Much ado has been made about the monumental story that awaits players of Mass Effect 3. Saving every living thing in the galaxy isn't a mission that should be taken on lightly, but epic decisions aren't the only kind that Commander Shepard will be forced to make. The newest trailer on 'Interactive Storytelling' explains BioWare's approach to plot, and even the chance to see how one choice can play out differently.
Previous developer diaries have focused on the importance of compelling story to the overall success of Mass Effect 3, and all signs point to this game exhibiting the best character development and action yet. Past games in the series have shown just how many decisions can immediately affect the player's experience, but the developers have been boasting for some time just how many different consequences would come to light in the third installment.
While the jury is still out on the veracity of those claims, there's no denying that important choices have become one of, if not the single most recognizable trait of this franchise. There's an old saying that wars are won a battle at a time, and in Mass Effect 3, a single choice might decide the outcome of every battle Shepard comes across.
With Earth and humanity counting on the player's success, the newest trailer shows how even the smallest choice could cost Shepard valuable time and energy. The decision-making mechanic may have meant forming alliances or ending relationships in the past, but in this example, the results are far more apparent:
Hopefully the scene shown isn't too large a spoiler, since it's worth sacrificing one surprise to grasp exactly how the various choices and consequences are being handled. Obviously it's hard to know exactly how much impact some air support may have in attaining whatever 'relic' Shepard is after, but even if the outcomes may be largely the same, the varying means of getting there are promising. And the chance for the game's new enemy types to make that even more difficult only adds value.
If choices this small offer even some variability in achieving goals, BioWare's decision to offer a game mode that removes the need to make choices certainly makes sense. Obviously the hardcore RPG fans would scoff at such a notion, but if past games stressed players out by offering a handful of decisions, this game could bring about more than a few nervous breakdowns.
Hopefully the Rachni and Geth decisions in the past will return to make every player feel like past choices really did matter. Smaller decisions and extensive weapon and armor customization are good to have, but if the previous choices are only as important as the one seen here, there's going to be plenty of disappointed fans.
What do you think of this approach to more frequent decisions? Will this make it even more likely for you to play through the campaign multiple times? Leave us your own thoughts in the comments.
Mass Effect 3 will be released on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.
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