When players first booted up Mass Effect 2 they were greeted with the option of importing their save file from Mass Effect 1. The hope was that every choice made in the first game would have some impactful repercussion in its sequel. Unfortunately, most of those promises were never delivered upon, with many of the imports subtly affecting pieces of dialogue or the appearances of characters. Bioware hopes to improve upon this formula by taking more than 1,000 variables from the first two games and using them to create the story for Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 2’s project lead Casey Hudson talked about how the team approaches a game that is dependant on the different choices made by millions of gamers. He said,
“We record what a player has done in a play-through, and then we have all of those choices available that writers can refer to as they build storylines. Numerically, it's over 1,000 variables that we'll have access to for shaping the Mass Effect 3 experience for people who've played the previous games."
What this says to me is that built into Mass Effect 2 are 1,000 scenarios with multiple outcomes, whether they be choosing a Renegade option versus Paragon, or even something as minute as whether you talked to an NPC at all. Sure, some of these moments may carry some weight when it comes to the final game in the franchise, but I can imagine that only about a handful will really be meaningful.
It would really be a tremendous feat, from a storytelling perspective, if Bioware could create a unique experience based on each gamer’s decisions from the previous games, but asking for that is like asking for some new weapons without having to pay.
There is no doubt in my mind that Mass Effect 3 will be an awesome game, whether it takes 1 or 1,000 variables from my previous play-throughs. What really counts is a great story and an even more polished combat system. Oh, and please, for the love of all that is good, do not make me mine the universe again. I soaked that thing dry already.
Which would you prefer, a somewhat flawed Mass Effect 3 that gives each gamer a unique experience, or one that might not be tailored to you but one that blows your socks off?