Which Is Presumably Quite Big
What with Bioware vaunting Mass Effect 3's much-improved gunplay and combat scenarios at almost all preview and press events, you'd be forgiven for thinking the studio had abandoned the core RPG principle of exploration. Mass Effect is a space-opera, after all; what's more exciting than exploring a vast universe, festooned with uncharted planets, abandoned stations and long lost relics? Well, it appears the galaxy's communal retreat, the Citadel, has been beefed-up for ME3, suggesting Bioware hasn't quite abandoned its principles yet!
"The Citadel is really big in this game. It's bigger than it's ever been, in terms of stuff to do," executive producer, Casey Hudson, told The Official Xbox Magazine in one of their many chats we like to plunder from. The Citadel, a simply enormous space-station with petal-esque arms flowering off from the central Mass Effect relay, was built by the long lost Prothean race. It's featured prominently in both Mass Effect 1 and 2, and was where Commander Shepard became the first ever human Specter.
"But yeah, it's those moments where there's fun and silly, neat stuff to explore," Hudson went on to explain, in regards to Bioware's approach to the Citadel. Hudson confirmed a mission originally planned for Mass Effect 2 set on the Citadel will make it in to ME3, described as a "kind of callback to the first Mass Effect". It's likely we'll return to the Citadel in-between salvaging support for the effort to rescue Earth from the Reaper threat, but Bioware has much more up its sleeve in regards to new locales.
"We end up exploring some spaces that maybe have never been done before," Hudson claims, which is sure to delight fans who've fretted that Bioware's focus on combat has overwhelmed the quality and ambition of Bioware's narrative approach. "Because interactive storytelling is still kind of new, there are neat things to try," he added.
Furthermore, Bioware is looking to make Mass Effect 3's varied, choices-dependent endings more "sophisticated", what with the fate of the entire galaxy in the balance as Shepard goes to war with the genocidal Reapers. "We have the ability to build the endings out in a way that we don't have to worry about eventually tying them back together somewhere," Hudson explains. "It's more like there are some really obvious things that are different and then lots and lots of smaller things, lots of things about who lives and who dies, civilizations that rose and fell, all the way down to individual characters. That becomes the state of where you left your galaxy. The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them." [OXM]