Happy belated N7 day readers. Yesterday was an exciting day for Mass Effect fans. 24 hours ago, Bioware ran a stream on Twitch live from chilly Edmonton and bright eyed Montreal. A few exciting tidbits about the upcoming Mass Effect game were revealed, though Bioware are still keeping pretty tight lips on it.
The stream opened up with a few minutes of a brand new rendition of the Mass Effect Theme. Mass Effect Them was the tune off the original soundtrack that became known as Commander Shepard’s theme. A variation of it called Spectre Induction plays during her Induction into the leagues of the Special Tactics and Recon unit, as well as after her triumphant fight against Saren and Sovereign’s Husk.
Mike Gamble, Edmonton Producer then opened the livestream before wishing everyone a happy N7 day. He then began introducing some members of the new Mass Effect team. Mac Walters, the lead writer of both Mass Effect 2 and Mass effect 3 was introduced, now as Creative Director for the new Mass Effect game. Fabrice Condominas, Bioware Montreal’s Producer was then introduced, followed by Chris Wynn, Senior Development Director for the new Mass Effect title. Finally Studio Director for Bioware Montreal, Roy Yanick complimented the ensemble of Bioware devs for the livestream.
Mike Gamble then spoke a little about his background, reassuring Mass Effect fans that his job was mainly to make sure the new title felt like a Mass Effect game. Mac Walters expressed great honour at being a crucial member of helping to shape the world of Mass Effect as a whole in his capacity as writer for the last games in the series. Gamble mentioned bringing the franchise forward, focusing on not just doing “Mass Effect 4” but to introduce a lot of new concepts. One of the main focuses is exploration, as well as story and characters, like the previous Mass Effects. Some concept art as show above and below was then shown, portraying the return of the Mako tank as revealed back in July. We have already known about this aspect for a while but the new concept art looks amazing. Mike then started talking about the planets in the new Mass Effect games, saying there will be new alien planets to explore.
Hopefully this is confirmation that we won’t just be exploring the Milky Way Galaxy in the new Mass Effect. There will be far more diversity on the planets this time around. The team mentioned how they have learned from the First Mass Effect. There will be much more variety when exploring planets. Chris Wynn then piped up, talking about how much fun he has had driving the new Mako, mentioning being lost for hours just driving around, enjoying the scenery and the handling of the new Mako. A new concept screen was shown with what appeared to be a city living area with lush green gardens and a simulated sky. It’s possible this might be the evolution of the Citadel. It’s likely the new Mass Effect game is set hundreds of years after Shepard’s demise. There will be new technology and the feeling this particular image gives off is similar to the Citadel. There are going to be new species of alien races, and they really want to push this aspect. A new image of one of the new race was then shown with very environment driven. Very round architecture was shown. It was said this would be a large part of their culture. Chris Wynn said that so far over a thousand pieces of concept art have been done for the new Mass Effect game. Hopefully most of it will get used.
Yanick Roy then said this time round the role playing aspect has taken a leaf out of old Dungeons and Dragons in the amount of possibilities and the paths one can choose to take in the story. They want to allow players to play their way. There’s plenty of areas to explore that are optional for those that like that sort of thing. A new concept image was then shown which gave off a hostile feel, evoking imagery of the Reapers, with a lot of mechanical hard edges. Mechanical pyramids somewhat stretching wide across the structure. It looks cold and unfeeling, like old archaeological technology.
They want to allow players to explore and research. A new concept image showed what is clearly a human astronaut holding a device. The device is displaying a map and surveying the planet. This is an idea they want to push forward. Mike Gamble started explaining that for the explorers who play the new Mass Effect game, they wanted to allow them to really research the planet and survey it in an in depth way, as opposed to the basic method in Mass effect 2. The main character this time round is not a hero. While Shepard was already a legend in her own right before the start of Mass Effect, this person is going to be more like Hawke from Dragon Age II. They will slowly over time build themselves up to be a hero, rather than already being well-known.
They want to keep the player’s experience grounded and in the world. Immersion is a big part of exploration going into this new Mass effect title it seems. Mike Gamble commented to this effect talking about the important of not cluttering the screen with too many user interface, menus as well as not having incredibly lengthy cutscenes that detract from the gameplay so much. They want the different worlds to be the star of the show, say to speak and not break the immersion with a whole lot of dialogue everywhere. There will be lots of small stories on each world. Chris Wynn then stated that to Bioware Montreal, they are wanting to make the best Mass Effect game yet, focusing on exploration, but not gimping combat and learning from previous games. They want the new game to be fun, creating events that players want to do, rather than what they have to do, according to Fabrice.
Mike Gamble then showed a new concept, discussing the idea of space exploration itself. The art shows a ship heading towards a far larger ship, with similar architecture to the above cold mechanical piece. Possibly this is the exterior of the mechanical evil looking artwork. Gamble and Condominas then discussed how essential friendships and relationships will be with your crew in terms of staying alive during combat in both large spaces (perhaps space itself?) as well as small spaces. The stream then ended with them all wishing everyone a happy N7 day, and mentioning Dragon Age Inquisition being out soon.
Despite the stream having ended, more Mass Effect related news has reached the gaming community. Bioware released on their official blog, some of the lineup for the new Mass Effect team lead developers. Among all the developers on the livestream were also Ian Frazier as Lead Designer, best known for his work on Dawn of War: Soulstorm as well as the very successful Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. He is a welcome addition to the team and his arrival can only be overshadowed by this next announcement. Chris Schierf, former writer for 343 Studios and Lead writer for the wildly successful Halo 4 has had trouble keeping his mouth shut regarding his next project. He has officially been announced as the Lead Writer for the upcoming Mass Effect game since November 2013. Like a kid in a candy shop, he is overjoyed to be working with the likes of Mac Walters and Mike Gamble, two of Mass Effect’s alumni on this new installment. This News comes as a welcome boon, and fans seem to be salivating at Chris’s involvement with the project. We at TechRaptor have no doubt that he will treat the Mass Effect franchise with the respect it deserves, hopefully for years to come.
Happy belated N7 day everyone! We tried to get this out on the day but time wasn’t on our side.