Mass Effect 3 may have been pushed back into 2012 but that hasn't stopped massive amounts of details from the game to leak. Apparently information about Mass Effect 3's story, characters, levels and more have been detailed in Xbox World (UK) magazine. The details were posted on BioWare's forums and let me tell you, they are good ones. I'm warning you though, there are spoilers after this break, lots of them. Proceed at your own risk.
"Twelve was a big number in Mass Effect 2 - almost too big", Hudson concedes. "We're focused on a smaller squad with deeper relationships and more interesting interplay in Mass Effect 3' he explains. "We're not going to have twelve again but we are going to do more with the characters on your squad including Liara, and Kaidan or Ashley. And we're bringing everyone back - every main character is in Mass Effect 3 somewhere"
"Zaeed is in, plus Thane, Mordin and the rest, all knocking about somewhere in the galaxy, doing something appropriate for their character and with the same lavish redesigns given to every core character in the game."
Garrus is back along with Jack:
"She's matured," admits Art Director Derek Watts, "maybe she's softened up a bit. You can only stay punk rock for so long, you know. Even Johnny Rotten eventually goes, 'I've got to do something different'. She'd get tired of walking around completely naked and she'd probably grow her hair out, but she's still Jack and still kinda punk - shaved at the sides with a ponytail at the back"
ON CHARACTER RE-DESIGN:
"We have to update the look," Watts continues, referring to Jack, Ashley and Kaidan's refesigns "And the people who redesign the characters are the same people who did the original characters; and they know best how these things are supposed to mature. Stuff changes. Garrus' armour is going to change. Even Shepard has changed quite a bit. His armour has changed a lot since the first Mass Effect"
"Formerly a Cerberus vessel, Shepard's return to the Alliance has seen the ship repainted with the Alliance colour scheme and several new sections of the shop reopened up to exploration"
"The Normandy drops yellow, white, and black in favour of red, white and blue following its Alliance refit." "...the SR2 will be filled with Alliance engineers dissecting the advanced Cerberus technology"
"Regardless of how you finished ME2, Cerberus are now your enemy and are throwing their black and yellow-clad commandos at Shepard for reasons he'll discover later in the game when, as Bioware confirm then Illusive Man returns"
"You were begrudgingly working for Cerberus in ME2" Explains Casey Hudson, "but they've gone a bit further and Shepard has returned to the Alliance so Cerberus troops are a major threat"
"Cerberus heavy troopers wear enormous armour, Assassins use the same Biotics as Shepard and Phantoms use blades."
WEAPONS (Customization and Sounds)
"Every weapoin is modular and can be customised with up to five modifcations; scopes increase a rifle's zoom factor, new barrels increase accuracy or damage. Sling your gun on a workbench and it can be customised for a job at hand. Guns sound better too..." [Goes on to say that they swapped notes from DICE on gun sounds and how environments affect the sounds and how every weapon "fires with a hard-edged crack"]
SHEPARD IS MORE AGILE
"As Shepard you're more agile than ever before" Hudson continues. "You're falling, climbing, jumping, rolling between cover, SWAT turning, you can melee and grab enemies over cover objects... there's a new heavy melee attack for every class. You just feel way more mobile..."
"Cerberus Troopers can do everything that Shepard can do now" says Designer Corey Gaspur. "So your fighting a force that's a lot more punishing"
"We wanted to make it so that when the player's fighting in the moment they feel like they have more options than aiming shooting and using powers says Lead Gameplay Designer Christina Norman. "We really want to make mobility a factor that plays into combat. You'll always ask yourself, 'am I in the right position on the battlefield? Where are my enemies? How am I going to get from point A to point B?' Players should never be walking tino these safe places with great cover and stay there for the whole fight. It's about how you're going to move through the
battlefield as the enemies through the battefield move through the battlefield and how they're reacting to one another and to you"
Example with husks
"The new combat system makes for a bloodier and more violent game, as Casey Hudson explains: "The husks are faster and more aggressive versions of the ones you've seen before, but whether they're robots or they're organic you can shoot parts off and they will all have multiple stages of damage"
AI Enemies now work as a unit each with unique roles "Some will provide covering fire for snipers, some will deploy smoke tohide advancing comrades, others will coordinate subordinate units, and one will stomp around consuming its fallen friends to fuel itself"
NOTE: The examples provided ^above^ are not exclusive too each other...the "one will stomp around consuming its fallen friends to fuel itself" is likely the Reaper Cannibal we have been hearing about..
RPG! (not the weapon)
"We've taken a lot of feedback from the Mass Effect community," says Hudson. "more than anything, people want us to deepen the RPG aspect of the experience. Now, that isn't necessarily something traditional; about stats and loot; we see it as being more about exploration and making a good character-driven story with intelligent decision-making in how you progress."
"I think specifically we wanted to do more with the sense of progression. We had that sense in ME2, but only in a few areasregarding your armour choices, your weapon choices and the things you find. That activity chain was too simple and it didn't allow you to make choices that could customise your experience. You could choose different weapons and stuff like that but you couldn't invest in the weapons like you can in ME3. You can see how modifications change different attributes, and start making choices about your value and which ones you would rather sell and which ones you think are rare. That whole activity coain was a button we weren't really pushing in ME2 and something we're trying to hit throughout ME3"
LOCATIONS (we obviously know more than article mentions)
-"Turian homeworld Palaven and theQuarian homeworld Rannoch are early new destinations."
-Returning to Tuchanka
-Mining base on the edge of a Martian crater
-BUT "it's Earth cities which form the game's showpiece locations"...
"The Seatle/Vancouver megacity on the west coast of North America is a truly gigantic space which Shepard will visit before and after the Reapers take it apart."
"If you Google Map Vancouver the layout is pretty much the exact same as our map" says Level Artist Don Arceta. "Geographically it's very true to the real world"
[magazine goes on about the "new found focus on realism and utility giving spaces a history and a reason for being"]
"You play a game like Gears or War and they just have sandbags everywhere, and we really don't want to do that. We really want to get away from arbitrary things placed just for the people workingthere, and we're just trying to really make sense of these spaces. We try to design the arhitecture first before we blow it up" says Arceta. "Like, really thinking about how did they actually design this building, and does it function well?"
"These spaces large enough to accommodate a six hundred foot Reaper bossfight, and a fifty foot Cerberus Atlas mech Shepard himself pilots later in the game."
"Overand over Bioware's team mention the scale of ME3 - every fight every enemy and every space is bigger than anything you've ever seen rendered in Mass Effect - or by the Unreal Engine - before"
-More varied and unpredictable:
"You could always tell when a fight was coming" says Hudson about ME2 "You would walk iunto a room filled with low cover and before we could get dramatic about it you already knew a fight was coming. So now we're building environments that don't have crates and sandbags and that kind of cover; we have environments that have natural opportunities to take cover. And it helps that Shepard can climb and fall and SWAT turn and leaps across gaps and stuff like that. It allows you to look around your environment and solve problems in that space and makes combat less predictable"
"I think Lair of the Shadow Broker is a good look at how we design levels now" says Hudson ... "It's all about sudden shifts in the action. There's a section on Earth where you're running a narrow walkway and there's a war going on all around you and a ship is in the distance. Suddenly its nuclear core blows up and its suchs a shockwave that it knocks you off the walkway and you end up sliding down the glass face of a knocked over high-rise and then you kind of roll and catch yourself and all that happens in a moment of gameplay. You have control thoughout and that's when you'll realise annything could happen at any time"
"We definitely want you to feel that the enemies you're fighting are more complex, that they have multiple behaviors and that they're reacting to whats going on" says Lead Gameplay Designer, Christina Norman. "With ME2 we made each enemy as anindividual. Now we look at enemies as a force, with each of them having rols and capabilities. Its giving our level designers and combat designers a lot more opportunity to create really interesting combat, not with heavy scripting, but by combining these pieces that work together in really new and interesting ways"
Asari and Rachni Husks...
"The Husks in the first and second game were humans that had been converted by Reaper technology" Hudson explains. " Now you're gonna see all the different races in the galaxy converted by that technology - the Asari, the Rachni - all mashed together by the Reapers"
"Whether you killed or saved Wrex...the Rachni Queen decision...the council...If you have the opportunity to import a saved game then there is a lot of texture to the way that shapes your story. Players have made a lot of choices along the way. We have a big spreadsheet"
FOR NEW PLAYERS
Similar to what PS3 owners got for ME2...BUT: "It might not be comic style, but we'll do something in the same style to recap the story", says Hudson. "It's essentially a really fancy save game generator
REWARD FOR LOYAL FANS?
"Absolutely," he says. "Definitely. The challenge is to make the game better than ever before, to make it a great entry point for new players, and to make it the ending fans deserve. It's about making sure it starts the way a great story should start versus just being a continuation. And thats tough becaus there is no canon except for what the player has chosen. In the end, its their game".
The confirmed ME3 squad so far according to the article:
- ASHLEY WILLIAMS
- KAIDAN ALENKO
- LIARA T'SONI
- GARRUS VAKARIAN
- JAMES SANDERS (now James Vega)
Mass Effect 3 is planned for early 2012 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. It is being developed by BioWare and published by EA.
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