Asexuality is one of the most misunderstood identities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. Among other issues, it’s extremely rare to see asexual characters in games or wider media, and when they do appear, they often fall into harmful stereotypes. January’s Ace Jam invited developers to go some way to change this by creating games that feature characters on the asexual spectrum, and treat them respectfully. Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged ‘Mass Effect’
To celebrate Mass Effect’s 10th anniversary (crikey!), animator Jonathan Cooper, currently at Naughty Dog, has shared 10 animation-related facts about the game on Twitter. There are a lot of interesting titbits, like the mo-cap being filmed on the same sound stage as Gone With The Wind, or Cooper being inspired by Ricky Gervais’ Extras when it came to picking the close-up camera style for conversations, but nothing beats the story behind Anderson punching Udina in the face. Udina was a worm, so it’s a popular scene, but probably not with the actor playing Udina. He actually got clocked on the jaw. It happens to the best of us.
Mass Effect Andromeda was so tremendously dull — just read John’s Andromeda review — that it appears to have killed off a whole franchise (or at least put it in a coma). While I absolutely don’t think it earned a sequel, it is a shame that there are so many story threads left hanging. Like what the hell happened to all the other aliens from the Milky Way? Well, we may not be finding out in a game, but Mass Effect: Annihilation, a spin-off novel, will fill in some gaps when it appears in June next year.
Former Mass Effect project director Casey Hudson is returning to BioWare to become the studio’s general manager, coming back from three years in wandering the desert of Microsoft. He’ll replace Aaryn Flynn, who is leaving the studio entirely after seventeen years. Hudson left BioWare in August 2014, after helping lay the foundations of the game that became the Destiny-lookin’ action-RPG Anthem. After several games that haven’t quite clicked, can Hudson get the studio back on track? Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve been holding off on Mass Effect Andromeda [official site], which is entirely understandable whether you’re a fan of the series or not, perhaps a ten hour free trial is just what you need to decide whether the trip is worth your time and money. Previously available to EA Access subscribers, the trial is now open to everyone. It gives you ten hours of play-time, which you can spend in singleplayer (up to the first planet) or multiplayer, and saves will carry over to the full game if you choose to buy it. You’ll need Origin, EA’s digital storefront, and post-trial, the game is currently £24.99.
Newbie Mass Effect game Andromeda [official site] has proved to be the most controversial since, well, the last Mass Effect game. The fuss this time is not to do with convenient space magic endings and dangling plot threads, but instead a tri-gripe of its feeling somewhat routine, a shower of bugs and a feeling that its facial animations are a little bit Christmas panto.
Devs Bioware have been relatively quiet during the storm, but are now offering the first details on how they plan to get their new era for Mass Effect back on track. Read the rest of this entry »
Strap in. Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] is out on Tuesday in the US, and then because EA still lives in 1987, in Europe on Thursday. I’ve played it for over 70 hours, seen the main ending, and am entirely ready to tell you wot I think. It’s well worth reading my previous piece on the first few hours, as there’s much there that’s relevant that I’ve not repeated below. Read the rest of this entry »
I had, by purpose or distraction, not found out anything about Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] before playing its review build, beyond that it was set in a whole new galaxy. Ooh goody, I thought! A sci-fi RPG series I completely loved, but with a fresh start, baggage shed, and the extraordinary potential of a setting in a galaxy entirely unlike our own.
Yeah, about that. The first few hours of Andromeda are a gruesome trudge through the most trite bilge of the previous three games, smeared out in a setting that’s horribly familiar, burdened with some outstandingly awful writing, buried beneath a UI that appears to have been designed to infuriate in every possible way.
I had gone in assuming this would be more BioWare pleasure. So far – and let’s be clear, there’s lots of room and time for it to pick up and turn things around – the first few hours have been just awful. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not going to pretend that I understand the setting of the Mass Effect games all that well, but even though I’ve only played bits of the first, you can’t work in this job for long without learning all about the adventures of FemShep. That’s how I know that Andromeda [official site] is about a new crew searching a new galaxy for a new home, because somebody left the taps running on Earth during the events of the original trilogy, and now the whole place smells of mildew.
A new, hefty trailer shows some adventuring, some chatting, some fighting and some gorgeous hub world wandering. Mass Effect may not be my thing, but good grief, this looks very much like it might be my main squeeze of Spring 2017.
I write this with the hesitation of someone who worries it might provoke someone else into starting an online petition. “Boycott Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] unless it has that one alien that looks like a space-cow made of jelly in it!” But, I am curious as to just how much of the existent Mass Effect universe the game they don’t want to put a 4 after will cherry pick to remain.
Some familiar knobbly faces will return, others will not – not yet, anyway. Read the rest of this entry »
Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] is boldly going where no Mass Effect has gone before, taking BioWare’s sci-fi RPG series to a new galaxy, in the far future of the original trilogy’s far future setting. Because of the N7 designation held by Mass Effect protagonists, November 7th is to Mass Effect what May 4th is to Star Wars, and today brought a new cinematic trailer showing some giant monstrosities, a bland default player character who you’ll probably want to edit immediately, and some ominous voiceovers. Take a look.
Space: one of the frontiers. These are the trailers of the videogame Mass Effect Andromeda [official site]. It’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, discover new lifeforms, and then have sex with them. As November 7 comes closer, a day which Bioware has stolen for itself during which they will likely reveal something important about the upcoming guns ‘n’ conversation game, the developers have decided to tease some plot in a brief moon-based video. Not much plot, but a little.
Read the rest of this entry »
BioWare are holding an open competition to find a voice actor for Mass Effect Andromeda [official site], releasing tidbits of story as they do it. They’re asking interested folks to read two audition scripts and send in either video or audio recordings of their best takes. The video below explains the competition exclusively via the medium of jokes, so this blog post about it may also be helpful. Before you enter – remember that Mass Effect games are known for their literate conversations and complex characters. Are you ready for your first scene? Okay, you are playing the role of Tough Mercenary.
I’m a big fan of artbooks, which is quite lucky since not only are there plenty of them around right now, the quality of them has never been better. Forget the scrappy little affairs that used to be used to bolster out the Collector’s Editions of games, much as concept art used to fill in for interesting secrets to unlock. Today’s artbooks are typically huge, prestigious affairs, that come hardbound and printed on excellent quality paper. You might not put them on your coffee table, but they certainly look great on the shelf. This week, I thought we’d take a look at a few of the RPG ones that have found their way to mine – not all the recent ones by any stretch, but a few.
Today, a little bit of heresy. I’m going to talk about adventure games. Specifically, about a thing I’ve always loved in them, when they offer the chance – that sense of being given a ship and a universe to explore. I get a shiver when I look at the star-map. I feel proud of my usually low-resolution, 256-colour VGA vessel. And yet, jump genres to something like RPG or strategy and the moment is just gone. Why does No Man’s Sky, a game that actually supports that wanderlust, not give me anything close to the same thrill that something like Space Quest V still does, even knowing that Space Quest V is a) limited to a handful of worlds, each only a few screens in size, and b) makes your cool ship a garbage scow full of people who pretty much hate you?
I don’t know, but I love this screen. This, more than any Galaxy Map, is a screen that whispers “You can go anywhere. Do anything. The universe is yours…”
Last week I wrote about how Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] wasn’t chained by the choices you made at the end of Mass Effect 3, and how that left a lot of questions unanswered. Well, answers are coming next month in the first of four Mass Effect tie-in novels published by Titan Books that aim to bridge gaps between Andromeda and the events of our own Milky Way.
There is a lot of questions floating around the big black hole of Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site]. Who is the lead character, Ryder? How did they get to a whole other galaxy? Can I romance the Mako? But perhaps an equally important question is what kind of impact the final decision of Mass Effect 3 might have on the story. According to an interview with Eurogamer, the answer is not a whole lot.
Hello there. This week, I’m writing not just as an RPG columnist, but as president of the newly formed League Of Folks Who Don’t Really Play MOBAs But Are Bizarrely Hooked On All The Trappings. As far as I can tell, our membership is roughly a billion people and counting. That’s what happens when the likes of Blizzard and Riot spend literally tens of dollars creating gorgeous videos to promote their worlds, yes, but it goes somewhat deeper than that. Have you ever watched a new character reveal for a game you know you’re never going to play? Then the sickness might have spread.
BioWare have been keeping a tight lid on Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s [official site] plot, but it seems some details have appeared in the form of a customer survey. Not the world’s most reliable format, as these tend to be, “How would you feel about a game that featured a race of evil melons as the main antagonists?” before asking you about your mobile phone usage, but likely indicative of the direction in which the game is heading. So if you want all your news about the game to be carefully spoon-fed to you via the appropriate PR departments, look away now.
Most RPGs ask you to save the world, but not all of them offer a world worth saving. Honestly, there’s been quite a few where given the choice I’d have joined the evil overlord just to beat up all the potion vendors who wouldn’t even give me a discount before the final battle, and for the mere chance of stabbing the guard in Act 1 who wouldn’t let me into The Town Where The Actual Bloody Game Starts.
This week though, I’m interested in the other side of that – the worlds that become more than just a place to grind for loot and XP. The places that feel real. Beloved worlds, which don’t necessarily correlate with beloved games. I really enjoyed Skyrim for instance, but Skyrim as a world largely leaves me cold for reasons that have nothing to do with the Frostfall mod. That’s not the same as saying it’s bad, or any real quality judgement at all, simply that for me it never became a second home, more than a playground. Fallout New Vegas meanwhile, despite its problems, ticked all of the boxes. It was a world I could believe in, get immersed by, and not want to leave, which given the current political climate around the world is quite probably for the best.
Here are some of the most special worlds for me. How about you? Note, we’re talking entire worlds, as in the settings for whole games, not specific places like, say, Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII or FFXIV. Those are cool too, but… another week!