Mass Effect 3: Revenge Of The Spoilers

By Alec Meer on April 8th, 2011 at 3:40 pm.

My arms ache if I stand like that. It's not natural, I tell you.

Spoilers! Get yer spoilers ‘ere! Only three quid a dozen! Howzabout that then ma’am, a punnet full of Mass Effect 3 details, yours for just a paaaaarnd.

Actually, I’m guessing these are not especially meaty ME3 spoilers, as rather than spoiling late-game plot stuff they document the status quo for Shepard and chums at the start of Bioware’s next galactic opus – but if you really do want to go in totally blind you should look away now.

Game Informer has the first big scoop on the game, as only a magazine owned by the world’s biggest game retailer could. The internet did its thing the second subscriber copies arrived, industriously reducing one poor bloke’s carefully written preview feature to a list of bulletpoints. It’s that how you really prefer to consume information, I can only direct you to Neogaf.

For my part, I’ll just look at the basic setup and have a wee ponder upon it. Here commence spoilers, obv.

Shepard, who starts off on Earth, is the enemy of Cerberus, suggesting either that only one ME2 ending is canon or that there’s a critical event early in ME3 to in theory make the other final choice match up. The Illusive Man remains a major player, unsurprisingly – his motives and origins were never entirely clear. I hope he’s not completely tied into things (and isn’t the main antagonist) however; much as I’m a big fan of ME2 there was something about the way the series’ narrative suddenly got diverted to Cerberus’ machinations that didn’t sit entirely well. I’d rather the picture remained much bigger than them.

In terms of squadmates, most of the cast returns, depending on the state of your savegames or choices made during a special ‘Previously on Mass Effect’ intro comic. Hopefully that’ll be better than the ‘interview’ with Shepard at the start of ME2 – I ended up with a world of differences from my ME1 choices, as I’d lost my savegames and that system wasn’t anywhere near as flexible as we’d hoped.

If you left ‘em all alive, you’ll get to play with Liara, Ashley or Kaiden, Garrus and a new bloke called James. Wrex, Mordin, Legion and Anderson all show up, but may not be playable. Nooo, Mordin! Come back to me! Sing me another song!

The most positive news, if all of this is true, is that ME3 will restore a little of the RPG goodness that ME2 threw out in order to move into the guns’n'conversation genre. Bigger, more flexible skill trees and weapon mods are amongst the promises.

No multiplayer, however. I don’t really mind about that, to be honest – this was always the tale of you-as-Shepard, and there’s no need to diminish/broaden that for the sake of back-of-the-box features. We’ll have more than enough game, I’m sure. I’d much rather as much time, money and polish was poured into the campaign as possible than have a strictly-shooty MP mode too.

All sounds pretty postitive to me, with the lone exception that the plot kicks off immediately following the most recent ME2 DLC, The Arrival. I’m not an enormous fan of an add-on released a year after I finished the game being plot-critical to this sequel, but I suppose it’s good that the DLC isn’t totally throwaway in which case.

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85 Comments »

  1. Stijn says:

    I don’t see a mention of Tali there :(

    • Kato says:

      …where has our Tali’Zorah gone :( BioWare just doesn’t want us to stick to one romance.

    • Icarus says:

      I’m with this. I picked a female Shepard for my ME playthrough, so the romance angle with Tali isn’t really a factor, but I’m still invested in her as a character after the events of ME2 and her loyalty mission. I’m sure she’ll turn up somewhere, maybe she just wasn’t shown in the preview.

    • Caleb367 says:

      I was thinking the same thing exactly. Come on, we need our adorable shotgun-wielding Quarian, you bunch of bosh’tet!

    • shoptroll says:

      Lack of Tali is probably an oversight. Not the time to panic I think.

    • Icarus says:

      “I was thinking the same thing exactly. Come on, we need our adorable shotgun-wielding MINSC-QUOTING Quarian, you bunch of bosh’tet!”

      Fixed/improved/clarified my feelings on that for ya.

    • Basherbash says:

      ^This, and the fact that they probably aren’t going to reveal EVERYTHING about ME3 just yet. I have high hopes of continuing my story with Tali :D

    • SLeigher says:

      Tali was easily my favourite character in the game, really hope this is just an oversight

    • Bureaucrat says:

      Eh. Tali was a persistent damsel in distress– Shep has to rescue her from Fist, hand her the data she needs to complete her pilgrimage, save her butt on Freedom’s Progress, rescue her from certain death on Haestrom, and convince her own people not to kick her out of the fleet.

      Every time she has tried to accomplish something for herself, she has screwed it up completely. Why would I want someone like that on my crew? There’s a fine line between the good kind of pathos, and the, well, pathetic kind. In my book, Tali crossed that line at the precise moment when I heard the “I wish Shepard was here” audiolog on Haestrom.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Tali will be in the first major DLC.

      Just wait for it.

      Also, I weep for the lack of her.

    • RP says:

      I like Tali but I would find it hilarious if she wasn’t a party member, just to see the frothing rage some of her incredibly creepy fans on the Bioware forums would fly into.

      But c’mon, we all know she will be, because of the frothing rage some of her incredibly creepy fans on the Bioware forums would fly into.

      Now, where’s the info on Thane? :(

    • jealouspirate says:

      Nothing against Tali, but I never really found her all that appealing. It wouldn’t bother me if she’s not a party member.

      I do, however, fully expect the migrant fleet to make good on their promise and be part of my anti-Reaper army.

    • Orija says:

      Tali is Bioware’s socially-awkward-but-in-a-sorta-cute-way-but-can-still-kick-ass-while-being-shy-about-romance female character. This is a character who’s all orifices are full of cliche meant to pander to the chauvinism us males get high on. And Wrex is going to be a squad-mate, probably in DLC but he is going to be there.
      James could be that sniper guy shown in the ME3 trailer.

    • Jimbo says:

      Tali will be around in some capacity if she’s alive (or a Tali stand-in if she isn’t, like Wrex in ME2). This one basically has to be ‘DA:O in space’, and one of the conflicts to be resolved surely has to be Migrant Fleet vs. Geth.

    • Deano2099 says:

      I can see Tali not being playable as she could well be heading up the migrant fleet. I can certainly see a B5-style “He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.” moment.

      The new guy is supposedly related to one of the characters from the novels.

    • Serenegoose says:

      If they did that, I would cry. Every time an RPG gives a plot important character control over a military unit they’d have no idea how to command, and then expects them to lead said unit into battle, I cry. Not really of course.

    • FecesOfDeath says:

      I don’t remember any James in the novels, unless he’s a character in the upcoming Mass Effect: Deception.

    • Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

      Tali gave me my first ever gaming-related boner.

    • CaiusCaligula says:

      @RP:

      Would these be the same fans who make incredibly asinine fanfics that somehow drop out all the plot and character-related stuff, but talk about their character’s inner feelings, the equipment they picked up, and the myriad number of quests involved? Cause getting them butthurt would be BEYOND awesome.

    • vonhonkington says:

      maybe i remember this incorrectly, so please stop me:

      also, SPOILERS SPOILERS

      SPOILERS INCOMING

      ok. so we went looking for tali’s father. turns out, he’s experimenting on intact geth to better prepare for the coming war. why will there be a war? well, because when the geth starting showing some sentience, tali’s people went all genocide on them, but this backfired and the robots conquered her homeworld, condemning her people to a wandering flotilla. instead of finding another planet to settle on whilst wandering about *in their spaceships, through space*, they decide taking back the homeworld is top priority. so back in the present moment in the game, to gain her loyalty, tali asks that i support her space zionism and pretty please tell nobody about this super illegal thing her father did.

      no, tali, you’re wrong. exterminating the geth is not morally justified. yes, we know you all liked the homeworld a whole lot, but get over it. it’s not like there’s a shortage of planets on which to continue your existence.

  2. Will Tomas says:

    From the Eurogamer review I think the main problem with the Arrival wasn’t just that it’s plot-critical to the sequel, but also that it was rubbish.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I’m actually glad that Mordin will not be a party member — I got him killed in the suicide mission, and I’d feel awfully sad if I was missing out on having him by my side in ME3 because of that.

    (and yes, I’m aware I could play it through again and make sure he lives, but that’s not My True Mass Effect Story™)

  4. JYzer says:

    “and a new bloke called James.” Would that be the Jason Statham sounding fella from the trailer?

  5. Caleb367 says:

    Do want Jack. And Mordin. And Grunt. And Thane. And Samara. And Joker, ESPECIALLY Joker. Wait, just give me ME2′s cast minus Jacob and Miranda and I’ll be fine.

    • Bureaucrat says:

      The one time I replayed ME1 to get a different carry-over character, I had a bit of an epiphany: If I were a commanding officer on a rather small ship with a guy like Joker as a prominent member of my crew, I would despise him. The casual “I’m in the military but I’m uniquely allowed to crack wise all the time” attitude; the ridiculous nickname that he insists on being called; the cocky piloting– all things for which anybody with a military officer’s training and background would have very little tolerance. (And there are some dialogue options that play on this– for example, you can call him a jerk in response to Liara’s puzzlement about him making jokes in life-or-death situations. Still, the game needs more ways to passive-aggressively call him “Mr. Moreau.”)

      Plus, it generates a nice perceived inner drama when he shows up in ME2. I could almost hear Jennifer Hale muttering to herself about Cerberus making a transparent effort to win her over, and screwing it all up by thinking that she has any affection at all for the asshole whose stubborn insubordination led to her getting spaced.

    • Demonbooker says:

      @Bureaucrat

      I always kinda enjoyed Joker and EDI’s interactions, but now that I think of it, what you’re saying makes a lot of sense…

      If you are playing a renegade type shepard in particular, I’m surprised Joker doesn’t just get tossed out the airlock the moment shepard sees him at the helm. :)

    • Archonsod says:

      Joker is pretty much the only NPC I find annoying tbh. Unfortunately there’s no way to complete 2′s suicide mission with him copping it.

    • Caleb367 says:

      It’s got a mute button. Use it.

      That was a joke.

    • ChromeBallz says:

      @Bureaucrat

      I respectfully disagree – It’s all a matter of perspective and/or opinion.

      Joker got the original job because he was one of the few (if not the only) alliance pilot who could fly the Normandy without crashing into a moon, star or monolith every 3 seconds. Given his medical condition, being a pilot (and being good at it) is his entire life, his effort to be useful to people. His skills have been quite useful indeed in ME1, where Ilos and the Citadel come to mind.

      Him trying his hardest to save the one thing that he cares about and that makes others care about him (in his mind) is entirely natural if you ask me. Blaming him for being human in that regard is a bit strange, even for a renegade Shepard – Unless you’re trying to play a completely insane psychopath the facts are presented quite clearly: Joker is the best pilot in the game’s universe (as far as we know), and it’s the Collectors who (tried to) kill(ed) Shepard, not Joker.

      That, and he never asked for anyone to risk their lives for him. He only wanted to save the ship. Shepard chose to go after him to get him out before the inevitable happened. If there was someone to blame for Shepard’s death other than the Collectors, it would be Shepard him/herself.

      Hence, a reaction of relief when seeing Joker in ME2. Knowing that both survived after all would give me quite a good feeling being either of them.

  6. Hunam says:

    All I want is Kasumi in ME3. It’s a shame that she was left out for DLC seeing as she is infinity more interesting than any other character in the game. I’d love to have had a chance to properly delve in her past.

  7. shoptroll says:

    While I’m not sure if I’ll get Arrival, I think this is preferable than doing a tie-in in a different medium that sets up the sequel. Remember how they tried to use Mass Effect Galaxy to bridge ME1 and ME2 and not many people really played it?

    More RPG elements sounds like a good thing. A shame that the trilogy’s mechanics changed so much over the three iterations. Also, glad they confirmed there’s no multiplayer. That would be too much change to an established formula and at this point would probably feel incredibly tacked on. I’m sure Randy Pitchford is smugly smiling somewhere.

  8. Eukatheude says:

    What about Thane?

  9. DaFishes says:

    My bro Garrus is returning, and that makes me happy.

    As for folks like Tali and Thane, I bet those are the characters BioWare is going to torture us with this time around. See also: Garrus being a “secret character” and not even appearing on the ME2 website.

    • Caleb367 says:

      That sounds horribly and entirely possible. Bastards.

      (‘sides, how come there’s an entire ME2 thread and I haven’t yet seen an ASSUMING CONTROL joke?)

  10. DTKT says:

    Dude.

    Tali.

    :(

  11. Dalmatian says:

    *I* am an augur of games. By playing slightly disappointing DLCs I can see visions of the future. Alas, with great sorrow I have foreseen that Mass Effect 3 will give me cancer — cancer of the pancreas! I will waste away to an early grave, and I will never ever get to play Duke Nukem Forever as was my lifelong dream. Great sadness! Woe! Woe is me! Truly, Bioware is worse than Hitler.

  12. Gvaz says:

    Where the fuck is Zaeed? I want my Guddam Bro.

    • Sentinel Red says:

      Gvaz knows the score: bring back Zaeed or GTFO. I want to kill Reapers with my awesome Space Bro Team of Zaeed and Wrex.

  13. jealouspirate says:

    Sad to see Mordin won’t be a party member again. I think he was by far the best written character in the entire series.

    Also sad to see Garrus returning again… his plot line in ME2 was basically identical to ME1. How many times do I have to help this guy decide between following the law or vigilante justice? One more, I guess.

    As for Arrival, I don’t generally buy any DLC. So I’ll just have to read a summary somewhere.

  14. Inverness says:

    Why the hell would I be the enemy of Cerberus? Both Shepard and the Illusive Man know there are bigger cuttlefish to fry. I hope that is just a publicity stunt of some sort.

    • CMaster says:

      I was more frustrated by ever having to work with Cerberus, considering that they had tried to kill me multiple times by the end of the first game. Hell, a major part of my Shep’s background was my entire unit being wiped out by Cerberus.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Well, I can see many ways to have Shepard be an enemy of Cerberus despite ME2… but obviously can’t discuss them here cause MASSIVE spoilers.

      Besides, we’ll just have to wait for a bit, Bioware are in the middle of some calibrations.

    • Inverness says:

      You don’t have to like it, but defeating the reapers is infinitely more important than whatever issues Shepard has with Cerberus and the Illusive Man and vice versa.

    • Jimbo says:

      Humanity finding its place in a multi-species galaxy has been the theme running through all three games, so it makes sense that Cerberus have played a big part and will continue to do so.

      Cerberus -as an organisation- is going to resent the fact that Humanity now has no choice but to go get help from the other species (whether by asking for it or demanding it). They may well prefer glorious failure to needing outside help.

      The Illusive Man is ruthless, but it does seem like there is more about him than just the blind fanaticism of his organisation. That fanaticism seems more like a convenient tool for him – he isn’t going to cut off his nose to spite his face. We could end up with a situation where he is aiding Shep (because he doesn’t seem that stupid), but he can’t be seen by his organisation to be aiding Shep.

    • Bureaucrat says:

      Also, if Shep starts the game on Earth, in the hands of human (Alliance? Some nation-state?) authorities, there’s a decent probability that she’ll have spilled the beans on a number of Cerberus secrets. (Like, say, the illegal AI that runs the Normandy.)

    • Bret says:

      They’re at war because Shepard wants his head on a damn pike.

      She’s never been one to let little things like “The fate of the galaxy” get in the way of personal vendettas.

  15. SAM-site says:

    I had something good going with Jack. Where’s Jack?

    Not that it really matters, I got Jack killed.

  16. Crane says:

    Oh good, Garrus is back.
    Now, if they just put Mordin in as well, I can have my favourite party.
    Although…
    Wrex. (Shepard.)

  17. cjlr says:

    While it would have made a better story had I let some people die at the end of ME2 – more Magnificent Seven, less, er… what it was – I couldn’t, in good conscience, as a gamer, let that happen. So I guess that means CAMEOS. CAMEOS to the MAX.
    It’s a damn shame about the reapers, though. I mean, not just that they’re out there, which is self-evidently unfortunate, but that their arc is from implacable event akin to a force of nature to shrill and monologuing vengeance-seekers. Come on. That’s just silly. Also the Terminator in ME2. That was also silly. +1 for the other reapers so far not looking like shite. Sovereign, and the derelict in ME2, looked awesome – well, actually they looked like Ur-Quan, but that’s still awesome.

  18. Serenegoose says:

    I would rather like it if Tali was in it again. Her personality and combat ability were a nice mix together, I think she’s one of the better characters bioware have done. I’m actually rather looking forward to ME3. Despite the Mass Effect series not really standing up to replays as I’d like, it’s always been a fantastic ride whilst it lasts, and I’m looking forward to its conclusion, if not its inevitably lacklustre DLC.

  19. TheEndlessGrey says:

    IMDB only confirms the Shepard voices haven’t changed, nobody else is listed for voice credit. Not even the ones mentioned in the article. No cause for alarm yet, this is just how they do things leading up to release.

  20. Chalee says:

    If it were up to me I would romance Mordin. There I’ve said it.

  21. Commander Rali Shepard says:

    Seriously, if Tali isnt in ME3, im gonna start to sob. Im gonna uninstall the game, and spend the rest of the day, crying. Bioware, please. Let me meet her in ME3.

  22. somini says:

    I’m commenting to say that I have looked away…

  23. Silver says:

    Tali gets a shotgun blow to her face while cleaning it on Normandy and then due game rating we’ll not see her face.

    but really, I think they’re just cockteasing us :)

    I didn’t do any romances on my 2nd playthrough /ME2 is still half a way to go/ so I’m hoping after winning the reapers and defeating them once and for all I get all the chicks Duke Nukem style

  24. TsunamiWombat says:

    Sir, you are amazing.

  25. Deano2099 says:

    I think we’ll be fine, Bioware made a concious choice to introduce so many new characters in ME2 I can’t see them just chucking half of them away.

  26. Deano2099 says:

    The flip side of boiling down the writing to bullet points of course, is that if anyone types out the whole thing or, god forbid, scans in the pages, then the publisher comes along as asks for them to be taken down.

  27. fullbleed says:

    James? That doesn’t sound promising, bog standard biblical name. All the aliens are called excitng space names like Garrus, Mordin or Thane. The kind of person who could be called James could also be called Jacob, and remember how much fun he was?
    And Cerberus turning on you? *Sarcastic* NOOOOOOOOOOOOO…

    Taking off my cynical hat this sound pretty promising actually. Weapon mods returning esspcially, the problem with guns in ME2 was that they were all just straight up upgrades to the last one so there was no tactial decision in what you used bar maybe the heavy weapons, but I hardly used those.

  28. Tengil says:

    I hope they kill Tali if you’ve slept with her. Sadly, her immune system just couldn’t take the shock of exposure. Even though that particular plot point never made any sense, since a) not putting any samples of local bacteria on your escape ship seems dumb, and b) I don’t get why exposure to alien lifeforms would kill them.

    edit: This was meant to be a reply to the first post.

  29. Mendrake says:

    The Mass Effect games and the Dragon Age games are made by two seperate teams within Bioware, so DA2 really has no bearing on the quality of ME3. And, on The Arrival, it seemed to me that Bioware was just attempting to try something new (What with the solo, the sneaking, and an actual concequence for death besides magic time travel).

  30. Stick says:

    You know, every time I hear “Mass Effect” and then see a picture of that scowly dude, I go “yeah, ok, but where’s Shepard?”

    Oh, and new bloke James’ last name is Sanders. There was a Kahlee Sanders in one of the novels, but specifics of relation are not known. Far as I can tell.

  31. Ralphomon says:

    I am excited for Mass Effect 3. I really enjoyed the first 2 games, 2 more than the original, and my only regrets are accidentally getting Wrex killed (damn Ashley Williams – she learnt her lesson when she bought it on Virmire) and not starting with female Shepard on my first run-through. I really hope Tali and Mordin are in the next one as companion characters, also Legion, though I probably wouldn’t play it if Garrus weren’t available. Zaeed and Jack I couldn’t really care less about (I wouldn’t be surprised if they die when I go do the suicide mission though). Also I can take or leave Liara – even in the Shadow Broker DLC she was a bit of a non-entity and I guess it would make more sense for her to be unavailable to your party given the events of that. But yeah, getting quite psyched about ME3.

  32. Betamax says:

    Eh, people complain if Arrival isn’t important enough to the plot and people complain if it proves too vital. At the end of the day you don’t need to play it, plenty of films and things have started with events you aren’t fully in the know about (Return of the Jedi springs to mind, but there are other, better examples as well). Those that did play it will just benefit from having ‘been there’, more like a deleted scene than anything.

    Very, VERY happy about the expansion of the RPG elements. It would have been so easy for them to stick with the ME2 system and offer little development in that area, instead they seem to be addressing the issues some had with how simplified it became in ME2. I’m hoping this means we’ll be getting the perfect balance between ME1 and 2 this time around. Just one more thing could clinch it: Being able to upgrade armor.

    Even if it’s a case of changing the colour palette of a companions space converse by adding an upgrade that protects the wearer from hipsters it would be an improvement over the static outfits in ME2. They should just let us equip them all with different sunglasses of power, yeah.

    Lastly: No multiplayer! Whoop whoop whoop. Seriously, it’s a popular franchise we’ll be getting a game dedicated to MP soon enough I’m sure, there was never any need for it in ME3.

  33. reticulate says:

    Garrus, my bro. Good to see you.

    Also adding my voice to those calling for Tali information.

  34. DigitalSignalX says:

    Knowing Bioware, I’m surprised they’ve announced so many companions for free. I’m expecting to have to pay for all the rest.

  35. Iskariot says:

    So we get some of the RPG goodness back? That is good news, if that means there is more to do than talk and shoot. I love to mod weapons. I hope this time around I will be able to mod armor too, and I would like some cool gadgets. Also larger, less simplistic linear levels would be nice and a more side missions.
    My all time favorite character was Thane the assassin. I loved his looks and his voice. I hope he returns.

  36. BobsLawnService says:

    If find it pretty telling that everyone is going on about the characters and nobody is mentioning the improvements they are making to the RPG system.

    They can keep whatever characters they want as long as they get rid of the godawful mining mini-game.

  37. Wozzle says:

    Nothing I hate more than slapped-on MP for the sake of MP.

    Glad to hear they’ll be focusing on the reasons we all play ME; the singleplayer experience.

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