It’s amazing to me how much information has been released on Mass Effect 3 before E3 has even taken place. I’m not complaining about the information, just wondering how much news about this game will be released at E3 now.
To begin with Casey Hudson, the executive producer for the Mass Effect series, announced on BioWare’s message boards that Mass Effect 3 has been delayed. BioWare is now targeting an early 2012 release date. Specifically, the first 3 months of 2012. Personally, I have no issue with this. BioWare is taking steps to ensure the game is released at their usual level, i.e. high quality. If it takes a few extra months to get Mass Effect 3 and that causes it to be better I’m good with it.
There’s some additional bits of information coming out. Firstly, BioWare is cutting down on the number of squad-mates that Shepard can have. In Mass Effect 2 there were 12 squad-mates which is probably too many. There were members of my team that I never used and I didn’t struggle either. I think it’s a smart call by BioWare to cut down the squad-mates to a manageable number. Mass Effect 3 director Casey Hudson provided a little more information regarding the characters in the game:
“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.”
Provided Tali survived the playthough of Mass Effect 2 she will be back as a playable character in the sequel. No news on other fan favorites like Wrex or Garrus. Note that Hudson didn’t say all the returning characters were all playable though. But at least they are coming back. It should be very cool to see some of the characters again.
One Possible Team
Continuing on the character development side of things, Hudson gave some details regarding character romances. There will be no new romance options in the game. Meaning there are no new characters for your Shepard to woo. Additionally he stated that about 70% of Mass Effect players were unfaithful to their love interests from the first game. This is supposedly a choice that will come back to haunt Shepard in Mass Effect 3. I’m curious to see how they work this in, but I’m not concerned about the consequences despite my Shepard being unfaithful to Ashley.
As has been mentioned previously, the combat mechanics are being tweaked for Mass Effect 3. No longer will a player be able to hide behind cover and pick off all enemies. Hudson provided a good deal of information about the new combat mechanics and level design and how that effect his female Shepard.
“[Shepard is] 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 could always tell when a fight was coming [in Mass Effect 2]. You would walk into 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.”
It is a very good point, you could tell when fights were coming in Mass Effect 2. The improvements in Mass Effect 3 should allow for a lot more surprise when it comes to battles against Shepard’s enemies. Also, the enemy AI has been enhanced to make enemies smarter and able to set traps for Shepard. With the improved combat mechanics comes new locations to travel to. These include Turian and Quarian homeworlds of Palaven and Rannoch early in the game, as well as a return to Tuchanka, a mining base on a Martian crater and the game’s main showpiece locations, cities on Earth. These levels will be designed to cater to the new combat mechanics. All in all, it should be a great combination.
Finally, BioWare has set things up so that character weapons can be customized to your heart’s content. According to Hudson, “Every weapon is modular and can be customized with up to five modifications; 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.” To me this reads that you can tailor your weapons to each mission. Sometimes you might want a more powerful weapon at the cost of accuracy but other missions might call for a highly accurate weapon that might not be as powerful as others in the arsenal. Players will have to make decisions like this before every mission.
It really looks like Mass Effect 3 is shaping up to be an incredible game. To be honest, that’s what I expect from BioWare. All of the BioWare games I’ve played have sucked me into the world and been incredibly entertaining. There’s no reason to think that Mass Effect 3 won’t live up to BioWare’s stellar reputation.