Been musing on Bioware’s new Mass Effect. Obviously, they’re going to carry forth a lot of what worked in the first three games; they’d be crazy not to. But I’m hoping to take a different kind of journey in the fourth game, especially when it comes to the narrative perspective.
I’d be fascinated to see the ME universe from a POV not associated with a militaristic outfit. I want to step away from Shepard’s world of rank, orders, and protocol. You’re constantly fed updates and mission goals from either the Council or Alliance in the original trilogy. I want to take control of a fringe character, man. Someone that doesn’t know what the hell is going on until it’s shooting at him/her.
I’d like to start off the game as a ne’er-do-well. A mercenary. A smuggler. Shit, maybe even a stoner clerk that works at a Citadel gift shop selling tiny replicas of the Normandy. I want to start as a nobody and build my legend from the ground up.
Shepard already had pretense — had already gained infamy in battle even before ME1 began. I want to start as a blank slate. Have characters in the world ask aloud, “Who the hell is this supposed to be?”
"I’m the guy that’s going to save your blue ass."
I don’t want to be handed a glossy starship and assigned a perfect crew. I want to earn my ship and recruit my people. As violently and heroically as possible.
Entire Mass Effect Trilogy Charting for Next-Gen?
I know I’m late on this one, I beg forgiveness. When airplanes don’t have Wi-Fi, my only two choices are to play Pokemon X or sleep with my neck at a perfect right angle.
Anywho, if a Chilean retailer’s online listing isn’t a cruel, cruel mistake, it would appear Bioware is following the trend Injustice, Tomb Raider, and, soon, The Last of Us have set by porting their choice-driven, ass-kicking, alien Frenching sci-fi magnum opus to next-gen consoles.
For the millionth and sixth time this year, a sharp-eyed NeoGAF user caught this potential caveat while browsing Zmart (Shop smart, shop Zmart…?):
That’s the already collected Mass Effect Trilogy, ayuh. But hold the Turian, that’s PS4 box art! Our NeoGAFite says there was also an Xbox One listing to be had.
Clicking on the listing revealed next to squat — no release date, no pricing, no info. Bioware’s been mum on the subject, too. However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t at least thought about bringing the space opera to new systems.
Bioware Edmonton/Montreal GM, Aaryn Flynn, teased to fans on the internet’s megaphone, Twitter, that a next-gen port of the series has been discussed internally.
I truly hope this is legit. Now that we’re well past Mass Effect 3's ending debacle and ensuing cry-babying, we can clearly view this trilogy for what it is: a groundbreaking piece of art that organically wove storytelling and setting into one immersive epic. Toss in upped visuals and three games worth of DLC and I'd revisit my Shepard faster than you can say “I've got some calibrations to do.”
I’ll keep you posted if this rumor hits orbit.
THIS DAY IN DLC:
Bioshock Slapped with a Season Pass and Mass Effect Delivers Its Last Hurrah
Little more than a month away, the extremely belated, but anxiously awaited, Bioshock Infinite will hit stores, finally letting players wreak all manners of havoc within the airborne confines of Columbia. Fearing you might find your time with the game…finite (fuckin’ nailed it), Irrational is prepping three separate DLC packs to pad out the narrative.
And like any DLC preemptively announced before a game’s release, you can bet your bottom dollar, friend, that a Season Pass is on its way. All three mystery content packs can be yours with the $20/1600 MS Pass; for your troubles, an additional content pack containing a what’s-what of weapon upgrades and stat-increasing Infusion bottles is thrown in with the Pass. Bioshock Infinite takes off March 26th.
While a new chapter for Bioshock begins, Mass Effect 3's long running series of downloadable add-on's comes to an end beginning Feb. 26th. Starting with a free multiplayer update, Reckoning brings with it four new classes — if you were curious: Geth Juggernaut, Cabal Vanguard, Talon Mercenary, and the Alliance Infiltration Unit — as well a pretty, pretty arsenal of seven new weapons.
March 5th sees the game’s very last shred of single-player DLC as Citadel becomes available, priced at $14.99/1200 MS. Returning you to the content’s colossal namesake space station, Shepard finds himself at the center of an insidious conspiracy only snappy decision making and generous biotic-blasting can quell. The fan-servicing attraction here is the rogues gallery of Mass Effect Trilogy alumni you’ll encounter on your journey, allowing players to bid farewell to their assorted favorites (“Godspeed, Miranda’s ass.”).
Rumor — the invisible force said to actually power the internet — has it that this console generation is coming to a close. If this truly is the last year of this triumphant generation, a generation that began as any other (with pretty graphics and prettier promises) but evolved into a full blown fusion of home media and dedicated gaming, then it’s all the more important to reflect on the virtual adventures 2012 gave us.
We laughed, we cried, we cried even harder trying to slog through Halo 4 on Legendary…2012 was the culmination of six years of advancement, where devs’ were past their growing pains fumbling with new technology and knew how to fully utilize the tools at their disposal. 2012 was a year in which we reaped the benefits tenfold through the sheer amount of excellent games rapid-fired onto store shelves (or, more realistically, Steam shelves. Yeah. Steam shelves).
What the Hell is a “Shepard 2”? Something the Next Mass Effect Won’t Have
“There is one thing we are absolutely sure of – there will be no more Shepard, and the trilogy is over.” That verdict was laid down by Bioware Montreal’s own Fabrice Condominas when the producer was asked by VG247 what was next for the Mass Effect series.
Apparently, we may not even be presented with a protagonist in the same fashion as the Commander was. “So first, we don’t want to make ‘Shepard 2′, or Mass Effect 4 with like, ‘oh there’s no more Shepard but you’re a soldier in the universe,’” states Condominas, “So this will be a very, very different context for sure, and nothing has been decided on the rest.”
What’s more, the next Mass Effect may not even continue on after the first trilogy’s events, which after three game’s worth of choices and actions (and after some particularly definite endings) has been made a vastly different universe than the one we began in at the start of Shepard’s adventure. “At this point in time, we don’t even know what kind of time frame we’re going to be in,” admits Fabrice. “All we’re doing is more gathering ideas from the teams, gathering feedback to see several things.”
Take that as you will, but even without the Commander at the forefront (despite the awesome revenge-thirsty, half-cyborg images the name “Shepard 2” conjures), it’s pretty exciting to know that the Mass Effect universe will press on regardless.
Mass Effect 3's 'Leviathan' DLC Incoming This Summer (Wii U Release…Er, Later)
The first story-based DLC to drop for Mass Effect 3 since the Extended Cut, EA and Bioware have confirmed that Shepard’s the universe over will be able to download the Leviathan DLC sometime this Summer.
Given the somewhat final nature of the game’s closing, Leviathan is a side-story taking place during the Commander’s last minute shuffle to prepare the galaxy for (hopeless, one-sided) war against the Reapers. In his/her travels, rumors circulate around tales of an entity or creature of immense power; maybe powerful enough to stop the Reapers. On the hunt for this supposed Leviathan (a being that may just be a Reaper itself), Shepard will visit new systems, tread unseen ground on the Citadel, befriend new characters, and learn more about our sentient doom-bringers than ever before.
Leviathan, to be made available at either $10 or 800 MS on PC, PSN, and Xbox Live, also comes packing new arsenal: the AT-12 Shotgun and the M-55 Argus Assault Rifle. If that’s not enough for you to take on the cosmos at large (and you’d be right), August 7th brings the Firefight Pack, a weapons payload for single-player campaign use that features two brand new guns as well as an additional five space heaters to the tune of $2. In case you want to be…thorough.
If you’re one of the few holding out for the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3 (…anyone? Anyone out there? I literally hear cobwebs), your bewildering patience will pay off as Bioware is bundling most of the game’s current DLC as on-disc content, including both the Extended Cut and Leviathan. An interactive recap of the first two ME titles will also be thrown in so you Nintendo faithful can catch up on all the sci-fi goodness without being bogged down by all that unnecessarily fun gameplay. Like the Wii U itself, no date was placed on the ME3 port.
Mass Effect 3's Extended Finale Free to Download on Tuesday
The PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions of Bioware’s third space odyssey will be receiving the extended ending in the form of a free download starting Tuesday, June 26th.
Bioware claims the Extended Cut will not fundamentally change the endings already present in the game. Whether or not you found the resolution to your Shepard’s storyline satisfying, that conclusion is there to stay. However, through additional dialogue and scenes spotlighting how your choices affected the galaxy at large, Bioware hopes players can find deeper meaning in the supplemented finale.
"It provides more of the answers and closure that players have been asking for. It gives a sense of what the future holds as a result of the decisions made throughout the series. And it shows greater detail in the successes or failures based on how players achieved their endings," says Bioware.
That’s right about within the ballpark of my initial complaints towards the ending(s). Thematically, I was actually pretty okay with the outcome. But three games worth of decisions amounted to a static conclusion that disregarded them all. Not so okay. Altering the ending is tricky business and still probably won’t be enough to assuage fans — the Extended Cut may only prove to irk the fan base even more but…You just can’t beat free.