Mass Effect MMO Speculation Is Nebulous

By Jim Rossignol on April 11th, 2011 at 7:58 pm.

Look, my gun is unwieldy!
Despite admitting that they’ve yet to figure out any kind of useful multiplayer for Mass Effect, Bioware’s Casey Hudson has said that the idea of an MMO in the universe “makes sense”. Speaking to world-bestriding super-magazine Game Informer, he said: “Part of what you’re trying to do is save the universe so you can live in it. That’s part of the promise, I think, for any great IP. It has to be a world worth saving… I think Mass Effect has that quality to it. If you get rid of the Reapers and win that, wouldn’t it be amazing to just live on the Citadel or just take a ship to Omega? That makes sense.”

I feel like any genuine space-life MMO would be pretty amazing, and perhaps Eve Online will manage that in the coming years. Or maybe Bioware will make a space MMO of some kind. Hmm. Thanks, VG247.

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87 Comments »

  1. PaulMorel says:

    I wish Bioware were making a Mass Effect MMO rather than a Star Wars MMO. The ME universe feels so real to me, after reading the two novels and playing both games. Plus, the universe seems more open-ended than the Star Wars universe.

    Anyway, I’ll probably be old and gray before we see a ME MMO.

    • Wulf says:

      Plus interesting race options! Which… TOR does not have. Gods, yes, I’d totally get behind a Mass Effect MMORPG. Less so the TOR one, because it seems like TOR is Nu Star Wars, where only the most boring of the alien races may apply. :| I preferred old Star Wars.

    • rocketman71 says:

      I wish Bioware hadn’t fucked up Dragon Age. I’ll settle for them not doing the same with Mass Effect 3.

    • Wulf says:

      That too. Mass Effect 2 was the first Bioware game I’ve liked since… ever. Possibly the only Bioware game I liked. And I was determined to dislike it at first, and ended up loving it, it completely won me over and I was powerless to resist. Not sure how I’d feel about Mass Effect 1, really, I might go back and try that. But part of what made 2 special for me was the subversion.

      Mass Effect 1: “Oh look, it’s an evil horde of robots, yawn.”
      Mass Effect 2: “Actually, no, none of the robots are evil. Half of them are just victims, reprogrammed by hateful old god-things. And half of them are actually a very ethical collective of anarchists who’re all pretty damned decent people if you give them the chance.”

      What can I tell you? I like subversions. Sticking to the old ways is boring. I like seeing things like that subverted, it makes me happy. So I might not do so well with ME1, but ME2… ME2 I loved. Even the AI turned out to be reliable, and I’ve seen so many games hate on AIs. Now if only the humans in the Mass Effect Universe could get the hell over their issues with bio-engineering – that’s a very backwards way of thinking. Introduce the humans to your progressive ways, Geth, and set them free! :p

      Anyway, on topic, I can only hope that ME3 continues with the subversion. The only reason I didn’t really like Dragon Age so much was because it didn’t bother to subvert anything, I predicted the entire plot of the game from the premise, and that wasn’t hard to do. Read up later that I was right, too. I just hope that whatever rebellious streak Bioware developed with ME2, that continues with ME3. Please let that continue with ME3 Bioware. Please, please, please?

    • kyrieee says:

      Mass Effect is made by different people, I don’t think DA2′s quality matter’s for ME3.

    • skraeling says:

      @Wulf
      So when ME2 replaced an evil horde of robots with an evil horde of insects (led by essentially the same mastermind) you didn’t yawn?

    • Wulf says:

      It gives hope that all of the pieces in this play are more complicated than that was the point, as I thought I’d illustrated! Sure, if they keep the Collectors as just hollow, two-dimensional forces of evil, then yeah, that’s going to be pretty boring. But seeing how they subverted the Geth, it gives me hope for Mass Effect 3, that we’re going to learn things about the Collectors and why they are the way they are.

      To be honest, I think this was hinted at anyway. But I won’t go into any theories here. I’ll be tickled pink though if my theories about the secret depth of the Collectors are correct. I’ll just hint at something though and say that the General of the Collectors seemed to have a lot of pain to his voice and words.

    • bascule42 says:

      @Paul Morel. You’ll probbaly be old and grey by the time you see a Bioware Star Wars MMO.

    • Kojin says:

      @ Wulf – I don’t think you have to wait around to find Depth in the Collectors. The Collectors are the remands of the Prothean race, subjugated to the Reavers who destroyed their very identity. In many ways, they are as much victims as the colonists they abduct.

    • Wulf says:

      @Kojin

      Exactly! And the pain I hear in their general’s voice suggests some kind of mind-screwing going on there, much like what happened to the Geth. As though some little part of him realises that he’s perpetrating the same crimes against others that were forced upon him and his people, he just sounds really messed up, on the one hand, he’s been absolutely convinced by the old gods that he’s forcibly evolving humanity to some higher state (a Magneto position), but some, tiny part of him knows it’s wrong.

      I’ve got him marked as a suicide candidate in ME3, as all it would take is but a second of free will for him to realise the full horror that he’s committed, and the only resolution then would pretty much be that, which would be a tragic end, but it’d have Shep all the more pissed at the old gods. So yeah, the Collectors pretty much are victims as much as anyone else.

      I just want to know what happened to scar the old gods to make them so hateful.

      I agree, though, there was some real depth to Mass Effect 2. You just had to sit and think about it for a while, but it was there. It was very, very unusual for a Bioware game in that respect. This is actually why I didn’t like the Darkspawn of Origins – it seemed like they were regressing back to their own black & white ways. With ME2 though… there was a spark of something really special there. Hoping for more.

    • viverravid says:

      I’ve got him marked as a suicide candidate in ME3, as all it would take is but a second of free will for him to realise the full horror that he’s committed,

      Did you watch the ending of the game? The Collector leader got his second of free will when Harbinger released control. Then he got destroyed by an explosion (either an orange one or a blue one depending on player choice)

      I don’t think that counts as a suicide, but I guess it is kinda hard to tell. Maybe he could have run faster or something.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually did complete the game, but for some reason I don’t remember this. I wonder if this is one of those things that can change based on decisions. I mean, I remember how pat happy and cheery everyone was in the ending, I remember the giant human version of the old gods, I remember all of that, buuuut I don’t remember the General dying.

      Really?

      Huh.

  2. Oak says:

    He’s aiming at the Green Man Gaming ad. Does this mean future Mass Effect titles will use Steamworks?

  3. CMaster says:

    Well, I guess the Mass Effect universe is almost as lazy creativity and writing wise as your typical fantasy MMO universe.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Hahahah. I thought I was the only one who thought so!

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      No youre not the only one, still its better than the average scripted man-shooter.

    • BooleanBob says:

      This.

      Plus it couldn’t work; you can’t take a universe which is custom built to revolve entirely around/indulge the whims of a single player and then hope to export template that to an MMO for hundreds of thousands of people while keeping the solipsist, aggrandising brand of power-fantasy story-telling and suspension of disbelief intact.

      Oh, wait, these are the guys making The Old Republic. Never mind.

  4. Hides-His-Eyes says:

    I’m tired of your disingenuous assertions, Rossignol!

  5. qeloqoo says:

    First http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=58085
    Now this… Are they trying to start mass age of homicide? ~_~

  6. Teddy Leach says:

    Seems to hardly even be speculation at this point.

  7. Rath says:

    I’d like to see them get around the multi path nature of the trilogy when designing an MMO as a sequel.

  8. Jimbo says:

    No thanks.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      You seem a little sceptical but how about this?

      Everything is fully voiced!

      Oh and there will be gameplay of some kind also but… that’s not really the thing to focus on.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah … no thanks.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      How about if I throw in several expensive and wholly unrepresentative CG movies?

      Now you’re interested.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Why must we have multiplayer? Is there some vacuum in the genre that must be filled? All too often “hell is other people” is never more true then in MMO’s and shooters.

    • Wulf says:

      In my experience, it tends to be that hell is other people if the people are strangers in a highly competitive environment. If you happen to know the person/people, or the environment isn’t a highly competitive one, then I think having large groups of people together can work.

      Conversely, this is also why I believe that Guild Wars 2′s dynamics events will work, for the same reason. To wit, not a competitive environment – there’s no score or loot to compete for, everyone’s on the same level. It’s easy for most people to trash talk a stranger, after all – selfishness, lack of empathy, and not giving a shit how others feel are things that come up when someone is pissed off.

  9. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I really should play this game. I played the demo, created myself a female shep (as a man I never thought messing around with make-up would be something that could absorb my time. Perhaps I should not have revealed that) and quite want to see what happens next. Direct 2 Drive are meant to be having it on offer this week, so if its one of their 75% off jobs, it is MINE I tell you. MINE **checks mascara**

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Also to try and sound more manly, that is a cool gun.

    • sinister agent says:

      It looks like a dreadful gun. Look at the size of that for a pistol! And it’s clearly front-heavy, too. Just holding it steady must be difficult enough, let alone hitting a target.

    • Wulf says:

      Mass effect fields.

      It always fascinates me how people try to apply current reality and physical laws to fantasy/sci-fi settings. That’s how we make things incredibly bloody boring, as boring as watching paint peel. Let’s not. :p

      They use mass effect fields to screw with the mass of things all the time in that reality, so if they wanted to have a super heavy gun that was made lighter by mass effect fields, then they could totally do that!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Hey, I like my scifi hard. None of that fantasy-in-space for me, thanks.

    • sinister agent says:

      Ah, Wulf, I was kidding really.

      Good argument, though.

    • Bret says:

      It is a dreadful gun.

      Now, if it was a Hale-Shep, she’d probably be carrying the vastly superior Kassa Fabrications Model 12 Locust for long range accuracy, superior damage, and better performance against armored opponents, not to mention quieter firing for stealthier assignments.

      Default Shep is again proven the worst.

    • MD says:

      I like my sci-fi like I like my men.

    • JackShandy says:

      Reminding you of the pathetic insignificance of your brief existence in the midst of the enormous black void that surrounds us all?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I like my women like I like my coffee …. Covered in BEEEES!

      Sorry, temporary Eddie Izzard sidetrack there.

  10. .backslash says:

    I remember them saying the same thing for Dragon Age too, shortly after it was released. I guess they like to keep their options open. As long as they don’t become an MMO only studio if TOR is successful (which it probably will be).

    • Nighthood says:

      The Old Republic is going to bomb, calling it now.

      It doesn’t appeal to MMO players as it’s a very single-player RPG type of model, and it doesn’t appeal to single-player RPG players as it’s an MMO. The combat won’t work properly, the universe will be (and already is) dull, and since it’s their first MMO it’ll be awful to work with for the first few months. It’ll not be a failure on an APB scale, but it won’t be a success.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I think the best you can hope for with TOR is that it’s two decent single-player games, Republic and Sith, bolted together with some optional co-op.

      If it’s a full-price box + subscription MMO, they could be in trouble, since nothing they’ve shown indicates that it would be worth paying that much. And all current trends indicate that the traditional MMO subscription isn’t a workable business model for anybody but WoW. If they do a Guild Wars, I’d probably pick it up.

    • .backslash says:

      Both very good objections, but you’re forgetting some important points.
      First, it’s Star Wars. Nerds loves them some Star Wars. You could stick a lightsaber in anything and they’ll probably buy it.
      Second, it’s related to KotOR. Arguably Bioware’s best game, a lot of people who wouldn’t be interested otherwise would play it just to see what’s happened to Revan and gang.
      Third, it has EA’s marketing juggernaut to back it up. For the most part the mainstream mmo market is a horde of drooling idiots in their mid-teens rushing like lemmings from game to game, lured by the shiny ads before eventually going full circle and returning to wow. And with this being wow in space, it might just keep enough of them.
      So, the game has three core market groups confirmed to buy it and play for at least the first month, the star wars nerds, bioware fans and mmo lemmings. This is probably enough to cover the initial investment, anything beyond that is pure profit. In terms of it being an objectively great game, it’ll probably fail, but in terms of it being a profitable game, it’ll most likely succeed.
      (And just for the record, I’m both a SW nerd and a Bioware fan, and I’m going to buy the hell out of it when it launches.)

  11. Rath says:

    Actually, now that I think about it, I want to be a Krogan Paladin.

  12. Hoaxfish says:

    I’ll wait and see what they say after KotoR:MMO a.k.a SW:ToR comes out.

  13. patricij says:

    I actually think the current MMO scene is kind of…desperate…WOW still dominating, subscription-based MMOs turning F2P, korean grindfests, shitty browser games…no thx, I’ll pass

    • skyturnedred says:

      A decent shooty MMO could be nice, though.

    • Rii says:

      @skyturnedred

      And you think BioWare are the guys to do it?

    • Wulf says:

      I think if they stopped trying to copy WoW (TOR) and actually did an MMO based upon their Mass Effect mechanics, it could do okay!

      Though Guild Wars 2 looks set to completely take the market by storm, they’ve spent so long creating content, and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever played, but it’s close enough in setting to attract the WoW-folk.

      Plus! Charr > Tauren/Worgen! :p I weep every time I look at what they did with Worgen women.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      @skyturnedred

      We had Tabula Rasa and it was very decent, very shooty. And short. And short lived.

  14. Vague-rant says:

    Is this page sending anyones antivirus crazy? Malware/trojan according to Avast, specifically something funny going on this page (rest of site fine).

    • Wulf says:

      I hope it’s nothing bad creeping in through the ads. That’s happened to so many sites that I like. I wouldn’t want to see it happening to RPS. Definitely something to be investigated.

    • Nighthood says:

      My Avast has been going crazy for a few hours now. Not sure why, I’d do a full scan if I were you.

    • Kaira- says:

      I guess it’s something to do with the ads, I have adblock and Avast stays silent.

    • Wulf says:

      My worry with this is that it’ll have Google list this as a malware ridden site. That happened to the Nexus series of sites at one point and both Google and Firefox became absolutely adamant that those were sites that I shouldn’t visit under any circumstances. It took a week after the malware ads were removed too before Google reset its status. RPS chaps… I strongly advise looking into this. I don’t want to see that happen to RPS. :/

  15. Rii says:

    Why does everything need to have multiplayer? Fuck off.

    Wait, I don’t even care about Mass Effect. Carry on then.

    • sinister agent says:

      You’re right, though. There are already twenty bajillion multiplayer games. Let us have one single player series remain so, please. Ta.

  16. kyrieee says:

    I would love a Mass Effect MMO, but I don’t think I would love the MMO BioWare would make. If it’s just a PvE grind fest then who cares what universe it’s set in? I want something more experimental like Galaxies where you were a part of the world and could affect it. I don’t want to go to Omega just for a fucking quest giver, and I don’t want five thousand Spectres running around.

  17. littlewilly91 says:

    Seems like VG247 has kind of jumped on this story with a big inflammatory title, and Casey Hudson might get in trouble over this. It’s exactly the sort of press that makes a free and open discussion hard. Hard I tells you, and encourages game coverage to be scripted and dishonest.

    “BioWare: MMO future “makes sense” for Mass Effect”.

    I’d wager this is only how she felt as an individual. “Kind of” and all. I like the freedom of the press but it does continue to eat itself, but then maybe I have been watching too much of the West Wing. I have watched almost two series in the last few days. I wish things weren’t so markety, wish the heads of these great franchises wouldn’t care what the public think and know and would only worry about the actual work. And I guess the disproportionate amount of coverage a tiny murmur is getting, isn’t as disproportionate as I first thought since It’s a vastly popular franchise which means it makes more of a giant rumble. I hear it now. Another post written, I can feel the smell of burning silicone from my computer posting onto the RPS forum. It is the smell of action, power and justice. The presidential seal in the center of the rug glows. The fumes, the fumes are intoxicating.

  18. Ace Jon says:

    I can’t wait to see a universe filled with thousands of people all knowing that they single-handedly saved galactic civilization, and everyone else is crazy. I’M SHEPARD SHUT UP

  19. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Eh, no thanks.

  20. Noumenon says:

    Can I ask a really off-topic question about whether games that are imported from the UK are playable in the US as is? Specifically D&D Dragonshard (a RTS game) and Forgotten Realms Demon Stone ( a RPG) on ebay.

  21. Kadayi says:

    Much as I enjoy ME single player I don’t find the universe as a whole that compelling (I also find their time line a tad optimistic as well, even with the notion of us having salvaged alien technologies). I think they’d have to add a considerable amount more background and depth to everything across the board in order to make it an attractive proposition.

    Also With TOR coming out sometime in the foreseeable I can’t see them cutting off their nose to spite their face by releasing a further futuristic MMO. With all it’s factional conflicts and rivalries as well as its fantasy setting an MMO version of DA would make more sense, though I think chasing the WoW crowd is just a complete waste of money at this point in time.

  22. Soon says:

    If they ignore The Big Bad Galactic Terror and concentrate on interracial politics, where players would be carrying out or subverting their missions to advance or hinder the influence a race has on the planet/galaxy/universe. Where the actions of groups of players can affect whether alliances form between races, or they ultimately go to war. But without actually being a direct part of that conflict. Players would just be part of a great Machiavellian machine, observing the affects of their actions on the political map. I think that could be more interesting.

    Not that I’d play it. But, still.

  23. kazooka says:

    How about we discuss how converting a highly successful game property into an MMO is financial and creative death for said property?

    I liked playing Warcraft games that didn’t evolve killing 8,000,000 wolves to obtain their livers.

    If the Old Republic MMO fails, when’s the next time we see a KOTR single player game? Hell, when’s the next time we see a KOTR game period with the depth of the first two?

    Taking your vibrant, imaginative world and turning it into a Disneyworld version. Everything becomes flat, static and filled with assholes. And no matter what you do, when the next group of assholes comes through in another five minutes, it will be back to exactly how it was before.

    It would be one thing if video game companies were trying genuinely new things with their IPs in MMOs, but since they’re so damn expensive, they are almost all inevitably World of Warcraft with incremental changes. Incidentally, the few MMOs besides WoW that seem to be any kind of successful these days aren’t built on existing IPs at all.

    • Rii says:

      I’m not convinced that Warcraft is dead as an RTS franchise. I think the SC2 team will transition to WC4 (although it probably won’t be called that) which will be there to pick up that portion of WoW’s playerbase not sucked into the maw of Titan.

  24. MeestaNob says:

    If Mass Effect 3 is actually Mass Effect Online/MMO etc, I’m just not interested.

    I want to play a good quality engrossing game off line and by myself, is that too much to ask?

  25. DiamondDog says:

    Looking at how most MMO’s turn out I’m not sure I’d want them to do that to the ME universe. I loved ME2 and enjoyed most of the setting. They’d built up a nice atmosphere that helped pull you into the story and such. Problem is the kind of atmosphere they carefully constructed gets ruined when you have space stations full of “WTB LVL2 ARMOUR” “LFG 2 KILL CERB AGENT” “LOL FAG” and so on. I’m sure they could make it fun, but I don’t just want fun from ME2, I want to feel like I’m in the middle of a sci-fi novel, not an MMO dressed with aliens and spaceships.

    It’d be great if they could build something the size of an MMO and then sort of only let one person in at a time.

    Whatever they do with ME I want it to play like how this sounds…

    http://pyecorneraudio.bandcamp.com/album/black-mill-tapes-vol-2

  26. kwyjibo says:

    See how long Bioware have sunk into the Star Wars MMO, consider how much cash they’ve spent, and consider how risky that is.

    There will be no Mass Effect MMO.

  27. malkav11 says:

    ME2′s truncated gameplay didn’t have the depth or interest value to sustain a singleplayer game. I really, really don’t see it translating well to something you’re meant to play for hundreds of hours.

  28. edit says:

    I just wish MMO developers would focus more on emergent\procedural\social content\story than actually giving it a cinematic story as Bioware seem to have done with TOR. The goal should be to make the world flexible enough that interaction and emergent situations can be presented cinematically, rather than adding scripted cinematic content to an otherwise repetitive experience.

  29. Olivaw says:

    God yes I will gladly pay thirty dollars a month to BioWare to play BOTH of their MMOs.

    I mean it. I will. Even if I have to stop eating lunch to save money by god I WILL PLAY BOTH OF THEM.

  30. diestormlie says:

    Perhaps the MMO players will be mercs (Blue Suns, Eclipse, Blood Pack etc.) Seems the bestest way of having multiple factions and reasons to kill stuff!

    EDIT:

    And then we wouldn’t have hundreds Thousands of Spectres, Asari Commandos, STG etc.

  31. Pop says:

    I’d be up for it, providing they limited all player-player dialogue to three options, consistent with the current IP.

  32. Stick says:

    @ diestormlie:

    Heh. Well, playing a thug-for-hire would fit the usual MMO PC behaviour, I s’pose. More freedom than being a regular Alliance soldier, not as ridiculous as the “Spectre-status for everyone!” option. (Possibly lacking glamour.)

    I’d still rather take smaller, focused (single-player) games in the setting. “Conrad Verner Goes Looking For Love Extreme”, “Alliance Corsair: Deniable Ops”, “Thief Omega: Deadly Infiltrations”, “Gianna Parasini in: Mildly Hostile Takeovers”, etceteeeera.

  33. Ashrik says:

    If they’re going to go the MMO route, I hope they don’t follow the example of Bioware Austin and deliver another traditional WoW-type in space with guns in lieu of lightsabers. Show me something new!

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