Mass Effect 2 is officially the nuts. Critics and gamers alike agree that the BioWare sequel's masterful blend of RPG and shooter is more popular than a team mate's wife to John Terry.
To coincide with the game's launch, we sat down with BioWare co-boss Ray Muzyka to discuss the title's seminal reception, the future of the franchise and just why PS3 users have to go without...
Early feedback and reviews for Mass Effect 2 have been hugely positive. You must be delighted?
Well it's hard not to be. It's very positive. The fans are excited about it, the press are excited about it and yeah, we're overjoyed to see the hard work of the team come out and manifest in great reviews and feedback. I think Casey [Hudson, series director] and the team are really happy with all of the feedback.
We look at it really practically. We've had a lot of 90-rated games right? Pretty much every game we've ever released has been 90-plus. So we take it in our stride. We kind of look at it that sometimes our teams are our worst critics in terms of the way they look at our past work.
While we're really ecstatic about the feedback we also look at it and say 'Where are the opportunities for improvement? How do we make the next installment in this trilogy better? How do we make the next installment of Dragon Age better? How do we make Star Wars: The Old Republic better?' I look more to the future than to the past.
It's interesting being at the EA meetings and receiving the launch congratulations. I appreciate it and it's nice to receive nice words and congratulations, but I'm more interested in how we drive success in the future, how we make our next games even better than Mass Effect.
I would hate that it's seen as the best game we've ever done in our entire timeline. As strange as that is to say, because I want our next game to be better than Mass Effect 2. As great a game as it is - and I think it is our best game to date - I always want each game as it comes out to be seen that way. It keeps everybody motivated on the teams.
So we're delighted, but we're looking into the future and trying to make the best stuff. Our best stuff is still to come I think.
The feedback we've gotten from your staff in the past is that Mass Effect 2 was all about checking off the criticisms of the original. Have you compiled a list for Mass Effect 3 yet - and if so what does it say?
We haven't done a list yet. What we'll probably do and what we did last time is we went through every review that had been posted, all the fan forums, all the internal feedback - what the team felt and wanted to pursue - and made a huge list and prioritised it, thinking about effort and impact, trying to maximise the bang for the buck in terms of delivering for the fans.
We'll do the same for this product and then try and make a list of prioritised features of what we're going to try and improve in the next week. At the end of the day it's got to be fun, right? So it's not just a feature analysis it's also thinking about what combinations and permutations of features are going to lead to the most entertaining and emotionally engaging experience for people.
Have there been any comments or reviews that have surprised you so far?
Not really... I read a lot of reviews and I agreed with most of the feedback they provided. It was interesting because one observation I've seen consistently from people is don't worry if your first impression is that the RPG systems are less deep or rich, keep playing and you'll realise that they're still there just presented in a different way.