Mass Effect 3 Aimed At “Larger Audiences”

By Quintin Smith on May 5th, 2011 at 10:48 am.

Guns spelt backwards is 'snug', you know. Amazing.

Hmm, this is interesting. The streamlining of Mass Effect’s more traditional RPG mechanics that occurred with Mass Effect 2 (the removal of the inventory screen, for example), is going to continue with Mass Effect 3. Eurogamer has the full story- John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronics Arts, publishers of Mass Effect, yesterday told investors that the game would have greater “mass appeal” and be a “shooter-meets-RPG”. As opposed to whatever it was before. An RPG-meets-shooter? The full quote’s after the jump. Thanks to RPS reader Edward “Fiasco” Fiala for the tip.

Here you go!

“One of the things that Ray Muzyuka and the team up in Edmonton have done is essentially step-by-step adjust the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you’ll see at E3 to put this in a genre equivalent to shooter-meets-RPG,” he said, “and essentially address a much larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 began to approach.

“We’re huge believers in the IP and are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity.”

What, I wonder, is left to cut? They could bury the character progression a bit so that the default option is for your characters to auto-level up, I suppose. They could package the renegade/paragon stuff more intuitively. What else? Surely they can’t be thinking of slimming down the time spent exploring and talking your way around city hubs?

In an interview I did with Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson last year, he did say that the second title in a trilogy is traditionally darker than the first, and the third is more climactic. Maybe we will be seeing a more action-focused game than before. Hmm, I say. HMM.

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274 Comments »

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  1. Gunsmith says:

    well that’s buggered it.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Steady now! Mass Effect 2 was (1) streamlined and (2) a significantly better game.

    • John P says:

      I preferred ME1 to ME2, but not because of the streamlining. The combat was certainly much better in 2.

      Anyway, considering the audience of these comments (investors) I wouldn’t be surprised if Riccitiello is just trying to convince them that the game will make some dough. Might not mean anything much.

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      AndrewC says:

      These reactions are awfully kneejerky.

    • MrMud says:

      ME2 was not a significantly better game.
      Some parts were better (shooting) and some parts were worse (story).

    • Branthog says:


      Steady now! Mass Effect 2 was (1) streamlined and (2) a significantly better game.

      And then you have the attempt they made at the same thing with Dragon Age II.

      Angry Birds is easier to get into and has greater mass appeal than Dwarf Fortress. I think we can see the direction things are going, in general. I’ll hope it’s only an over-reaction, but at this point, at least I’m prepared to assume the worst if it happens.

    • Iskariot says:

      @ Quintin Smith
      It was a better, improved game in certain aspects, yes. But the removal of some rpg elements made it an emptier, flatter, shootier game too. For example instead of improving the dysfunctional inventory system, they decided to kill it entirely. And I like being able to really scavenge and compare weapons and armors etc. I was really disappointed about the increased emptiness, or should I call it ‘streamlining’, of ME2 gameplay. If they are going to ‘streamline’ (read: destroy) even more rpg elements I am not buying.

      To be honest it is very unlikely that I will buy the collectors edition at first day of release, like I did with the previous games anyway. I am very much put off by the way Bioware abuses DLC and greedy and uncaringly shreds its own game into little pieces, destroying gameplay in the process. I will wait for the GOTY this time. If there is going to be one.

    • Danorz says:

      this isn’t coming after mass effect 2 though quintin, it’s coming after dragon age 2.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      @Danorz
      That is true. On the other hand, the team at Bioware that make Dragon Age is separate from the team that make Mass Effect. They’re different people that work on two different floors of the same building. Besides, DA2 looked like a different game from the start. This looks like more of the same.

    • V. Profane says:

      Mass Effect 2 was more polished, it wasn’t a better game though. In ME1 I felt like I was investigating a vast conspiracy to wipe out all organic life in the universe. In ME2 I felt like I was pandering to load of whiny babies who couldn’t put their own family issues aside in the face of the biggest threat possible, and then spending about half an hour actually getting anything done. And that fucking end boss…

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I miss the Mako… :,(

    • thegooseking says:

      @V. Profane: That end boss was just weird. First time I played through, I emptied a heavy weapon at it (the particle beam, I think) and found it tough. Second time, a few sniper rifle shots in the eye and I took it down without even taking any damage. It wasn’t quite logical enough.

      @Raiyan 1.0: ME2’s Hammerhead (the “free” DLC as long as you bought a new copy of the game or a pass to Cerberus Network) was better than ME1’s Mako. Shame there were only about five short missions where you got to use it.

    • Andrei Sebastian says:

      Going for the mass effect appeal, ey? (I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, it was right there, I had to go for it.)

      As a mass effect fan – this is definitely bad! ME2 had allready gone over the top with the simplification – only the combat came out winning from that situation. The truth is, cool RPG features were so cut out from it, it allready was shooter meets rpg… ME2 I think really was the acceptable limit.
      How much more moronic do they want it to be, should the characters speak in SIMS talk?

      P.S.
      Oh geez, I remember the nerd rage when I first saw the leveling up options in 2.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      @thegooseking: Replacing the Mako with the Hammerhead was a good move on Bioware’s part, considering the former was so universally reviled. But I always loved the original because of all the insane driving I did on rough terrains. Looked lovely too.

      It had a charm of its own.

    • visualdeity says:

      @Quintin Smith

      It’s a matter of taste I suppose, because I don’t agree. The story (and the telling thereof) was up to the usual Bioware standards, but because of all the stripping of the RPG mechanics I felt ME2 was a significantly worse game than ME1 in terms of gameplay. I don’t wish to imagine what ME3 will be like if it goes even further in this same (wrong) direction.

    • J-snukk says:

      I much prefered ME2 to ME1, however I don’t think it needs to be *more* streamlined. I thought ME1 was a bit needlessly unwieldy, but ME2 hit (more or less) the nail on the head, makes me wonder how on earth they could possibly streamline it any further.

      Also, the RPG grognards who always surface in these comment threads annoy me the point of self-harm, but I’m cautiously on their side until bioware can prove them wrong (again).

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The problem is the game started out as an RPG and is basically being progressively turned into a shooter with each new installment. While it could be a good game in its own right, it is resembling nothing like the original, at least if this information is to be taken at face value. Bioware seems to be pulling the rug out from under the genre of the game, which I think is wrong. But of course the bottomline is money so principle takes a back seat. Actually it’s not even given a backseat but left sitting alongside the road left in dust.

      Bioware might be able to tell a good story, but if they really want to make shooters, than stop calling their games RPG’s.

    • Dachannien says:

      @Iskariot:

      To be honest, I didn’t really miss the ME1 inventory system. Normally, I enjoy finding new gear and dressing up my dolls with it. I don’t know, though, whether not missing ME1’s system is an extolment of the great storyline in ME2, or an indictment of just how crappy the inventory system was in ME1. Probably both. (I also didn’t miss the rolling around planets in the rover. And I really enjoy old-school planetary exploration games like Starflight.)

      But at this point, my feelings about ME3 versus ME2 are pretty much where your feelings were with ME2 versus ME1: if they dumb the game down any more, I probably won’t enjoy it as much.

    • kyrieee says:

      “ME2 was not a significantly better game.
      Some parts were better (shooting) and some parts were worse (story).”

      I think most people would disagree.
      ME was busted both technically and mechanically, and even if you preferred the story in the first game (which is subjective) I’d argue that the environment design made up for any deficiencies. ME2 is just so much more interesting visually.

    • scienceshoew says:

      Hmmm indeed! This sounds bad, but it seems a little early to start complaining about it.

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      phuzz says:

      Getting rid of the inventory system from ME1 was a good call, regardless of if you prefer 1 or 2 better.
      (I’m more a fan of ME2 personally)

    • Danorz says:

      to state outright there’s no crosstalk between teams, or that this statement, coupled with what they said and did with DA2, does not indicate a seachange in management opinion, for example (i am not stating it is this either) seems odd.

    • sinister agent says:

      I agree with J-snukk. I can see how they could improve things for the third (the UI, for example, was badly butchered between the first and second game, and they really need to switch off the two minutes of pop-ups that covered a quarter of the screen every time you did anything), but how they can ‘streamline’ it further without simply removing good and enjoyable features is beyond me.

    • Barman1942 says:

      Sure, Mass Effect 2 played better, but the story was just so…meh. Drew Karpyshyn was the lead writer for ME1, and he wrote Baldur’s Gate 2, KOTOR and Jade Empire. Mac Walter worked on some parts of ME1, but I get the impression that the more interesting story concepts were mainly because of Drew.

    • V. Profane says:

      @thegooseking, I don’t even care about the damage model, it was the entire concept.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      “better game”

      I don’t know. Was it? I don’t think so.

      ME1 was in its contemporary context much greater game than what ME2 meant in after that.

      I personally liked ME1 better, though I guess it might be less “playable” today.

    • Nevard says:

      How about instead of forming snap judgements based on words for a game that isn’t out yet and won’t be until next year we sit and wait patiently until the time when it will actually be possible to justify some of these opinions?

    • Manley Pointer says:

      @Nevard: If game companies want to release a steady stream of information about their games for years before release, consumers will judge their games on that information. It’s better to acknowledge that this direction sounds mediocre than to emulate the eternal optimism of a Game Informer previewer.

      Quinns’ comment is a little weird because, unless I missed something, Bioware as a studio seems to be abandoning the full-on RPG model (BG2, DAO) that most gamers considered their best work. DA2 was “streamlined” into being almost nothing at all, and the message here appears to be that ME3 will be less of an RPG than ME2. The only mechanics-rich, long-form RPG that Bioware seem to have in development has been Frankensteined with a by-the-numbers WoW clone, as RPS’s previews suggest.

      ME2 was a “better” shooter than ME1 but still not a good one, I think; if you introduce it to a shooter fan, you have to apologize that the AI kind of sucks, the guns feel unresponsive, and it’s mostly menus and shields and layers rather than visceral impact and blood. I’m not thrilled at the prospect of “the new Bioware shooter.” Hopefully they’ll reveal more of an RPG angle at E3.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Manley: Dunno if this really counts as a games company “releasing information” given the context.

    • Celidus says:

      I wish Bioware would have remembered what made the IP great and stuck to it. It was first and foremost an RPG. And the best one ever in my opinion. Everybody says the combat was better in the second one and to an extent they are right. If you want a flat out third person shooter then yes it is better.

      But, as I said before Mass Effect was originally an RPG and that’s what I wanted from the second game. Sadly, the second had none of the charm of the first game. There was practically no story, RPG elements, or atmosphere. The game also felt much “smaller” than the first. Do you remember when you first stepped out onto the walkways of the Citidel? I do, it was an OMG moment for me. I literally said out loud “How did they fit all this on one disk?” It was an amazing experience. With the second game the Citidel felt like a level of the game rather than an entire city. It was a disappointment.

      I have played through the first ME more than twice now. ME2 I had to force myself to finish. I fear the same is going to be true for ME3 after reading this article. I don’t want ME3 to be another third person shooter. There are other third person shooters out there that are better like Gears of War. I’ll play those instead, but for ME3 bring back the RPG element that made the first one so great.

    • drinkingjacket says:

      I don’t know guys, I think alot of this angst is misguided.

      A game like ME3 has a pretty hefty budget. Bioware long ago married into the EA family. EA has the $$$, EA gets to make changes to their product to improve ROI. This is just the way of the world, in any industry (Especially entertainment), anywhere.

      Now, speaking specifically about those changes, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. ME2 combat is superior to ME1 combat. Pausing a game and cycling through 5 different menu screens to throw a grenade or use a heal is something we may all look fondly on but I think that kind of gameplay is dead. And probably with good reason.

      Say in some alternate universe Gygax never invented D&D or better, he was in his prime during the information age. Do you honestly think D&D would be a box for sale in a bookstore telling you to use graph paper, pencils, a shaped plastic die with 20 numbers and imagine you are slaying orcs and dragons? Or would it be a video game?

      The numbers are still there, they are always there. Even COD is just numbers. What the developers decide to show or hide and the level of specificity the user is generally granted in improving their avatar are really the only differences between any run of the mill video game (last I checked the player is almost never playing as him/herslef, ie you are always asuming the role of another character ) and a role playing game. We, the old guard may equate RPG with hit points, THACO, saving throws, dice pools, turn based combat, hitting the space bar to pause, counting out action points, etc, but those contrivances (and thats what they are) should never be what defines an RPG, they are simply the systems in place to make the game playable.

      Lamenting the “dumbing down” of a franchise because an exec told an investor they are making it shooter meets rpg is more than a bit reactionary and sad. The world changed. Technology evolved. Go play ME2 and then play Uncharted 2 or Red Dead Redemption, (yeah they aren’t PC, shoot me) and ME2 pales in comparison in the “gaming” portion of the gameplay. Both of those titles want the gamer to be immersed, I would even argue Red Dead does is better, instead of an empty galaxy to zip around in between 1-2 hour set piece missions, you can ride your horse from one end of the map to the other with all manner of activity constantly occuring around you. Bioware are too big now, with too much backing to be forgiven for less than AAA combat and given a free pass by the critics for their dialogue wheels and “decisions ” the player has to make.

      Hiding the numbers under the hood is just the way they want to go. Sure they could have gone the opposite route ala Borderlands and shown every bullet’s damage maybe even with a Blizzard-lite talent tree for the classes, but would that really make the game better?

      If anything we should be asking Bioware why they haven’t made an original game since Jade Empire. Literally everything they do and have done since KOTOR has been a riff of KOTOR. NWN gave us the toolset, but the actual game was meh. DA:O was their long developed shot at making a fantasy RPG without the D&D liscense and look what we got. Orcs with a different name. And seriously, go play DA:O, how much depth is there really? If you have half a brain you put your points in magic if a mage, strenth if a warrior, etc. Its a power gamer’s paradise. I have never found a CRPG that cannot be power gamed, in many cases the only way to succeed is to power game. Is grinding levels and obsessing over bonuses in an inventory screen really what we want? Is that really depth?

      If anything we should be demanding Bioware put more effort into the story. Into what an actual relationship or romance can be like instead of a sterilized sex scene “reward” and color coded dialogue trees. Its always disappointing to me, when I approach the 5 hour mark in any RPG and realize that all the thought and caution I am putting into my decisions via dialogue or should I open this safe or hack this terminal or accept this quest is just background static. The only things you ever find are gold/creds/whatever. Doing a quest never has repurcussions (especially in a Bioware game) until the end when they tally up your efforts and give you your cutscene reward. The “Role” is lost to the “Roll.” Does that make a better RPG or a better time sink?

      I think there is potential for a great online game in the ME ‘verse. (Even if it is just star wars meets Halo without light sabers or blasters or wookies) But that game would have to be built on the squad shooter level, cover, layered defensese, tech/biotics and weapon types to use against shields/barriers/etc. There’s plenty of room there for character classes, for evolving power trees, etc. And, I think, this is clearly where they want to go. (Casey Hudson mentioned something about online in the GI interview).

    • shizamon says:

      I’m sorry but ME2 sucked hard “MISSION COMPLETE” screen, non equipable team (I’m the commander dammit!), and overall felt like a on the rails linear story.
      Like marketing a ship-in-a-bottle to toddlers.

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    Diziet Sma says:

    This doesn’t sound good, I hope it’s not quite how the soundbyte makes it out to be.

  3. FadedReality says:

    Here’s hoping they improve the button to awesome ratio.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      I would rather have the button to opera ratio improved. Have a key or button bound to make Mordin belt out a selection of classic Gilbert and Sullivan, mid-battle.

      If Mordin is not in the party, Grunt is pushed up from understudy. If Grunt is not in the party, I’m not sure what they’re doing but it doesn’t look like any Mass Effect sequel I want to play.

  4. wazups2x says:

    Where’s my killstreaks?!

  5. sneetch says:

    More shooting, less talking, I’d guess.
    I’d say “Gears of Effect” or “Mass of War” if I was interested in being witty without truly understanding what wit is.

    • Wulf says:

      I hope not, that’s primarily my issue with Bethesda’s games. What I long for is more talking and meaningful choices.

    • faelnor says:

      You’re probably not the “larger market opportunity”, Wulf.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      100% with you Wulf. And yeh that’s certainly where Beth games fall over for me too and why I really dug ME 1 & 2.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      ‘Effect of War’ sounds pretty swanky.

    • dsi1 says:

      That implies your choices will have even the smallest effect on the story though…

    • DrGonzo says:

      Except Bioware’s games never have meaningful choices in them do they? You always end up saving the world, someone may die, but all that will change is the npc that gives you a mission in the next game.

      Whereas in Bethesda’s games I can make choices of where to go, what to do and the like. Mass Effect 2 really felt like a corridor shooter to me that was trying to hide the fact that it was one. I’m not trying to say Bethesda’s games are full of meaningful choices, just that meaningful is subjective.

      Not that I dislike ME at all, quite the contrary, I loved them. But I wouldn’t say they have any meaningful choices in them, and I find that quite disappointing.

  6. explosiveface says:

    I just don’t get it. Dragon Age Origins, a hardcore RPG, outsold ME1 and 2. Then they dumb down DA2 and ME3.

    • kororas says:

      Yes this trend is becoming increasingly worrying. Especially coming from Bioware.

    • Wulf says:

      It outsold it, yeah, but I think that there were a lot of complaints surrounding Origins. I know I didn’t play further than the Deep Roads. I don’t mind the grind and padding being cut off like so much fat, really, because those aren’t the parts of an RPG I care about. Mass Effect 2 was more chatty than any Bioware game has properly been in a long while, and entertainingly so, so I hope ME3 continues that trend.

    • Alexandros says:

      I think it outsold the ME games because of the marketing. The trailers and the ads had absolutely nothing to do with the real gameplay, so my guess is that a lot of “larger audience” people were “tricked”, so to speak, into buying Dragon Age because they thought it would be a different kind of game.

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      Joshua says:

      Sigh.

      Appealing to a wider audience does not indicate dumbing down. If Dragon Age origins sold better then ME, giving ME3 more RPG elements (Which Christina Norman said they would) is THE way to appeal to more audiences (in other words, making it sell better).

      “Wider Audiences’ has become to PC gamers what “Communism” is to Americans…

    • Bloodloss says:

      Tell me Josh, do you really believe that? I think we both know they’re not going to add more RPG elements. It’s going to go the way of DA2.

      It’s become a dirty phrase to PC gamers because time and time again it turns out to mean making games for retards, often utterly ruining a series.

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      Joshua says:

      Yes. I bloody do believe what I am saying. I am getting a bit tired of the pessimists who count a series as doomed based by one sentence of marketing speech towards investors.

    • subedii says:

      What Joshua said. I’m not going to repeat what I said in the previous ME post comments, but basically I felt the changes from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 did fit more naturally with what the game was attempting to do. People whine about how the storyline was “dumbed down” or the RPG elements were “dumbed down”, but that’s really not the case.

      The RPG elements as they were used in ME1 were fiddly and not all that well implemented, and got in the way of the combat gameplay, which improved quite a lot in ME2. The overall storyline was basically one note (you’ve going on a suicide mission, PREPARE!), but that was built around a far more character based story. That was really more of a trade-off, and I felt it worked brilliantly, because the characters were way more interesting in ME2 than they were in ME1.

      I have no problems in ME shifting towards better action gameplay, honestly I feel that suits Mass Effect best. This DOES NOT however, equate to making the story or characters worse, which are the defining aspects of the game.

      I’d be concerned if I didn’t think ME2 wasn’t a better game than ME1. As it is, I thought the writing was better, the characters were better, and the gameplay was better (and they got rid of those flipping Mako segments across procedurally generated fractal landscapes).

      So yeah, I’m willing to trust them on ME3. I heard this same song and dance about Portal 2. Which didn’t mean much because when I played it, it turned out to be one of the best and most well thought out games I’ve played, and easily a candidate for best game of the year so far.

      Any sequel can be a disaster, including this one. But these comments? They’re not a particular indicator as to the final quality of the product one way or the other.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I preferred the second DA. Since when did you need more ‘RPG’ elements anyway? Planescape is my favourite RPG. It didn’t have particularly deep or complicated combat and stuff.

    • sinister agent says:

      I also agre with Subedi, but I am not sure what they mean by ‘streamlining’, because I really can’t see where it needs to be done. Unless they mean the planet scanning, now that I think about it.

    • Birdman Tribe Leader says:

      I have to second what DrGonzo about Planescape. I like RPGs for the talky bits and for (generally) more interesting art direction than a lot of other genres. I don’t enjoy the numbers part of the game. I can get into loot if each item has unique properties and new art and (ideally) lore (swords and amulets and stuff in Baldur’s Gate or even guns with unique art in Fallout 1 and 2), but the stupid fiddling around in ME1 with who has Incendiary Ammo +5 and who has Incendiary Ammo +6 was just plain tedious.

  7. DiamondDog says:

    I’m not going to panic. I’m not going to panic. I’m not going to panic.

    • McDan says:

      Panic! They’re making it for small children who just want explosions! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

      Anyway, this is a real shame, I thought mass effect 2 was just simplified enough to make it better than ME1, but if they had done any more to it it would have turned out not to be a better game. So them saying they’re simplifying it even more really annoys me, speaking as a mass effect fanboy. Albeit a coherent one.

    • NightKid says:

      What Claptrap said two posts above.

  8. groovychainsaw says:

    But – the shooting in both ME games was the worst bits (and far too frequent)? So… they’re going to put more in? It could be good if they radically overhauled how the shooting works, but I can’t see that happening (even after the noticeable improvement from 1 to 2, it was still clunky at best). Shame no-one looks at portal 2’s example of how a game can be almost entirely without manshooting and still be compelling and interesting, with a good plot that sells lots of copies.

    I guess I’ll have to start looking for RPG goodness elsewhere (please be good Witcher 2!). Between the streamlining of all the RPG functions (which weren’t extensive even in the first one) and the fairly dumb shooting, there’s not much intelligence left in this game.

    Poor old Bioware, what a fall from grace they’ve had – they may be making lots of money, but they’ve sold their soul … to the man! ;-)

    • Andrei Sebastian says:

      Exactly my thoughts… Witcher 2 kinda seems our last hope now.
      Fingers crossed!

    • thegooseking says:

      By the same logic, you could say that the shooting in Deus Ex was the worst bit therefore Human Revolution is going to suck, but I’m not quite prepared to jump to that conclusion.

    • groovychainsaw says:

      Not sure that’s a good comparison – The newest DE looks to be approaching the material with a similar balance of shooting/RPG tropes to the original, and the developers seem to be aiming for that complexity, not ‘for a wider audience’ (although I’m sure they’d like that appeal!). So I have more hope for that right now.

      I liked ME 1 and 2, and I’ll probably get ME3 to see how it ends, I’m just saddened by the continued decline of interesting options/choices in games for more shooting/less interesting/simpler choices under the heading of ‘wider appeal’. I’ve yet to see a game claim to be aiming for ‘wider appeal’ during development and get MORE complex afterwards.

    • Birdman Tribe Leader says:

      Yeah, the shooting was the least interesting and most tedious part of both games (welllll, except for driving around in the Mako in ME1). I wish they would either just cut a bunch of the combat or try to create some more interesting scenarios for shooting beyond “here’s a corridor and here are some identical mercenaries to shoot at. But these ones are wearing BLUE instead of RED!”

      It doesn’t take a ton to make things a little more interesting. Some of the shooting parts that were just a little different were much more fun: defending the bridge with Archangel, Grunt’s vision quest, the first Collector battle or two. But just about every action mission should have had the number of nearly identical corridors with identical enemies cut in half.

  9. Coins says:

    Well, this can either be good, or bad. I really hope it’ll be good, but for some reason, it doesn’t quite inspire hope.

  10. Taverius says:

    Ummm … I guess in some alternative reality this is a good thing … as far as I’m concerned, I liked ME1 more than ME2 ..

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    sonofsanta says:

    God Quinns, we’ve already completely covered this topic in the other comments thread. You’re so slow. You’re not young like you used to be.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      NONE OF US ARE YOUNG LIKE WE USED TO BE

      I eat porridge for breakfast these days. No lie.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I used to eat porridge for breakfast when I was a kid now I do not… Am I benjamin button?

    • Bhazor says:

      @ SanguineAngel

      No you are just a fool who denies himself the best winter breakfast in the world. Proper porridge oats, full fat milk, a dusting of sugar, yum.

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      sonofsanta says:

      @Quinns: got a tea pot yet? Tea pots are when you realise a) you must be old now, you just bought a tea cosy b) tea pots are TOTALLY AWESOME and having hot tea to hand for 2 hours is a life changing kind of paradigm shift.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Haha. Yeah, we own a teapot but the thing cools too fast. We genuinely need a tea cosy but I don’t know if I can bring myself to buy one.

      The girl made me a Super Meat Boy cosy for the coffee pot though, which is just about my favourite thing in the flat. http://twitpic.com/4j70b5/full

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      Lars Westergren says:

      Instead of a tea cosy, can’t you just pour the tea over into a thermos? Then instead of feeling old you can tell yourself “I’m a rugged adventurer. I just happened to pick a camp site which is in in my bedroom right in front of a computer.”

    • Baboonanza says:

      That is so awesome, you are a lucky man.

    • Sassenach says:

      Plus, thermoses are magical. They take perfectly good tea and make it taste awful and no one knows why. Except maybe wizards.

  12. Tei says:

    I truth then to make a good game, but I hope we don’t get the same problems of ME2:
    – To bloody obvious mission structure
    – That horrible “score window” wen you finish a level
    – That lame “shot from cover” shotting gameplay

    I also hope we get more of the good bits of ME2:
    – Interesting characters
    – Decisions
    – Interesting missions / Quests

    If have to choose betwen adding a boring gameplay, or add excellent characters, I hope choose the excellent characters. But I have no problem if have time to do both, and we get a FPS-y combat plus everything else we love about ME.

  13. Freud says:

    Perhaps the game will scan planets automatically while I go take a dump.

    • DSR says:

      “Probe launched!”
      *water splash*

      Urgh… My imagination hurts!

  14. thegooseking says:

    Don’t really understand the logic of “more people will like it, therefore it’ll be bad”. It’s pretty much contingent on one of a few premises being true.

    1) What they think people will like is not, in point of fact, what people will actually like. (Possible, but not a sure thing.)
    2) People are stupid, so what they like doesn’t count. (The antecedent may be true, but the suggested consequent doesn’t necessarily follow.)
    3) They should make games that I like, not that other people like, because I’m better and therefore deserve it. (Just… no.)

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Whilst there is business sense, superficially, in making all your games appeal to the widest possible audience what will happen if everyone does this is that all games will essentially be the same.

      Mass Effect as a franchise has a pre-established audience and there would be nothing wrong with making a game for /those/ people. They may not be the majority but there is still money to be made there.

      Ultimately, it comes down to whether they are making the game purely for the benefit of their coffers or whether they actually value their exisitng customers and their creative vision.

      I don’t know simply from the information at hand what changes will be made to the game. His statement does imply that this game will not be in the same RPG vein though which is worrying to those of us who like ME for its version of RPGness, namely character and dialogue based role playing.

      Thems my thinks anyway

    • thegooseking says:

      Well, no, I think I’m suggesting the opposite. Notwithstanding that the words “mass appeal” were used, all games would be the same if the people who are suggesting how games should be had their way, too. Which is where the flawed logic comes from, I guess.

      I do appreciate your point, though. A sequel is an odd choice to try to “target new market opportunities”. I suppose it makes business sense, because that could lead to not only increased sales of ME3, but new sales of ME1 and ME2. But I agree that a sequel should tap into what fans of the series already like about it.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ TheGooseKing
      “1) What they think people will like is not, in point of fact, what people will actually like.”
      Sounds about right to me, lets take Dragon Age versus Mass Effect as an example.
      Dragon Age was originally marketed as a successor to Baldur’s Gate (we’ll egnore the UNIVERSALLY mocked “New Shit”). Now they were apparently marketing it to to a small sub market of mature gamers who remember their classics and look for strategy heavy gameplay. Mass Effect 2 on the otherhand made sure you knew it was an interactive movie. For me the best example for this was the trailer with the hollywood actors talking awkwardly about their characters who never acted with anyone and just read through all their lines in a long list*. Yet the stodgy game for old crumblies outsold the flashy wizz pow action film. The moral, for me at least, is that people like variety. When every game they play is a wizz pow action film maybe they’d want to play something that isn’t.

      “all games would be the same if the people who are suggesting how games should be had their way, too. Which is where the flawed logic comes from, I guess.”

      Ok I want a hardcore party based RPG. I also want a mindless fun Serious Sam shooter. I also want a racing game with a Burnout style focus on thrashing. I also want a modern space trading sim. I also want a slow burning multiplayer competitive management game like MULE. I also want another go on Minecraft.
      This is my point, despite what publishers seem to think, people want variety. They do not want the same game again and they do not want their favourite genre reduced to an amorphous “Shooter-_____”. Not everyone wants the same thing and even if they do that doesn’t mean they want it everytime.

      *To go on a tangent this is my biggest complaint with videogame voice acting (with a few exceptions like Uncharted). Theres an audible beat between every single line and it completely ruins any naturalist acting, the actors don’t know what is happening in that scene, they’re usually given the vaguest direction and most importantly they don’t know the next actors response. When was the last time you heard characters talk over each other? Or the last time you heard banter that wasn’t DA style:
      A: Line
      (beat)
      B: Line
      (beat)
      A: Line
      (beat)
      B: Line
      (beat)
      (whir click)
      A: Ha Ha Ha

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I don’t necessarily think producing a game for a wider audience will make a bad game. But altering your target audience halfway through a series does risk alienating your existing audience and also destabilsing the consistancy of your product.

      I agree, i don’t think all games should all be made to /my/ specifications either. As you say, games would all end up the same again. I don’t think games should be made to any single standard at all.

      I do think that games should be made for a spectrum of audiences. Everyone is unique with their own tastes and preferences and so it is impossible to make a single perfect game that everyone likes. But as creative entities, developers ought to perhabs be reaching out to different people.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I find it upsetting that so many developers and publishers in a creative entertainment industry (a place you would think attracts passionate and or artistic people) are more concerned with wringing every last cent from a franchise than the artistic integrity of their work.

      There are certainly some games out there that fly in the face of convention and appeal to minority audiences but it saddens me that that is the exception not the rule. There’s a whole spectrum of possible games and for the most part we end up with the same thing over and over again, especially in the AAA market becuase that’s what market testing believe will make the most money.

    • V. Profane says:

      People are stupid, but the imaginary people that corporate pseudo-science wants to sell things to are even stupider. More mass appeal, coming from a CEO, almost certainly means lowest common denominator, or copy what is more popular.

    • thegooseking says:

      I’d like to think that everyone learned their lesson about altering a target audience eight years ago, from Deus Ex: Invisible War, but maybe that’s a lot to ask.

      I do hope that a “larger market opportunity” means that they can retain the appeal of the original games while incorporating elements that appeal to other players, rather than simply switching to appeal for other players. And that’s just it: I hope that. There’s no real reason to assume one way or the other. History has shown that trying to produce a game that is all things to all people is tough, and there is a risk of failure and having it all fall apart. But it’s a risk, not a certainty.

    • Mattressi says:

      thegooseking, I’ve gotta say, I find your logic much harder to follow than the logic of others.

      You say: “Don’t really understand the logic of “more people will like it, therefore it’ll be bad”. It’s pretty much contingent on one of a few premises being true.

      3) They should make games that I like, not that other people like, because I’m better and therefore deserve it. (Just… no.)”

      How do those two sentences, which you claim others to be saying, line up?? Your issue is with people saying it’ll be bad because more people will like it. How does that suddenly turn into that person saying “I’m better; they should make games I want”?

      I think the game will suck because it’s being dumbed down for a wider audience. I don’t think I’m special though and I’m not demanding that they make it how I want it nor chucking a hissy fit over it (in fact, I haven’t seen anyone on here saying anything past “I won’t buy it if you don’t make it how I want”, which is exactly how capitalism works).

      Hell, none of your points make logical sense, but the third was the most obvious. The second also has nothing to do with your original statement which you say you have an issue with: I can’t imagine anyone, when calling ME3 bad, is saying that other people’s opinions don’t count – just that the game will be bad for them, because people in general tend to prefer things to be easy and simple. The first point assumes that people are basing this idea that “games which the general public enjoy are games which I do not enjoy” off of nothing.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yup, I’m with you there gooseking – if they can retain the things that made the first two games great I actually wouldn’t mind a little more variety in gameplay & combat etc. But despite the amount of shooting, I hope they remain aware that combat wa never the focus of the first two games.

      As you say, we don’t have any specific reason to believe they’ll fluff it all up. Although past experience with the industry in general teaches us to be pessimistic perhaps?

    • thegooseking says:

      X says “More people will like it, therefore it’ll be bad”. This implies two things. 1) X won’t like it. 2) Other people will.

      This will make the game “bad” if X has a problem with people making games that other people like, and thinks that people should make games that X likes, instead.

      I’m not sure if I can make it any clearer than that. I’m not really seeing how that logic is hard to follow.

      Maybe, to make it clearer, I’m not talking about people who don’t enjoy the game. That would be ridiculous and silly. I’m talking about the people who take the idea of a game they don’t enjoy as some kind of personal affront.

    • Andrei Sebastian says:

      Gooseking, you gave the best possible example I can think of – Deus Ex: Invisible War.
      Game over, man!

      Let’s just hope this is all bad PR and empty talk.

    • thegooseking says:

      @Andrei: Well, it’s not even PR. It’s telling the investors what they want to hear. Obviously what investors want to hear and what players want to hear is going to be different – that’s been true since forever – and it’s probably bad news for PR if, as in this case, the players find out what EA thought the investors wanted to hear, but it’s not a big surprise.

    • vagabond says:

      Goose, how about the following as a general rule?

      Creative things (because I would contend this also holds true for things other than computer games) when made for a specific audience, are to that specific audience, very satisfying. (assuming they are of decent quality. Whether you’re an FPS fan or not, the game tie in for “Battle: Los Angeles” is still pretty dire by most accounts).

      Creative things are, when made to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, assuming they are again of decent quality, only mildly satisfying to everybody.

      When I say “more people will like it therefore it will be bad” what I actually mean is “more people will like it therefore it will not be as good as it might otherwise have been, and this makes my feet sad”.

      I’ll opt for a modified version of your option 3, which is:

      They should make some of the games that are made, games I like. Other games are free to be games I do not like. If a game I like has a sequel, it should remain as a game I like*.
      Also, I _am_ better than other people, but that isn’t their fault so I try not to blame them for too much that is wrong with the world.

      * This is not to say it cannot change at all. I like it when things I like are made better. My point is, you wouldn’t make the film “the Notebook 2″ and decide to make it a comedy starring Jack Black so it had wider appeal, you’d make a different film altogether. Similarly don’t announce that you’re making the follow up to two RPGs a corridor shooter. (and don’t start with your “that isn’t what he said”s, he must have known that was clearly the only possible interpretation people would come to before he even opened his mouth)

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Uh, people aren’t decrying the “mass appeal” statement because they think “More people liking it = it’ll be bad”.

      People are decrying “mass appeal” statements from developers because history has shown developers have no idea how to actively aim their product at a wide market. They have a sound philosophy (i.e., take an existing IP, tweak it to get INSTA-SALES!), but they don’t actually know how to do carry it out. What this statement almost always amounts to is that the thoughts of the developers eventually converges to a common “just make it simpler. Simpler = more accessible = INSTA-SALES!”.

      It’s not the fault of the audience to instantly think “dumbed down” when a PR statement says “wider audience”, because that’s honestly what people have been seeing every time those words are uttered. The true fault lies in the developer who mistakenly thinks “dumbed down = MOAR SALES”. Nobody would decry this “wider appeal” philosophy if developers knew how to actually do it properly.

  15. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Indeed
    This is a game for the young
    Not a game for me
    Indeed

    /meme building

  16. DiTH says:

    Im shocked that you guys dont know what he means !! He said the exact same thing about DA2 and look what happened.
    Expecting easier combat,Complete Linearity and as little exploring as possible.I imagine they can have the whole thing be a standoff at London and on space around earth.Something like. Sheppard is on the trial,Reapers attack and they ask him to save earth.He kills everything, he get hold of some kind of virus he uploads it to the Reapers coms and he wins.And he will have 1 quest for each member and gg.

    I hope that Bioware understands that they are now on the 2nd chance after DA2 and if ME3 turns something like that again their preorders will go away.And paying sites like ign and eurogamer for GREAT reviews about bad games like DA2 will not take them far.

    Bad i have to say that even though they reduced the RPG features from ME1 to ME2, i still liked it but i dont know if this trilogy can withstand a lot more gimping.

    OSAMA Lives.

  17. TsunamiWombat says:

    A company is hoping to sell to large numbers of people! I am filled with rage and confusion, GRR! INSERT KNEE JERK REACTION BECAUSE MASS EFFECT IS RUINED FOREVER!

    • Kdansky says:

      As if the intro of ME2 hadn’t ruined the series already.

      But most people did not pay attention to the main plot of ME2. Which is for the best, really. If you actually try to make sense of it, you’ll suddenly become very angry about how bad it really is.

  18. Symitri says:

    “Surely they can’t be thinking of slimming down the time spent exploring and talking your way around city hubs?”

    Incoming Mass Effect XIII.

    I kid, I kid.

    While I can see a lot of people feel let down by how Dragon Age 2 turned out when it was “stream-lined for the masses”, it wasn’t a problem with the idea so much as the rushed execution. The re-use of the same areas repeatedly, the empty choices that felt like they meant bugger all – these all seemed problematic because they weren’t given the time to polish things off. It’s kind of the opposite problem that studios like Troika had where their ideas were grand and you could see that if they had the time to finish off, it would have been incredible but they had to push for release or risk it never seeing the light of day ever.

    The fact they’re pushing ME3 back another year gets me hopeful they’ll at least try to get it right rather than make a botch job of it. Either way though, I’ve come to the dreary realisation that unless I start paying for DLC content, I’m not getting the final story out of any Bioware (or EA) game now and I’m not sure if this is more or less dreary than eating a cake alone, in the dark,singing happy birthday to myself.

    • thegooseking says:

      They’re not pushing ME3 back a year; they’re pushing it back a few months.

      Anyway, since I’ve already set myself up for crucifixion, here, I’m going to say that I found the choices in DA2 more meaningful than the choices in DA:O. Or maybe ‘meaningful’ is not the right word. I had the sense that the choices in DA:O were meaningful in themselves, but lacked enough context for me to be informed enough to meaningfully choose. DA2’s choices were far better contextualised, which made them more meaningful, if not in scale, then at least on a personal level: I felt I had much more motivation to make those choices.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      @TheGooseKing – Well, in DA2 the choices were more dramatic, it’s true. But they were basically just an illusion in the end, no matter what choices you made nearly everything turned out the same anyway. Even with the small stuff. I’ve reloaded many conversations and nearly EVERY one where violence was a possibility (talking down an angry group of mercenaries for example) ENDED in violence, no matter what you said! They gave you the illusion that you could actually do something without it ending in bloodshed, but it was a blatant lie. And it’s not only the smaller stuff in the game. The main plot line is pretty much pro-mage/anti-mage, but even as a pro-mage, you end up killing just about the same number of apostates ass an anti-mage, and you’re just not given the option to do anything else (except in one, maybe two cases throughout the whole game), and then the perceived scope of what you could get from the endgame was just that, perceived. There was really only two endings, with tiny little inconsequential details to make it seem like you made decisions yourself, which you really had very little say in when it comes down to it. That as much as the horrible combat (throwing reinforcements out of the sky right on top of my mages Bioware? Way to fucking encourage tactical play!) is what turned me against the game (and I was a major fanboi). I didn’t feel like I had anything to do with the game in the end. I didn’t influence it, or at least in such minor, cosmetic ways that didn’t matter in the end.

      And about ME3; If I had heard this announcement before DA2 was released I would give Bioware the benefit of the doubt, but now, I’m not so sure. In my mind the guns and conversation aspect of ME2 was skewed a little too much towards guns. It was still a great game though, but I don’t think it could afford to skew anymore while still retaining it’s Mass-Effectiness. PC gaming these days scares me. It reminds me of TV. Instead of trusting in the intelligence, or even trying to raise the intelligence, of their viewers, most TV shows pander to the lowest-common-denominator

      And I know I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, but DLC is another major problem. I would have previously thought Bioware wouldn’t stoop to the level that a lot of other game designers have, but imho they are now one of the worst offenders. Check out this link, which I think fairly accurately sums up modern day DLC; http://www.jpgdump.com/files/7389

    • Gormongous says:

      I’m going to call shenanigans on “nearly every” conversation threatening combat ending that way. With Aveline in my party, I could frequently appeal to authority, and that made at least three hostile groups disperse.

      Of course, the fact that developers hid some of the game-changing set items on the bodies of these persuadable fellows is another matter entirely.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      That’s why I said nearly. There are indeed a few times where it is possible, but it seems like they’re always setting you up to try and negotiate with people, and offering you conversation choices to try and dissuade them, but not following through on that.

      Plus, yes, Aveline is captain of the guard, but you’re the Champion of Kirkwall. You think that might carry more clout. The only one I can really remember being able to change the mind of was Alain the apostate in the third act. There were others I’m sure.

  19. DeepSleeper says:

    I liked Dragon Age Origins.
    I liked Mass Effect.
    I loved Mass Effect 2.
    I hated Dragon Age Awakenings.
    I skipped Dragon Age 2. (One day I’ll see if I enjoy or hate it.)

    … I have no idea what I’m going to make of Mass Effect 3 at this point, but I’m not sure it matters, since after the first two it’s essentially an automatic purchase. I can’t think of anyone else doing such a talky shooter or such a shootery talker. (Unless we get that Alpha Protocol sequel I keep daydreaming about.)

    • Lilliput King says:

      We heard Obsidian weren’t going to make one a while back.

      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/29299/Sega_No_Alpha_Protocol_Sequel.php

      ‘Tis a shame, though in all honesty I don’t particularly hanker after a sequel, just another game which uses those mechanics.

    • vandinz says:

      Get and play DA2. It doesn’t matter if it’s better or worse than the first, it’s whether you enjoy it. If you loved ME2 you will love that too. Trust me.

    • orangedragon says:

      @ vandinz – Liar! I loved ME2 and couldn’t stand more than an a few hours of DA2. I was hoping it’d improve at some point but gave up after hearing from others that it never would.

  20. Premium User Badge

    cqdemal says:

    I know that the statement does sound like more streamlining when you focus on the ‘larger market opportunity’ part, but on the other hand it can also be interpreted as an attempt to achieve a greater balance between shooter and RPG elements. Mass Effect 1 was a great RPG with a rather poor shooting element attached, and Mass Effect 2 is a lightweight RPG with improved shooting sequences that, if not for the RPG-enhanced action and excellent talky bits, would have faced much stronger criticism over its totally pedestrian level design and simplistic character development.

    Also, everyone seems to have forgotten this: http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/04/08/mass-effect-3-to-have-deeper-rpg-elements-expanded-skill-trees-and-alternative-endings/. Greater choice of abilities, larger skill trees, multi-level powers and weapon upgrades do sound like the return of RPG elements from ME1, don’t they?

  21. StranaMente says:

    So… it will be just one long grey corridor with people to shot in it.
    Great. Way to go Riccitello. For a moment I thought EA could improve itself.
    Did they ever stop to think that if people wanted a tps they could buy a tps and if they want to buy a rpg they buy a rpg?

    • thegooseking says:

      Because that would totally have the mass appeal they’re going for. Yep.

      And, oh, some of us have understood that game genre labels have been meaningless for a few years now. Do try to keep up.

    • StranaMente says:

      Label are there for convenience. I do not like them too, and from the mingling of genres were born some of the best game ever made.
      That said, making combat more accessible is good, cutting out choices, dialogues, npc interactions, small commerce with merchants, fiddling with your stats (things that are stereotipical for a rpg) is bad.
      That’s what I’m saying, when I want to play a rpg means that I want to do those things. If I want to play a tps means that I want to shoot things, without thinking too much.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Bully for you.

    • thegooseking says:

      I can definitely agree that I’d like to see more traditional RPG stuff going on in games in general, but I don’t think I want it in Mass Effect 3 specifically.

    • StranaMente says:

      It really is full of shooter all around the game scene, instead there are really few (in comparison) rpg’s. My point is, why do they have to turn this game into another shooter?

  22. rivalin says:

    Games should come with an intelligence slider for the players, so all the idiots (apparently the largest market segment) can set it to “I’m a witless dullard”, and stop forcing studios to pitch games at people with an IQ of 90.

    And it’s only going to get worse as the audience of people who play games gets bigger. Hopefully once the market essentially consists of everyone (a la tv, films) it will be so big that there will be space for relatively high budget stuff pitched at people who are not idiots (i.e. the gaming equivalent of Mad Men or Rubicon etc)

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Really? “They’re just stupid”? That’s what you’re going with here? Great, thanks.

      You could’ve at least brought up System Shock and/or the first couple Silent Hill games if you wanted to make a point about separately-scalable puzzle and combat difficulty levels.

  23. Subject 706 says:

    Hopefully Riticello was only trying to calm his investors. If not I hope they’ll come to their senses someday and realize that you can’t chase the lowest common denominator for too long without completely ruining your franchise and/or alienating your fans.

  24. WMain00 says:

    Maybe they’re going to remove femshep…

    • pagad says:

      That would kill off the chances of anyone who played femShep in the first two games from being able to complete the trilogy, thus reducing their audience.

      I don’t think they’d do something so completely stupid, though. That’d just be idiotic.

    • FLAMEIFRIT says:

      With E.A pulling the strings this sort of idiotic decision is possible … unfortunately

    • Eightball says:

      Not if they value their lives.

    • vagabond says:

      They brought you back from the dead in 2, so I guess forcing FemShep’s to undergo a sex change operation in the Prologue of 3 wouldn’t be too hard sell tech-wise. Quick and painless, Rex Nebular style.

    • DaFishes says:

      I don’t think they’ll yank femShep, but on whatever their next game is, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were no female option. In interview after interview, they keep pushing the idea that the male hero is “more iconic.” Even BioWare’s co-founders are on video doing this.

  25. Premium User Badge

    JayG says:

    Dragon Age 2 kinda soured me on Bioware, though was still looking forward to ME3. I do wonder what they are trying to achieve, Fallout and the Elder Scrolls did very well saleswise without having to dumb down. And the next big game from Bio that has done all it can to alienate it’s PC audience is a PC MMO based on a console francise. They admitted that DA2 was going where the sales were, console, fair enough, but if that is what u are aiming at surely TOR on Xbox would make a heck of a lot more sense.

    • DiTH says:

      The trick here is that both Fallout and Elder Scrolls come from a publisher like Bethesda who love to do their thing like Bioware did it pre EA.Im not sure that EA is pressuring them to change things rather than they are pressuring themselves and follow the market trend.The last year have seen games like FinalFantasy13,FinalFantasy14,Starcraft2 and Dragon Age2 ,propably more that i dont remember or i dont care so much about like i do for these games, that are all inferior to their predecessors and for me they were pure failures and if not for their names/publicity/creators they would be on 5$ sales now.

      I just feel so let down and soured like you.I have finished more than 2 times every other Final fantasy game but i didnt even finish 1 time FF13.I played FF11 for 3 years but i didnt play FF14 more than 1 month.I played Starcraft for 6 years but i didnt play SC2 for more than 3 months.And in the end i played DA:O finishing it completely with all side quests with 2 chars of Human Origin and 1 fast ending with Elven origin but when i finished DA2 with most of the sidequests i just uninstalled it.

      Its pathetic that i have to play Elder Scrolls 4 or baldurs gate 2 in 2011 and i dont believe anythign will change with the current trend at least until the next generation of AAA titles come in 2015.

  26. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    “What, I wonder, is left to cut?”

    They could make it like Infinity Blade with guns.

  27. Negativeland says:

    RPG meets firing squad?

  28. Premium User Badge

    Horza says:

    So, Dragon Age 2 with guns then?

    • Andrigaar says:

      I only played the demo of DA2, but it already felt like ME2 with swords–and D-cups as far as the eye could see.

      Wouldn’t DA2 with guns be ME2 with stupider teammates?

    • Spinks says:

      Anders isn’t stupid! He’s just totally hatstand.

    • Premium User Badge

      Horza says:

      Less conversations at least.

    • kibayasu says:

      And hear I thought DA2 was ME2 with swords. Haters gotta make up their minds.

  29. Spinks says:

    I wonder if this is about them putting a melee class into the game (something for the non-shooter fans maybe)

  30. Kevin says:

    The big reason why I thought the RPG elements seemed to be phased out in ME2 in my mind was because the abilities didn’t seem to have as big of an impact as they did in ME1. In ME1, you could most definitely see the benefit of a properly leveled up Singularity, whereas in ME2 the difference between levels of that ability can only be immediately discerned by the most observant eye. .

  31. Shadram says:

    No need to panic just yet. Maybe they’re just making it more brown.

  32. Zarunil says:

    This, to me, sounds like they are leaning more towards W + LMB = WIN rather than a complex RPG with lots of customization and choices. Final Fantasy did this and look what happened. I defeated a boss without actually touching the controller, the game played itself.

  33. Cinnamon says:

    Hooray for larger market opportunities, I guess. All the “streamlining” and crass marketing didn’t especially help the sales of Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2 so I hope that they have some really clever idea for improving the series instead of trying to flog that particular dead horse again.

  34. Rii says:

    I’m not interested in joining a character/story-based franchise in the third reel, particularly one that looks as bland as Mass Effect does, but I do approve of this sort of thing in the abstract, i.e. skill-based FPS/TPS shooting mechanics PLUS skills/characterisation/choices/development MINUS inventory/stats. So, best of luck to ‘em.

    Also I’m glad I’m not actually a fan of Mass Effect, because if I were I suspect these genre-shifts between games would piss me off no end.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      I agree that Mass Effect LOOKS like a vanilla-generi-Space Opera, but it really isn’t. You should give it a try. It’s nothing like Halo etc.

      Aside from a few stupid elements (planet scanning) the series has been fantastic. The amount of choices from ME1 and ME2 really add up, and people’s games ended up being drastically different from others, because of choices that they had to make. Which is something admirable in a game, especially in the current climate. However, ME3 looks like it might linearilise this.

  35. Finster says:

    By the time we get to Mass Effect 6, they’ll have winnowed the game down to one screen that just says “Press Enter to Start.”

  36. Edward F. says:

    Thanks for the mention guy! I’ll have to put down Fiasco as my new action hero name.

  37. Jetsetlemming says:

    I don’t understand, didn’t Mass Effect 1 and 2 sell millions of copies (probably mostly due to EA advertising but still, good games)? What wider audience do you want, the facebook-and-sims social gamers? Chinese gold farmers? Mass Effect 2 pretty much applies to every mainstream American gamer. It hits all those bullet points. There are no more bullet points to hit in that particular field!

    • MrMud says:

      It didnt sell blops level of millions…

    • thegooseking says:

      That’s another reason not to panic, really. The guy didn’t say they were going for “mass appeal”, he said they were going for “a larger market opportunity.”

      What that could mean is retaining the mass appeal of ME2 while incorporating elements that are more attractive to niche gamers.

      I held off on buying ME1 for a long time, because it was marketed as “a shooter”. Eventually I thought, “might as well try it anyway.” Now they’re calling it shooter-meets-RPG. That could mean entirely the opposite of stripping away the RPG elements.

      I mean, that’s wild speculation and there’s no reason to assume that that’s how it’ll go down, but it’s one possibility.

    • K. says:

      @thegooseking: Thank you for that posting. I missed that oh-so-important semantical difference on first reading. I am feeling better about that delay now.

      “larger market opportunity” usually means two things:
      – We want to avoid fierce market competition with similar titles released at that time.
      – We are waiting for EA 2D to finish their Mass Effect facebook game for additional crossmarketing (see. Dragon Age Legends).

      And, by the way, you heard it here first: “Mass Effect Legends” is in production (probably).

  38. Ralphomon says:

    As long as it doesn’t turn into a straight-up shooter and I can still have hilarious conversations I think I’m going to be happy. I guess maybe I’m not as discerning as the rest of you ladies and gentlemen.

  39. Deano2099 says:

    More guns, less conversation.

    Are classes confirmed? If not my money is on the bigger skill trees meaning there’s just a single skill tree and one class, with three branches.

  40. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Not keen on the implications of this announcement, but we shall see. I wasn’t keen on the direction ME2 was supposed to take, but think it worked out better for it in the end.

  41. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Screenshot says: Let’s all stand a metre apart and have a gunfight!

  42. henben says:

    They can cut the tedious hacking minigames and planet scanning! Did everyone just blank those out?

  43. vandinz says:

    Aaand cue the purists crying because we’re not going to bogged down with stats and numbers. I love ME1 and 2 and DA 1 and 2. Whether one is better than the other is not important to me, it’s whether I enjoyed the one I was playing at the time. Yes in all cases for different reasons. Absolutely NO WAY can you claim any of those games were not good games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      I can claim Dragon Age 2 wasn’t a good game. And not because I’m a “purist”, but because it had boring combat, had a claustrophobic world, didn’t do nearly enough character development and had a confused narrative.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      Yup, sorry Vandinz, but I hate when people pull that card. Look, I had a pretty fun time with DA2, but it had so many turn-offs that in the middle of the second act I had to stop playing it for two or three weeks, and then I had to make myself go and play it half an hour at a time for a long while until I started to enjoy it again. It also made me turn the difficulty down from nightmare to casual, not because it was too hard, but because I wanted to get through it quicker. That does not speak to me as a great game. Elements of it were, and I desperately wanted to love it, and I will always have a soft spot for fantasy games, but I can still point out the many many flaws in DA2 AND compare it to other Bioware games and other games in general! Why do you think we shouldn’t be allowed to do that? I think that as a person I am discerning enough to not just have a like/dislike button in my head a la BookFace, but to be able to say, I liked THIS, but I think this is better, although not quite as good as . . . right? I mean, it seems pretty normal for me to compare things, and to prefer one thing over another. I LIKED DA2, but I preferred DA:O. I LIKE tequila, but I prefer rum. I like WOMEN, but I prefer this particular woman. ;)

  44. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Cue Mass Hysteria.

  45. Teddy Leach says:

    I’m not going to say it, because the backlash will be massive and I’ll die under a torrent of internet hate.

    No, I wasn’t going to say THAT.

  46. Bureaucrat says:

    Eh, we’re overreacting. Clearly, they’ve just concluded that ME2 didn’t have enough lizards for you to sleep with. They can reach the widest possible audience by expanding the previous game’s paltry 3 sexable lizards into the dozens– by covering the whole range of herpetological lust, the market potential of the game will be unlimited!

  47. Premium User Badge

    Joshua says:

    But.
    When people say ‘We are aiming at a larger audiance’ they simply say ‘we want to sell more games’.
    This does not indicate any ‘dumbing down’. This does not indicate ANYTHING. Just that they are changing stuff to what they feel is better. No need to panic. They only say this generic stuff to appeal to the investors.

    Didn’t we already hear from Christina Norman that ME3 was going to have more RPG elements in it as opposed to ME2? That also appeals to a section of the market, and thus a wider audience.

    • thegooseking says:

      This is what I’m saying. There’s no reason to believe that retaining the appeal for existing players and increasing the appeal for new players are mutually exclusive. It’s harder to combine both than just do one or the other, yes, but it’s not impossible and I don’t think it’s out of the reach of a developer like BioWare.

      And, in response to your sneaky edit, this is what I’m also saying. Mass Effect already had mass appeal, so targeting a larger market may mean bringing more niche gamers into the fold. There’s no reason to assume that’s true, but there’s equally no reason to assume it’s not true.

    • poop says:

      okay, when has an attempt at broadend mass appeal ever lead to something that is not considered “dumbing down”? unless you count a few rare examples of sequels that just simply have a larger marketing budget I cant actually think of anything

    • thegooseking says:

      GTA IV. Or basically anything that already had mass appeal to begin with.

    • poop says:

      @thegooseking

      “unless you count a few rare examples of sequels that just simply have a larger marketing budget I cant actually think of anything”

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      Sorry for the sneaky edit, did not know anyone was replying :P.
      @poop
      Quite simply, any sequel ever released tried to apply to a larger audience, since any sequel’s goal is to sell better then the previous game. There are many, many, many ways to achieve that. Sure, bigger marketing is also a way to do that. But every game does that as well.

      Quite simply, ME3 tries to be better then ME2. That will lead to more sales. That is what investor’s want to hear, and that is why it was delayed. No talk about how they were going to do it. What are you worrying about?

    • poop says:

      i was responding to the dude who said that there isnt a corellation between developers saying they are going to change the game for mass appeal and a dumbed down end product.

      I really can’t think of that many sequels where developers have said things like that that havent ended up dumbed down, the hitman games I guess?

    • mouton says:

      This doesn’t mean dumbing down, but dumbing down is, usually, the end effect of going for “broader appeal”. I will be the first to cheer if this is not the case, but forgive me for having little hope.

    • Om says:

      @Joshua: But Bioware are not simply *aiming* at a larger market; they are “in the process of realigning its Mass Effect franchise to appeal to a larger audience”. There is, to my mind, a difference here. This is not ‘Yeah, we want to sell more games’ but rather, ‘We want to sell more games and we’re making changes to the game design to accomplish this’

      Now it may be that this involves adding more RPG features or the like. Given the progression of the ME “franchise” however, I’d wager heavily that the opposite is the case. This does not automatically translate as a worse game but nor does it inspire confidence

  48. Hoaxfish says:

    Larger Audiences

    Free hamburgers with every copy sold? That’d certainly get larger audience members

    • Zarunil says:

      Ha! I was about to make a snide comment about how they must be trying to target the US market. And it seems I just did.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      oh… it’s also called mass effect… that would work as a fat joke too

  49. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    They said the same thing about Dragon Age 2. And, like DA1 and 2, there was a very short turnover period between the games.

    Mass Effect 3 is going to suck badly, isn’t it. :(

    • FLAMEIFRIT says:

      Look what happened with dragon age 2. They “Appealed to larger audiences” there and in the process made a worse game.

      I’m guessing they are going to make ME3 it into a largely generic shooter with most of the RPG elements cut out. HOWEVER that is just a guess and I admit this is a knee jerk reaction with no real reason. Its just that given the recent direction bioware has been going marketing to console kiddies, cutting corners to release faster etc… I cant help but think I am going to be disappointed with ME3 .

      Heres hoping I will be surprised though :)

  50. poop says:

    someone fucking fire bioware’s entire pr department already, these guys got no idea how to say anything without making somebody angry, in a way that I can’t think of for any other developers except notch I guess

    • thegooseking says:

      This isn’t PR at all, though. It’s a leaked communication with “the money people”. I’m surprised that anyone expected what “the money people” want to hear to be anything other than talking about what kinds of markets the thing could address, really.

    • poop says:

      fire everybody who has a job that involves making games sound entertaining then, i guess

    • FLAMEIFRIT says:

      I think I would prefer they didnt say anything until much much much closer to release time.

    • shizamon says:

      Amen..

      They shouldn’t be backing down with the money people, but explaining to them that they know nothing about what people want, and that THEY will make the decision that will bring the most value to THEIR company.