Mass Evolution - A Mass Effect 3 Interview with Michael Gamble - Page 2

Updated Tue, Aug 30, 2011 by B. de la Durantaye

TTH: And the weapon upgrades are working a little bit differently now, I noticed. Can we go over how the upgrades are working?

Michael Gamble: All the weapons that are created are accessible to all classes. You find little mods and upgrades throughout the galaxy in various places. You might get a mission, you might buy them, and things like that. Basically, you put your weapon on the weapon bench, attach different mods to it to affect different stats so you could affect the type of shot, put scopes on, put extended clips on, things to kind of customize them. For example, with the SMG that I just talked about, if you really liked the SMG and you want to kind of take a hit in the stopping power, but you really want an extended clip, you put the extended clip in. So you  can kind of do that for pretty much all the weapons that we have and make them your own.

TTH: You do that at a weapons mod station now too?

Michael Gamble: Yes.

TTH: Stations are readily available?

Michael Gamble: Yes, throughout the levels. Obviously, we want to make sure that you can balance it with being accessible in the level. All the sudden, there’s different enemy types and you need to change out your weaponry, you can change them out at the station.

TTH: What about the paths of Renegade and Paragon? That's still a big part of ME3?

Michael Gamble: Contextually, it didn’t make sense to have one of those choices in the gamescom demo, but, yeah, there are a lot of renegade and paragon choices throughout the game.

TTH: Which ties in to what we noticed in terms of the choices being made. During the demo, we saw what seemed to be the right choice made with a child involved, and, at the end, the kid ended up getting killed anyway. How often does that sort of thing happen? Are you going to start saying, "the choices are arbitrary. I should just choose whatever?”

Michael Gamble: I get the direction for that. But the problem of making choice available all the time is that we don’t want it to be a one-to-one correlation all the time in terms of predictability because then there’s no emotional up to it. You choose this and you’re going to get this. In real life, you make choices all the time and things don’t always happen the way you want. Now with the Reapers and the galaxy at war, you can make a choice. You also have to know that there’s an underlying layer of sacrifice that’s going to happen, an underlying layer of unpredictability. In Mass Effect 3, you make choices and your outcomes come out of them, but how the outcomes come, there might be some repercussions.  Never assume that everything is going to be straightforward.

TTH: Can we talk a bit about the new abilities? You mentioned that you’ve split them off to six instead of two choices. Are they similar to what we saw in the previous two games?

Michael Gamble: You have three choices that you take at the beginning that you level up to make better. Once you hit a certain point, you basically run through a half-tree and you have six possible choices, and you choose three of those. That basically gives you six evolution choices for each power. Now, across all powers, you can do that, so what happens is: I have an engineer Shepard, and engineer Shepard gets access to this subset of skills. First of all, you have to make a choice. I can customize only six of these ten because I only have enough points over the entire game to focus on these six instead of ten. Within each of these six, how am I going to customize it? Am I going to do heavy damage? Am I going to do damage over time? Am I going to do a slower recharge rate? Things like that. You can make them all completely yours. At the end of the game, you have a very different Shepard than your buddy, who also played a soldier, but he decided to play a little more defensive or that kind of stuff. It takes time and it takes a lot of progression, but it’s worth it.

TTH: And what about DLC? Do you have any DLC plans?

Michael Gamble: We are starting to do DLC. Mass Effect 2 DLC was amazing. Overlord, Shadowbroker, Rival, all those patches were really hard hitting packs, and people appreciated it. Because of that, because people appreciated it and will come back to Mass Effect 3, we think it’s a good idea to do it. But at the same time, we haven’t shipped the game yet. Obviously, all our attention is going into shipping the game and making as much content as we can and stuffing it all on the disc before we ship. Once we ship, then we’ll talk about DLC.

TTH: Mass Effect seems to really be shifting more towards an action game. It’s evolving: the second was more actiony than the first, and the third looks to have even more action. Particularly when we saw Shepard going back to Earth. There was a war going on, ships crashing into buildings, and all that kind of stuff. It had an incredible environmental feel to it. The question becomes how long can you maintain that? Are you putting that much effort and emphasis into all the side quests and everything?

Michael Gamble: I’ll use a movie as an analogy. You watch a movie and if it’s hard hitting, crazy, turn it up to 11 every moment of the movie, it dulls your senses and you don’t really appreciate the moments. Just like any movie, a game is like that, especially Mass Effect 3. You have your critical moments where decisions are important and big set pieces are absolutely critical to telling the story. Then you have your other moments where it’s more along the lines of you go to other worlds and you do things that aren’t necessarily inspired by huge set pieces. It’s not about always turning it up and always making it action-packed, because without the downtime, the other part of it, you don’t see the effect the war is having upon the galaxy. You don’t actually appreciate it as much the moments when you’re up and close and personal to the Reapers.


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