Mass Effect 2: E3 Dev Diary

By Jim Rossignol on July 10th, 2009 at 10:49 am.


This contains major spoilers. It’s also a moderate amount of awesome. The Mass Effect 2 demo from E3 has been done up as a slick development video diary (below) explaining what the Bioware team is aiming to do with the game. It contains quite a bit of footage, and seems to encapsulate all the significant changes to combat, conversation, and storyline. I can’t say much more that that, other than to suggest you hold back if you’re trying to avoid learning too much about the game before you play it.

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73 Comments »

  1. Bananaphone says:

    Shephard has giant KISSY LIPS. Angelina Jolie would be jealous.

  2. Bananaphone says:

    Or Shepard. Damnit. Where’s the edit function gone?

  3. teo says:

    They are good at selling this game, but they were good at selling the last one too and NOT so good at actually delivering with the game. I’ll wait and see

  4. sockpuppetclock says:

    Man I want this game SO MUCH MAN AGHGH

  5. Larington says:

    This may be a buy at release depending on whats out and what I’ve got on the plate when it is released. Also, reviews, which I hope will be positive (Genuinely positive, before a cynic chimes in)…

  6. MrBejeebus says:

    Looks nice, I don’t like the videos where the developers talk about stuff, they’re boring, just give me a gameplay video and writing!

  7. Pidesco says:

    I’ll probably buy it when the price goes down to 10 or 12€

  8. toni says:

    yeah, i like ME1 but no way it’s worth the initial ridiculous price they certainly will ask

  9. Owen says:

    Luckily no spoilers for me there as all that stuff was happening with someone else’s Shepard. She’s the best Shepard, natch. (Better even than John Walkers)

    I’ll almost certainly get this when it comes out as really enjoyed the first. I do hope they improve the planetary bases as they were very samey after the first two or three.

    Combat looks a little more fast paced and if they can add a few more ‘pin a guy against the wall by his throat mid conversation’ moments in, then I’ll be happy.

  10. SanguineLobster says:

    Parrish Ley, you’ve clearly put all your skill points in Mustache.

  11. derFeef says:

    lol whats happening with the “I dont want to pay a full price for a full game” thing recently?

  12. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, I’m not usually that bothered by developers talking over videos. In a toss-up between a desk-bound American and footage of a billion things exploding, I know what my attention is drawn to.

    But still, this was quite interesting. We knew about the dick-move you can pull in conversations, but the splodey stuff was interesting. Will have to wait and see whether the more detailed campaign map works or is just annoying.

  13. Morph says:

    Chalk me up excited. I’d pay any amount for this…

  14. Heliocentric says:

    Budget conscious man is budget conscious.

  15. matte_k says:

    Looks fantastic, really liking the galaxy map and the sound of the fuel system, seems like exploration has had a bit of an overhaul. More variety planetside would be a bonus, the planets in ME1 did get a bit repetitive.

    And the Normandy gets wasted? Damn… :(
    Also liking the idea of porting over your character form the first game, choices made and all- you lost a squad member in ME1, they’re gone from ME2. Hopefully your squad can be a combination of new characters and old- would quite like to keep Wrex, he amused me.

  16. teo says:

    Mass Effect is 20$ in the US store (I’d buy it for that) but it’s 45€ in the EU store (Steam) which is ridiculous

  17. alastair jack says:

    could be okay

  18. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    *arches eyebrow* That’s.. surprising indeed. Not that it’s a bad game, but it’s a downloadable version -and- it’s been out for.. how long now? The mind, it boggles.

  19. SlappyBag says:

    I’m not a fan of mass effect, seems really backward in places. The combat in the first was pretty horrible and it just felt extremely, erm, plasticy.

  20. Tom says:

    REALLY looking forward to this one.

  21. Quests says:

    Who cares about combat, what matters is choices & consequences, DEATH as the best consequence there is.

    Awesome. Everyone, even the most diehard console blockhead is gonna have to mind about those choices, or he’s inevitably dead, the ass.

  22. Duckmeister says:

    Quests says:

    Who cares about combat, what matters is choices & consequences, DEATH as the best consequence there is.

    Yeah, who cares about half the game! Why did they even bother putting so many guns and squadmates in the game anyways? No one cares about that stuff! /sarcasm

  23. skizelo says:

    That moustache: Still great. And the space-police really need better regulation. Defenestrating potential informants? What is this, the seventies?

  24. Bhazor says:

    Wasn’t the interrupt system meant to be one of the main selling points of the original?

    Combat looks improved but I still doubt the Bioware writers. Seems they still think the most important thing is to look like a movie and frankly the animation isn’t up to it. I’d love to be proved wrong mind and fall back in love with Bioware, but for now colour me intrigued.

    Oh Quests, you so crazy.

  25. Quests says:

    oh modern players, you’re so spoiled.

  26. Zaphid says:

    Are the people who complain that Mass Effect 2 is the same pretty awesome game as Mass Effect 1 the same people that complain Starcraft 2 is like Starcraft 1 ?

  27. Quests says:

    …what i meant was that combat only has to be tolerable, a good system of choices will make it perfect… cause then you won’t care how you fight TINGS, you will only care why you do it.

    Unless you’re spoiled console freaks, in that case you like the killing itself.

  28. JKjoker says:

    ok, they are either abusing of bloom or Sheppard is on FIRE!

  29. Heliocentric says:

    Whats wrong with being on fire? Do you have something against people who are flaming?

    On a combat note, i did enjoy the mass effect fighting. And the different styles you could mix.

  30. JKjoker says:

    as long as they improve the combat, specially the cover mechanics, weapons (which looks like they did in the trailers) and the AI (will have to wait to the final version for that one), AND they add actual side missions and not go in a Halo-esque copy&pasting streak, im happy, the story and character development cant get any worse or more generic so i dont care about those.

  31. T. Slothrop says:

    To me, the first Mass Effect was an even more simplified version of Knights of the Old Republic, even the storyline was the same with pronouns exchanged; You join an elite justice-dispensing organisation (Jedi/Spectres) in service of a pan-galactic government (Republic/Council) to stop a former member of said organisation (Malak/Saren) who plans to use old alien technology (that fish-race/Reapers) for universal domination, both utilise a ancient technology (25,000 years/50,000 years) as plot devices. The characters are also the same Mission Vao, a blue-skinned young alien female thief/tech specialist is now Liara (I believe that’s her name), a blue skinned young alien tech specialist. Canderous, a mercenary from a defeated war-like race who tells you war stories is now Wrex, a mercenary from a defeated war-like race who tells you of his exploits.

    The side missions were repetitious and paper-thin, the characters were far more shallow than Knights of the Old Republic and the dialogue was unremarkable if not tending towards poor or inappropriate to given circumstances.

    I really wanted to like this game being a fan of RPGs and shooters and I had high hopes but upon realising the monotony that was in store in my list of side-missions I could not sustain the pretence. I am also terribly disappointed by the almost universal critical acclaim this received on the Xbox360 and to a lesser extent the PC, it is indicative of the problems of modern gaming journalism; the lack of any understanding of the practice of criticism, the preference of a ‘polished’ game to a ‘deep’ game (Far Cry 2 Vs. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.), the internalisation of hype and a lack of self-introspection to combat it, the influence of marketing and access (Iconoclast review here? Well… we can find another press member to invite to our next demonstration… oh and get those exclusive images of the sequel to IGN).

    I don’t mean to flame or be rudely provocative, I can see how someone would enjoy the game but I could not. Not even copious weed helped… well it did but the game was still too shallow/simple-minded to enjoy or admire.

  32. T. Slothrop says:

    Addendum; You used to be stunning bioware, HEAL THYSELF!

  33. Kangarootoo says:

    Loved the first one. Looking forward to this.

  34. JKjoker says:

    @T. Slothrop: thats what happens when you develop for consoles, character development takes time giving the player info and the average console player hates that

    a few reviews cried that the console bioware games had TOO MUCH text and dialogue.

    so ok, they could make the development optional, but they are not going to waste money on stuff a lot of players will never see, so they go with the obvious route of paper thin characters with one line backgrounds, and maybe, if they are in a good mood, they give them one additional line of background by talking to them or doing a little side mission (this is probably DLC material now, so dont expect it out of the box)

  35. BobbyBob says:

    The thing liked most about Mass Effect was that the “evil” choices actually made sense. Make no mistake, you could be a tremendous asshole in that game, but all of the bad things you did worked in context. There were none of the ridiculous, beat-an-old-woman-to-death-with-the-corpse-of-an-orphan style choices that are prevalent in so many “good vs evil” RPGs. No matter what you did, you always wound up saving the galaxy. Your choices just showed how far you’d go to do it. As long as BioWare keeps that aspect of the game intact (and still allows me to throw enemies into things with MIND POWERS), I’ll be happy.

    Of course, a few more random planet base layouts would be nice too.

  36. jalf says:

    @T. Slothrop: I’d say much of the same is true for Bioware’s fantasy games. I don’t know when they were ever “stunning”. Mass Effect was enjoyable to me, where most of their fantasy games just bored me to tears with their copy/paste storylines and characters.

    I can definitely follow your criticism of Mass Effect though, so this isn’t a defense of that game. More a disagreement with your claim that they used to be better. ;)

  37. jalf says:

    Also yay, epic moustache guy is in the vid. That alone makes it worth it. :D

  38. joobjoob says:

    Give me a space ship some teammates and let me loose on the galaxy. Why is this so difficult?

  39. JKjoker says:

    @BobbyBob: eh ? Mass Effect didnt have any Good vs Evil thingy, it was more like Jesus vs Jack Bauer

    the reason that it works better is that in good vs evil it makes no sense for both to have the same objective, and in JvsJ the only thing that changes are the methods to achieve the same objective

  40. T. Slothrop says:

    @jalf

    I would point to Baulder’s Gate II as being quite a deep and well-written fare, very compelling characterisation and dialogue. Also Irenicus’s voice actor was in a state of grace during his voice over work. Outside of Planecape: Torment (easy contender for best writing in the ‘fantasy’ genre in any medium) it’s the best ‘fantasy’ RPG I can think of.

  41. Heliocentric says:

    @jkjoker jack would win, but jesus would come back.

  42. James G says:

    @T.Slothrop

    Wasn’t Liara a biotics specialist? Tali was the tech specialist. (Neither of which quite matches up with the thief rogue archetype.)

  43. JKjoker says:

    @Heliocentric: lies, Jack is immortal and invulnerable, he is superman wearing a mortal skin, blah blah blah
    well how do you explain that he manages to
    -not go to the bathroom in 24 hours
    -gets shot, poisoned, irradiated, kicked, punched, breaks bones, falls unconscious, gets stabbed, has a heart attack and so on, and then he is running like the mirror’s edge biatch 10 minutes later

    oh and he can also look straight at a nuclear explosion and somehow not damage his eyes, come on, whos the Jesus here ?

  44. Heliocentric says:

    I’ll be honest. I gave up watching 24 after 1 episode. But i never said jesus would win, just that he’d come back… Its his thing.

  45. Vandelay says:

    I’m usually critical of most RPGs attempts at combat, but I felt that Mass Effect managed do it quite well. I’m with Quest, in that the combat only needed to be tolerable to be successful, which is something many RPGs don’t even bother attempting (usually being just simple click-fests on the enemy until one of you falls down.) In Mass Effect, you at least felt like you were in control and that it was a combination of your own gaming skills and the character’s skill and not just the latter, which inevitably results in frustrating moments of you selecting the wrong skill somewhere along the line making sections much harder than they were intended to be. When the stats become so overbearing in RPGs you end up searching for the most powerful combination rather than the combination you want.

    The reason that people seem to be so down on Mass Effect’s combat is not the combat itself but everything else around it. The RPG elements were so watered down that it became much more of an action game rather than an RPG. Combat was forced upon the player so often that it felt more like a third person shooter at times. The secondary quests were all hopeless, with only about 4 different variations in environments, each one as bland as each other. If you decided to try and do something besides the main story the only thing on offer was multiple gotta catch ‘em all quests, or the aforementioned tedious side missions.

    That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy playing it. The main story, although not very original, certainly felt epic and had a few nice moments. The tough moral dilemma moments needed to be more frequent rather than just a couple towards the end of the game, and they were completely absent from the side quests, but those that were there did make me pause for thought. There was a good base for great game under there, which hopefully they can fulfil with the sequel.

    Having said that, all this talk of improving combat is what really bothers me. Forget about that, it is fine. Work on the world, the characters, the environments, the side missions, the options, the type of character I can craft that will have meaningful effects upon the world they inhabit. It looks like they may be addressing some of these things.

    And, please, sort out that fucking terrible inventory system.

  46. bhlaab says:

    It doesn’t sound like they’ve improved combat at all, they’ve just made it look nicer and added a new weapon type.

  47. JKjoker says:

    what i am scared about is that that “world exploration” + fuel system they hyped near the end of the trailer, it sounds like they are planning to make the same kind of side missions but more annoying, and i very much hope the mako dies along with the ship

  48. BobbyBob says:

    @JKjoker: Yeah, that was kinda my point. I didn’t quite make it clear enough, though. I liked the fact that they didn’t try to shoehorn evil actions onto a player who would, ultimately, end up being the hero.

    @bhlaab: The thing that looks good to me about it is the enhanced physicality of it. It looks like there will be fewer instances of firing at enemies who take it without complaint until they spontaneously die. In other words, it will look more like an actual fight (in theory).

  49. Adventurous Putty says:

    Mass Effect one was great but for the mundanity of its story — though that story was a very well-executed one. And, really, it had a different feel to it than KOTOR’s, even if some plot points were similar, so I can excuse the same-iness.

    But anyway, ME2 seems to want to take the story to a more unique place, which I’d totally love. If they can keep things interesting and maintain the same amount of presentational value of ME1, this’ll be one to watch.

    On the other hand, Alpha Protocol has Chris Avellone writing, so…

  50. juv3nal says:

    Agreed, Mass Effect was in many ways a watered down KOTOR, but y’know what? KOTOR was a really great game. So a watered down version is still ok by me especially when you slap the x years in between of presentational shininess on top of it. No, it’s not nearly as good as it could have been, but it’s still better than the vast majority of the stuff that had come out for the 360 at the time.

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