Last week Casey Hudson, executive producer at BioWare, confirmed Mass Effect 3 has gone gold. With just a few far-too-long weeks left until the eagerly anticipated release of Mass Effect 3 excitement is palpable.
While it's briefly satiated thanks to the recently launched Mass Effect 3 demo it just isn't enough. Maybe we'll hunt down those copies being launched into space when they crash land to get our hands on it early.
Until then we've had to settle with a chat with Casey Hudson, who - if we're honest - just made the situation worse. In our interview Hudson lavishes details on Mass Effect 3's online aspects; mobile tie-ins; endings; DLC and more.
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Mass Effect 3 has just gone gold, so what are you guys doing now?
Well, normally, we'd probably be going on holiday, but because we've got our demo out now, we're supporting that, and we've also got a pretty complicated, because even the single-player has a lot of online features, and we've got multiplayer features. It's going to be a busy launch period for us, so we're just taking some time to get things done that we haven't time for when we were working just to get the game finished.
As part of Galaxy At War, we've heard about the co-op gameplay, but can you talk us through the other elements of ME3's online side?
There's a lot of interest in being able to take a game experience like Mass Effect and bring other things that players might like to do if they are fans of the Mass Effect universe. You're not always at your computer or console, so we've got some cool new things coming out for people to play on the move.
We've got a really neat Datapad app for iOS, so you can still interact with the Mass Effect universe. But what we try to do is integrate that into something that is meaningful in the context of the story itself, and the themes of the game. So, that's where the Galaxy At War content comes in.
Even inside the Datapad app, for example, you'll be able to see your overall rating of success in the Galaxy At War, and you can get a sense of how you're doing in that war. You can then, from the datapad app, actually deploy your resources out to different parts of the galaxy, fight for control of those parts of the galaxy, repair your fleet and stuff like that.
So it's almost like a Risk-type board game?
It's kind of a metagame, because when you jump back into the game as Commander Shepard, you'll see the same overall ratings of how the galaxy is being controlled by the Alliance versus the Reapers.
If I'm, say, playing Mass Effect 3 on the Xbox 360, presumably I'll still be able to finish it without playing the iOS app?
It's interesting because, on the one hand, people really don't like the idea of any kind of fiction or any kind of gameplay outside the game experience that has nothing to do with it, and they also don't want to be required and essential. So we look at it as providing options for people to choose where they want to spend their time.
So, for example, you might be only able to put so much time into the single-player story, but you might do a lot of commuting, so you can play the iOS game and find ways to get better and better degrees of success in the single-player story by doing some of that other stuff.
Some people love to go straight to the end of the story as fast as they can, because they love the action but don't necessarily want to do the role-playing stuff. And then there are people who are really into role-playing, and really immersing themselves in this world, and they'll want to explore everything that's in the single-player game. And it is a huge game - it's much bigger than we actually expected it to be.