Aussie Dev IronMonkey On iOS Mass Effect: BioWare 'Left Us To It'

The US Kotaku's review of IronMonkey's Mass Effect: Infiltrator was not the kindest piece of writing to hit the internet, though the game has proved popular enough with gamers, going by its 4/5 star rating on iTunes. The US review felt the story, considered one of the series' strongest features, "[struck] out pretty hard on all counts". That may have something to do with the fact IronMonkey and BioWare decided to "keep dialogue decisions out of the iOS game".

Speaking with Gamasutra, IronMonkey design director Jarrad Trudgen explains the move was a conscious choice that BioWare was supportive of. The stop/start nature of mobile gaming and an awareness of the effort required to do a good job of it, were the biggest contributors to its exclusion:

The choice to keep dialogue decisions out of the iOS game was made very early and in consultation with BioWare. Time of development and what format would best suit the platform were the major points that led to the decision.

"It's more environmental and the action is happening around you," Trudgen said. The bulk of the story is told through radio conversations, leading to a script that was about 10 times longer than what was contained in Dead Space.

While BioWare obviously consulted on Infiltrator, IronMonkey was given a great deal of autonomy when it came to crafting the final experience. The studio required the all-clear from the mothership regarding the protagonist and key elements of the story, but otherwise, almost all the work was done in Melbourne, including casting actors and recording voice-overs.

I haven't played Infiltrator, but if the controls are anything like Dead Space on iOS, then I don't see the situation changing soon. Don't get me wrong — I've played the hell out of King of Dragon Pass, Kard Combat, Starbase Orion and Elder Sign: Omens, but going from a mouse and keyboard to faux dual-thumb sticks is... well, I'd do better simply chopping my hands off.

I think I played maybe 10 minutes of Dead Space on iOS before the annoyance factor overrode my interest and I wiped it off my phone. Turns out, I'm wasn't the only one, as Trudgen had this to say about emulating console controls on a touchscreen:

"With Dead Space, some people would struggle a bit, which bothered me because I want everyone who's interested to be able to play it. It's terrible when they do want to play but they try and get frustrated," he said. "I wanted to broaden that a bit with Mass Effect, so we put some things in ... so you're not having to fight the controls so much."

That gets a thumbs-up in my books...I'm just not quite prepared to folk out $5.49 for something I might delete in less than half-an-hour. I would definitely appreciate opinions from those who've played both games and can provide a comparison.


    Yeah, I deleted it within half an hour. It looked alright when I had the sound off, but once I popped my headphones in I just didn't enjoy it any more... I can't even explain why, it just sounded really bland.

    "folk out"

    fork out?

    Was quite shit and the "story" was retarded. Managed about 45 minutes of it before I gave up.

    Make a Vita/3DS spin-off, Bioware.

      45 minutes in and you are qualified to comment on the strength of 'the story'? FFS, who'd be a game developer when people have the attention span of gnats.

        For a mobile phone game, 45 minutes is enough. This isn't a console or PC game.

    Against all the analysts views on all games are moving to mobiles (apparently we are all searching for weaker experiences), and that the mobiles will doom consoles, I believe that Instead with all these core esk console games on the ipad might encourage those who may not have a console but likes those games to buy a console to get the better experience with vast improvement in controls, game play and aesthetics.

    For me, the fact that GTA3 sucked so hard because no matter how good the game is, bad controls = bad game.

      games are not MOVING to mobiles, they are EXPANDING to mobiles. Angry Birds is not a 'weaker' experience than Mass Effect.

      The game is maybe 45 minutes long. At least, that's how long it took me.

    Not worth it. My friend bought it and after we messed around on it for an hour he wiped it from his iphone. FPS and touch screens dont seem to match.

    'Games' journalist
    "I’m just not quite prepared to folk out $5.49" for a game on iOS. Some of these Kotaku are really really bad and should look for jobs else where. If you can't spend $5.49 which is tax deductible to get an opinion, I'm not even going to finish

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