When it was first announced that the former-Xbox 360-exclusive game Mass Effect 2 would be coming to the PS3, the question had to be asked- how do you start with the sequel?
Now we're starting to get some answers.
Community Rep Nathalie Edelmann on the developer's forum recently posted a translation of an interview with BioWare developer Casey Hudson from German magazine Play3. In the interview, Hudson reveals that the answer they've arrived at may have Xbox owners green with envy.
The game will start by catching fans up on the events of the first game by way of an interactive comic, allowing them to make some important decisions for ME2. BioWare has a tall order on their hands, essentially pitching a game that is already years old to a massive audience. While initially being unavailable to fans without an Xbox 360, the question now is how much momentum the series can carry when it launches for the PS3 in the new year.
To give themselves the best chance, BioWare won't be simply giving players a new way to experience the story of the first in the series, but a series of other perks:
- The three DLC offerings already released for the 360: 'Kasumi: Stolen Memories,' 'Overlord,' and 'The Shadow Broker' included on the disc for free.
- A code will be included allowing access to all extra downloads already released on the Cerberus Network.
- An entirely new mission, estimated at 6 hours of gameplay.
Giving PS3 owners a crop of extra content and weaponry for free will definitely go along way in making them feel as if they weren't an afterthought. It's still unclear whether the extra mission will ever be made available for the 360, or if PS3 owners will have some exclusive content to go along with their purchase.
BioWare founder Greg Zeschuk has already spoken on the team's process of re-working the game to maximize its performance on a different console, and the end result. Zeschuk is also quoted in the forum post, reiterating the points he had made previously concerning the two platforms:
"The most important thing is that the PlayStation 3 is based on a completely different architecture. Visually it can come to some changes. In particular, the storage and distribution of the graphics chip differ dramatically. We will not again unleash the discussion, which has the two platforms for more power, since we can achieve our objectives on both platforms.
"If you develop games that you want to make accessible the broadest possible mass. And exactly this opportunity is offered to us. I think the game will feel a bit different on the PS3. Just by the controller, it will play differently."
It seems that Mass Effect 2 will be optimized for the PS3 when it lands, but it still remains to be seen just how different the game experience will be. Given BioWare's history with comic book content, and the possibility that some of the information they've gathered could be put to use for the PS3 version of ME2, this new crop may get an even better end-product than 360 owners.
As someone who played through both Mass Effect titles on the Xbox 360, I can personally say I feel like I am now missing out. I love when games and comics cross paths, and want a chance to play through any extra missions the team at BioWare created. It only seems fair that after missing out on the game for so long, PS3 owners are entitled to a few treats.
In my opinion, the first in the series is still the best complete story and RPG of the series, so I'm curious to see just how well the less-story-intense sequel will land without the first game as a foundation. Hopefully BioWare will increase the fanbase by adding another platform, and move one step closer to getting Mass Effect to the big screen.
You'll have your chance to make some quick decisions and get free goodies when Mass Effect 2 is released on the PS3 in January 2011.
[Update: Some clarification has been posted on the BioWare forums by Jesse Houston, Producer of Mass Effect 2 on the PS3. According to Houston, the information regarding the interactive comic introduction for Mass Effect 2 is correct, but something was "lost in translation" with the extra 6-hour mission.
The 6 hours of gameplay are referring to the DLC that is bundled onto the disc, while the interactive comic will also be made available for other platforms through the Cerberus Network at a later date.
"There will also be some DLC Bundles, such as the Aegis Pack as well as exclusive both Free and Paid DLC for all PlayStation 3 owners such as the Recon Operations Pack...While I can't go into details all of this content is or was available to Xbox/PC Owners but otherwise wouldn't be available to PS3 owners."
More details will be forthcoming on exactly how much content PS3 owners will be receiving for free, and if any new DLC for the PS3 will become available for other platforms as well.]