Now that most gamers have reached the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 (and, in many cases, reached a conclusion that they vehemently despise), the curtain is starting to pull back the on the development process of BioWare's epic sci-fi RPG series.
Part of the new information - as we saw with franchise director Casey Hudson's comments - pertains to BioWare answering the call for transparency in lieu of the controversial trilogy ending. Another part - which was likely planned far ahead of the recent damage control maneuvers - is the new iPad app entitled "The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3."
Released by Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers TV as an interactive feature story, the app documents the "untold story" behind the making of the Mass Effect series with developer interviews, videos, games, quizzes, and more. The information presented contains some obvious spoilers for anyone who hasn't completed Mass Effect 3, but it does indeed shed light on some untold production decisions made over the life of the series. Among them: Mass Effect 3's multiplayer started out as a standalone FPS called Mass Effect Team Assault.
As the story goes, a new BioWare studio was formed in Montreal by Yannick Roy post-Mass Effect 2. He lead a development task force in charge of building the prototype for Team Assault, and they developed a fundamental vision for the game before Casey Hudson decided to merge it over into ME3. The app includes video of this prototype build, and, combined with its written description, it sounds like the Reaper indoctrination effect is more powerful than we thought:
"The goal was simple: to create a standalone multiplayer experience in the Mass Effect universe that would mix the play styles of Unreal Tournament and Battlefield 1943--and likely be released as a downloadable game. Played from the first-person perspective, players would battle on foot and drive vehicles like the Mako and Hammerhead hovercraft."
After the initial groundswell of trepidation towards the leaner ME3 co-op, it's hard to even fathom the backlash a game containing a trinity of Mass Effect woes (downloadable content, the Mako, and full-fledged multiplayer) would have received. Considering the current feuding over the final game's ending, it's strange to think that the series could have really fallen out of favor with fans - despite the fact that Mass Effect 3 was (as we noted in our review) a full broadside of awesomeness, ending withheld.
The $2.99 iPad app also contains more revelations, such as the fact that Mass Effect was born from a project code-named "SFX." Before narrowing it down to the story we know today, BioWare set out to create its own broad galactic universe - similar to the way George Lucas designed Star Wars. Nothing else, though, provides such an intriguing picture of the road the series almost turned on.
Ranters, forget about co-op, Galactic Readiness, or relentlessly leveling up your Quarian Infiltrator. How would you have reacted to the series if a standalone mutiplayer FPS was released between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3? Is it better that BioWare toned it down and kept it all within their main ME installments?
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Source: Mass Effect 3 Final Hours