Three Way: Mass Effect 3

By Adam Smith on November 9th, 2011 at 2:01 pm.

"And then...she left me...." "I don't know what to say..LOADING GENERIC RESPONSE #2"

Two female aliens and a human man probably. Whatever the logistics, it’s sick. Either that or I’m not referring to Kirkesque feats at all but rather to the fact that according to leaked beta assets, Mass Effect 3 will allow players to choose from three different playstyles: Action, RPG or Story. The full text from the menus is below but the names are fairly self-explanatory. I certainly wouldn’t want to play a Mass Effect game in ‘Action’ mode, although Mass Effect 2, eh? Improved combat did lead me to believe all traces of RPG had been completely erased and that only guns remained were once there was dialogue. Or not.

Action Mode: “For those who want to emphasize action and combat and minimize story management. Action mode will set automatic replies in conversation and a normal difficulty.”

Story Mode: “For those who want to emphasize story immersion and minimize combat pressure. Story mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a minimal combat difficulty.”

RPG Mode: “For those who want to explore both realms of story and combat. RPG mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a normal combat difficulty.”

It’s a combat difficult selector, isn’t it? Except it also allows conversations to be automated, which seems rather silly to me. Maybe it’ll appeal to someone else though. I’ve been known not to simultaneously hold all possible opinions.

For a second playthrough, i’d definitely go for an option that completely randomises conversation replies, making Shepard into the least consistent commander the world has ever seen. One minute the smooth-talking debonair commander about town, the next a callous space bastard. Better still, a Malkavian style option in which Shepard has long-running arguments with planets, yelling at them through the window and discussing the finer points of hanar cuisine with the Normandy’s resident pot plant, Laurence Chevalier.

I’ve decided not to post leaked video because if you want it, you can no doubt find it elsewhere and if it’s here it may spoil things for people who cannot resist clicking play. If you must discuss anything you’ve seen, please do be careful about giving anything away. If there’s anything to give away. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t watched any of it.

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154 Comments »

  1. Echo Black says:

    I’ve been called a pessimist before but I have this nagging suspicion this game will be ultra shite

    • mondomau says:

      I don’t think it will be shite, but I do think this confirms the suspicion Bioware are (voluntarily or not) on a mission to cynically dumb-down every single one of their successful properties in a transparent attempt to appeal to the wider masses. As a side note, this action pretty much guarantees the PC version will be delayed.

    • Morlock says:

      At this point I am hoping for some games to be terrible so that they don’t make me install the DRM “service” attached to them.

    • Orija says:

      All of Bioware’s games are ultra shite, it’s just that they are really good at covering all that shit with glitter.

    • AndrewC says:

      You’re a pessimist.

    • jstar says:

      Orija I literally couldn’t agree with you more.

    • DzX says:

      Having seen the leaked scenarios [a script Bioware basically admitted is accurate]… it sounds like it’s going to be awful.

      ‘Course you can’t tell based on descriptions of scenarios but damn were some of the ideas in that document bad…

    • Vagrant says:

      If history has taught us anything, it’s that the next Mass Effect trilogy will be 10x MORE AMAZING, buggy as hell, and developed by Obsidian.

    • Potunka says:

      @Orija – The trick, of course, is to ingest the glitter to attain an average dispersal pattern as opposed to most companies who choose to just sprinkle the glitter on afterwards.

    • Jimmy Jazz says:

      @mondomau

      You could say… they are aiming for…. a Mass Effect.

    • glocks4interns says:

      I’m glad this option exists. It means that BioWare is giving players the OPTION to dumb-down the game. I’d much rather have a deep game with an easy mode than an easy game.

      That this exists implies that the RPG mode is more or less the same as ME1/2. Can’t we just pick that and move on with our lives?

    • GTRichey says:

      @Vagrant I think… you may be onto something there. I loved ME1 (though the shooty bits were painful) and ME2 was just painful to me. Bioware seem to be amazing at coming up with concepts for games/series but incapable of pulling it off. Clearly it should be made law at this point that Obsidian be responsible for all sequels to any Bioware games and that said sequels are released initially as an closed beta for two years in which time modders are allowed to finish the game before releasing for sale to the general public.

    • sassy says:

      The exciting but somewhat scary thing about this option is that Bioware (and EA) will no doubt be monitoring what option people are choosing. This could quite easily change Bioware’s whole future catalog and quite possibly many other companies games. It would be no small thing if 80% of people choose ‘action’ (not that I believe that will happen) .

    • AyeGill says:

      @Jimmy Jazz
      I probably found that more amusing than i should

    • Commisar says:

      OH MY GOD, that video has PLACEHOLDER DIALOGUE FOR CHRISSAKES, PLACEHOLDER i.e WE ARE NOT FINISHED WITH THE GAME YET

    • DzX says:

      @Commisar

      A 24,000 [I beleive anyway] word script that was pretty much a rather extensive look at the storyline, the choices the player has to make and the way previous games choices effect it were also leaked…people’s worries are not just regarding the ‘placeholder’ dialogue from the beta. I doubt Bioware are going to change everything in their story 4 months before launch…and as you’ll see if you go looking for discussion on the matter – the majority believe the script within the leaked document to be pretty poor with some truly laughable scenarios. Bioware’s reaction to the whole thing has pretty much confirmed the majority found within that document made it to the full game – warning fans not to go looking for fear of spoilers.

      Not that many wouldn’t already guess this to be the case from the terrible ham-fisted story-line of Mass Effect 2 but I did hope the final game in the trilogy would at least meet the first games standards, which was still pretty generic Sci-Fi…

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      The games that were released, or at least in development, before Bioware got bought out by EA were great. All of the games that have been fully developed under EA were… less so.

  2. Drayk says:

    I don’t get it… If it it replaces the difficulty setting what happened to the veteran, hardcore and insane mode then ?

    I hope they don’t blow this game trying to appeal pure FPS players…

    • Adam Smith says:

      They’ve been quick to say this doesn’t represent the finished product – which makes sense given that it’s not from the finished product.

      I’ve heard rumblings that it may be a first-pick option with other difficulty settings hidden behind it.

    • mouton says:

      I don’t think the article says that.

    • jimmm25 says:

      That’s exactly what I thought it would be, especially as ME2 had a story mode, although I think that was just what they called the extremely easy mode.

    • Eversor says:

      The very next screen after selecting the “mode” goes into more options, one of them being combat difficulty.

    • The JG Man says:

      You pick this option then afterwards you pick the difficulty as usual, so it’s a multi-layered difficulty system.

      Which is unnecessary, but hey, fun!

  3. TheApologist says:

    I do not recognise their definition of RPG.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Combat + conversation = RPG. Duh.

    • Echo Black says:

      In before Wizardry

    • mondomau says:

      In before Shut-the-hell-up-don’t-start-this-tedious-argument-again-please.

    • Asuron says:

      You fool, you should not have said his name.
      Now we will all be subjected to multiple lengthy posts about how a true RPG is only one where you have stats galore and every modern RPG is in fact not a RPG because they all do not emulate DnD.

      You’ve doomed us all, I hope your proud

    • sneetch says:

      Quick! Get the children to the shelters! He approaches!

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      *Rolls a D20*

      ….20

      Nah we’re safe, for now at least.

    • Urthman says:

      I was really surprised because at first I assumed “RPG” mode would be an option to have a more in-depth system of managing skills and inventory. I couldn’t believe Bioware was adding that back into the game.

      Now I know how Wizardry feels all the time.

    • TheApologist says:

      Sorry – it wasn’t really meant to be a comment on the wider validity of calling Mass Effect games RPGs. Or to open an argument. All I meant was conversation options + plus 3rd person combat doesn’t really strike me as a description of the genre of ‘rpg’. RPS’ “guns n’ conversation” really is a far more usable reference to my mind.

      Nor is it a proxy for bashing a game. I liked ME2. I reckon I’ll like ME3.

      So, is that even a controversial assertion? I clearly haven’t been paying attention.

    • Saldek says:

      RPG: Run, Palaver, Gun.

    • Goosetipher says:

      @ Saldek:

      Brilliant

  4. mouton says:

    In the end, we will see. I have low-ish expectations after all the downward trend at Bioware. You never know, though.

    • Rich says:

      Hello. My name’s Rich and I… I…

      I ENJOYED MASS EFFECT 2 MORE THAN 1!
      It feels so good to get that off my chest.

      No down turn as far as I can see. Unless you liked Dragon Age I suppose.

    • Keymonk says:

      So did I. But then I also enjoyed Dragon Age 2, so I’m a subhuman to most of these people.

    • mouton says:

      I enjoyed both ME and ME2. There are areas where ME2 improved and areas were it got much worse. It really depends which aspects one prefers – I really like more coherent story, so ME spoke better to me, despite having clunkier gameplay. But to each his own, in the end.

    • Rich says:

      “I really like more coherent story”
      ME2′s main story is really limited. The loyalty quests, on the other hand, all have really good stories and characterisation, and are in more interesting locations than we visited in ME1.

    • vecordae says:

      I am also one of those poor, lost souls who tend to look forward to Bioware’s games. Whatever problems they have are very rarely an obstacle to my enjoyment of the games. They are not perfect, certainly, and I sometimes shake my head in disappointment, but, overall, I have fun. I think this is because I do not expect a deep and meaningful RP experience. I have played and beaten every game they have ever put out and at no point did they convince me that they were capable of it. What I get is basically a choose-my-own-adventure B-grade action movie and that’s what I want.

    • Someblokius says:

      I had a lot of fun with ME2, DLC grumbles aside.

      I’m sure it’s not a new analogy, but I see Bioware games as being like a fast food burger. I know they’re not the best thing I could get and that buying nothing else would be really bad for me, but they’re good at making me feel full, vaguely warm and generally happy with minimum effort.

    • Grygus says:

      I didn’t think I would like the changes between ME and ME2, but I did (except for the DLC situation, but that’s tilting at windmills.) Dragon Age II is the closest BioWare have come to disappointing me, which is to say that DA2 did disappoint me, but I don’t think it’s actually a bad game so much as it is a good game with some really bad design decisions. it’s got an interesting story (until the horrible ending) and the characters are by and large enjoyable. You can plop me down in front of DA2 for any random hour (except the last one) and I will have fun; it was the repetition that ruined it. And maybe the DLC situation (blah blah almost got that one, Rocinante!) Which is all just to say that I don’t think that BioWare deserves this reputation of decline.

    • thegooseking says:

      I’ve never played Baldur’s Gate, to be honest, but I’ve played just about all the other RPGs BioWare have done (I didn’t play that Sonic one, either). And to be honest, Mass Effect and Dragon Age are the only ones I bothered to finish. Well, I eventually got round to finishing Jade Empire (and having finished it actually found it too short), but I’ve never finished NWN and I’ve never finished KotOR. I got bored of them. So on one hand, I don’t feel BioWare deserves its reputation of decline either.

      On the other hand, I can see that there’s not much here for the people who did like NWN. BioWare used to make games for them, and now they don’t, so I can understand the disappointment, even if they are rather milking it.

    • Commisar says:

      well since I am not a butthurt dweller living in 1999, I too liked BOTH Mass Effect games, and Dragon Age origins, and a liked DA2, although not as much as origins. I also liked Jade Empire

    • Jenks says:

      @Commisar

      When Bungie makes their first multiplatform game, they will get the same treatment from the xbox fanboy community as Bioware gets from the pc fanboy community. We’ll see the same silliness ranging from the erudite “bad design decisions” to the idiotic “all Bioware games are shite.” When you press them about the metacritic score, the real comedy begins.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I enjoyed Mass Effect 2 way more than Mass Effect 1. I thought it was a step in the direction of an new shooting genre. It had some huge plot holes, especially at the end of the game, but at least they tried to break out of the traditional Bioware plot.

      This still strikes me as a bad decision. Going towards heavier scripting and rails will just make it another shooter. As a shooter it doesn’t stack up well, there are many games with much better gunplay.

  5. Metonymy says:

    Everyone mocks Hamburger Helper for coming up with the idea of a story mode. But I happen to think it’s the most brilliant thing to happen to games in the last few years.

    The problem, of course, is that there is nothing about this series that would make me want to watch the story OR play the game. The story quality is about equal to the worst episodes of Voyager, the game itself is a mess of features that never added anything to the fps genre, and the rpg elements are summed up by the lead designer “Not even I know what all this stuff does.”

    • mouton says:

      Story in ME was quite good, actually. The structure, the dynamics etc. ME2, though? It wasn’t thaaaaat bad, it had some truly epic moments, but in many places it was barely holding together.

      The saddest thing for me is that ME actually tried to be a slightly hard-ish sci-fi, while ME2 went straight for a run-of-the-mill space opera.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      ME’s story was excellent. ME2′s story was hindered by the fact that the main enemy was lackluster. The entire game felt like a side course, not the main dish, because really, you were just dealing with subordinates to the real enemy the whole time that weren’t all that interesting to begin with.

      That and the final boss was just errrr….

    • The Colonel says:

      I’m significantly less impressed with ME after finally getting round to watching a bit of Battlestar Galactica. As for ME vs ME2, I think this is probably the most helpful account of the story aspect of ME2:

      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/experienced-points/8868-Experienced-Points-What-s-Wrong-with-Mass-Effect-2

    • Laurentius says:

      “The saddest thing for me is that ME actually tried to be a slightly hard-ish sci-fi, while ME2 went straight for a run-of-the-mill space opera.”

      For me it was more like ME was tribute to space opera where not especially orginal it played nice all known chords, while ME2 was falling into all space opera cliches and drowning in them.

    • gwathdring says:

      Oh god … the final boss was a disaster.

      The first game had a storyline that felt epic and engaging as I played. I felt like there was a balance of personal and heroic investment (i.e. Shepard wanted to take Saren down for his own reasons, not just as a public service). As a story divested of it’s medium, I would say it lacked in many many areas. As a story both bound and assisted by the particular details of video-game interaction styles? One of the better ones I’ve experienced and certainly one of the best in AAA budget, main-stream gaming.

      Mass-Effect 2 was a bit odd. On paper some of it’s decisions were more interesting. Cerberus was more personally interesting to Shepard than the Reapers. There were a host of interesting side characters. The places we got to see had more potential. Threats to human colonies are inherently more personal to Shepard. The plot-outline of some of the loyalty missions would have excited me enormously. But the implementation failed in a lot of ways. The story-game integration was extremely weak, largely due to issues with pacing. We’re on time sensitive mission, trying to find and destroy a target as quickly and efficiently as possible without self-concern … and most of the game is putting a team together … we have to start from scratch building our relationships with these characters and the second we’re done the mission begins–but that second comes far too long after the start of the game given how important we are told this is. The abruptness comes in at all the wrong times, as does the space to think. The decision to bring in an all-new crew as opposed to an optionally new crew, or more of a hybrid was also, I feel, a mistake primarily in terms of pacing.

      And the boss battle … the boss battle was a miserable experience for me. I had so little energy to finish it. The final mission had a fun pacing to it and I enjoyed getting a shot at using a bunch of my party members in quick succession (and delegating tasks to the others) so that I actually felt like I had a reason all these people were milling about on my ship for the first time across both games. I honestly don’t know if, in retrospect, it would have evaporated anyway after I finished the mission … But in the moment it felt exciting and intense and I was invested in the screen rather than the keyboard until that boss battle. All of that died in the boss battle. It was ridiculous and pulpy … and not in the pleasant way Mass Effect 1 had been because it felt less like it knew what it was doing. It was incongruous and pulpy. It was incoherent.

      The boss fight in ME1 was worse, in some ways. That moment had a lot of potential, for me. If nothing else, winning a boss fight without firing a shot could have made for a beautifully understated ending. But Bioware seemed worried that I, having chosen that option specifically in the hopes that it would avoid a fight, might feel cheated when it indeed prevented a fight from happening. Their solution to accidentally giving me control over the storyline was robo-zombie.

    • Squiddity says:

      @FriendlyFire: This was compounded by the fact that Mass Effect 2 didn’t actually have a second act that established the building of a team. Since the game is all about building a team and working together to overcome the Reapers (oh, that WAS a clumsily-handled reveal, wasn’t it? Mass Effect 2 would actually have worked better, from a reveals perspective, as the first game), not actually having the team coalesce into a team seemed to be a silly choice.

    • WHS says:

      There were several great things about the ME story, I’d say. The Reapers themselves are an amazing foe, because they take the sort of progressive, optimistic themes behind Mass Effect’s story (man travels to space, technology advances, joins a semi-peaceful coalition of alien races) and turns them on their head. The Reapers are what happens when Lovecraft writes Star Trek — suddenly, exploring the unknown is less about building upwards and more about treading into places where we do not belong, meddling with forces we don’t understand. The idea of an ancient precursor race is a space opera cliche, no doubt, but (SPOILER, I guess) the revelation that the precursor race was just as foolish and just as vulnerable as we are — that everyone had fallen for the Reaper’s grand deception — was a pretty devastating twist. Sovereign alone was a terrifying enemy — his little speech to Shephard two-thirds of the way through the game (“We are each a nation, free of all weakness, etc. etc.”) establishes the Reapers as uncommonly potent existential threat. And before that, as people have said, the chase after Saren really personalizes Shephard’s mission.

      By comparison, ME2 really drops the ball. Its setup is good enough; it establishes a number of really fascinating mysteries — the collectors, Cerberus’s true motives, and so on — but none of them pay off. I mean, for instance, the way the ship’s A.I. is locked down at the start of the game. Who else was expecting that to pay off with some sort of twist or plot development? Or the way Cerberus rebuilt Shephard. I can’t be the only person who was waiting for their seeming altruism to have an unforeseen price. Instead, everything to do with Cerberus turned out to be exactly as straightforward as it was presented at the beginning of the game. Far from having a hidden agenda, Cerberus apparently brought Shephard back for exactly the reason they said (“He’s just a hero! We need heroes!”). And it was almost comical how right it was about the Collectors. Some random group attacks humans (why humans? We never find out), Cerberus, being xenophobic paranoiacs, assumes it’s the Reapers, and whaddya know, they’re right. Buh wuh?

      It’s more the shame because ME2 does an absolutely fantastic job of fleshing out the side narratives in the ME universe. The geth evolved from being Generic Robo Baddies into maybe the most interesting part of the whole universe — their complex relationship with their creators is pretty amazingly fleshed out, in my opinion, and the little “ghost in the machine” conversation where Legion talks about (what seems to be) its strange affection for Shephard is just incredibly well-done. Also, the bits with Krogan genophage and Mordin are really excellent — it’s a genuinely complex moral quandary, without the clearly demarcated “good guy path” and “bad guy path” that defines 99% of game writing. So you know the writers have the capacity to turn out quality material, which is why the main plotline is all the more frustrating.

  6. thegooseking says:

    It seems strange, but it’s not without precedent: it’s not like CoD multiplayer and CoD single-player are even remotely the same game, and I’d say they appeal to different groups. The trouble with AAA games is they have to be all things to all people to justify their investment, and in an increasingly fragmented and divergent market, that’s going to require band-aids like this offering three different games using the same assets.

    The trouble is, I suspect there will be a ‘right’ way to play it that actually works, and two ‘wrong’ ways to play it that are thrown in as crowd-pleasers but don’t really work. I just have to hope BioWare’s idea of the ‘right’ way to play it and my idea of the ‘right’ way to play it happen to align.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    I assume other people have read those leaked story spoilers… the ones that Bioware is actively denying, and sending Cease&Desist letters to any website who puts them up.

    I suspect that “skip the actual roleplay” auto-roleplay mode is the first of many “er, really?” to come.

    • Stupoider says:

      Those wouldn’t happen to be the leaked spoilers revealing that most of the “morale dilemmas” made in the previous games were ultimately futile no matter what choice is made? Instead being sidelined for Bioware’s own one way story.

    • Asuron says:

      I read it… it sounds like bad fanfiction.

      It seems like none of the choices made matter at all from what I read and the worst part is Bioware pretty much confirmed its true.

      So I guess no more decent to excellent stories from Bioware anymore?

    • DzX says:

      It was Microsoft sending the Cease and Desist apparently..

      Either way yeah the scenario’s I read were awful – completely ignored your choices from previous games for one, not to mention some of the utterly ridiculous ‘choices’ it does force you to make and the reasoning behind them…

  8. Lambchops says:

    A Malkavian option would be immensely brilliant. I honestly can’t think of a game since Bloodlines which has ever allowed you the option of playing an insane but prescient player character.

    • gillesv says:

      A shame something similar to the Malkavian will probably never happen again, since games aren’t built for multiple playthroughs anymore.

    • The Army of None says:

      Wot a shame.

      Playing bloodlines as a Malkavian was pretty stellar in how gorramed bizarre it was.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yes. This would be game of the year, if not best game of all time.

      I mean, who DOESN’T want to have an argument with Pluto about its relevance?

    • Caleb367 says:

      This.
      Damn, now I can’t get Shepard saying “my pinky finger orders me to kill you” out of my head.

  9. Petethegoat says:

    Yeah, I didn’t want to bother with the combat in Mass Effect 2.
    It wasn’t that it was difficult, just tedious. I wish they let you skip combat altogether, but oh well.

    • AmateurScience says:

      I’ve just been replaying ME2 and still find the combat consistently thrilling. I don’t play TPS/FPS much though so that’s likely to have altered my perspective on things. Really dig the characters and setting too. I still think the story is an oddly structured one though – very much middle-of-trilogy syndrome.

      Also: different people in different opinion shock :)

    • Rich says:

      “I’ve just been replaying ME2 and still find the combat consistently thrilling.”

      Me too! Much less of a mess than the first game. OK, the cover mechanic is more than a little over used, and you can guess when you’re entering a combat arena because of all the low walls around, but it still feels tactically interesting and is definitely fun.

  10. Wizardry says:

    I didn’t know you could dumb down a dumbed down concept of an already dumbed down take on a dumbed down hybrid genre.

    Sorry. That’s too harsh.

    I didn’t know you could streamline a streamlined concept of an already streamlined take on a streamlined hybrid genre.

    Much better. Streamlined.

    • Echo Black says:

      Devs will need to come up with a new term, as people are starting to wise up to the fact “streamlined” just means “dumbed down” after all

    • AndrewC says:

      ‘Dumbing down’ represents the dumbing down of arguments.,

    • thegooseking says:

      ‘Dumbing down’ represents the dumbing down of arguments.

      Pretty much exactly what I was thinking but didn’t want to say.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Next up: Call of Duty is a dumbed down RPG.

      Later: How change is a bad thing!

    • merc-ai says:

      A visceral commentary!

    • Bart Stewart says:

      “Streamlined” is the new “accessible.”

      Or the other way round, maybe.

    • vecordae says:

      Personally, I was offended when they dumbed down games by adding graphics.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      It’s funny you make this comparison, because that’s exactly the thing I observed when people were talking about ME2′s change in mechanics. I eventually concluded that people who didn’t like the change called it “dumbed down”. People who did and/or were indifferent called it “streamlined”. In the end they were both talking about the exact same thing, it only depended on how the person felt about it.

      Funny and sad that this conversation is coming up again for Mass Effect 3. As much as I enjoyed the “streamlining” (see? I’m indicating I enjoyed it :P), I always wanted a return for the original ME1 form, perhaps with even more RPG-ification since Sci-Fi RPGs with shooting mechanics aren’t exactly common. Sadly, BioWare’s simplified mind worked the opposite way. ME2 was successful so, ME2-ify ME3 even more! LOL WE WIN!

      I know you’re very cynical about contemporary RPGs, Wizardry, but it’s cases like these where I say “His complaints ARE grounded on reality. Just look at this”.

  11. BrightCandle says:

    You can’t make a game to please all audiences. Some people want a story and some want a good fighting game, they are separate and they don’t buy the same games.

    If Bioware does not think it has a good mix of elements that appeals to a wide audience then this little selection isn’t going to make the game any more enjoyable. How about Bioware just focuses on making the best Mass Effect game it can rather than failing badly to appeal to everyone?!

    • AndrewC says:

      Difficulty selections are not new. Choosing play styles like ranged or melee, strong or clever, magic or tech are not new.

      What on earth are you talking about?

    • Apples says:

      AndrewC: There’s a difference between choosing between ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ mode of the same gameplay, and being able to choose to basically remove one half of the “guns n’ conversations” genre. Mass Effect is a poor shooty game and a poor RPG, it only works (arguably) as a light combo of both; trying to entice hardcore shooter fans or hardcore RPG fans by pretending the game is simulataneously both and neither of those will just disappoint and annoy everyone.

    • AndrewC says:

      And if you choose a fighter in an RPG, you often lose dialogue options that a high charisma person might have. Choices. You are getting annoyed at the company giving people a choice you would not want to take. You are ridiculous.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Sorry, but I agree with Apples here. There’s a difference between choosing classes that provide different experiences within the confinements of the gameplay and checking a box that says “ME WANT RPG MODE” or “ME WANT SHOOT STUFF”.

      The former is an implementation of a more open game with a variety of different options to tackle the obstacles thrown your way. The latter is simply attempting to change the game in its entirety to a different genre. That doesn’t work.

  12. Anthile says:

    Might & Magic 4 had a warrior mode and an adventurer mode way back in 1993.

    /reverse Wizardry

    • SiHy_ says:

      System Shock had individual sliders for combat, story, puzzles and cyer-space. I quite liked that system. How long before we go all the way back to 1994 for ideas?

    • Wizardry says:

      They are just names for the two difficulty levels. The only difference between them is that in Warrior mode the enemies have something like twice the hit points.

  13. Kem0sabe says:

    I´m more worried about the russian leak of the game script…

    To say it´s fubar is an understatement. God job fucking up one the only scifi AAA rpg franchise around…

  14. Dariune says:

    Bioware have made it obvious for a while that their target market is no longer Niche.

    For me, one of the people very much hidden with in a forgotten Niche, everything Bioware currently says or does is another disappointment. This is no different.

    ME1 was streamlined but, all credit to them, they managed to make the game relatively fun. ME2 was boring as sin both from storyline aspect and from the gameplay.

    ME3 looks like its being made to cater to the entire population of my local nursery school.
    Its a shame. Its disappointing. Once it would have been upsetting. Its certainly not surprising.

    • shizamon says:

      Sweet, I’ll hop on the ME2 hatewagon. I’m being dead serious, that game sucked. The uniforms on some of your squadmates, ridiculous. It wasn’t even an open world anymore, once you’ve finished an area with the “mission complete” screen. Immersion killer, ahh I loved ME1, but hated ME2.

  15. AmateurScience says:

    This doesn’t seem too different from DX:HR’s approach to difficulty, ‘Tell me a story’ ‘Give me Deus Ex’ etc. And the streamlined dialogue for action mode…I wish didn’t exist…but basically turns conversations into cutscenes, which you could do in the last two simply by holding right and clicking when people stopped talking – so not really a world-ending change, just seems…odd. Do people object to conversation options that much? I thought the dialogue wheel resolved a lot of the ‘issues’ with conversations in RPGs in any case.

    I just don’t know why people would pay for a game and then switch off one half of it.

    • jstar says:

      Considering that for the vast majority of people the mindless gun porn of MW3 is more than enough to provide them with hours of brain numbing entertainment I am shocked and surprised that there are any words in ME3 at all.

      I was expecting the dialogue wheel to be replaced with pictures of Shepherd; smiling, looking confused and one where hie face had gone red and steam was coming out of his nose. And when you select one instead of dialogue you just hear the SIMS nonsense language and then you can go back to shooting stuff.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I just don’t know why people would pay for a game and then switch off one half of it.

      I think it’s pretty silly in this case, but to be fair, I’m also someone who usually skips combat in Total War games. I miss out on lots of stuff, but that’s fine because it doesn’t interest me.

      Unlike picking conversation choices, though, the tactical combat I’m skipping is actually difficult and takes quite a bit of time.

  16. Bluerps says:

    Action Mode sounds like “Call of Mass Effect”. Just shooting stuff and watching cutscenes.

  17. RaveTurned says:

    Action mode: For people who like guns, but can’t be bothered with conversaton.
    Story mode: For people who like conversation, but can’t be bothered with guns.
    RPG mode: For people who like Guns & Conversation.

    So basically if you don’t like half of the stuff that made the previous games good, you can opt to skip it and end up with a lesser game. Yay?

    • briktal says:

      Story mode really just sounds like the game on Easy.

      Action mode just means you don’t have to select the top/bottom right option and mash a button through every conversation because the game will do it for you.

  18. ShadyGuy says:

    I watched a friend of mine play Mass Effect. He´d just basically choose random answers in dialogue just so he could get to the next fight. So yeah, for him the ´Action Playstyle` would be perfect. I tried to explain he was playing it wrong, though and he didn´t understand. :(

    • DrGonzo says:

      I would agree with him I have to say. I’m all for dialogue options, but only if they matter. I’ve never felt like they mattered in ME. Minor plot points change, but the story always goes the same way.

    • V. Profane says:

      Why would anybody do that? There are tonnes of games that are just about shooting, and do it much better, so why play Mass Effect? It’s like playing Dragon Age in lieu of Golden Axe.

    • mike2R says:

      heh, I had a housemate like that some years back. Compulsive cut-scene skipper. Watching him play GTA: SA was hilarious: boring *click*, shut-up *click*… right now where’s that red dot…. What the hell am I supposed to do here, stupid game! Doesn’t make any sense!

      I got over any contempt I might have once had for the FPS console-toy crowd though. He’s a smart guy, just plays computer games in the same way he plays football; all about split-second decisions and reflexes. Me I like story.

    • shizamon says:

      “I would agree with him I have to say. I’m all for dialogue options, but only if they matter. I’ve never felt like they mattered in ME. Minor plot points change, but the story always goes the same way.”

      Come on, they did matter. How much fun was it to punch a female reporter in the gut? Not that I would ever condone that in real life, but hey it’s just a game.

  19. jalf says:

    But will it have a RPS mode?

  20. ninjasuperspy says:

    The three “modes” are macros for two separate settings.

    Action Mode: Automatic Conversations, Hard combat difficulty
    Story Mode: Manual Conversations, Easy combat difficulty
    RPG Mode: Manual Conversations, Medium combat difficulty

    After selecting his mode the person streaming the beta then goes into the options and you can see the two settings, which can be adjusted independent of the three modes. You can have automatic conversations and easy combat (if you don’t like playing video games) for instance. Or you can eschew the entire thing and set manual conversations and Hard combat difficulty. The outcry is apparently over the ability to get rid of the decision wheel and let the game choose whatever the writers feel is the canon response. If you don’t like this option, do not choose it. Don’t say that this will somehow “cheapen” Mass Effect.

    • jstar says:

      Isn’t having a setting for people who don’t like computer games a bit… retarded…

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I didn’t realize there was a video of that section. So, what’s the default option highlighted?

      EDIT: I knew it! It’s Action Mode. Son of a bitch.

    • thegooseking says:

      Action mode has to be highlighted by default because it’s for people who just want to button through, whereas the people who want to select options actually have to select an option. Doesn’t that make sense?

    • ninjasuperspy says:

      @jstar: Agree nine times. Who knows, maybe it is for that guy with no hands who games with his feet or something? No idea. I’ll be full-conversations/hard difficulty all the way.

      @TillEulenspiegel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjvCeKcVMR4 <- Video.

      Relevant options screen is @ 2:14 (or there about. I'm looking at youtube through a remote connection here so pad that out a bit).

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Defaults are so important. A certain percentage of people will miss the importance of this choice – just because you want to get started quickly doesn’t mean you want to skip half the game. I find it genuinely surprising that a developer would make skipping what should be significant content the default. It’s a worrying hint about priorities.

      They’ve released player statistics about previous Mass Effects. It’ll be quite interesting to see how many people choose each option.

    • ninjasuperspy says:

      @TillEulenspiegel Agreed. Hearing that the overwhelming majority of Mass Effect players just used the Default Male Soldier made my Customized Female Infiltrator pretty sad.

      Now if that was because people just hit “A” a bunch of times to skip boring dialogues and get into the game or did they actually want to play Default Male Soldier?

    • thegooseking says:

      I would guess people played default male soldier because the marketing led them to incorrectly conclude that that was somehow ‘canonical’. That’s what happened to me. It was only after I read about other people’s experiences with the game that I realised ‘canonical’ is, in this case, subjective.

    • mike2R says:

      I played default male soldier since I tried some weird build in ME1and never got on with it, quit about halfway through. Decided for ME2 to just shoot things in the face with an assault rifle, which worked great. One of the best games I’ve played, and one of very few games like that I’ve actually finished.

    • AmateurScience says:

      @ninjasuperspy I stuck with the default face for manshep. But that’s mostly because whenever I start messing with Face-o-matic charactertrons I end up creating something so hideous that my GPU attempts to melt itself in protest. I tend to go a guy because I am one.

      As far as class goes however, I almost never go fighter/soldier/default. I also Infiltrated my way through ME1/2.

      When I replayed as Jennifer Hale it was renegade vanguard murderdeathkill: most amusing.

    • Apples says:

      I love the idea of paying £50 for a new AAA game and then essentially telling it to play itself. That’s almost avant garde. Maybe… maybe games are art??

    • Archonsod says:

      I went with the male soldier, though I customised the face to make it look like he was old enough to shave. Trying to think of the default ‘canonical’ male Shep as being in charge of anything larger than a lemonade stand was somewhat amusing.

    • shizamon says:

      A bit late to “cheapen” it at this point anyway

  21. InternetBatman says:

    I think it’s just Mass Effect following its trajectory to the natural end. It wasn’t much of an RPG to begin with and now they’re just letting players choose how visible they want the rails in the game to be. It really didn’t have much player choice once they decided that you couldn’t even pick what your character said.

  22. Nim says:

    Mass effect 3. Last Bioware game I’ll ever play.

  23. Lucas Says says:

    “Better still, a Malkavian style option in which Shepard has long-running arguments with planets, yelling at them through the window and discussing the finer points of hanar cuisine with the Normandy’s resident pot plant, Laurence Chevalier.”

    I would buy this game four times. Developers: if you include a Malkavian dialog tree in your game I will buy your game four times.

    “Dammit Virmire you’ve taken everything I’ve loved I will stab you in your oceans!”

  24. MajorStoffer says:

    I’m one of those rare people who enjoyed Mass Effect 2.

    Granted, I thought ME1 was patently superior in plot and RPG elements, but I don’t bemoan the changes made to actual combat. ME2 felt like a really well done sidequest; the main plot wasn’t particularly engaging, but the ally sidemissions were, by and large, a lot of fun. I felt the game did some good fleshing out parts of the universe, and it was a good move to really expand on the Cerberus concept from the first game.

    I actually recently re-played it, and again realized the main quest was rather droll, it was the companion quests which made the game interesting.

    For ME3, I’ve heard good and bad things, and honestly don’t know what to think. This article is concerning, but on the same hand I’ve heard they’re bringing back weapon modifications and other “RPG Lite” elements. People are kidding themselves if they’re expecting a proper, old school RPG, but I wouldn’t at all be dissapointed with ME2 with more ME1 RPG elements.

    As for the plot, I’m hoping they don’t fuck up, as I genuinely enjoy the ME universe and hope they expand on it past the Commander Shepard stories, but I have noticed the slight slip towards Star Wars esque fluff, but that may have to do with the change in writers. Can’t say I’m enthused by it.

    Still bugs me that human colonies in ME2 were listed with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, while they went to great pains in ME1 to explain how difficult is to colonize, hence few worlds have over 5 million.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I, too, enjoyed ME2, but more as a “fun sidequest” kind of thing than an actual, real Mass Effect title. When I finished the game I put down the controller satisfied but instantly hoping for a return of everything they took out of ME1 plus more ME1-ish mechanics. I’m incredibly disappointed they instead went ahead and continued ME2-ing the series. Ugh.

  25. armaankhan says:

    The only thing that stopped me from playing the two previous Mass Effect games were the stupid fighting bits. I wanted to enjoy the story and atmosphere, but the combat got to be a bit much. Having the option to play “Story Mode” sounds awesome to me. I’ll get to immerse myself in the universe, without having to worry about dying over and over again because of some combat difficulty spike.

  26. gillesv says:

    I don’t know the exact sales figures, but I reckon Mass Effect 1 sold pretty well. Mass Effect 2 probably sold just as many copies, if not more. If your game flopped then yes, making it more commercial makes sense, but I thought the Mass Effect games did more than alright in terms of sales.

    Then there’s the fact that it’s obviously part of a heavily story-driven trilogy. If I hadn’t played ME1 or 2 I wouldn’t buy the third game. So are they striving to make it more accessible to players who would have to play through the first 2 games anyway?

    What are they trying to accomplish with this streamlining? Please the two masochists who hate RPGs but played both previous games and want to witness the “thrilling conclusion”?

  27. Kandon Arc says:

    Such is the state of Bioware that I seriously thought this would be an announcement that you can now have threesomes in game.

  28. Laurentius says:

    I like the idea but i don’t like the execution, i am all for story mode in Bioware games, it is especially apparent in DA series, less in ME. On second and next playthrough i would totally dig “story” mode, just not combat set to easiest difficulty but completly removed instead.

  29. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    I would just like to go on record as saying that Bioware’s Good/Evil morality bullshit is annoying and lets face it the conversations have absolutely no effect on the outcome of anything.

    • bleeters says:

      Yes, they do.

    • Stupoider says:

      The big ones made in the previous games don’t seem to count for much in ME3. In fact, taking into account ME’s morality system of good cop/bad cop, the outcome will ultimately be for the good of humanity. There isn’t much room for maneuver when both sides of the fence have the same objective.

  30. GTRichey says:

    This… doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Bioware’s last two releases while having options for dialog no matter what you choose it takes you down the same path (except for the case of any conversations that may/may not lead to ‘romance’). Making it so that the conversation choices are optional is not surprising considering the trend Bioware seems to be on and I’ll not be surprised when it reaches it’s logical conclusion of the conversations being removed in favour of cutscenes. ME2 and DA2 are all largely the same in this respect. Bioware wants to tell you the story they want to tell and not have something like player input screw it up. Unfortunately they’ll sell ridiculously larger numbers of games doing this (unfortunate for some like me anyway that want to feel more impact from their actions on the story and not just whether your character is a doormat or a complete jerk).

  31. Squiddity says:

    Didn’t see that anyone mentioned Jennifer Hepler.

    She mentioned, in a 2006 interview, that she really wanted to have a game where you could skip combat and just get to the story (which was hilarious, because this interview was unearthed around the time that Dragon Age 2, which she was the story editor and primary character writer–she wrote most of the characters–for, came out, and we all know how awful that was).

    I can’t help but wonder if Bioware saw those interviews and went “hey! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA!”

    They probably forgot the bit where nobody really cares about their stories these days, what with them being pretty awful and all.

    • Sif says:

      “Dragon Age 2, which she was the story editor and primary character writer–she wrote most of the characters–for”

      No she didn’t. She was only one of half a dozen writers on DA2, which was the same team that wrote DA: Origins. She wasn’t editor either.

      Christ where do people get their information.

  32. fenriz says:

    that’s a relief!

    I hate both pew-pewing, and fidgeting with numbers and swapping crap. To me they’re just a waste of time, they feel like having to endure needless button mashing to pixels while joyfully reading a novel. Why the hell am i jumping a platform with my guy and punching tings, whereas he should just talk and take choices and manipulate objects and have ideas and do meaningful events?

    Should i abandon games and go for real novels then.

    Ofc not. Mass Effect’s(and every game) gameplay might also include adventure game actions, the only actions in a game worth an adult’s time, puzzles, challenges, riddles. While all-violence and running related actions are just timesinks and pastimes(arcades were timesinks, coin sinks), adventure game puzzle actions concern human life, they’re not pastimes, they’re human actions, meaningful and glowing of life. So naturally that’s the only way, to summarize, i should ever choose not to skip action bits and go for a purely story choice when a game miraculously offers such, as if it humbly acknowledges how its peculiar gimmicks are stupid, and lets you save some time.

  33. Dreamhacker says:

    This is… astoundingly disgusting.

  34. Sirbolt says:

    So this time we choose between different modes. What will then happen if statistics show that 50 percent chose the action mode instead of RPG or story mode? Seems like quite the dangerous path to me. Developing linear games is far more easy and cost effective. That’s why we more or less only have the illusion of choice in the Mass Effect games anyway. This is just one more step in the direction of eradicating even that.

  35. Sif says:

    That’s not the difficulty setting. That’s a different mode entirely.

    “If you must discuss anything you’ve seen, please do be careful about giving anything away. If there’s anything to give away. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t watched any of it.”

    I can appreciate not wanting to spoil things for yourself, but watching it or doing a little research would have easily revealed that action/RPG mode have nothing to do with combat difficulty which is set separately. Story mode is the only one that brings combat down to an easier level.

  36. sinister agent says:

    I try to be open minded about what people play, I really do. But why on earth would you want to play Mass Effect with automated conversations? It’s not like there’s a dearth of games where you can just shoot people.

  37. Pointless Puppies says:

    Right. Can BioWare just release Call of Duty: IN SPAAACE Edition already so that the “Sci-Fi RPG” concept can be taken up by someone who actually wants to make a Sci-Fi RPG? BioWare had their heads screwed in right when they made ME1, but ever since then it’s clear as day that they want to get into the shooter business and they’re begrudgingly adding RPG elements to their ME games only because they kind of promised an RPG with the series. They fully subscribe to the “appeal to lowest common denominator = INSTANT MASS APPEAL LOL” school of thought, meaning anything in the way of a deep WRPG set in space is clearly going to either be “streamlined” beyond recognition or just removed entirely.

    I trusted BioWare was going to handle their own IP with respect as the series went on. I expected them to refine the RPG mechanics, flesh out the planet exploration concept (like making every planet eventually explorable, making each planet be more than just barren land, etc.), have real-time space exploration/a controllable Normandy, more open environments (make the Citadel actually BE massive instead of just show me big buildings through a big window), make choices big and small matter, up the tactical element in the game’s combat, etc., etc., etc.

    What I did NOT expect was corridor shooter after corridor shooter with increasingly more braindead story, less exploration, less depth, less choice, smaller environments, and Michael Bay setpieces from BioWare. Clearly they only want to expand on the dudebro shooter aspect of the series, so let’s end the charade and let some other developer (Obsidian perhaps?) have a crack at actually making a Space Opera RPG that actually tries beyond being just shootin-and-tootin.

    • Commisar says:

      haters gonna hate, and when has a turn based, D&D based isometric RPG sold well enough o warrant dev costs and or a sequel (pos t2002 please) I am getting ME3 day 1 and will enjoy it, so there

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      “Haters gonna hate”? Do you even know the meaning of that meme? It’s a saying to illustrate how some people will find excuses to despise a game regardless of what’s in it. Did you completely ignore my list of things I wanted to see with ME2′s successor? Because if they had done those things I wouldn’t be complaining about it. Don’t just parrot memes nonsensically. I had expectations of where I wanted the series to go, and BioWare looked the other way and instead made the game appeal to the lowest common denominator. That has absolutely nothing to do with “mindless hating”, that’s a legitimate complaint. The fact that you can’t distinguish between legitimate complaints and haters spewing hatred only showcases your inability to cope with opinions besides your own.

      Also, quote exactly where I said that I want dice-roll DnD turn-based gameplay. I never said that, because I don’t want that type of gameplay. Stop putting words in my mouth

    • Bhazor says:

      Post 2002 isometric RPGs that sold well?

      Ok, off the top of my head.
      Disgaea 1, 2, 3 and 4.
      Final Fantasy Tactics 1, 2 and Advance
      Persona 3 and 4
      Dragon Age Origin (PC version)
      Neverwinter Nights 2 plus three expansions

      Coincedently all have far better stories than ME.

  38. Commisar says:

    all I can say is “let the butthurt flow through the dwellers” I am getting ME3 DAY 1 and enjoying the hell out of it. To everyone else, I say get in that time machine and go back to 1999, when isometric RPGs actually sold

    • InternetBatman says:

      Jeff Vogel has made his living for over a decade selling isometric RPGs. Neverwinter Nights 2 sold enough to warrant two expansions and one premium content pack. Dragon Age, which was pretty much D&D without the D&D, sold more than Dragon Age 2 which was not isometric.

      http://greywardens.com/2011/08/dragon-age-ii-how-badly-did-it-sell/

      Just because you don’t like a game style doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who do. I hate Street Fighter, but I don’t begrudge its fans its success.

    • Asuron says:

      Yeah I know what you mean Commissar
      Its not like Dragon Age: Origins, a game based on being isometric for combat, sold more than Dragon Age 2 which didn’t take this focus.

      Your logic astounds me. You know what I think people don’t want? Another manshoot game about soldiers, based in linear corridors, with scripted events quick time events, using chest high walls to cover themselves which are all conveniently scattered around an area.

  39. Zenicetus says:

    So, does this mean that in Action mode with pre-selected dialogue, the game will choose your romance option for you? Because that was the only conversation tree path that gave the player any real choice in the previous games. I wonder who (or what) the default relationship will be?

    Or, maybe “Action” mode mean exactly that, and Shepard automatically scores with all the potential romance targets, Kirk-style, instead of mutually-exclusive choices. Hubba, hubba…

  40. karthink says:

    This is a trivial issue; you could play both of the previous games in any of these “modes”.

    I’m more concerned about the leaked story documents. From what I’ve read, it’s a train wreck of a story they’ve apparently written for ME3. No decisions from the previous games actually matter, and many character actions and deaths are out of the player’s hands.

    Basically, like Dragon Age 2′s terrible third act, where Anders and Merrill do stupid things whether or not you try to stop them, and an ending that involves fighting both sides of the conflict because Bioware designed these boss fights and there was no way they were going to not show them to you.

    It’s a pity, what little non-linearity remained was Mass Effect’s only USP to me.

  41. karthink says:

    Just posted a long-ish comment, and it vaporized. :(

    Anyway, (i) These “three modes” are a trivial distinction, ME and ME2 could be played this way, and (ii) Bioware seem keen on telling their own story, and going by the leaked story spoilers, it’s apparently a train wreck where none of your decisions in the previous games matter.

  42. yourgrandma says:

    where is the modern mode…. i want the game to play itself completely!

  43. eclipse mattaru says:

    …and then, somewhere, someone is currently reinstalling Bloodlines.

    It’s not me though. Because I never uninstalled it :D

  44. malkav11 says:

    I was really hoping that the RPG mode would allow me to add the RPG depth (the “useless antiquation” they so kindly deigned to remove from ME2) back in. Apparently it just means I like the shooting to make me die more often. Thanks.

  45. davidconnell says:

    test

  46. rocketman71 says:

    It will also require a mandatory internet check every time the game is launched, probably use that POS that is Origin, and the multiplayer will be only on their servers.

    So big fuck you to EA and Bioware there.

  47. Laephis says:

    Looks like we’ve got a long wait for a Triple-A developer to make an RPG. Is this what the death of a genre looks like? Now I know how the adventure game fans feel.

  48. Screamer says:

    Why don’t they just focus on making one game?

  49. c-Row says:

    Internet rage because a dev offers more options without canning the original playstyle? Also, bashing Mass Effect seems to be totally in these days. You people are weird.

    • shizamon says:

      They canned the original playstyle when the 2nd one came out, this one’s not out yet. So people are worried, naturally.

  50. jadehorus says:

    Clearly, since in EA’s hands, Bioware began to incorporate more marketing concerns than creativity.
    I think someone said success breeds self censorship.It’s almost a natural evolution: it’s not about having success anymore, it’s about managing it.
    About the dumbing down discussion, it’s hard to be creative when you have the “Nintendo effect” around.
    It’s harsh for a game studio editor\creator: you spend years money and soul to find an amazing new idea, you make a game that incorporates hundreds of hours of gameplay ideas, plot, and artwork, you wrap it in a complex new 3d engine, only to find out that Nintendo, masters of streamline, make more money than anyone else with party games and 30 years old characters that haven’t changed one bit.
    I’m even surprised anyone still make “hardcore gamer” games anymore.

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