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The Effect of Reducing Mass

By Bobfish16-10-2013

A black hole.


But today we're talking video-games and, specifically, how Mass Effect will work without Shepard. Who has been confirmed as being absent from the next title in the series. Speaking in interview with Complex Gaming (yeah, they're a new one to me too) BioWare's Narrative Director, Mac Walters, offered some insights at the New York Comic Con. Specifically relating to how, as mentioned above, the series would still be Mass Effect sans the Shep.

It's important, he said, to ensure that it still feels like a Mass Effect game at its core, rather than a spin-off. Which, well, isn't that a no brainer? Not only in concept, but how you tell the story as well. You'd think so, and in many ways would be right. Same setting, same gameplay mechanics, same themes and so on, all go to help keep things consistent. But even a story that takes place as a direct continuation, with new characters, can feel like a spin-off or a side story if told poorly. Hell, it can even feel that way with the same characters. Just look at all the comics and novels and what not. Most of them featuring Shep's crew, but still feeling like they're secondary, or even tertiary, to the overall plot.

"These were very much intended to be something that adds to the existing world rather than bridge into something new. Of course we've already talked about a fourth Mass Effect installment, and I can't imagine that we wouldn't want to use the comics as a companion. I mean, that's where we have the best success, I think. When the comics themselves actually work with something directly in the game. Because we never just feel like, 'this is just more Mass Effect stuff.' We want it to fit in with the games. So I imagine that in the future, if everything keeps going well, we'll be doing the same thing when the next Mass Effect comes out.

"Well, I can't get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn't relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever. Beyond that, that's what we've been deciding for awhile. But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It can't just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core. Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard specific companions."

Unfortunately, that all sounds very spin-offy to me, I must confess. But, well, this is BioWare we're talking about. Any company that has a job title as pretentious as Narrative Director (I so need to have that job!) has already proven itself capable of establishing a deeper understanding of how metaplot works. So let's be honest, spin-off, sub game, remake, kick in the balls, we're going to buy it, we're going to bitch about how much we hate x aspect of the game, but we're still going to love it.

It's BioWare.

On the subject of things we hate, Walters also delivered some pearls of 'wisdom' regarding the backlash to Mass Effect 3's ending. I'll be brief (and refer you to the loink above for the full discourse) and say only this. Being shocked that people were, shall we say, displeased with wresting away every shred of control right at the very end of a series that sold itself on organic choices...

No! Fucking! Duh!

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