgeous illustrations from the BioWare development team.
- Limited edition Mass Effect comic by Dark Horse Comics, complete with unique cover artwork.
- Join the ranks of the N7 with the premium fabric N7 patch.
- Exclusive 4x6 lithographic print featuring a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork.
- A full collection of in-game content that can’t be found anywhere else!
- N7 Arsenal Pack – Bring the firepower with the N7 Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, SMG, and Pistol.
- Robotic Dog – A faithful sidekick to keep you company on board the Normandy.
- Squadmate Alternate Outfit Pack – New appearances for your favorite squad members.
- N7 Hoodie – For Commander Shepard’s casual days on board the Normandy.
- Relive all the greatest moments of Mass Effect 3 with the digital soundtrack.
- Xbox LIVE Normandy prop for your Avatar. (Available on Xbox 360 version only.)
- Display your initiation in the N7 ranks with a collection of forum and social badges, avatars, and perks.
Source: Blues News
Wednesday - November 16, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - BioWare May Tweak the Story
Following the mistaken release of a Mass Effect 3 beta, which ultimately resulted in the script being leaked, the Biodocs have told Eurogamer they may tweak the story based on feedback:
It was disappointing for them, yeah. They're moving on. They're making a great game. The script, frankly, has changed a little bit from what was released, too. It's been edited. They're always tuning it. They're always making it better. But yeah, it's tough when you see your work displayed. You realise only a small number of people are probably going to look at those spoilers in advance.
"It is hard on a team when they see their work revealed in an early form like that. It was a pre-release demo. The script was certainly not intended to be released in that form and that early. Here it is! It's not even out yet, but you can read through it. It's a summary.
Monday - November 07, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Beta Leaked on XBL
The Mass Effect 3 closed beta was leaked on Xbox Live a couple of days ago, revealing different "modes" such as "Action" and "RPG". Kotaku has the story and a response from BioWare:
As most of you know by now, this evening an accidental leak occurred of some early Mass Effect 3 beta code. Microsoft has advised us that through human error at their end, content which was meant for internal beta testing was flagged incorrectly and released to individuals who had signed up for the beta of the Xbox Live dashboard update. It has since been taken down and deactivated.
We'd like to stress that the leaked code is in a rough, unfinished state and was not meant for public release. The content is not final, and is not reflective of the quality of the finished, polished game due for release on March 6, 2012 (March 9 in Europe).
One feature that was present in this early build is a set of game play modes that are in development. In the beta code they are referred to as "action mode", "story mode" and "RPG mode". We want to stress that these features are still in the early stages of development and will receive considerable iteration and refinement. These modes are designed to give players an even finer degree of control over their game experience than ever before. Whether it be someone who finds the combat difficult but wants to experience the amazing story, someone who wants to focus on the action and combat game play, or fans who want the rich, story-driven RPG Mass Effect experience they've come to love – Mass Effect 3 will support all of these options. We'll have more info in the days ahead!
Thanks, KapitanUnterhosen! If you check our forums, you'll find discussion and links to screens showing the controversial "Action", "Story" and "RPG" modes.
Friday - November 04, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ BioBlog
Exactly how the multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 affects the single-player game continues to be confusing (at least to me) but you can read the same things the team have said before in a new interview at the BioBlog with producer Jesse Houston:
Does Multiplayer affect the success of my Shepard in the main story?
Absolutely. Multiplayer will definitely have an effect on your SP experience through the Galaxy at War system, so as you play the MP and the Co-Op and the more successful you are, the more that will affect your Galactic Readiness level which will then affect your end game result.
How do SP and MP work together/complement each other?
They complement each other really well in that the Galaxy at War System takes the actions played in MP and pushes them to your SP achievements. The SP elements will dovetail really nicely into those and both those actions will allow your Shepard to have a different ending depending on those actions. That said, SP can still be played all by itself without any kind of multiplayer or third party and you can still get the absolute best ending. This just gives you new options to be able to get that ending.
Thursday - November 03, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Five Things That Could Kill It @ Atomic
Atomic obviously had some empty space in their editorial calendar but the interesting thing is even mainstream sites want more RPG in their RPG. On five things that could kill Mass Effect 3:
1. Too much combat
Blowing up Geth and various other baddies has always been a part of the Mass Effect milieu, but recent changes to the way BioWare refer to the game have us a little worried. Back in the day, it was very much an RPG with shooter elements, but more recently BioWare’s been engaging in some linguistic legerdemain and calling ME3 an RPS, or Roleplaying Shooter. That’s okay, but given that the bulk of the hands on time and footage we’ve seen has focused on action, and shooting mechanics (leaving some viewers to now look at the game as a more earnest Gears of War), it’s easy to feel that BioWare’s going too far in this direction. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good shooter. But I want story and character to be the main thing I take away from Mass Effect 3, not stealth takedowns.
Tuesday - November 01, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Mass Effect 1 and 2 "just a preamble"
This is a throw-away piece but Eurogamer has some comments from BioWare Edmonton General Manager Aaryn Flynn, who says Mass Effect 3 is the "Superbowl" while the first two entries were "regular season of American Football matches". Anyway, a bit on creating the finale:
"Fans want a definitive end," he said. "They'll be the judge of that ultimately when they play it and see how we do that. Certainly, what this game absolutely does represent is the culmination of almost a decade's worth of work for the studio and for Casey [Hudson] and his team in terms of exactly what we're trying to do with the game we kicked off almost ten years ago. They're working really hard to make it a real proper conclusion, something that's fitting to what they've worked on for so long, and what the fans are telling us they're dying to see.
"It feels good for them. They're excited about the story they're going to tell and what's going to happen in the game. They've got lots of surprises up their sleeve and stuff they've been holding onto for a while."
Monday - October 31, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - PulseTV
BioWare's PulseTV shows the development of some Mass Effect 3 monsters:
Happy Halloween everyone! In the spirit of today we thought it would be the perfect time to terrify you with some new enemies from Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect Development Director Scylla Costa takes you into the making of the newest monsters and shows you what you can expect in the much anticipated game.
Watch today’s episode here.
Thursday - October 27, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Multiplayer Roundup
BioWare has let the press try out multiplayer for Mass Effect 3 and here's the first batch of previews and more.
Kotaku says Multiplayer Doesn't Ruin Mass Effect 3 (thanks, KapitanUnterhosen), saying "I've played it, and while I don't love it, I see why they're doing it and I see how it could be great":
It plays, no surprise, a bit like the Horde mode popularized by Gears of War, but with role-playing game leveling. There is no multiplayer conversation, no multiplayer morality decisions (and no multiplayer Mass Effect romance—I asked!). There is, however, all of Mass Effect's evolving, improving combat. You play in third-person, utilizing the kind of guns and powers you would in single-player Mass Effect. You gain experience points for kills and completion of objectives, and you can spend those points leveling up your character's powers just as you would Shepard and her squadmates in the single-player game. Each class has their own specialties. Each race has some unique abilities.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun, who say "Mass Effect 3 is clearly still intended to be primarily a single-player experience, optionally augmented by the co-op":
Think, Left 4 Dead, but you don’t go anywhere, and you can’t pick up weapons, and, er, it’s got four players. The level we played was set on a fairly generic, grey-and-white multi-level platforms, interior and exterior. It was certainly unremarkable. But quickly the four of us – three games hacks and a BioWare employee – were being attacked by waves of Reapers and Geth.
Waves is the key here. It’s about surviving as many waves as you can, before your inevitable death. The more of them you survive, and the more you get done, the more points you get to carry over to your SP story. Which lends it the arcade-feel that ensures it knows its place.
Whether you agree that premise justifies the inclusion of a fully-fledged four-player co-op multiplayer mode comes down to personal feelings. By focusing on the numerous races and classes of the Mass Effect universe – and excluding Shepard from the multiplayer action entirely – Bioware is at least ensuring that the new mode does not undermine the carefully crafted fiction and all important narrative of Mass Effect’s universe.
IGN has a roundtable conversation with several of its' editors:
Anthony Gallegos, PC Editor: I've heard people talk about how they wanted Mass Effect co-op gameplay, but I don't think that this is exactly what they had in mind. Granted, a campaign where two people are making decisions would probably be a nightmare to design, but this new mode focuses on the part of Mass Effect I've always enjoyed the least: the combat. The new melee attacks and tighter shooting helps, but I'm not sure how interested I'll be in sinking hours into a mode that's all about fighting. Am I being a bit too hard on it?
CVG, where Casey Hudson says we'll all be sucked into ME3's matrix, where we'll live happily ever after:
But the 'Galaxy at War' mechanic doesn't just take place in the single-player. Instead, it appears to play out like one gigantic, universe-wide game of Risk - in essence 'framing' the solo adventure. The shots we were shown (but, sadly, weren't allowed to leave with) did bring to mind the classic board game, with green territories repre-senting captured assets, amber colours representing those hanging in the balance - and red pointing out Reaper/Cerberus-controlled zones.
"This is a concept that has never been done before in games, ever," reckons Hudson. "Not simply a story device, it's fundamental to the game. For the first time, wherever you go - online, mobile, on social networks - you'll be able to follow your progress. You'll never have to leave the Mass Effect experience."
BioWare reacts to the suggestion that the single-player game will be compromised by the MP at Eurogamer:
"It's a fun and novel way to increase that number and open things up by having a diverse range of experiences," Flynn explained. "At the same time, you don't need to. You can stick to the single-player campaign. I'm sure there are a lot of completists out there who want to do that. They'll have amazing experiences and they'll get to see all the cool stuff they want to see just by doing single-player stuff.
Wednesday - October 26, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Hands on Preview @ Wanderson75
The folks at Wanderson75 played a hands-on preview version of this game at NY Comic Con. They've made a preview for this game based on what they saw and played at Comic Con.
A snip from the hands-on preview - on the new leveling system:
Once the storytelling was out of the way, we were exposed to the biggest upgrade in the series finale: a revamped leveling system. We were given some spare leveling points to play with and found that there were many more ways to spend them than in Mass Effect 2, with the number of options closer to the original Mass Effect. It wasn’t a straight reversion though, as each of your powers can take multiple different paths now. For example, once you have two upgrades on your Overload power, you can decide to either have it target a second person or deal more damage. Whichever option you select excludes the other though, so be sure to choose carefully. The fact that the leveling system in the third game is the deepest the series has seen yet is something which will assuredly delight new and old fans alike.
Friday - October 21, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Incoming in January 2012
Here is the announcement in full:
What are the details of the Mass Effect 3 pre-release demo?
•The Mass Effect 3 pre-release demo will launch in January 2012 (exact date TBA).
•The demo will include both single-player and multi-player sections.
•The demo will be released in all regions where the game is
How can I get early access to the multi-player portion of the Mass Effect 3 demo coming in January 2012?
•Owners of Battlefield 3, on any platform, who activate their Online Pass will automatically be granted early access to the multiplayer portion of the Mass Effect 3 demo. There is no need to enter any other codes, the early access will be applied to the EA Account associated with the Online Pass. Note: BF3 Origin Customers automatically have the BF3 Online Pass.
•This applies to all regions where the demo is released (to be announced)
•The exact date of the demo launch will be announced in late November
•There will be another program whereby players and fans of the Mass Effect franchise can unlock this early access (with no purchase necessary) – this will also be announced in late November or early December.
•There will also be a tool posted on www.masseffect.com allowing players to check if their EA account has been granted the early access.
•The length of the early access period is TBA.
•The single-player section of the demo will be available to all players on day one of the demo launch
Monday - October 17, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Hands-on Preview at Games Xtreme
Games Xtreme have a short preview based on what they saw and played of the game at this weekend's Comic Con in New York. A snippet:
Lastly, the weapon upgrade system has taken a surprisingly refreshing turn, borrowing some ideas from Army of Two, as well as others. The weapons now have a much deeper upgrading system from the previous titles, using custom parts and accessories to enhance the strength and fluidity of each piece of the rifle, pistol or launcher.
Thursday - October 13, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Twice the dialogue of the first two games?
VG247 picks up on a tweet from an audio designer that says Mass Effect 3 has 40,000 lines of dialogue. After digging back, the original game reportedly had 20,000 lines and ME2 around 25,000 lines for comparison:
A fan tweeted concerns about the level of Shepherd’s voice volume at an audio designer on the game who replied, “We do our best to keep consistency but it’s tough with 40,000 lines!”
Wednesday - October 12, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - PulseTV on Multiplayer
BioWare has kicked up a PulseTV episode to explain the freshly announced multiplayer elements via Casey Hudson. For single-player-only gamers, the integration might be controversial because Casey acknowledges "the better you do, the more you control, the better your single-player ending will be".
Casey goes on to say you can "absolutely" reach the "highest levels of success", so it's unclear how all this comes together. The FAQ does provide some relevant comments:
What if I am not good at / do not like multiplayer? Will my readiness rating go down?
- ME3 is a story about a war against overwhelming force where the most you can hope for us survival. The more you do to fight that war, the more you can change that story into a more optimistic one.
- You can reach the highest levels of success in the single player experience alone, but Galaxy at War gives you alternative ways to get there.
- It's about choice, and allowing players to find their own ways to stay immersed in the Mass Effect universe.
- We aren't going into any specifics on numbers right now.
Tuesday - October 11, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Multiplayer Detailed
Chris Priestly has detailed the multiplayer facilities for Mass Effect 3 with a forum post that includes an outline and then a FAQ. Here's the outline and head over for the full post:
Today BioWare and the Mass Effect 3 team are very pleased to announce 4 player co-op multiplayer missions and the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system for Mass Effect 3 on the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
4 player co-op multiplayer
Join your friends in the all-out galactic war to take Earth back. The universe of Mass Effect expands with the addition of new co-op multiplayer missions, playable over Xbox Live, PSN and PC internet. Players can choose from a variety of classes and races, form an elite Special Forces squad, and combine their weapons, powers and abilities to devastating effect as they fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control. Success in multi-player will have a direct impact on the outcome of the single player campaign, giving players an alternative method of achieving ultimate victory against the greatest threat mankind – and the entire galaxy – has ever faced.
Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War
As a bonus to the campaign, BioWare is introducing the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, a new way for players to manage and experience the galactic war from multiple fronts, including a new 4-player co-op mode. The key to saving the galaxy is the “Galactic Readiness” level, measured by Commander Shepard’s ability to apply
every possible asset – people, weapons, resources, armies, fleets – in the final battle against the Reapers. Players can impact their game’s Galactic Readiness level in multiple ways via the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, including multiplayer. Other platforms and interfaces will be announced in the coming months. It is important to note that the system is entirely optional and just another way players can have control over your game experience – it is still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone.
In related news, IGN has a Reactions piece with various staff expressing their views on the addition of multiplayer to the Mass Effect series.
Monday - October 10, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Multiplayer Confirmed
Surprise! Mass Effect 3 multiplayer has been confirmed by two magazine covers - and then BioWare via twitter. Aussie mag PC Powerplay was the first latest newest one to show their Mass Effect 3 multiplayer cover and then OXM didn't want to get outdone. And from BioWare's twitter:
There will be a multiplayer component for #ME3. Full details soon, so wait until then before making your decision. We think you'll like it!
...and then Casey Hudson has confirmed it's co-op:
Yes, co-op MP missions for #ME3: they're real, and they're spectacular. Rest assured it's nothing of what you've feared. More soon...
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Monday - October 03, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - More Multiplayer Pointers
Multiplayer for Mass Effect 3 seems all but confirmed with a BioWare forumite posting a scanned advertisment from South Africa, listing a "online multiplayer pass" as one of the pre-order features...
Source: Blues News
Saturday - October 01, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - "Killer New Feature" Reveal Coming
According to CVG, the next issue of UK Xbox World will reveal a "killer new feature", which CVG strongly suggests is the rumoured multiplayer. Guess we'll find out in due course.
Saturday - September 24, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Hands-on @ VG247
VG247 has some short hands-on impressions of Mass Effect 3 from the Eurogamer Expo:
As my team, consisting of Garrus and Liara (Wrex is also circling in a ship to help pick us up), try to help get the pair out of here through multiple checkpoints, we also have to put up a fight against Cerberus, the human organisation that helped Shepard get back on his/her feet in ME2, who are now one of the main threats to you after just merely deciding to turn on you.
From what I experienced from the demo I played, combat feels tightened from ME2.There’s also the introduction of a new melee weapon in the form of the Omniblade, useable by holding the B button when near an enemy. Midway through the level, we also came across a hub which allows you to switch three weapons on the fly, but I had decided not to in my playthrough. Why not? I was doing well with what I had.
Tuesday - September 20, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ SFX
SFX: In Mass Effect 2 you have an ensemble team, that you build up. A lot of people’s games ended with most of them dying! Are those players going to be at a disadvantage with Mass Effect 3?
Hudson: It’s definitely beneficial to have more of your squad members survive! We also try to strive for differences versus penalties or bonuses, so the choices that you’ve made previously don’t necessarily make a worse or better Mass Effect 3 experience; they make it different in ways that are equally satisfying. But with people it’s the more the merrier; but we do try to find a way to give a pay off that’s different because the fun then is to say “I’ll play my play-through when everybody is there” or “this time I’ll play my other play-through where everybody died” so that it is different and fans appreciate and enjoy those differences so that is an equally enjoyable place.
Thursday - September 15, 2011
Mass Effect - How It Took Over the World @ CVG
CVG has a piece on the evolution of the Mass Effect series, arguing that BioWare has found the "near-perfect" combination of RPG and mass-market accessibility:
With ME2, that growth wasn't undeserved. Bioware responded quickly and accurately to every major criticism of the first game, and kept pace with the trends in gaming. They stripped out the Mako sections and devoted a whole team to improving the combat; the result is a much smoother cover shooter with tactile, punchy guns.
Without ever compromising the powerful element of player choice, Bioware tweaked their RPG into a near-perfect hybrid of traditional role-playing and modern action games. The sales confirmed it was exactly what gamers were looking for.
ME3 is going further. If one word could describe the new combat system, it would be 'heavy'. Weapons fire slower, sound deeper and pack more punch. Melée is no longer a playful slap: each character class has a different instant takedown performed with the holographic blade. The cover system has kept pace: you can now sneak around corners and dive from cover to cover. It's effective enough that it actually adds a stealth element.
Saturday - September 10, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ CVG
Mass Effect 3 has been previewed at CVG, mostly describing the combat from a recent demo:
Scale. It's the thing that sets Mass Effect 3 apart from its predecessors. Although the series already spans an entire galaxy, it's always felt like a series of linked skirmishes; tiny dents in massive, apocalyptic story. With Mass Effect 3, that changes.
Shepard and his crew have reached the tipping point: no more skirmishes - the Reapers are here, and nothing less than a universe-wide scrap is going to resolve this fantastic series. "Mass Effect 3 really is the pinnacle of the series - we've been working on it for eight years now," says series director Casey Hudson.
Friday - September 02, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - PAX Recap @ Official Site
I have to admit to not really following Mass Effect 3 at this point, so here's BioWare's PAX recap in case we missed something worthwhile:
Convention summer of 2011 ended on an incredible high note with PAX Prime. Mass Effect 3 was in full force as thousands of fans waited patiently in the long lines to play the highly anticipated demo.
Missed out on PAX this year? Not to worry! We have fantastic video highlights that can be found at BioWare TV. Check it out for footage of Jennifer Hale revealing the new FemShep, great interviews with game developers and Dark Horse Comics and much more great content. Hopefully it'll entice you to meet us there next year!
A big thanks to all of our fans for making this summer an absolute blast for us! It was hard work, long hours and many miles of travel, but we enjoyed every minute of it.
Tuesday - August 30, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer
Ten Ton Hammer made an interview with ME3's associate producer Michael Gamble about ME3. Topics include the deeper rpg experience in ME3, how the new story will be presented
in ME3 to new players, the system behind which weapons can be upgraded and more.
A few highlights:
TTH: The interactive comic for Mass Effect 2 allowed players to generate a new character based on the critical choices of the first Mass Effect, without having to play through the full first game. So that's something you're going to be doing with ME3 too then?
Michael Gamble: We’re looking at something. I don’t know if it’s going to be comic based or what, but we definitely understand that a lot of people haven’t played the first two.
TTH: When I was watching the demo yesterday I liked the fact that it looks familiar. There’s nothing that’s so new there that it would be like learning a whole new game for people who’ve played it before. Some things have changed though. Can we talk a little bit about what’s changed for the new game?
RPG systems and progressions, we’ve deepened that. Every power has a lot more customizability. You have multiple evolution options; six instead of two. And the weapons mods stuff obviously. Now all classes can use all weaponry, which is great. We’re expecting to see a lot more even usage of classes rather than everybody using Soldier because he has the coolest weapons. What you can do is customize your weapon based upon the mods that you pick up throughout the galaxy.
TTH: And the weapon upgrades are working a little bit differently now, I noticed. Can we go over how the upgrades are working?
Michael Gamble: All the weapons that are created are accessible to all classes. You find little mods and upgrades throughout the galaxy in various places. You might get a mission, you might buy them, and things like that.
Monday - August 29, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview Roundup
Archmage Silver sends in a handful of Mass Effect 3 previews we had missed.
Mass Effect 2 was a major overhaul in terms of gameplay from the first game, but this time around Bioware is content with the core mechanics they introduced in Mass Effect 2 and has iterated on them, rather than reinvent them. It’s still fundamentally a third person shooter with RPG trappings, but now they have improved the RPG elements of the game. Character skill progression has been expanded, and there is a lot more choice within the skills themselves. I played through the demo as the Soldier class, and I had around 36 points to spend on skills. I unlocked Concussive Shot – a knockdown ability and there was further progression within the skill itself. Spending more points allowed me to reduce the cooldown of the ability, increase the damage and knockback effect and then the tree branched out, with each level having two possible options, I could choose to widen the knockback radius or increase the force further and so on and so on. It’s a welcome change as Mass Effect 2′s progression system was a little bare bones in places.
...who also have a summary from a Gamescom Q&A session:
The CE Robot dog is possible to interact with aboard the Normandy, like having it follow you around, play fetch and it apparently has a story to it. No details on whether it’s combat able or not though. Character creator will get a lot more hair styles and facial features in ME3. So expect the hairstyles from the femShep competition to make it into the CC. They are considering an Uber achievement for all three games. What that is exactly is they don’t know, but they want to reward their long term fans. All squad mates will get their story and closure for ME3 even if they might not be a permanent squad member.
GiantBomb also has a large roundup of material from Gamescom.
In related news, GamesFront reports the redhead has won the FemShep voting, for anyone who cares (thanks Blues).
Friday - August 19, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Combat Reveal Video # 1 and New Screenshots
Since Bioware is at GamesCom, there's a new trailer out for ME3. It can be seen via Youtube. Gamebanshee has new screenshots of reapers, combat, and new enemies in their image gallery.
In other ME3 news, Bioware has updated their Facebook face with a second poll where we get to elect the standard FemShep's hair colour.
Tuesday - August 16, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Video Interview @ Ripten
In this video interview Dave Oshry from Ripten talks to Casey Hudson from Bioware about the weapons in the game and how our characters will level up. Here's a quote from the text part:
Likewise, the skill trees are now deeper and more involved than ever before. Sure, you can still set Shepard and his crew to “auto-level” but why would you when you have all new levels of custmization that really allow you to get lost in the “choices” that make the Mass Effect series so much fun for fans of shooters and RPGs alike.
Mass Effect 3 - FemShep vote - wrong move? @ Destructoid
Sophie Prell from Destructoid has penned an editorial about this - arguing that the FemShep vote was indeed wrong. Here's a quote:
Forgetting any ideas regarding misogyny or sexism, it's just plain inconsistent to allow fans to choose, democratically or not, the look of FemShep that will be used for marketing. The world of Mass Effect was constructed and designed. Garrus, Miranda, and all of our Normandy crewmates were constructed and designed. Despite being based off Dutch model Mark Vanderloo, the face of John Shepard, whom we've come to associate with BioWare's epic space opera, is constructed and designed. BioWare chose Vanderloo's face. They picked him specifically and without fan help, presumably because they felt his look would best represent the sci-fi hero saving us all from ancient machines which lurk beyond the dark void of knowable space.
Do you agree?
Thursday - August 04, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Level Design @ Pulse TV
BioWare's Pulse TV video thingy covers level design for Mass Effect 3, according to the blurb at the official site:
Mass Effect 3 level designer Kris Schoneberg takes you for an exclusive look at what goes into making the amazing levels that go into the game. She explains the difference between "narrative playable", "whitebox", "the proof" and more.
Your first look at a new level and how it gets made in Episode 25 of BioWare Pulse TV.
Saturday - July 30, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ CVG
CVG has a Mass Effect 3 preview that tugs at your heart strings - minor spoiler warning, including this snip:
Mass Effect 3's magic stems from your choices, the moral grey areas, and all-too-human failings of your companions. Make a bad choice, albeit in complex circumstances or under pressure, and the results might haunt you through the game's duration - and beyond.
One such decision left us reeling during our recent E3 gameplay demo. Visiting a mid-invasion Earth for disciplinary hearings after the events of Mass Effect 2 - we know, it's bureaucracy gone mad - we spot a child hiding in an air vent. Should Shepard tempt the urchin out from his hiding place? Or risk leaving him there to get killed? Encouraging the child out salves your conscience, but maybe it's a selfish act and he was safer in hiding.
So, imagine how we felt - how you'll feel - when the rescued child is loaded onto an escape shuttle [...]
Head over to see how the story ends.
Thursday - July 28, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Jennifer Hale Interview and More
Jennifer Hale - the voice of FemShep, Bastilla and more - has been interviewed at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I'm going to file it under Mass Effect 3, so I can collect a couple of minor other items here.
A snip that exposes why voiceacting is often so bad:
RPS: Obviously intonation is so crucial. So how do directors get around the lack of someone to respond to?
Hale: Sometimes, on extraordinarily rare occasions, you’ll be able to hear the dialogue of the other person. That’s only working with BioWare, because they have a very specific system that allows that to happen. However, working with BioWare I tend to be the first one recording my stuff, so other people work off me, but I’m not always necessarily working off of them. To get around it I read really fast, I read as much as I can, because you don’t usually get the scripts ahead of time, because they’re highly confidential. The producers are given mountains and mountains of work, and it’s extremely difficult to get anyone anything ahead of time, so it’s basically the art of cold-reading and acting on the spot. I’ll ask physically where am I, what’s going on, how much ambient noise, how much battle – just standard acting questions. But you’ve got to hold them all in your head, you’ve also got to know your history with the other person you’re talking to and what you want from them, and then drop into that moment, and let it rip.
In related news, Shamus Young rants about the inevitable choice of pretty blond FemShep and the shoft toward focusing on shooter fans:
The numbers are against us. As studios dump more money into graphics they have to aim their releases wider and wider to have a shot at breaking even. Since the “action shooter” fans vastly outnumber the character & lore buffs, this is simply a matter of attrition through demographics. I’ve been raging against the ridiculous race to make more, shinier pixels for years now, and this is why. This is exactly why.
...and in general Mass Effect stuff, Newsarama has an interview with writer Mac Walters about the comic series.
Wednesday - July 27, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Mass Effect 3 Preview / Interview @ Destructoid
Destructoid has a video interview with Casey Hudson from ComicCon and also a preview of Mass Effect 3. The line of better RPG elements and more customisation is a key message:
Mass Effect 3 is also bringing back the RPG elements that were stripped from the series' second installment. The demo allowed limited weapon respeccing at a workbench in the mission, but the game is early and this feature is already light years ahead of ME2's practically nonexistent mods. Augments such as silencers and scopes allow for improvements in weapon stability and rate of fire.
Class perks have also seen a kick in the customization department as they incorporate a sort of skill tree-like structure. Take, for example, the warp ability from the previous games. A powerful biotic spell that shreds armor defenses off enemies. As squad points are now dealt out the ability can be branched into six different categories to make the skill truly unique for every user. If you didn't miss the RPG elements form the original, players can auto-select a recommended best fit for each ability to move through the game faster, but where's the fun in that?
Monday - July 25, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Vote on FemShep
If you want to "like" one of the FemShep models for Mass Effect 3 over at Facebook, you can help choose the in-game default model. They're all the same except for the hair and, as Blue's points out, some of them look a bit like Kurt from Glee.
In vaguely related news, GameSpot has ComicCon details about the Mass Effect movie being produced by Legendary Pictures.
Sunday - July 24, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Seth Green Interview
Alrik points out a interview with Seth Green at Forbes on his various project including, of course, Mass Effect 3:
What do you think so far?
I got to tell you, I came onto this thing because I thought it was going to be a cool game, and I couldn’t believe how they exceeded my expectation and even my imagination. How cool it was, and the response from the first game was so big, that they went deep, and instead of just making a sequel, expanded the second game to make it even more amazing. And I didn’t even think that was possible.
So when I came in to do this recording stuff, I said, ‘Just give me some spoilers, give me some spoilers.’ And they gave me a couple of spoilers, and I wish I could tell you… I just have to say, all the fans that are asking me questions right now, who are like, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if they did this?’ They’re doing that. All the shit where you’re like ‘Oh, it would be so cool if maybe they would do this,’ they’re doing that!
He added: "We're hoping for a big hit. It's the best game we've ever made at BioWare Edmonton. The stuff we're doing - making the gameplay more action-adventre-y, making it on a par with some of the best action games you see today, whilst on top of that adding in these RPG elements that maybe people were upset we didn't focus on as much in Mass Effect 2 - it strikes a balance."
When asked whether the game would have more RPG depth than Mass Effect 2, Silverman commented:
"Absolutely. Hands down. We've done a lot of research about what people liked about Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and other games too - what they like about Gears Of War, Assassin's Creed, Halo, Call Of Duty and lots of RPG games too.
Wednesday - July 20, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Introducing FemShep - David Silverman Interview @ VG247
VG247 did an interview with Bioware's Marketing Director David Silverman. They talk about the introduction of Jane Shepard in ME3's marketing, how the fans reacted to this - and more.
A few excerpts:
If this can happen now, why hasn’t it happened before?
When creating a rich sci-fi epic like Mass Effect, you need to keep a certain level of consistency so people unfamiliar with the property can clearly identify who the hero is that they get to become,” Silverman said. “Had we released images showcasing both a male and female Shepard, people wouldn’t be able to identify who the hero was or what was going on.” Dodging the question of why that hero had to be male, Silverman said BioWare wanted to “acknowledge” the demand for FemShep material.
He also says this about how many people play as a female Commander Shepard:
Overall, 18 percent of everyone who plays Mass Effect plays it with a female character,” Silverman said. He added: “There aren’t enough female heroes in games in general, so it’s something that people can rally around and celebrate. “Jennifer Hale does an absolutely incredible job doing the voice of FemShep, so people really connect with that.
The conclusion - as written by the authour of the article:
It’s notable that FemShep, though a remarkably fit lady whose strength and ability are most attractive, is never presented as a sex object – well, except when rolling around in the hay with a crewmate. If BioWare carries this attitude through its upcoming marketing, FemShep may be one of gaming’s first true feminist and feminine heroes.
Do you agree with this?
Monday - July 18, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Meet James Vega
G4TV has a video introducing James Vega, one of the new companions for Mass Effect 3.
Monday - July 11, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Demo Plans?
BioWare's Casey Hudson has tweeted about potential forthcoming "news" on Mass Effect 3 "demo plans":
Awesome, much appreciated! Stay tuned for news on demo plans in a few months.
Source: Blues News
Mass Effect 3 - Mass Effect Learned Something from Chrono Trigger
Delta Gamer has an editorial that's talking about what the Mass Effect series has learned from Chrono Trigger. Proceed with caution as spoilers abound. A sample:
Chrono Trigger had a silent protagonist. Mass Effect, of course, did not. Yet even here we can find some sort of connection between the two games, as Mass Effect makes no assumptions about the makeup or personality of your Shepard just as Chrono Trigger lets the player project whatever mood or characteristics he fancies onto his Crono. I for one gave my Crono a redneck accent, responding to Frog’s eloquent speeches and Magus’ moody rants with phrases like, “Well, jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! We’d best get a move on if we’s gonna give dat dere Lavos critter a good lickin’!” Come to think of it, maybe that was just me after all. Also, both RPGs give the player control of their parties’ inventories and strategies, even letting the player accept or deny some characters from joining the team.
Friday - July 08, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - PC Digital Deluxe Version on Origin Only
Destructoid has the (unsurprising) news that the PC Digital Deluxe Edition of Mass Effect 3 will only be available on EA's Origin system. To be fair, there's no suggestion the ordinary edition will be exclusive and apparently you get three in-game items for a massive $79.99, so perhaps it's not a big deal it's only on one vendor.
Wednesday - July 06, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - CVG Interview Part 3
How has enemy design changed over the years?
CN: With Mass Effect 2 we had this 'let's come up with cool enemies' approach, and we made each enemy as an individual. Now we look at enemies as a force, with units within the force, and each of them has a role. You end up with this really cool chessboard thing, where you have a knight and a bishop, they'll work together in one way but if you have a knight and a rook, they'll work together in a different way. It's giving our level designers and combat designers a lot more opportunities, not with heavy scripting, but just by combining these pieces that work together in new and interesting ways.
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer
Ten Ton Hammer has a preview up for this game. It seems to based on what Bioware showed in the ME3 demo at last month's E3. Here's a snip about combat mechs:
Another interesting new twist to combat is the inclusion of heavy combat mechs that Shepard will be able to hijack. That is, assuming you’re able to take out the enemy unit piloting one without blowing the thing up in the process. It’s hard to say how frequently we’ll be given the opportunity – it may be only seeded in a few individual missions, or mechs may be seen extensively throughout the game – but considering the immense scale of the Reapers we can only assume that Shepard will be given the firepower to match when needed.
Monday - July 04, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Playable @ Eurogamer Expo
Apparently Mass Effect 3 will be available to play at the upcoming Eurogamer Expo, says Eurogamer. They sure get them out fast these days.
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ CVG Part 2
Part two of the interview for ME3 is up at CVG. They talk about, sound, music, art and working with Dice. Here's a quote on the building of combat levels:
BioWare tend to build spaces that often feel like they exist only to have a fight in, not to live and work in. How important is it to fix that?
NL: Absolutely important. All the departments are involved now - we'll have writers and combat designers in and we'll really talk about the history of the places.
DL: We're really pushing the variety within the levels, so you're not walking into the same room just decorated differently. We're really trying to push each room as a functional space. A hallway has a function for people working there, and we're just trying to really make sense of it in the game.
Source: RPG Codex
Friday - July 01, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview Roundup # 2
More previews for this game have surfaced. I'll quote from one and list the others:
Many choices in Mass Effect 3 will also count towards the way Shepard prepares for battle. Gamers who thought that weapon customization in Mass Effect 2 was too streamlined and became too easy will be happy. Deeper weapon customization will make its return to the series. Shepard can now stop at work benches (scattered across the game like in Dead Space) to customize his/her weapons using items that have been found throughout the game.
Players will also be able to customize their skills on a deeper level. We were shown how the combat mastery skill can be directed towards improving either combat strength or Shepard’s influence on characters. Before, the question regarding how to customize your character’s attributes was be “how many skill points do I want to invest in combat mastery?” The question becomes more complex in Mass Effect 3 as skills can now be evolved through multiple paths
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ AusGamers
AusGamers talked to David Silverman from Bioware about this game at E3 last month. They talked about how the game's Kinect support will play out, how the sequel's Paragon/Renegade choices will be presented, why the game was delayed, and more. It is a very informative interview so here's a lengthy quote:
AusGamers: In terms of the structure of gameplay versus the RPG and story elements, there was a really good balance between action and talking and drama in the other games but this one seems like it’s going to be really over-the-top action. Can we expect more action this time around or still that nice balance that you guys have struck?
So people that like to play more tactical, someone that wants to be calling out commands to their squad-mates. If you want to be stealth-like, you can use the cover system and some new mobility maneuvers. We have the omni-blade which lets you pull guys from cover and smack them down. And then there’s guys who like to play run and gun and the game can adapt to that. So it’s really giving you the choices how you play the game then also how you lead. The final demo we have really talks more about the emotion and the storytelling. We have the next generation of digital acting that we’re doing in Mass Effect 3 and really conveying the sense of personal story as you see what’s unfolding; as The Reapers are attacking.
And here's a snip about how the Kinéct feature will work in the game:
AusGamers: Now finally, last question. Kinect; voice-control. Where did that come from?
David: Well at BioWare -- again -- we’re all about making immersive experiences and the technology in Kinect provided a very unique opportunity for us to experiment with “How do we take this emergence to the next level?” And using the speech-recognition technology that’s built into Kinect really allowed us to do something very cool. Not only could you navigate the dialogue conversations just by speaking them, but what’s really cool for me personally, is being able to issue commands when you’re on the battlefield.
Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ Wired
Wired has preview for this game which includes some comments made by Jesse Houston during E3. He talks about the mistakes they recently made and what they learned from them. And how they're using this when developing Mass Effect 3.
We learned a lot about the way story flow should work” from Dragon Age 2, Houston said. “I don’t want to go into too many details, but ultimately, we’ve listened to the fans in a big way: We’re taking it very, very seriously and we’re committed to making sure we don’t repeat mistakes.
Houston also commented about the custumizations options in Mass Effect 3
Houston says that rather than remove the customization feature entirely, BioWare will make it more intuitive. Instead of juggling a screen full of numbers, players will be able to alter specific, functional aspects of a weapon like the size of its ammo clip or the frequency of its firing rate.
Source: Blues News
Thursday - June 30, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ CVG
Part 1 of an interview with Casey Hudson and Derek Watts on Mass Effect 3 is up at CVG. In this snip, they talk about RPG elements:
What feedback really has changed Mass Effect 3?
People really want us to deepen the RPG aspect of the experience. We interpret that as being about the kind of intelligent decision making around how you progress. To us, the RPG experience isn't necessarily about stats and loot. It's about exploration and combat and making a good character-driven story and good progression.
We had progression in Mass Effect 2 in armour and weapon choices but that activity chain was too simple. That whole activity chain I think was a button we weren't really pushing in ME2 and specifically were trying to hit for ME3.
Wednesday - June 29, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ Forbes
Forbes talked to Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, the co-founders of Bioware, about Mass Effect 3 and how they got into the gaming industry. First a quote about Mass Effect 3:
How difficult is it to script and produce a game where you know certain characters aren’t going to exist for certain users?
Greg Zeschuk: Oh, we don’t like to do the easy stuff. We’ve always strived to make games that make you think. They’re more mentally engaging, they’re thought provoking, there are dimensions to them that you don’t see in other games. I think one of the fun things for us, when we know we’ve really nailed it, is when when players get together and talk about their experience, and they’re quite different, so much that they may seem like different games. That’s one of the things we’ve really been trying to nail.
Next a quote about how they got into the gaming industry:
What were you playing, computer role-playing games, or tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons?
Ray Muzyka: I got into video games and PC games pretty quickly, but I did play D&D a little bit. I read through some of the other roleplaying systems, too. I found it really interesting to read. I always had this fascination with the source books, I’d just kind of open up the Dungeon Master’s Guide, read through and think about scenarios.
Greg Zeschuk: It’s interesting, because some folks just don’t have a sense of imagination. I mean, one way we describe why we are no longer doctors, kind of a joke, is that there’s no creative doctors.
Ray Muzyka: We don’t like doctors applying creative solutions that aren’t tested.
Friday - June 24, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - BioWare Pulse Video
BioWare has kicked up a video featuring Mass Effect 3 lead animator Scott Mitchell showing off the "Atlus", an enemy mech that players can take over and pilot.
Wednesday - June 22, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Preview Roundup
More previews for this game have surfaced. I quote from one of them and list the others:
And here's a secret opinion I've been keeping that might not make me very popular: Mass Effect was never particularly good as an RPG in the first place. Its upgrade and inventory system was clunky and confusing and the planet exploration was bunk. That Mass Effect 2 streamlined and refined such things was a welcome change. Mass Effect's true strength has always lain in its interesting, if imperfect, combat and its magnificent world building and characters.
And then then others:
Tuesday - June 21, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Bioware to be at San Diego Comic Com
Chris Priestly updated the Bioware ME3 forums with this news. Here's part of the announcement:
BioWare is once again returning to the San Diego Comic Con and this year, we are bringing Mass Effect 3 and a never before seen, Dragon Age II DLC with us. Comic Con begins Thursday July 21 and runs through Sunday July 24 and we will have all sorts of awesome BioWare coolness at our base in the Hilton Gaslamp hotel.
As you can see there will also be DLC for DA2.
Thursday - June 16, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - More MP Rumours
Mass Effect 3 multiplayer rumours continue with Eurogamer posting some vague comments from "reports" and a "source". Head over if you are interested.
Monday - June 13, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - E3 Previews
A trio of Mass Effect 3 previews from E3.
From PC Gamer:
The good is definitely interacting with your *other* companion characters (you know the ones you always leave behind on the ship) while out on a mission, even though you haven’t selected them to join my squad. Based on the videos and demos I saw at E3 this year, it seems likely that this could be a regular occurrence in ME3. At different points, I saw Legion driving a massive tank through a wall across a chasm from Shepard (later, Shepard jumped on top of the tank and used its turret to paint a massive Reaper with fiery lead), Mordin interacting with different scientific consoles inside locked areas, and Ashely and Joker swooping in on the Normandy to give you some much-needed air support. It’s a terrific way to remind you that you’re part of a big crew, working together – not just a pack of three characters conquering the galaxy while their entourage sits on their butts waiting back on the Normandy.
Source: Blues News
Friday - June 10, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Kinect Will Widen Audience
Apparently adding Kinect support to Mass Effect 3 will allow EA to capture the Dance Central and Call of Duty markets - or something like that. Head to Eurogamer for an interview on ME3 and the Kinect if you want more.
Wednesday - June 08, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Previews @ Joystiq, Eurogamer
A couple of E3 previews for Mass Effect 3. Joystiq says more shooter-y, which I've noted before:
We got to play through one short segment of the game, and while we didn't see a lot of the RPG elements in that part, it's safe to say that the combat is coming together to be some of the best the series has ever seen.
...and Eurogamer says the same thing:
The story of Mass Effect is about more than Commander Shepard's race to save the galaxy from the threat of the Reapers. It's also about how BioWare's game has gone from an RPG with shooter elements to a third-person shooter with light RPG touches.
Tuesday - June 07, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Collectors Edition Announced
Following the E3 coverage for ME3, Chris Priestly updated the Bioware forums with this thread, announcing the N7 Collector's Edition of ME3 available from March 6th 2012, the game's release date, at 79.99 US dollars. Without sounding too much like an add for Bioware, here's what in the N7 Collector's Edition.
Premium metal case featuring commemorative artwork of both male and female versions of Commander Shepard.
• 70-page hardbound art book featuring hundreds of unique and gorgeous illustrations from the BioWare development team.
• Limited edition Mass Effect comic by Dark Horse Comics, complete with unique cover artwork.
• Join the ranks of the N7 with the premium fabric N7 patch.
• Exclusive 4x6 lithographic print featuring a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork.
• A full collection of in-game content that can’t be found anywhere else!
o N7 Arsenal Pack – Bring the firepower with the N7 Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, SMG, and Pistol.
o Robotic Dog – A faithful sidekick to keep you company on board the Normandy.
o Squadmate Alternate Outfit Pack – New appearances for squad members Ashley, Kaiden, James and Liara.
o N7 Hoodie – For Commander Shepard’s casual days on board the Normandy.
• Relive all the greatest moments of Mass Effect 3 with the digital soundtrack.
• Xbox LIVE Normandy prop for your Avatar. (Available on Xbox 360 version only.)
• Display your initiation in the N7 ranks with a collection of forum and social badges, avatars, and perks.
Also, Chris said this:
The Mass Effect 3 N7 Collector's Edition is available for pre-order at participating retailers for $79.99 in limited quantities.
I wonder what happened to pre-ordering?
Chaoz14 mentions in the thread that there will also be Digital Deluxe Edition available through EA's download managher, now called Origin.
And Chris forgot to mention the following features for the PC's CE:
* Free tool set compatible with ME1, ME2 and M3
* Free DX12 stereoscopic high resolution textures
* Free touch screen support
* Free Logitech LCD support for G13, G19 and other keyboards
* 5 Extra SecuROM™ activations
For the regular (non-CE) release the above free items will be made available for 560 BW points each and the tool set for just 3200 BW points. Additional SecuROM™ activations will be available for 160 BW points each.
All CEs can only be pre-ordered in the month December, PC's CE only avialable through EA's Origin. Price to be announced.
The above news from AngryFrozenWater is a joke e.g. fake as pr. Fraper's post in
this thread. Sorry for the confusion .
Mass Effect 3 - E3 Coverage
In our post here, we told that ME3 was dated, showed a gameplay trailer and showed some screens also. The E3 covearge for ME3 continues at GameTrailers. They have a lot of interesting videos about Mass Effect 3, there's a new features interview with Casey Hudson,
a trailer about how the invasion begins, as well as the ME3 trailer shown at EA's Press Conference.
Daniel Kaiser from Spike TV (GTTV) talked with Casey Hudson who said this
showing behind closed doors...combat...cut scenes....this is how the actual game is gonna play
In this walkthrough, Casey Hudson explains that melee attacks are now better, you have a new weapon called the omniblade, Shepard will have combat rolls now, and tactics matter much more now when taking out tough enemies. He also talks about the characters in the game and how you can play in stealth mode. He also talks about the rpg elements in the game.
Thanks to Niten Ryu at the Obsidian forums for help with finding this.
Source: Obsidian Entertainment
Monday - June 06, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Dated, Gameplay Trailer, Screens
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a Mass Effect 3 gameplay trailer that ends with the now-revealed released date: March 6th, 2012. You can also grab a handful of screens from Joystiq.
In related news, the BioWare Mass Effect subsite has been made over for the new game.
Mass Effect 3 - Kinect Support - Voice Control shown at E3
In our post here, we told about the possibility for Kinect Support for Mass Effect 3. Via Microsoft's Press Conference at E3, Bioware's Ray Muzyka just announced this feature to be in ME3. Head over to GameTrailers and learn that Kinect in ME 3 will be for voice control only - this means you'll now be able to shout commands to your team mates and read Shepard's lines aloud. And watch your team mates and npcs reacts to your voice - or rather Shepard's voice.
Thanks to Niten Ruy at the Obsidian boards for help with finding this.
Source: Obsidian Entertainment
Friday - June 03, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Hands-on @ IGN
From Cover to Combat is the title of a hands-on preview of Mass Effect 3 at IGN. More shooter-y is probably the summary:
My playtime with Mass Effect 3 was set on the Salarian homeworld of Sur'Kesh. Ostensibly, my job was to escort a Krogan princess offworld. But in practice, my main job was kicking Cerberus ass across a science station, and Shepard was more equipped than ever to get the job done.
A host of seemingly small additions have changed the way Mass Effect 3 plays. Basic character movement is more responsive for starters, more animated. Guiding Shepard around is less of a struggle than it's ever been. Aiming also felt snappier, and guns have the punch now that they've always lacked.
In other ME3 news, 1Up hears rumours of Kinect support.
Wednesday - May 18, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - How your choices determine the ending
PC Gamer chats with Casey Hudson about the impact of choices during Mass Effect 3 on the ending in a short, two-question interview:
PC Gamer: So it’s not like, if I let the Rachni live, now I can’t complete the game because they’ve killed everyone. But maybe I can’t get the ultra-nice ending where everything works out perfectly?
Casey Hudson: I think a way to think about it is if you made decisions early on, you’ll see them affecting this. And the decisions you might want to make that go against those prior things are gonna be harder. Killing the Rachni might present opportunities in Mass Effect 3 that you wouldn’t otherwise have, but if you don’t take those opportunities and you try and do something in opposition to that, then it would be harder for you than if you work with it. Similarly with the decisions at the end of Mass Effect 2, for whether you saved the base or destroyed it.
And so all the different things that you do, if you do a little side quest, or you go off and do a major plot, these things contribute to the war effort. If you just rip straight down the critical path and try and finish the game as soon as you can, and do very little optional or side stuff, then you can finish the game. You can have some kind of ending and victory, but it’ll be a lot more brutal and minimal relative to if you do a lot of stuff. If you really build a lot of stuff and bring people to your side and rally the entire galaxy around you, and you come into the end game with that, then you’ll get an amazing, very definitive ending.
Monday - May 16, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - More Romance Options
There seems to be a fascination with whether games like Mass Effect 3 will have gay romance options for reasons that completely escape me. Since every site on the planet is running this as a major story, we might as well join in. A tweet from Casey Hudson:
Happy to confirm #ME3 supports wider options for love interests incl. same-sex for m&f chars, reactive to how you interact w/them in-game.
Source: Blues News
Saturday - May 07, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - No "meaningless stats"
OXM UK has a couple of small quotes from BioWare's Christina Norman on Mass Effect 3's combat. There won't be any background stats (or, at least, not "meaningless" ones) guiding combat - but since that was the direction already taken by ME2, it's no surprise:
"We want to enrich the role-playing aspects of the game, while making sure that they're always meaningful in combat," Norman told OXM when asked whether the threequel's fleet-footed tactical gunplay might clash with its RPG elements.
"We don't want to have any meaningless behind-the-scenes stat games, where the output is very minor in combat. Every single thing you do has a real impact in the battle."
Wednesday - May 04, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Delayed Until 2012 Quarter 1 and two new screenshots
Chris Priestly just updated the Mass Effect forums with this news. Here's a quote:
Today we have confirmed that Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.” said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer Mass Effect series.
Wednesday - April 27, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Series Origins Interview @ GameInformer
BioWare's Casey Hudson chats with GameInformer about the origins of the Mass Effect series and "why Mass Effect's director doubts a trilogy of this size and scope will ever happen again". Game producers not making sequels? Doesn't sound a problem to me.
Friday - April 22, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Screens @ GameInformer
GameInformer has a couple of new Mass Effect 3 screens, not included in the initial reveal.
Friday - April 08, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - GameInformer Tidbits
Tidbits from the GameInformer Mass Effect 3 reveal are popping up all over the place. Apparently the game won't be multiplayer (though they are looking at that for future/spinoff games) and the RPG elements are "being beefed up". Head over to NeoGAF, Rock, Paper, Shotgun or VG247 for examples.
Thursday - April 07, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - GameInformer's May Cover Article
Is it just me, or did this come around quickly? It's time for the official Mass Effect 3 reveal with a big GameInformer cover article in the May edition. You can check out the cover art in the meantime.
In other Mass Effect news, an anime movie deal has been announced:
EA AND FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE MASS EFFECT ANIME MOVIE DEALHome Video Adaptation of Award-Winning Sci-Fi Game Scheduled for Release in 2012Guildford, UK.- April 7, 2011 – BioWare™, a division of leading video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) and FUNimation® Entertainment, the leading distributor of Japanese animation in North America, announced today an agreement to create an anime feature film adapted from one of the video game industry’s most revered franchises, Mass Effec t™. Tokyo-based anime and international feature film production company T.O Entertainment, Inc. has signed on as a co-producer on the video. Based on the Mass Effect universe, the anime video will tell the tale of an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets.
Casey Hudson of BioWare, executive producer of the Mass Effect series, will serve as executive producer on the film, along with FUNimation President and CEO Gen Fukunaga and Director of Original Entertainment Chris Moujaes and T.O Entertainment’s CEO Takeichi Honda and Yui Shibata.
Monday - April 04, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - The Joker Returns
I'd have been surprised if he didn't but Alrik points out Seth Green has confirmed via Twitter he will be reprising his role as Joker in Mass Effect 3:
Confirmed: I'm reprising my Joker role in #MassEffect3. I look forward to completing many more missions with you sir, or mademoiselle.
Thursday - February 10, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Composer Interview
The Mass Effect 3 composer has been revealed as Clint Mansell, well-known for composing the music to Black Swan. Alrik points out a lengthy interview at The Quietus, mostly about his other work. A snip:
Do you do much work for other outlets like computer games? Mike Patton, for example, has most recently voiced The Darkness.
CM: I'm doing a video game this year actually. Mass Effect 3. Funnily enough, talking about Mike, we've exchanged emails about the possibility of doing a show featuring the Quartet and people they've collaborated with. It'd be a Kronos show, with different rooms for other people to do their thing, then bringing it all together. It's pretty cool-sounding.
I'm definitely interested in different outlets – that's one of the reasons I get involved in short films. It's not so much that I can experiment as it is to be in a situation where nobody's looking over your shoulder. Short films are usually made by young people and they've got ideas I can bounce off. They can take me in a different direction.
Saturday - February 05, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - "Info" @ IGN
It's Friday afternoon and you need something to fill the X360 games page - luckily, the intern thinks the cleaner in the building across the road could bash out a credible article on Mass Effect 3, becaue they once watched their nephew play Mass Effect. At least, that's how I imagine this article came about:
What does it play like?
We haven't seen any gameplay footage of Mass Effect 3, but we have created a list of features we want. We imagine it will be extremely similar to Mass Effect 2, which means you can expect dynamic, cinematic conversations mixed with intense battles.
Thursday - January 20, 2011
Mass Effect 3 - Trailer Dissected @ GameTrailers
GameTrailers has dissected the Mass Effect 3 teaser trailer in what they call a "Pop-Block", freezing the action and overlaying comentary.
Thursday - December 23, 2010
Mass Effect 2 - PS 3 Video Interview
Destructoid talked with Casey Hudson, project director for ME2. In this video interview Casey talks about the ideas behind the universe, what PS3 players should expect and much more.
Based on Casey's answer to the last question, the interview probably took place before Bioware announced ME3.
Monday - December 20, 2010
Mass Effect 3 - Timed Dialogue?
GameBanshee highlights an interview snip from the VGAs that seems to suggest Mass Effect 3 will have some sort of timed dialogue:
Hip Hop Gamer: There's something I really like about Mass Effect, when you're talking with people you can choose what you want to say and make it more personal. I like that you can do that, but I didn't like that there's no time limit. I can fall asleep and the person will just be standing there with no answer. There's a game, Alpha Protocol, that gives you that pressure, you'll have to answer it real quick. Will we see that in Mass Effect 3, to add more intensity and realism to confrontations?
Muzyka: Yes. I think it adds a sense of visceral excitement to the experience, it's really critical. There's various ways to do that, but that's always real cool.
They also respond on MP, and the non-answer suggests it will be a feature to me.
Monday - December 13, 2010
Mass Effect 3 - Officially Announced
Again, an official announcement. EA seems to like early preorders, because you can already slap your cash down for Mass Effect 3:
Today BioWare is pleased to officially announce Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3 is the sequel to the 2010 action-RPG of the year, Mass Effect 2. You can now PRE-ORDER your copy of Mass Effect 3.
Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the earth.
In related news, ME3 will be coming to all three platforms. From twitter (thanks, VG247):
Mass Effect 3 is coming to Xbox 360, PC and..... PS3! Don't forget ME2 hits PS3 next month.
Sunday - December 12, 2010
Mass Effect 3 - Charting the Plot Points
IGN has a piece called Charting the Plot Points that looks at the some of the major plot points from the Mass Effect series and discusses the situation with a few of the major characters and galactic species. Not quote, because it's all spoiler territory if you haven't played the first two.
Mass Effect 3 - Unveiled at the VGAs
This one was easy to pick...Mass Effect 3 has been unveiled at the VGAs. Here's the teaser from Gametrailers:
Friday - December 10, 2010
Mass Effect 3 - EA Store Reveals Premise
The EA store has accidentally (?) outed Mass Effect 3, prematurely listing the title, which has since been pulled. Destructoid got a screen grab and here's the description:
Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth.
The cynical view might be this is more viral marketing for their upcoming game reveal.