Gamers can be a tricky crowd to please - change too little, and you'll get slammed for not being innovative, change too much and you risk losing your fans. With Mass Effect 2, BioWare felt the effects of the latter, as some gamers claimed they focused more on making a shooter than an RPG. Thankfully, for that group, BioWare has listened, and will be adding a number of new RPG elements to Mass Effect 3.
Speaking to CVG, Michael Gamble, a producer at BioWare Edmonton, talked about the numerous customization options that will be included in Mass Effect 3, as players will be able to evolve their weapons and powers. Powers, for example, can now evolve in what is assumed to be one of nine different ways.
While many feel that Mass Effect has become more of a shooter with the second entry, BioWare feels that neither the RPG or shooter genres are winning in terms of Mass Effect 3's development, in other words, players should expect the best of both worlds.
"I think in ME3 we've actually brought back a lot of the customisation elements that were missing in ME2: Weapons, armour, powers, each power now has nine possible ways of evolution. We brought back all that customisation. Like any transition between games, we want to polish everything. I wouldn't say one genre is winning out over another."
With that being said, there is still heavy emphasis on keeping the gameplay in tact. RPGs - and the first Mass Effect in particular - aren't exactly renowned for their combat, and BioWare is certain to keep polishing it. According to Gamble, Mass Effect 3 will offer a much more intelligent enemy AI, as well as more open combat scenarios.
"How the player interacts with the gameplay space is one of the most important things, as players spend most of their time doing that. We've added a lot of new melee stuff, and it's all part of making combat seem more dynamic. Enemy behaviour is also different as enemies will now try and flank and come up close. There's definitely been an emphasis on making combat spaces into open battlefields in this game. We're trying to get away from corridor shooters."
Even though the inclusion of multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 has probably worried many long time BioWare fans, it seems that the developer is aware of the recent skepticism. Knowing that they're trying to craft a game that will appeal to both groups of fans is the best solution, as it will leave neither group alienated.
Though I've got to admit, it would have been slightly funny if BioWare interpreted "more RPG elements" as "more RPGs in Mass Effect" and filled the final product with rocket launchers.
Mass Effect 3 releases March 6th, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
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