BioWare Making Mass Effect 3 More Accessible for New Players

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BioWare Making Mass Effect 3 More Accessible for New Players

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By changing the way AI characters interact with Shepard, BioWare hopes to disprove the idea that players can't enjoy a sequel without playing its predecessors.

Mass Effect 3 is positioned to become one of the biggest titles of 2012, but as the story grows, so does the problem of attracting newcomers to the series. Not only will the third installment be a direct continuation of an epic narrative, but throw in decision-based story elements and over sixty hours of past exposition and things start to really get tricky. Yes, most people who pick up ME:3 will have likely played the other two, but BioWare is determined to make it just as easy for those who have never stepped inside Commander Shepard's armored N7 boots to enjoy the game as those who have.

"In all honesty, we didn't do a really good job of new player orientation [in Mass Effect 2]," said BioWare marketing man Nick Clifford. "If you didn't play the first game, then 2 was pretty jarring for the first half hour." But that mistake is exactly what the development team is trying to avoid this time around, as they focus on making the third game's experience "pick up from the get go."

The first step in accomplishing that feat is programming the AI to interact with players differently depending on whether or not they imported a save from Mass Effect 2. If they did, the characters surrounding them will be much less likely to dump narrative exposition on them during the game, while if they're new, NPCs will drop in more details so the newbies don't feel left out.

"If I'm a new player and some guy walks up to me and is like 'Ohhhh, Shepard! Remember that one time?' I would be like 'No. I don't remember that one time,'" Clifford said. "So we wanted to make sure that there aren't those moments that the player is like, 'Who is this? What's going on? What are they talking about?'"

The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 included an interactive comic book meant to help players understand the events of the first game but, this time around, BioWare will be adding what Clifford calls a "story so far narrative" within the game itself.

It sounds like new players will have a much easier time dropping into the world of Mass Effect this time, but with Mass Effect 3 not arriving until March 6th, there's still time to just go back and play the first two before diving headfirst into the series' conclusion if you don't want to risk it.

Source: IGN

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Trying to make the third game in a story heavy trilogy more accessible for new players.

You're doing it wrong.

Remember that time when someone complained that The Return of the King was too confusing because it wasn't accessible to new viewers of The Lord of the Rings?

No, me neither.

Sorry, but I think Bioware's making a very wrong move here. I can understand wanting to attract new players (this is a business, after all), but using the final act of an epic trilogy is definitely not the time to do it. And what this inevitably ends up doing is screwing over the already existing fans of the game. I -want- my AI squadmates to go "Hey Shepard, remember that time we..." It gives the game personality, and it makes the story feel like it's mine.

Excited as I am for this game, I don't like this at all.

Thats pretty cool, there's no point in exposition dumps if you've already played the past two games. I'm not sure how many people would actually start at number 3 though, the first two are quite cheap now.

Mike Kayatta:
BioWare Making Mass Effect 3 More Accessible for New Players

image

By changing the way AI characters interact with Shepard, BioWare hopes to disprove the idea that players can't enjoy a sequel without playing its predecessors.

Mass Effect 3 is positioned to become one of the biggest titles of 2012, but as the story grows, so does the problem of attracting newcomers to the series. Not only will the third installment be a direct continuation of an epic narrative, but throw in decision-based story elements and over sixty hours of past exposition and things start to really get tricky. Yes, most people who pick up ME:3 will have likely played the other two, but BioWare is determined to make it just as easy for those who have never stepped inside Commander Shepard's armored N7 boots to enjoy the game as those who have.

"In all honesty, we didn't do a really good job of new player orientation [in Mass Effect 2]," said BioWare marketing man Nick Clifford. "If you didn't play the first game, then 2 was pretty jarring for the first half hour." But that mistake is exactly what the development team is trying to avoid this time around, as they focus on making the third game's experience "pick up from the get go."

The first step in accomplishing that feat is programming the AI to interact with players differently depending on whether or not they imported a save from Mass Effect 2. If they did, the characters surrounding them will be much less likely to dump narrative exposition on them during the game, while if they're new, NPCs will drop in more details so the newbies don't feel left out.

"If I'm a new player and some guy walks up to me and is like 'Ohhhh, Shepard! Remember that one time?' I would be like 'No. I don't remember that one time,'" Clifford said. "So we wanted to make sure that there aren't those moments that the player is like, 'Who is this? What's going on? What are they talking about?'"

The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 included an interactive comic book meant to help players understand the events of the first game but, this time around, BioWare will be adding what Clifford calls a "story so far narrative" within the game itself.

It sounds like new players will have a much easier time dropping into the world of Mass Effect this time, but with Mass Effect 3 not arriving until March 6th, there's still time to just go back and play the first two before diving headfirst into the series' conclusion if you don't want to risk it.

Source: IGN

Permalink

I can understand this it is really annoying to play a game mentioning previous events
i had the same issue with mass effect 1.
Getting mentions of things you dont know anything about can be annoying like when i first heard turians,asarie,matriarch,specter,i thought.
The fuck are you talking about?!
But they also said they have made a character that is supposed to have the same mindset as a new player......

And please dont use Accesible it will make the "hardcore" rpg fans scream.
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
"FUCK PEOPLE WHO DONT WANT TO USE A SPREADSHEET FOR GAMES FUCK GAMES THAT DONT REQUIRE READING
3 WIKI PAGES BEFORE YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONTROLLS
WEAAAAHHHHH!"

I guess, that's an admirable move... but it's not like the first game is all that old. It came out at the tail end of 2007, and it's pretty easy to obtain, and all that's even more true for the second one.

And, I can see that working for a game set outside a trilogy, like a spin-off title or something. But by the third installment in a trilogy, especially a story driven series like this one, it seems like it's pretty damn late to bring new people into the fold.

Oh no, God forbid more people could enjoy this game! As a gamer I want my entertainment to be as obscure and difficult to get into as possible so I can just tell everyone else that they don't just "get" why this game is so good and the lore so deep. If everyone can get into the third part of the trilogy, how will I justify spending so many hours reading inconsequential lore.

So instead of making a AAA game that make people want to go over the older stuff. Nope lets make older players feel like they waisted thier time. Before I say anything else I just want to say I admit I'm still ticked becuase of what happend to Dragon Age 2 with things like Lileanna. (The bard(

Anyway if they just removed it if not flagged fine like. They have Conrad but only if you've followed his arc. Just to brainwash everyone of anything that happend in the past.

I'll give them the benfit but starting to sound more and more like as yatzee would say.

There are two types of games people make. One is one people make it becuase they think people would really enjoy playing it. Or two becuase they need another room on there golden home. Only time will tell what happends.

Ah yes "new players" the supposed group of people to lazy to read a synopsis or the wiki before playing a game, ah Bioware cares more for them than PEOPLE WHO ALREADY BOUGHT THE LAST TWO GAMES.

For the love of all that is nerdy if you are to lazy to go and learn about something before jumping in late than I honestly think you dont deserve any sympathy.

I do know people who got confused in ME2 but they went back and read about ME1 and were okay in under 15 minutes.
Or better yet went and played ME1 to learn about it.

Ah well was not expecting anything THAT great anyway.

But I LIKED it when they walked up to me and went, "Oh, you remember that one time?" and I went, "Yeah, yeah I do."

So, that sucks.

ShadowKirby:
Oh no, God forbid more people could enjoy this game! As a gamer I want my entertainment to be as obscure and difficult to get into as possible so I can just tell everyone else that they don't just "get" why this game is so good and the lore so deep. If everyone can get into the third part of the trilogy, how will I justify spending so many hours reading inconsequential lore.

Don't get me wrong, I want as many people to enjoy the Mass Effect series as possible, but using the 3rd game as an entry point is kind of the wrong way to do it. I don't need an exposition dump every 5 minutes.

rolfwesselius:

I can understand this it is really annoying to play a game mentioning previous events
i had the same issue with mass effect 1.
Getting mentions of things you dont know anything about can be annoying like when i first heard turians,asarie,matriarch,specter,i thought.
The fuck are you talking about?!
But they also said they have made a character that is supposed to have the same mindset as a new player......

And please dont use Accesible it will make the "hardcore" rpg fans scream.
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
"FUCK PEOPLE WHO DONT WANT TO USE A SPREADSHEET FOR GAMES FUCK GAMES THAT DONT REQUIRE READING
3 WIKI PAGES BEFORE YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONTROLLS
WEAAAAHHHHH!"

"Accessible" doesn't make the hardcore RPG fans scream, but it does frustrate the loyal fans of the series. When the game suffers because Bioware is pandering to people who can't be bothered to play the first two or read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia, it means that the loyal fans are getting screwed over all in the name of attracting a new audience.

It's wrong, pure and simple.

-'Mass Effect 3 is positioned to become one of the biggest titles of 2012'-

No it isn't. A lot of people said they hate EA now, and won't be buying Mass Effect 3 or any other product released under them, remember?

Unless they were all full of it.... I'm guessing they were....

That's odd, I thought the second game did a pretty good job of bringing new players in.
Which was needed for PS3 players like myself who couldn't download that stupid fucking comic that could have came on the disc.

The whole death thing allowed for me to imagine that the new Shepard wasn't actually the one from the previous game and as such was basically just a clone with none of the memories. Which wouldn't apply to fans of the first game since they did actually have those memories from actually playing the game.

Sober Thal:
-'Mass Effect 3 is positioned to become one of the biggest titles of 2012'-

No it isn't. A lot of people said they hate EA, and won't be buying Mass Effect 3, remember?

Unless they were all full of it.... I'm guessing they were....

'Biggest' doesn't imply biggest seller, just that it will be famous, which it will, as people who are boycotting a game are just as likely to talk about that game than people who actually bought the game, if not more so.

i think most people who have commented this thread so far didnt read that part :

The first step in accomplishing that feat is programming the AI to interact with players differently depending on whether or not they imported a save from Mass Effect 2. If they did, the characters surrounding them will be much less likely to dump narrative exposition on them during the game, while if they're new, NPCs will drop in more details so the newbies don't feel left out

so if you have played the two first game, and that you did import your save game, well you will still have people comming at you telling you "you remember me from that thing". If they do it correctly, i dont have a trouble qith that actually. For the people who will have played the second game, you will have a continuity and for those who have not, it will be easier for them

by the way i'm very intrigued to know how the story line will be constructed, since according to bioware a dead sheppard stay dead...

cathou:
i think most people who have commented this thread so far didnt read that part :

The first step in accomplishing that feat is programming the AI to interact with players differently depending on whether or not they imported a save from Mass Effect 2. If they did, the characters surrounding them will be much less likely to dump narrative exposition on them during the game, while if they're new, NPCs will drop in more details so the newbies don't feel left out

so if you have played the two first game, and that you did import your save game, well you will still have people comming at you telling you "you remember me from that thing". If they do it correctly, i dont have a trouble qith that actually. For the people who will have played the second game, you will have a continuity and for those who have not, it will be easier for them

by the way i'm very intrigued to know how the story line will be constructed, since according to bioware a dead sheppard stay dead...

...and now I feel like a tool. Thank you for pointing that out.

*goes to bury head in shame*

Moosejaw:
But I LIKED it when they walked up to me and went, "Oh, you remember that one time?" and I went, "Yeah, yeah I do."

So, that sucks.

If you import a save, that will still happen. This is only for people who haven't played the previous games. I also liked the little throw backs to ME1 in the sequel, although sometimes I had no idea what some of the people who sent me emails were on about.

I'm glad they decided to change it based on whether or not you import a save, instead of assuming all players are new to the series like same games do. It really shouldn't impact established fans at all.

You know, for the ones that wouldnt get the, "Oooooh, Shepard, you remember that one time?", well thats THEIR fault. Not the fault of us that have been with the game from the beginning. Thats a treat, and a reward to US, and more and more it keeps sounding like OUR experience is getting dumbed down so newcomers can jump on... at the END of the STORY. Yep, that makes alot of sense, Bioware. You guys have gotten me deeply afraid of what product you are putting out in March. Your focus seems to be in the wrong places, and alot of people are going to be FURIOUS if you drop the ball on whats important in place of whats not.

Oh, for- this is not how you make a trilogy. I'm still going to get it, but Christ - it's getting harder and harder to justify the purchase.

Entirely based on their PR.

Something here feels wrong.

Noobs! If you don't understand the story it's your own dam fault for not bothering to play the first 2 games.

Riff Moonraker:
You know, for the ones that wouldnt get the, "Oooooh, Shepard, you remember that one time?", well thats THEIR fault. Not the fault of us that have been with the game from the beginning. Thats a treat, and a reward to US, and more and more it keeps sounding like OUR experience is getting dumbed down so newcomers can jump on... at the END of the STORY. Yep, that makes alot of sense, Bioware. You guys have gotten me deeply afraid of what product you are putting out in March. Your focus seems to be in the wrong places, and alot of people are going to be FURIOUS if you drop the ball on whats important in place of whats not.

Yeah! Fuck those people who only had a PS3 and so could only play the second game! What cunts!
But seriously, if you actually read the article before complaining you'll notice that they said that there'll only be more detail for new players, imported saves will be different. Trying to get more people to enjoy something that'll probably be a great experience due to money or time issues is not a bad thing.

JeanLuc761:

cathou:
i think most people who have commented this thread so far didnt read that part :

The first step in accomplishing that feat is programming the AI to interact with players differently depending on whether or not they imported a save from Mass Effect 2. If they did, the characters surrounding them will be much less likely to dump narrative exposition on them during the game, while if they're new, NPCs will drop in more details so the newbies don't feel left out

so if you have played the two first game, and that you did import your save game, well you will still have people comming at you telling you "you remember me from that thing". If they do it correctly, i dont have a trouble qith that actually. For the people who will have played the second game, you will have a continuity and for those who have not, it will be easier for them

by the way i'm very intrigued to know how the story line will be constructed, since according to bioware a dead sheppard stay dead...

...and now I feel like a tool. ...

We had to spend the whole day computing pi because of you!

... Sorry, couldn't resist.

Anyway, at first I was "Eh?", but then I noticed that bit that cathou copied and then I was "Oh, alright, carry on then". All in all, it seems like it won't affect the old players so that's okay. I wouldn't really enjoy if I had to listen to someone explain things that I've been through three times. But if it'll be separated like that, I have nothing against making conversation options for people who didn't play the first two games.

BioWare Making Mass Effect 3 More Accessible for New Players

Does anyone else hate the phrase "More Accessible for New Players" as much as I do, it pretty much translates to "We making the game easier for people who are under twelve, fuck the people who played the previous games.". You know like the did with Dragon Age 2.

Yeah im not buying Mass Effect 3.

hazabaza1:

Riff Moonraker:
You know, for the ones that wouldnt get the, "Oooooh, Shepard, you remember that one time?", well thats THEIR fault. Not the fault of us that have been with the game from the beginning. Thats a treat, and a reward to US, and more and more it keeps sounding like OUR experience is getting dumbed down so newcomers can jump on... at the END of the STORY. Yep, that makes alot of sense, Bioware. You guys have gotten me deeply afraid of what product you are putting out in March. Your focus seems to be in the wrong places, and alot of people are going to be FURIOUS if you drop the ball on whats important in place of whats not.

Yeah! Fuck those people who only had a PS3 and so could only play the second game! What cunts!
But seriously, if you actually read the article before complaining you'll notice that they said that there'll only be more detail for new players, imported saves will be different. Trying to get more people to enjoy something that'll probably be a great experience due to money or time issues is not a bad thing.

EXACTLY! No, I did miss that part. In my defense, I am reading bits between running around busy, but yeah, I missed that part. However, I am still concerned. I have seen alot of things that they have been doing for this last game, that I personally feel could detract from their focus of the game, ie the story. I could be completely wrong (and I hope I am) but I have just been antsy ever since EA got their grubby paws on it.

Sober Thal:
-'Mass Effect 3 is positioned to become one of the biggest titles of 2012'-

No it isn't. A lot of people said they hate EA now, and won't be buying Mass Effect 3 or any other product released under them, remember?

Unless they were all full of it.... I'm guessing they were....

Wasn't most of that origin hate?

And isn't it coming to consoles, where anyone who doesn't like origin will play it? And hell, i'm not saying its good, but it'll just be pirated instead. Again, not saying it's good, but their is no denying it'll happen. The people who want to avoid giving EA money will find a way to do so. Even if they will be dicks about it.

Was anyone really all that surprised that something like this was going to happen?

case in point: DA2 and friends

Hey, I have a great idea on how to get new players up to speed.

Bundle ME1 and/or 2 with ME3. Like how Ubisoft bundled Assassin's Creed 1 with Revelations on the PS3.

That'd be pretty sweet.

It doesn't matter what part of the series this is. Every single game should try to gather new players, since if they didn't then the amount of people buying from ME2 to 3 will go down (not everybody will have liked the second game and be willing to buy the next). It's a lot like reading comic books. Each storyline should allow for new readers to pick up and understand what is going on, instead of relying on the crutch of heavy continuity that pleases long-reading fans. It turns off potential new buyers and dwindles sales.

Come to think of it, a lot of people in these comments sound like the typical disgruntled comic book fan. Utterly pathetic and unwilling to allow other people to come in and enjoy the same things as them.

I really like this move. I'll have to play the game through both with and without imported saves to see the differences. It's great when there are lots of different ways a game can be shown to the player. Hopefully it will be a success and an inspiration to other developers in the future.

GiantRaven:
It doesn't matter what part of the series this is. Every single game should try to gather new players, since if they didn't then the amount of people buying from ME2 to 3 will go down (not everybody will have liked the second game and be willing to buy the next). It's a lot like reading comic books. Each storyline should allow for new readers to pick up and understand what is going on, instead of relying on the crutch of heavy continuity that pleases long-reading fans. It turns off potential new buyers and dwindles sales.

Come to think of it, a lot of people in these comments sound like the typical disgruntled comic book fan. Utterly pathetic and unwilling to allow other people to come in and enjoy the same things as them.

I really like this move. I'll have to play the game through both with and without imported saves to see the differences. It's great when there are lots of different ways a game can be shown to the player. Hopefully it will be a success and an inspiration to other developers in the future.

Well said. Those second-hand exposition references to new players might even make them want to go back and live those referenced experiences for themselves in the first two games. This is another great way to turn new players into true Mass Effect fans, at the minimal cost of only a few extra lines of dialogue at a recording studio. I doubt the 'allocation of resources' whiners will have much to yell at here.

Sorry, but as much as I can appreciate that games are a business and you want to pull in as many players as possible, you don't try and pander to a new audience [i]with the final act of your apparently pre-planned trilogy[/[i].

George Lucas didn't try to attract new viewers with Return of the Jedi. Frankly, to anyone who hasn't seen the first two films, it's an incomprehensible mess of sci-fi madness and teddy bears. Same deal with Return Of The King. To anyone who's not kept up with the LOTR trilogy is going to watch it wondering why a bearded hobo is busy pushing nations into fighting each other, why two midgets are following around a schizophrenic junkie, and just why everyone acts so weirdly around a piece of humble jewellery.

By the time you get round to part three of a trilogy, you simply have to hope that the audience is along for the ride (which seems to be true with the sales of both ME games) and commit to giving that audience the finale they deserve, not trying to catch the attention of any stragglers who may not have gotten involved yet.

Create a good enough finale, and you'll have hopefully created a trilogy strong enough to kep attracting new gamers for years to come.

tmande2nd:
Ah yes "new players" the supposed group of people to lazy to read a synopsis or the wiki before playing a game, ah Bioware cares more for them than PEOPLE WHO ALREADY BOUGHT THE LAST TWO GAMES.

How do you figure? These changes only impact the game if you don't port over a save. So people who already bought the last two games won't be affected.

Wow.. as if I needed more proof that people here will respond to news stories when it's blatantly obvious they didn't actually read the, you know, article they are supposed to be responding to.

*sigh*

Sounds like a great idea to me. Not invasive for old players and very welcoming to new players. Thumbs up, Bioware.

The first Time I played ME, i had trouble knowing what the different terminology was, I had to jump in the codex to get a bearing on things, and it wasnt until I was halfway in the game that I got a sense of familiarity with it.

I do understand the need and want for new players to join the franchise, but doing it at such a late stage seems detrimental. I am sure I am not qualified for judging the newcomer experience, since ive already played previous games, I just hope that this doesnt affect the gameplay experience of people who will buy the game to complete the story of their sheppard.

Lastly, this will be one of the few games I will be buying on release date, usually I hold out for reviews or even a sequel to see how well the game plays, it lets me know what to expect, but I am so deeply involved in this series as a whole, that I just want confirmation on the fates of characters ive grown to like.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

George Lucas didn't try to attract new viewers with Return of the Jedi.

This Statement is flawed, Remember that the original Starwars movie, was the 4th chapter, and Return of the Jedi incorporated a lot elements to appeal to more general audiences.

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