With Mass Effect 3 approaching closer and closer to hitting our consoles, the developers have a goal in mind when it comes to the story that should be satisfying to both the long-time fans and also the first-timers of the series. However, if the recent statements are anything to go off of, the hardcore fan base doesn’t seemed to pleased with this ‘balance’ that BioWare is shooting for.
Mass Effect 3 has to carry the momentum of financial and critical success and also set for a release across the Xbox 360, PS3, and also the PC. The potential for this game is definitely an extreme high. But as it becomes more and more known amongst gamers, how can a development team make a compelling narrative that also carries a significance for players who have logged easiley over 100 hours into the game already (much like myself)?
In a recent interview with CVG, BioWare Marketing Head David Silverman explained that a balance like this is certainly not easy, but it has been done before. He compares it to the Star Wars trilogy, where technically we began halfway through a six-part story, audiences didn’t need to enjoy, or even know the backstory for it to be successful. Although, Mass Effect 3’s plot is essentially all about a giant war, Silverman does not think it should be a problem.
“What we’re trying to do with Mass Effect 3 is that it’s a new beginning for the series. It’s probably a natural entry point. Given the fact this is the beginning of an all-out war with this ancient alien race. We’ve been foreshadowing this war with this race that’s been dormant for 50,000 years. Well now they’ve finally woken up, launching their full scale invasion and trying to wipe out all life as we know it. It’s a natural point for people to jump in.
“To use that Star Wars analogy, when you started on episode IV, you didn’t realise you were missing anything, right? There was the Death Star, and there was the empire; they were attacking and Luke Skywalker was going in to take ‘em down… You didn’t need to know that there three movies before that setting up who Darth Vader and Anakin were. It’s kind of a similar thing. In ME3, you’re going to start the war and end the war in the same game. It’s pretty self-contained.”
From what the game has shown us already, unfamiliar players of the series are very likely to be pulled in within the first few minutes. If you are a fan of the previous games, you will definitely enjoy seeing characters that you have had experiences with, even romantic relationships with. BioWare even promised that past decisions will still have consequences, it doesn’t mean the story can’t be entertaining all on its own.
However, if you are a die-hard fan who was hoping that your playthrough will be much more profound and meaningful, you may want to skip this next quote.
“We’ve really struck a great balance. Obviously, if you’ve played the game before you’ll see things that apply to you… And even if you’ve played the games multiple times before – Mass Effect came out almost eight years ago – you’re not going to remember all the details from when you played that game, right? Even I can’t recall everything that happened to me when that came out in 2007. It’s human nature. We’re not Rain Man…
“I think this is definitely the best chance we have in the series to really break out and go truly blockbuster. It really is a natural entry point for people: giant alien race launches all-out war, you have to rally the forces of the universe to counter and see if you can take them down. That’s pretty clear. You don’t need to be like: ‘Well, what about when I had this love affair?’ It’s like, who cares? It’s all out war!
“New people will get it, but existing fans will see the stakes being raised. It will still have levels of nuance – I don’t want to spoil anything – but you’re definitely going to be seeing things that you’ll be like: ‘Oh, I remember that!’
That being said, these comments will probably kill a hardcore, RPG-loving, emotinally invested Mass Effect player. One of the best parts about this game is how your past decisions can affect the game’s future (even from game-to-game). The fact that it won’t be as highly affected this time around is defintely a big let down for most.
Everyone will just have to wait and see when the game is finally released to be certain on the changes; we just hope that BioWare can bring more fans than ever before. But hopefully not at the expense of those who helped them get there.