Hopefully everyone is enjoying an action packed E3 extravaganza this week! For those of us at home who are still enjoying the tactical bliss that is Mass Effect multiplayer, we have some info about this weekend’s community challenge. Unlike the “kill” and “promote” objectives we’ve seen in the past, Operation Mastiff will require the community to complete 100,000 delivery missions, the new objective included in the free Rebellion pack.
Mass Effect 3 lead producer Casey Hudson and a handful the game’s creators are excited about their new game. So excited in fact, that they can’t keep their mouths shut. These are confirmed plot details along with a bit of a commentary by yours truly, a self proclaimed Mass Effect fanatic. Just to clarify these comments are quite “spoilerish”, so if you’re worried about learning the details of ME:3, I’d stop reading right now.
CASEY HUDSON ON SQUAD-MATES:
“Twelve was a big number in Mass Effect 2 – almost too big, we’re focused on a smaller squad with deeper relationships and more interesting interplay in Mass Effect 3. We’re not going to have twelve again but we are going to do more with the characters on your squad including Liara, and Kaidan or Ashley. And we’re bringing everyone back – every main character is in Mass Effect 3 somewhere, Zaeed is in, plus Thane, Mordin and the rest, all knocking about somewhere in the galaxy, doing something appropriate for their character and with the same lavish redesigns given to every core character in the game.”
This is a shame, I’d love to see everyone back on the Normandy ready for action, but I fully understand why this had to be done. Let’s just hope these characters get the proper send off that they deserve.
ART DIRECTOR DEREK WATTS ON JACK:
“She’s matured,maybe she’s softened up a bit. You can only stay punk rock for so long, you know. Even Johnny Rotten eventually goes, ‘I’ve got to do something different’. She’d get tired of walking around completely naked and she’d probably grow her hair out, but she’s still Jack and still kinda punk – shaved at the sides with a ponytail at the back.”
Jack all grown up with hair? She’s grown to become a favorite of mine, and I had to really bust my ass to regain her loyalty after her fight with Miranda..
ART DIRECTOR DEREK WATTS ON RE-DESIGN:
“We have to update the look, And the people who redesign the characters are the same people who did the original characters; and they know best how these things are supposed to mature. Stuff changes. Garrus’ armour is going to change. Even Shepard has changed quite a bit. His armour has changed a lot since the first Mass Effect”
Can’t wait to see how the old crew looks with a new set of clothes, bring it on!
ART DIRECTOR DEREK WATTS ON THE NORMANDY SR2:
“Formerly a Cerberus vessel, Shepard’s return to the Alliance has seen the ship repainted with the Alliance colour scheme and several new sections of the shop reopened up to exploration. The Normandy drops yellow, white, and black in favour of red, white and blue following its Alliance refit.” “…the SR2 will be filled with Alliance engineers dissecting the advanced Cerberus technology.”
With Tricia Helfer in the studio this week recording dialog, we know that EDI will be back in full effect!
ART DIRECTOR DEREK WATTS ON CERBERUS:
“Regardless of how you finished ME2, Cerberus are now your enemy and are throwing their black and yellow-clad commandos at Shepard for reasons he’ll discover later in the game when, as Bioware confirm then Illusive Man returns”
I think we all knew that Cerberus were the bad guys? Did anyone actually save that Collector ship? I mean, their leader’s name is “The Illusive Man”, not “The Friendly Man”..
CASEY HUDSON ON CERBERUS:
“You were begrudgingly working for Cerberus in ME2, but they’ve gone a bit further and Shepard has returned to the Alliance so Cerberus troops are a major threat.” “Cerberus heavy troopers wear enormous armour, Assassins use the same Biotics as Shepard and Phantoms use blades.”
Very much looking forward to the new melee attacks. Rumor has it melee will factor in much more heavily this time around… Oh yeah and the infiltrator has blade of some sort.
CASEY HUDSON ON WEAPONS:
“Every weapoin is modular and can be customised with up to five modifcations; scopes increase a rifle’s zoom factor, new barrels increase accuracy or damage. Sling your gun on a workbench and it can be customised for a job at hand. Guns sound better too…”
Hudson goes on to explain that they talked to the folks at DICE to help with weapon realism. Awesome! The guys are DICE are the best in the business. /tips hat
CASEY HUDSON ON SHEPARD’S REFLEXES:
“As Shepard you’re more agile than ever before, you’re falling, climbing, jumping, rolling between cover, SWAT turning, you can melee and grab enemies over cover objects… there’s a new heavy melee attack for every class. You just feel way more mobile…”
DESIGNER COREY GASPUR ON COMBAT:
“Cerberus Troopers can do everything that Shepard can do now, so your fighting a force that’s a lot more punishing”
LEAD GAMEPLAY DESIGNER CHRISTINA NORMAN ON COMBAT:
“We wanted to make it so that when the player’s fighting in the moment they feel like they have more options than aiming shooting and using powers. We really want to make mobility a factor that plays into combat. You’ll always ask yourself, ‘am I in the right position on the battlefield? Where are my enemies? How am I going to get from point A to point B?’ Players should never be walking into these safe places with great cover and stay there for the whole fight. It’s about how you’re going to move through the battlefield as the enemies through the battefield move through the battlefield and how they’re reacting to one another and to you”
I mentioned to Norman over XBL that I greatly enjoyed the cover system in Vaquish. We’ll see if the devs checked out Platinum’s 3rd person cover based shooter.
CASEY HUDSON ON VIOLENCE:
“The new combat system makes for a bloodier and more violent game, the husks are faster and more aggressive versions of the ones you’ve seen before, but whether they’re robots or they’re organic you can shoot parts off and they will all have multiple stages of damage. AI Enemies now work as a unit each with unique roles, some will provide covering fire for snipers, some will deploy smoke tohide advancing comrades, others will coordinate subordinate units, and one will stomp around consuming its fallen friends to fuel itself”
Thank you for knowing how to program A.I. — I’m looking at you BRINK (sigh)
CASEY HUDSON ON COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:
“We’ve taken a lot of feedback from the Mass Effect community,more than anything, people want us to deepen the RPG aspect of the experience. Now, that isn’t necessarily something traditional; about stats and loot; we see it as being more about exploration and making a good character-driven story with intelligent decision-making in how you progress. I think specifically we wanted to do more with the sense of progression. We had that sense in ME2, but only in a few (for example) your armour choices, your weapon choices and the things you find. That activity chain was too simple and it didn’t allow you to make choices that could customise your experience. You could choose different weapons and stuff like that but you couldn’t invest in the weapons like you can in ME3. You can see how modifications change different attributes, and start making choices about your value and which ones you would rather sell and which ones you think are rare. That whole activity coain was a button we weren’t really pushing in ME2 and something we’re trying to hit throughout ME3.”
I thought that the shift in ME:2 was a positive one. I am however glad they’re adding more RPG elements to the game.
- Turian homeworld Palaven and theQuarian homeworld Rannoch are early new destinations
- Returning to Tuchanka
- Mining base on the edge of a Martian crater
- Earth cities which form the game’s showpiece locations
- The Seatle/Vancouver megacity on the west coast of North America is a truly gigantic space which Shepard will visit before and after the Reapers take it apart
Very nice, I’m hoping there is still a bit of exploration and/or the capacity to explore at my own pace.
MASSIVE LEVEL SIZE AND LEVEL VARIETY:
“These spaces large enough to accommodate a six hundred foot Reaper bossfight, and a fifty foot Cerberus Atlas mech Shepard himself pilots later in the game.”
“Overand over Bioware’s team mention the scale of ME3 – every fight every enemy and every space is bigger than anything you’ve ever seen rendered in Mass Effect – or by the Unreal Engine – before.”
“You could always tell when a fight was coming,you would walk iunto a room filled with low cover and before we could get dramatic about it you already knew a fight was coming. So now we’re building environments that don’t have crates and sandbags and that kind of cover; we have environments that have natural opportunities to take cover. And it helps that Shepard can climb and fall and SWAT turn and leaps across gaps and stuff like that. It allows you to look around your environment and solve problems in that space and makes combat less predictable. I think Lair of the Shadow Broker is a good look at how we design levels now. It’s all about sudden shifts in the action. There’s a section on Earth where you’re running a narrow walkway and there’s a war going on all around you and a ship is in the distance. Suddenly its nuclear core blows up and its suchs a shockwave that it knocks you off the walkway and you end up sliding down the glass face of a knocked over high-rise and then you kind of roll and catch yourself and all that happens in a moment of gameplay. You have control thoughout and that’s when you’ll realise annything could happen at any time”
Bioware is no dummy. They actually look at the community feedback and analyze it. We all loved Shadow Broker, so they made ME:3 a bit like Shadow Broker
CHRISTINA NORMAN ON ENEMIES
“We definitely want you to feel that the enemies you’re fighting are more complex, that they have multiple behaviors and that they’re reacting to whats going on.” “With ME2 we made each enemy as an individual. Now we look at enemies as a force, with each of them having rolls and capabilities. Its giving our level designers and combat designers a lot more opportunity to create really interesting combat, not with heavy scripting, but by combining these pieces that work together in really new and interesting ways.”
CASEY HUDSON ON SPACE ZOMBIES
“The Husks in the first and second game were humans that had been converted by Reaper technology,now you’re gonna see all the different races in the galaxy converted by that technology – the Asari, the Rachni – all mashed together by the Reapers.”
I for one would love to see a Vorcha Husk…crazy
CASEY HUDSON ON IMPORTING YOUR SAVED GAMES:
“Whether you killed or saved Wrex…the Rachni Queen decision…the council…If you have the opportunity to import a saved game then there is a lot of texture to the way that shapes your story. Players have made a lot of choices along the way. We have a big spreadsheet.”
Can’t freaking wait…