Mass Effect 3 Won’t Be All Shooting Giant Robots In The Face

Mass Effect 3 Won’t Be All Shooting Giant Robots In The Face

That quote, dropped by Mass Effect 3 lead writer Mac Walters in the most recent BioWare Pulse developer diary, shows that he is at least very serious about talking about making Commander Shepard show some real emotion this time around.

As I fretted in my “5 Reasons I’m Nervous about Mass Effect 3,” every time I see Shepard shooting a giant robot in the face, I get a little worried that the game is losing sight of what makes Mass Effect so great. The hard-to-plumb emotional depths of each of our personal protagonist is certainly one of those things.

But then, I pointed out in my /”Why I’m totally not nervous” counterpoint, those “best parts” of Mass Effect — the conversations, the characters, the sense of being a part of this world — don’t advertise all that well. Hearing Walters talking about Shepard showing emotion and being a human character is heartening.

Shepard has to be a versatile character, and so it’s hard to push him or her too far in one direction or another. But all the same, it seems like it’s time for Shepard to start to show some emotional wear and tear after seeing so much death, suffering so many losses, and fighting for so long.

Back when Tom Bissell did that New Yorker profile on Commander Shepard voice-actor Jennifer Hale, he talked a bit about how the vocal team tried to make commander sound weary and human, but how they sometimes had to reject vocal outtakes because they felt too “whiny.”

Here’s hoping they’ve found a way to work around that and show the toll these years have taken on our Mass Effect hero. He (or she) has been through a hell of a lot, after all.


    • I think the problem was more how the ‘having character’ part interacted with the gameplay mechanics. To get any tangible benefit (bonuses, additional chat options, etc) from fleshing out the character, you had to either be ‘Recently Descended From Heaven’ Shepherd, or ‘More Dickish Than A San Francisco Friday’ Shepherd. There was no incentive to act like an actual person (in some cases forgo personal reward for the greater good, other times benefit yourself). You were actually almost punished for being more neutral/realistic. There was definitely capacity for character in there, but the incentive for skewedness towards the extremes made it too comical in nature to seem like serious characterisation.

      • Wow really? I’ve played ME1 and 2 several times through as both manshep and femshep and I found a whole lot of cases where I could get benefits from conversation even though I wasn’t strictly sticking to paragon or renegade. I guess our perception of “acting like a real person” (in the context of being a hardcore space soldier finding out about then fighting a war against ancient giant sentient space machines 😛 ) must be rather different then *shrug*

        • This is true, but only for minor decision points. The paragon/renegade bars were stupid in that the considerable bonuses for each were only available if you maxed the bar i.e. you couldn’t save the whole crew of the Normandy without maxing the bar out in one. This meant you had to play one way or the other, with little consideration of the context. See the Witcher 2 or Dragon Age Origins for much better systems.

          • Even the original Mass Effect let the player pass full renegade or full paragon speech checks by the superior way of skill point allocation in either Charm or Intimidate. It’s not really possible to do a “Paragade” playthrough of ME2.

  • I’m more and more wary about ME3 the more I hear. It sounds like it’s going to be super ME2; lots of personal stories against a backdrop of desperately fighting against a common enemy, which is a story archetype that bores me. At least in ME1 you got to go against or with your superiors, there were different groups you had to deal with to get what you wanted, not just a series of recruit-and-shoot quests.

    • Having read much of the leaked script, I can safely say that ME3 is far closer to ME1’s style of story.

      The major quests are galactic in nature, not personal. There are still personal stories, but you’re dealing with alliances, coups, betrayals and wars between species.

    • For the record, I’m not an ME hater. I just don’t think that the series has a whole lot more to it than shooting corpses, robots and insects in the face. Certainly Shepard himself is nothing more than an avatar, with little distinct personality of his own (as is pretty much necessary when morality is the player’s purview).

    • The the only thing I hate about ME3 is the fact that I don’t have the game in my hands right now, I’ll be getting it day one, and lets be honest, most of these negative commentors will too.

    • Don’t get me wrong: I love ME2, and will be preordering/lining up on day one. But sometimes a cheap shot is too good not to pass up

    • I’m more wary than wallowing in full-blown hate. What’s been revealed so far seems like a step in the wrong direction to me, so I won’t pre-order and will wait for reviews. Literally the First Bioware game since BG2 I haven’t preordered.

    • It’s not really hate it’s more caution . Between dragon age 2 and the statements made by bioware regarding this and other future titles it raises questions if the third has moved in the right direction

    • Frankly, having the fans get invested in and feel a sense of ownership towards a franchise as regards its future direction is something a developer just has to put up with if they want to turn every IP into a three-or-more game series.

  • You know what’s weary? Taking the time out of your emotionally engaging story to save the universe from a threat that is indescribably violent and evil to fetch some cook’s ingredients from the local deli.

    THAT’S why Shephard is tired.

  • I don’t know why people are fretting so much about ME3. I’m pretty sure most trailers for RPG DO NOT show inventory management and 30 minutes of dialogue trees. They always show the action, and highlights of the story.

  • I think the reason most people are worried about Mass Effect 3 is “Dragon Age II” ;-P
    But seriously, I think the amount of doubt I have in a series and its ability to retain its original amount of ‘sugary joy’ decreases exponentially with every “++” they add to the title. It’s just how it goes.

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