Ground-breaking cinematics, well developed characters, space travel and that controversial sex scene. What more can BioWare put in the for the PC release?
It's been a huge couple of years for the Canadian developer, especially with the recent EA acquisition. During a recent EA event in central London we sat down with CEO Ray Muzyka for a natter about the studio's future, how Sonic's RPG is coming along and his thoughts on the industry.
What was behind the decision to lead on the Xbox 360 with Mass Effect rather than releasing then two versions simultaneously?
Ray Muzyka: Well, it was nice to focus on one system, and obviously our publisher Microsoft had an impact in the decision as well. We were working with them, so we announced it and developed it as an Xbox 360 exclusive right from the start.
We've always had a goal of releasing multiple iterations on the 360 during its lifetime, so we're excited about that opportunity as well still. Late in the 360 development we made the decision to bring it to PC.
DLC - any plans for more after Sky?
Muzyka: Oh yeah, we have big plans for post-release content with the franchise for both Xbox 360 and PC. We haven't released any details on that yet but it's something we want to actively support.
So no hints on when the next lot will come?
Muzyka: You know, it's all about the quality. We want to make sure it's a really great experience; and we also want to do different things, we like experimenting and trying different things for post-release content.
We did a lot of post-release content with Neverwinter Nights, we're planning to do more on Dragon Age in the future as well and Mass Effect and other products we have in development.
We just want to make sure we're satisfying what the fans want first, so often it's good to get their feedback and say, "What kinds of things would really be exciting to you?", and how can we put those in the game.
Sex scene controversy - how did that go down?
Muzyka: It was an interesting experience. But at the end of the day, we're proud of the content in the game. It's all appropriate for the rating that's been assigned, the Mature rating, and it's got adult themes.
It's very tasteful, but it is an emotionally intense scene, and there's a number of similarly emotional scenes in the game, not just romances but across the board - different relationships between characters.
I see videogames as an art form, and they're an emergent art form. They're a commercial art form, but they're still art regardless. And the good thing I think is the fact that people are talking about that kind of scene; it had an impact on them.
It proves that videogames are an art form and proves that Mass Effect is an innovator in that. It's in some ways leading the way and willing to push the envelope a little bit and actually deliver stuff that's really compelling.
What are the chances of a PS3 version of Mass Effect?
Muzyka: We're not commenting on any platform extensions... we're not really talking about future titles.
But, you know, Mass Effect is Xbox 360-exclusive, Microsoft is a great partner, we're bringing Mass Effect now to PC and we're going to make sure it's a great experience for our PC fans.
In the future on other products, we're a division of Electronic Arts now, and we're working on all the different platforms across the board, pretty much.
The PS3's gaining momentum this year, while speculation from some suggests Xbox 360 has reached its peak. How do you see the current console generation panning out?