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AusGamers Mass Effect 3 E3 2011 Video Interview and Transcript
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:36pm 01/07/11 | Comments
AusGamers chatted to BioWare's Marketing Director, David Silverman, at this year's E3 about their hotly anticipated sequel, Mass Effect 3. Read on for what he had to say...

Watch the full video interview embedded above, or click here to stream in HD.

AusGamers: Hey guys, we’re out at the EA booth at E3 this year. I’m here with David who is the Marketing Director out at BioWare. David, the most anticipated game at E3; you guys must be pretty proud of that.

David Silverman: We’re honoured. We’re very humbled by the fans, they came out in droves. They’ve supported us all throughout with Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age, Dragon Age 2. The BioWare community is amazing and we couldn’t be happier with how much our fans appreciate what we get to do. And we love it it, we’re all just big BioWare fans, so it’s great.

AusGamers: Now one of the big questions that everybody has is why the delay?

David: Well really, what we do at BioWare is we want to make sure we’re delivering quality interactive storytelling. So it’s important for us for that the games that we release are up to the high standards that the fans have and we wouldn’t want to put something out -- especially something as epic as Mass Effect 3 -- if it didn’t have that level of quality and polish. So we figured, let’s do it right.

AusGamers: Now it’s been an iterative process for you guys. Because the first game came out and was I guess a bit of a testing field for you -- obviously a massive hit. The second game even better; visually overhauled and for the third you’re running off a heavily modified engine from the second game?

David: We’ve definitely made some improvements, because Mass Effect 3 is really the beginning of the galactic war. The first two games have been leading up to this big moment where the reapers are going to come in and launch their attack and now they’re finally going it.

So in order to show that epic scale, we had to do a lot of technology improvements with the graphics; with the audio. You’ll see things in Mass Effect 3 that you’ve never seen before in a BioWare game.

AusGamers: Any differentiation between any of the consoles or the PC especially?

David: We designed Mass Effect 3 simultaneously across all three platforms, so obviously we’ll take some advantages -- you can run the PC at higher resolution because you’ve got really high resolution monitors; you’ve got high-end graphics cards, but fundamentally, they’re all going to be an amazing experience.

AusGamers: Now you mentioned that it’s the beginning of the galactic war, but this is the end of a trilogy, so how does that work in terms of the narrative and the future for the franchise?

David: So really -- like I mentioned -- the first two games are kind of teasing up what’s going to happen with this galactic war. So in Mass Effect 1, you’re proving out the existence of The Reapers but no one really believes you. Mass Effect 2, you’re finding out what their plan really is. Mass Effect 3, this is the war. So you’re Shephard, you’ve been telling them “hey, The Reapers are coming” and no one’s been listening; now they’re here and really it’s a great entry point. We feel that it’s the best entry point into the franchise with Mass Effect 3. Given the fact that it’s the beginning of the war.

It starts at Earth, so everyone can relate to it and it’s the best game we’ve ever made in the series. So if you’re going to start with a game, start with Mass Effect 3.

AusGamers: Is this why we haven’t been able to land on Earth in any of the other two games.

David: Oh I can’t go into some of those specifics, but we really wanted to save Earth for something special and this is kind of it.

AusGamers: In terms of the structure of gameplay versus the RPG and story elements, there was a really good balance between action and talking and drama in the other games but this one seems like it’s going to be really over-the-top action. Can we expect more action this time around or still that nice balance that you guys have struck?

David: Really what we want to do with Mass Effect 3 is we want to have the perfect balance between kickass action and making choices that really matter and bringing you an immersive experience. So the demos that we’re showing here at E3 really revolve around three things. We showed... at the EA press conference the other day, we had our big set-piece action experience to show “this is the galactic war, things are going to happen on a big scale unlike ever before”. Then the other demos we’re showing back here [behind closed doors], one of them is a combat demo that shows that there’s different ways to play.

So people that like to play more tactical, someone that wants to be calling out commands to their squad-mates. If you want to be stealth-like, you can use the cover system and some new mobility maneuvers. We have the omni-blade which lets you pull guys from cover and smack them down. And then there’s guys who like to play run and gun and the game can adapt to that.

So it’s really giving you the choices how you play the game then also how you lead. The final demo we have really talks more about the emotion and the storytelling. We have the next generation of digital acting that we’re doing in Mass Effect 3 and really conveying the sense of personal story as you see what’s unfolding; as The Reapers are attacking.

We’re also adding in these layers of RPG elements that people may have missed previously. Things like... we have this system called the weapon-bench, where you can take any of your weapons and put them on the bench there when you’re in The Normandy or on a mission and you’re basically allowed to make mods to any weapons. So if you like playing certain different mods, you can mod it in a way. Or if you’re a more up-close and personal guy, you mod it like that.If you want to do more sniping stuff through the scopes... So lots of really cool RPG features and what-not for the people that really dive and be very strategic.

AusGamers: Now one of the features that all the gamers love that have followed the series from the start is being able to carry your character across to the next iteration and I’m sure that’s going to happen here. One question I did have though was: The characters that you can collect in the DLC that came out for Mass Effect 2 -- all of which were great. Will they become part of the overall story? Are they still hanging around?

David: We haven’t gone into specifics yet in terms of who the followers are and how they interact. But one thing that we’ve made a point since the very beginning is that it’s your immersive story in Mass Effect and we’re not going to cheat you out of that if you’ve been with us from the very beginning and played various pieces of content. You will see references that you can relate back to.

But if you didn’t play the game before; if you’ve never played Mass Effect; you don’t even know what Mass Effect is and you’re seeing this cool trailer and are like “wow, that game looks awesome” this is really a great point for you to dive right in. Start with the galactic war and then you can go back and see some of the back-story.

AusGamers: Will we see a return of the Paragon and Renegade quick-time options during cut-scenes?

David: The conversation has been completely overhauled where it’s less of dramatic cut. So you’re not going to see “action, action, action, cut, -- oh now we’re going to talk for a while -- action, action”, it’s much more seamlessly integrated where it feels more cinematic. There’s lots of cool moments that happen where it’s very seamless, you don’t even know they’re there.

That said, we are still doing the interrupt system which I think is what you’re talking about, where you’ll have the option to cut a conversation early if stuff’s going on. Absolutely.

AusGamers: Now finally, last question. Kinect; voice-control. Where did that come from?

David: Well at BioWare -- again -- we’re all about making immersive experiences and the technology in Kinect provided a very unique opportunity for us to experiment with “How do we take this emergence to the next level?” And using the speech-recognition technology that’s built into Kinect really allowed us to do something very cool. Not only could you navigate the dialogue conversations just by speaking them, but what’s really cool for me personally, is being able to issue commands when you’re on the battlefield.

There’s nothing more immersive than feeling like you’re actually there when you can tell Liara or Garrus to go and do something and they do it. It’s really cool.

AusGamers: So how many commands can you actually issue? Is there a certain way that you have to say it?

David: We’re really opening it up and adding all new levels where if you know the specific ability you can shout it out; if you know names, great. We’re also working in to doing different sorts of things there where it’s like “I need help” and someone will do something . So we’re definitely building in things for people who are from various levels of familiarity with the game.

AusGamers: Okay awesome. Well we’ll leave it there, but thanks so much, it’s definitely my most anticipated game. Cheers.

David: Wow, well thank you so much.

AusGamers: Thanks David.
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