With anticipation growing in the months leading up to the impending release of Mass Effect 3, the question on nearly every fan's mind has to be concerning the actual plot and direction of the game. On a broad scale, the plot of the series is leading to one ultimate showdown, but what that means in terms of gameplay or individual narrative structure is anyone's guess. Well worry no more, as the founders of BioWare have broken the silence and assured their fans that the ending of Commander Shepard's epic adventure will be well worth the wait.
Serious fans should expect nothing less, as the tone and drama of the series grew significantly from the humorous and often lighthearted fun of Mass Effect to the fatalistic and grim atmosphere of Mass Effect 2. With only a broad idea of how Shepard will actually fight off the Reaper threat, fans must look to the series so far for some hint at how the final chapter will unfold.
And there lies the problem. The plot of the first game was straightforward enough - a race against time to foil one alien's plan to sacrifice all life in the galaxy to the mysterious Reapers - but the second installment took somewhat of a detour. While fans may have expected to pick up the fight where they left off, and work to prepare for the imminent Reaper invasion, what they got was a new chapter focused on Shepard's dealings with the terrorist group Cerberus.
We don't doubt that the game's characters and plot lines will carry forward in many ways, but it definitely throws a wrench into any hypothesizing about where the third game will take us. Aside from what we know about the game - and trust us, we know plenty - the most nagging question is exactly how Mass Effect 3 will end.
The game's executive producer Casey Hudson has already implied that a big surprise will be coming in the game, and in a recent interview with Game Informer, BioWare founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk revealed that the team is already looking forward to delivering the finished product to players everywhere.
According to Muzyka, only one feeling can describe the atmosphere at BioWare in the lead up to the release of Mass Effect 3:
"Well, it’s exciting. That would be the word that comes to mind for me. It’s exciting to be able to deliver an epic trilogy and wrap up the story in a way that’s going to be really satisfying, and high impact, and intense. And answer a lot of questions for the fans and bring it to a really satisfying conclusion..."
"One of the things that we’re really aware of for Mass Effect 3 as well is that we have a lot of new fans that are entering the fiction every time we launch one of these games. So we want to make sure it’s accessible and can appeal to someone who hasn’t played the first two games. Regardless of whether you played Mass Effect 1 or not or Mass Effect 2 or not, we want to make sure you have a great experience in Mass Effect 3. If you’ve played the first two games we want your choices to mean something. It’s really about building it for all of the different audiences we have to accommodate and delivering it at high quality."
With plenty of fans to keep happy, and considering how important BioWare considers their fans, the developers of ME3 have a lot more to worry about than simply ending the series in a meaningful way. So with pressure at an absolute peak, one might assume that Mass Effect 3 is the only thought on the development team's mind.
But BioWare has big plans for the Mass Effect brand, and Zeschuk is careful to remind fans that planning ahead is just as important to success as hard work:
"We’re pretty big. We have lots of teams. Lots of possibilities. Even though we will effectively finish the trilogy it’s not like it’s over in the sense of “Hey, we’re going to put the Mass Effect world on the shelf forever and never come back to it.” We’ve already been thinking about that.
"We’re deep in development on 3 and it’s chugging along. So really an objective for us at this point is get that done but also think of the future of the universe. One thing that’s really clear is people love the Mass Effect universe. We really want to make sure that what we’re doing next is going to satisfy them and really move it forward."
Given these latest comments, it's obvious that the ending to Mass Effect 3 will bring a climactic close to the journey of Commander Shepard, while simultaneously drawing back the curtain on a new world of story possibilities. A return of the Protheans? The discovery of a new race? Maybe those Keepers will finally get around to saying something.
We've got our own ideas of what we want from Mass Effect 4, but what do you think the ending of Mass Effect 3 will bring? Leave us your thoughts or concerns in the comments below.
As it stands, Mass Effect 3 is scheduled for a fall release (rumor November 8th) across the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
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Source: Game Informer