Mass Effect 3 Aiming for Mass Appeal
Central to my criticism of Dragon Age 2 was that it was a game made by people who didn’t seem like they wanted to be making big Western RPGs. Rather, it felt like they would have been more comfortable making God of War with a flimsy conversation system attached.
At the time, it was disappointing, but we were confident, especially because of some early reports, that Mass Effect 3 wouldn’t suffer the same fate. It’s their “most ambitious title to date”! How could that possibly be disappointing, especially if they’re working in more RPG elements.
Well, leave it to EA to wipe away some good feelings. Eurogamer gave us the potentially bad news, with John Riccitiello saying they are “are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity.”
If that doesn’t sound like bad news, I don’t know what does.
The challenge here is, what else can they take out? They’ve talked about having a more complex leveling system and a return of RPG elements, so this leads me to believe, unfortunately, that the aspects they’re targeting will be the exploration elements, turning the game into something like a branching linear space Call of Duty where you get to make choices, but you are led by the nose through every scenario. This seems like the sort of “innovation” new Bioware would throw at us.
Which would be a terrible shame, because the single reason I like Mass Effect better than Mass Effect 2 is the exploration. In Mass Effect, you actually lived the space opera dream, boldly going to places man had not gone before. Mass Effect 2 took this and made it into a mixture of intense third person shoots and a really boring grinding game. I could see Mass Effect 3 cutting out the boring grinding and the “inaccessible” piloting the Normandy sections and replace these with just hallways upon hallways of shooting.
I have a modicrum more faith in the Mass Effect team, because they’ve made some of my favorite games, but Dragon Age 2 has raised the speculative cockles in my heart. I’m especially concerned because of its recent delay, which might have been caused by EA’s desire to make the game more of a Call of Duty killer (a concept they are obsessed with over there).
I hope it’s not the case, but I’ve grown to doubt Bioware’s commitment to making good games instead of making marketable games.