BioWare Asks Gamers if They Want a Mass Effect Prequel

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chikusho:

They start off in the EG trilogys first book with the very last part of the biggest conflict in human history. The second book deals with the aftermath of that conflict and the third defines life itself.
The fourth book, "Ender's Shadow" takes place at the same time as the first one, only it focuses on a lesser character that Ender meets while training to be a commander, human historys greatest threat still in place. That one starts off as a kind of sci-fi Oliver Twist and moves into his perspective of the same training school in Enders Game.

So, your argument boils down to semantics. My original point was that it's very difficult to establish a threat that, by the laws of the world and the universe they created, is the largest/single-most defining conflict in what is and will ever be the entirety of the canon, and then try to push the idea that following games will comparatively dial that back to a single character focusing on a conflict that is nowhere near as important (and if it is, it will come out of left field).

Judging from what the games themselves say, the only possible antagonist they can have in a future ME game is the "tech singularity", the deity that the Reapers are trying to save the galaxy from. That said, that whole story thread isn't planned to happen for centuries according to the in-game remarks that we get from them (and the original story outline by Drew Karpyshyn).

The only thing you proved in your response was that one sci-fi series started with a big battle and got much bigger. That's fine. There are all sorts of ways to grow. My point with the ME franchise specifically is that they should have built up the the threat (or created newer and bigger threats) over the course of the franchise, instead of pushing one antagonist who is supremely godlike and then decides to take a story that was finished and push on through innumerable sequels.

This makes me think you don't want a new Mass Effect game for a completely different reason than the scale in narrative.

No, I don't want another ME game (or, frankly, another Bioware game) because their writing staff and executives have no idea how to utilize the concepts in their universe, nor do they currently have any idea how to handle their flagship franchise.

The "threat level" can still be exceedingly high depending on how they make you care for the goals of your main character.

For one, TWD did moral choices far, far better than ME, even if both of them run on the same "linearity of choice" concept.

TWD was a comparatively small-scale plot focused on a handful of people. ME (at least, at the beginning) was marketed as a game where all your decisions (and even squadmates) mattered, and it was through that concept that players got to care about their allies. The entire fandom of ME practically worships the moments and conversations between Shepard and said squadmates.

As I said before, you can't just push out a story that has both personal connections and universe-spanning conflicts that define the universe, and then try to dial it back to something like a C-Sec Agent or random civilian, because (a) we already had that "hero's journey" story with Shepard, (b) creating any villain with the same threat level of the Reapers is going to feel, at best, a retcon and at worst an asspull, and (c) everything the ME franchise does from now on - if it even continues - will be defined by its failure to execute the threat level established through the first two games.

I don't play Iphone games, so I wouldn't know. Either way, offshoot titles is just a truth of the industry right now.

So are monetization strategies, day-one DLC, overpriced map packs and pre-order bonus. Doesn't mean they're right or justified.

Again, as I said, it was Bioware's ball to run with in regard to their offshoot games, and they proved that they weren't up to the task of creating breakout characters. I don't see the same thing happening with the ME franchise in regards to future protagonists without going back to the Shepard well.

right, I don't think this exchange is going anywhere.

Considering that none of your points have made any sense, and you're falling back into the same fanboy trap of debating semantics, that much is obvious.

I'm not talking about the _notion of loyalty_.

Then you should clarified the question instead of making a vague blanket statement. Your comment seemed to indicate that a game built around the "loyalty mechanic" in 2 would be great, and I showed you how it was wrong.

I'm talking about the interactions with the characters on your team and the close relationships that are built to you as a player.

...which could all be handled in the course of regular missions, without the "they won't be loyal until I do their mission!" aspect.

That, and the loyalty/possible death concept, as we later found out, doubled the amount of work for the BW team in regards to variables to consider for the following game, and made everything lackluster as a result. 3 was homogenized in the fact that missions played out almost completely the same way almost all the time whether they were/weren't dead, and their sacrifices/loyalty had no real impact on the narrative besides one or two squadmates.

And I, for one, think that off-setting a responsibility for a while to do a personal favor to a person you care about make the missions more impactful.

There's nothing wrong with doing a "personal" mission for someone. It's when the concept is intrinsically tied to gameplay and death scenarios, and the player is told that they'll have "huge ramifications down the line" (when it really doesn't) that the concept - at least, as presented by Bioware - doesn't work.

They had impact on the people who were alive at the time. After that it's up to the writers and creators to make you care about those people.

I have to ask - have you actually read the codex or any in-game conversations about these wars? The First Contact War took three weeks. It consisted of three space battles between battleships, and a momentary occupation of a planet, all over a misunderstanding. It took place decades before the trilogy, and had nothing to do with anything besides being an historical footnote. Why people keep suggesting as some huge story arc is beyond me.

The Rachni War had the opposite problem - it stretched on for 30 years, and was essentially the same battle over and over again.

All this said, I don't want BW to make another ME game. I want them to cut their losses, figure out what the blue hell they did wrong with their company (EA be damned), let ME rest and focus on a new franchise. The only thing they seem to be good for nowadays is being a puppet for flagrantly abusing the corpses of dead franchises and shoveling out repetitive sequels that are far removed from their original installments.

No, I don't have any faith that they'll be able to replicate the same threat level of the Reapers, or create a compelling narrative that isn't either a rehashing of Shepard's story or a lackluster spinoff.

crazyrabbits:

So, your argument boils down to semantics. My original point was that it's very difficult to establish a threat that, by the laws of the world and the universe they created, is the largest/single-most defining conflict in what is and will ever be the entirety of the canon, and then try to push the idea that following games will comparatively dial that back to a single character focusing on a conflict that is nowhere near as important (and if it is, it will come out of left field).

No, my point is that you can do a side story in smaller scale that takes place in a well fleshed out universe.

crazyrabbits:

Judging from what the games themselves say, the only possible antagonist they can have in a future ME game is the "tech singularity", the deity that the Reapers are trying to save the galaxy from. That said, that whole story thread isn't planned to happen for centuries according to the in-game remarks that we get from them (and the original story outline by Drew Karpyshyn).

Well, you had your experience with the game and I had mine. To me, the most defining moments of the ME franchise were the personal relationships you built with your crew, and the common goal you shared. To me, the fate of the universe was more of a shiny backdrop to the interactions you had along the way.

crazyrabbits:

The only thing you proved in your response was that one sci-fi series started with a big battle and got much bigger. That's fine. There are all sorts of ways to grow. My point with the ME franchise specifically is that they should have built up the the threat (or created newer and bigger threats) over the course of the franchise, instead of pushing one antagonist who is supremely godlike and then decides to take a story that was finished and push on through innumerable sequels.

What I meant to say was that this book series managed to pull off taking the scale from extreme to ultimate, and then managed to dial it back while still keeping it interesting and worthwhile.

crazyrabbits:

No, I don't want another ME game (or, frankly, another Bioware game) because their writing staff and executives have no idea how to utilize the concepts in their universe, nor do they currently have any idea how to handle their flagship franchise.

In that case, whatever comes next in the ME franchise or from BioWare is not for you, and you shouldn't care about whatever they make of it. :)

crazyrabbits:

For one, TWD did moral choices far, far better than ME, even if both of them run on the same "linearity of choice" concept.

TWD was a comparatively small-scale plot focused on a handful of people. ME (at least, at the beginning) was marketed as a game where all your decisions (and even squadmates) mattered, and it was through that concept that players got to care about their allies. The entire fandom of ME practically worships the moments and conversations between Shepard and said squadmates.

As I said before, you can't just push out a story that has both personal connections and universe-spanning conflicts that define the universe, and then try to dial it back to something like a C-Sec Agent or random civilian, because (a) we already had that "hero's journey" story with Shepard, (b) creating any villain with the same threat level of the Reapers is going to feel, at best, a retcon and at worst an asspull, and (c) everything the ME franchise does from now on - if it even continues - will be defined by its failure to execute the threat level established through the first two games.

My point is that a universe is just that. A place in which shit happens. Whether or not that shit is interesting or not does not need to be _the fate of all life_. It can just as easily be _the fate of one or a few people_. Which, in essence, is what made ME interesting to me. The people you are sharing the adventure with.

crazyrabbits:

So are monetization strategies, day-one DLC, overpriced map packs and pre-order bonus. Doesn't mean they're right or justified.

Again, as I said, it was Bioware's ball to run with in regard to their offshoot games, and they proved that they weren't up to the task of creating breakout characters. I don't see the same thing happening with the ME franchise in regards to future protagonists without going back to the Shepard well.

No, it means that BioWare is a brand, and that Mass Effect is a franchise, which in turn means that they are going to sell crappy toys around it. If you choose not to partake, more power to you. I choose to engage in things I enjoy, and leave the rest alone.

crazyrabbits:

Considering that none of your points have made any sense, and you're falling back into the same fanboy trap of debating semantics, that much is obvious.

Considering that you seem to dislike ME and BioWare in general, naturally anything I say will seem weird to you. All I am saying is that it's possible to have a great Mass Effect experience without the threat of galaxy-wide extinction, and that the universe is interesting enough to warrant more stories than the possible end of life itself. If you're not interested, fine. It'll apparently happen with or without you. :)

crazyrabbits:

Then you should clarified the question instead of making a vague blanket statement. Your comment seemed to indicate that a game built around the "loyalty mechanic" in 2 would be great, and I showed you how it was wrong.

My comment was intended to point out that the best moments were the interactions you had with your crew, in their personal desperate situation. Whether or not that actually changed anything in the end game didn't factor in. The missions, the relationships and the stories in themselves were so enjoyable that a big budget game with the same involvement and focus seems fantastic to me.

crazyrabbits:

...which could all be handled in the course of regular missions, without the "they won't be loyal until I do their mission!" aspect.

That, and the loyalty/possible death concept, as we later found out, doubled the amount of work for the BW team in regards to variables to consider for the following game, and made everything lackluster as a result. 3 was homogenized in the fact that missions played out almost completely the same way almost all the time whether they were/weren't dead, and their sacrifices/loyalty had no real impact on the narrative besides one or two squadmates.

The mechanic didn't go as deep as it could have, I'll give you that. But when it's a matter of prioritizing between an overarching issue, and maintaining focus in your crew, just making the choice meant something to you as a player.

crazyrabbits:

There's nothing wrong with doing a "personal" mission for someone. It's when the concept is intrinsically tied to gameplay and death scenarios, and the player is told that they'll have "huge ramifications down the line" (when it really doesn't) that the concept - at least, as presented by Bioware - doesn't work.

I disagree. The first time playing through, you made a choice and then the result is defined by your own logic when it took place. Whether or not you will get the same conclusion every time is really irrelevant, considering how you reacted to the situations leading up to it.

crazyrabbits:

I have to ask - have you actually read the codex or any in-game conversations about these wars? The First Contact War took three weeks. It consisted of three space battles between battleships, and a momentary occupation of a planet, all over a misunderstanding. It took place decades before the trilogy, and had nothing to do with anything besides being an historical footnote. Why people keep suggesting as some huge story arc is beyond me.

I'm not suggesting anything. All I'm saying that during those three weeks, a lot more could have happened completely unrelated to the actual war.

crazyrabbits:

The Rachni War had the opposite problem - it stretched on for 30 years, and was essentially the same battle over and over again.

And during those 30 years, I'm sure someone comepletely outside of the conflict happened to be in the crossfire.

crazyrabbits:

All this said, I don't want BW to make another ME game. I want them to cut their losses, figure out what the blue hell they did wrong with their company (EA be damned), let ME rest and focus on a new franchise. The only thing they seem to be good for nowadays is being a puppet for flagrantly abusing the corpses of dead franchises and shoveling out repetitive sequels that are far removed from their original installments.

No, I don't have any faith that they'll be able to replicate the same threat level of the Reapers, or create a compelling narrative that isn't either a rehashing of Shepard's story or a lackluster spinoff.

And maybe you're right. Until the next ME we won't know. All I'm saying is that there's enormous potential. Granted, potential can be easily squandered, but I had such a good time with the ME series that I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. :)

it seems like a good idea. It really shouldn't be about Shepherd, though. The appeal of that character is that he has a flexible back story. He could be whatever the player wants and one specific past set as canon might make fans justifiably angry.

The First Contact War might be an interesting concept, though killing Turians might be a bit odd.

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