Mass Effect Almost Had a Non-Humanoid Squadmate

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Mass Effect Almost Had a Non-Humanoid Squadmate

Mass Effect 1 elcor

BioWare had more than few ideas that never made it into the final cut of Shepard's story.

The Mass Effect saga spans a massive, interesting universe with countless opportunities for side-stories. We've witnessed many of them as we followed Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy, but what we saw was the result of a long chain of thought and polish - some events, scenes, and even core characters were dropped during the creative process. Now that Shepard's story is over, BioWare has shared some stories about the content that was never released: the Mass Effect that could have been.

Some of the cut content was dropped because of technical challenges. Mass Effect lore includes a number of exotic alien species beyond the roughly humanoid Council races; the quadruped Elcor, jellyfish-like Hanar, and insectoid Keepers (to name a few) provide some spice in the intergalactic community, but these more outlandish species were largely pushed to the sidelines in the plot of the games. BioWare had wanted to give them more attention, even seriously considering bringing a non-humanoid squadmate onto Shepard's crew, but the technical implementation would have been too difficult. The humanoid races in the forefront share the same basic skeleton, allowing for easy animation for common acts like readying a weapon. The cost of developing a whole new skeleton with the same level of detail, BioWare decided, was better spent by improving the rest of the game instead of pouring that effort into one character.

BioWare also had ideas for scenes that would break up the typical flow of gameplay (watch out for minor Mass Effect 2 spoilers ahead). In the entire trilogy, the only time players control someone other than Shepard is when Joker has to sneak through the Normandy during the Collector ambush. The developers had at least a couple more scenes like this in mind: players would briefly control a Horizon colonist during the Collector attack, and there'd be a moment where you'd play as a Quarian scientist just before Tali's loyalty mission. In the end, these scenes were dropped in favor of keeping Shepard's story as the immersive, primary narrative. It does explain some things, though: there's a cutscene showing the Horizon attack in detail, despite Shepard not being there to see it. It might have made more sense to have the player walk into the situation as blind as Shepard was, but if there were already assets created for the Collector attack scene, why not throw them into a cutscene?

The next entry to the Mass Effect series will provide a chance to see the universe from a different perspective, so some of these more experimental ideas may find a way into that game. Personally, I would buy it in a heartbeat if players got to recruit Blasto the Hanar Spectre. I hear that guy saved the Citadel.

Source: OXM

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Dammit Bioware! This one has had enough of your disingenuous exertions.

The next one better be about Blasto.

I can see it now, Blasto would have gotten the "hanar purple/pink" ending (destroyed Reapers, saved everyone, survived) - but the reason the Reapers got as far as they did was because all this time, he was busy and let Shepard take the spotlight.

Busy operating behind the scenes that is, taking down the REAL THREAT that the Reapers were trying to prevent. It wasn't really about AIs, but an invasion of body snatchers from another galaxy or something.

I actually talked to a friend about having a quadruped team mate like in Brute Force that would be capable of doing specific things like running faster using his four legs.

Top right corner

Mass Effect almost had a decent ending, BADUM TSS!
OT: it's a real shame that they didn't go with those ideas.

Cognimancer:
Personally, I would buy it in a heartbeat if players got to recruit Blasto the Hanar Spectre. I hear that guy saved the Citadel.

As a squadmate? This one does not share top billing...

Yeah, the Joker part in ME2 seemed a bit jarring and out of place when I first played it. It didn't seem to fit in seeing as how I'd spent ME and the majority of ME2 as Shepard. I don't rightly know I'd have felt if we'd spent more time playing as secondary characters. Something about it just wouldn't feel... right to me.

Goofguy:
Yeah, the Joker part in ME2 seemed a bit jarring and out of place when I first played it. It didn't seem to fit in seeing as how I'd spent ME and the majority of ME2 as Shepard. I don't rightly know I'd have felt if we'd spent more time playing as secondary characters. Something about it just wouldn't feel... right to me.

Interesting to hear a different perspective. Playing as joker made me realise what a BMF Shephard really was. I spent my time running and hiding as Joker compared to the Shep would have smashed the lot of em with a shot gun.

Jokers vulnerability was a big change from my Sentinel/tank Shephard.

ThriKreen:
The next one better be about Blasto.

I can see it now, Blasto would have gotten the "hanar purple/pink" ending (destroyed Reapers, saved everyone, survived) - but the reason the Reapers got as far as they did was because all this time, he was busy and let Shepard take the spotlight.

Busy operating behind the scenes that is, taking down the REAL THREAT that the Reapers were trying to prevent. It wasn't really about AIs, but an invasion of body snatchers from another galaxy or something.

Clearly the Reaper invasion was a mere ruse to distract from an Eclipse Eezzo smuggling ring!

Did it almost have a good ending too?

Yes, I'm still bitter about it, why'd you ask?

I wanted Blasto...

bjj hero:

Goofguy:
Yeah, the Joker part in ME2 seemed a bit jarring and out of place when I first played it. It didn't seem to fit in seeing as how I'd spent ME and the majority of ME2 as Shepard. I don't rightly know I'd have felt if we'd spent more time playing as secondary characters. Something about it just wouldn't feel... right to me.

Interesting to hear a different perspective. Playing as joker made me realise what a BMF Shephard really was. I spent my time running and hiding as Joker compared to the Shep would have smashed the lot of em with a shot gun.

Jokers vulnerability was a big change from my Sentinel/tank Shephard.

The ironic thing about this is that how limiting Joker's injury is seems to vary depending on the needs of the plot. I and a few other people had a sort of "WTF" moment when Joker showed up in the hatch of the Normandy firing an assault rifle at the end of Mass Effect 2. One would think that the recoil would shatter is bones if he was as crippled as was previously established, and it did raise some questions as to where he got the rifle from (time to gimp down to the armory, and then gimp up to the door, just as he saw the team running for the hatch?) if he had it handy and could fire it, it makes you wonder why he didn't have it during the invasion scene and... yeah well, it's classic over analyzing. It used to a bit of a joke on gamefaqs forums (I think that was the site) that Joker was obviously faking to avoid doing real work and collect disabillity bonuses, as revealed by that cinematic in ME2. I admit it would have been funny if Bioware ran with that and we had Joker as a squadmate in ME3 with constant dialogue about how his snow job was over with. :)

At any rate, I always kind of thought the problem with a non-human squad member would have been balance issues. Truthfully I'm not sure I can envision a Hanar using guns to begin with, but if they could just imagine them firing like 6 pistols at once. The Elcor order of battle is that entire "living tank" thing, and I'd imagine it would be overpowerd to actually put into the game, I mean a squadmate running around in ultra-heavy armor with computer aimed field artillery on it's back would realistically having you wonder why you even need Shepard for some of these firefights. Of course I think that would have been highly amusing for the ME3 multiplayer as some kind of ultimate unlock. :)

I for one appreciate that this didn't make it, it's always a bit too immersion breaking when I see non-humanoids in sci-fi.
An example would be Star Trek TNG, when Tasha Yar was killed by a sentient blob. Poor effects aside, the scene was somewhat lame and turned what was supposed to be a great tragedy into a cheap B movie death scene, at least for me.

The Elcor wouldn't bother me too much, but flying jellyfish or some other fantastical creature seems too improbable and out of place to really fit in. High fantasy, sure, but not sci-fi, especially not a setting where likely scenarios such as us going to war almost immediately after first contact or our ambitious drive to fight for a top position in politics, which seems probable, even realistic.

Maybe the reason for my dislike of the Hanar, is connected to some of the qualities they mirror off of us, such as fanatic religion and lack of perception of the greater picture.
Most of the different races are pretty specific representations: Turians are war/combat, Asari are diplomacy and sexual diversity, Salarians are technological progress and the speed of it, the Volus are our greedy economical goals and the Drell our spirituality.
But the Hanar are annoyingly different, they're portrayed as something special and it seems to me that it ties in with their religion or religion in general. They're overly polite, but somewhat arrogant. It might be too on the nose or maybe it's just a culture that's too foreign to me to accept, but either way they annoy me in a way that it feels out of place with the rest of the game(Please note that this isn't my attitude towards people in real life, it's about breaking immersion, not being anti religious or anti-jellyfish :P).

Therumancer:
The ironic thing about this is that how limiting Joker's injury is seems to vary depending on the needs of the plot. I and a few other people had a sort of "WTF" moment when Joker showed up in the hatch of the Normandy firing an assault rifle at the end of Mass Effect 2. One would think that the recoil would shatter is bones if he was as crippled as was previously established, and it did raise some questions as to where he got the rifle from (time to gimp down to the armory, and then gimp up to the door, just as he saw the team running for the hatch?) if he had it handy and could fire it, it makes you wonder why he didn't have it during the invasion scene and... yeah well, it's classic over analyzing. It used to a bit of a joke on gamefaqs forums (I think that was the site) that Joker was obviously faking to avoid doing real work and collect disabillity bonuses, as revealed by that cinematic in ME2. I admit it would have been funny if Bioware ran with that and we had Joker as a squadmate in ME3 with constant dialogue about how his snow job was over with. :)

I'm fairly certain that you're led to belive that his condition is primarily in his legs. Either way, it's reasonable to assume that the weapons fire a sort of caseless ammo that doesn't have any significant recoil.
Any recoil you see from animations are just there for effect and gameplay balance. (Sort of like sounds in space, in Star Wars).
Other explanations would be counteracting gravity devices(such as the ones the Hanar use to float) to compensate or something similar.
That's just my theory though. The technology already exists and would likely see further development for space combat and the like. I mean, a weapon such as the AA-12(a fully automatic shotgun) has very little recoil and has an extremely simple and robust design that rivals all of the AK's. It's not farfetched to assume they'd make something better in the future.

Non humanoid squad mate would push beyond the circle of expectation i think

Volus are not inherently violent, hence them being a client race of the turians

Elcor are too slow and cumbersome, Their homeworld high gravity making all their movement slow and deliberate

Hanar... despite appearances would probably be the most likely of the non humanoid races to be a squad mate. Zaeed talks about how underestimating one nearly killed him in ME2

Mass Effect almost had a squad mate that actually weren't just slightly different humanoids with human ideals? Thank God Bioware hasn't violated it's "No Interesting Races Allowed" rule yet.

Goofguy:
Yeah, the Joker part in ME2 seemed a bit jarring and out of place when I first played it. It didn't seem to fit in seeing as how I'd spent ME and the majority of ME2 as Shepard. I don't rightly know I'd have felt if we'd spent more time playing as secondary characters. Something about it just wouldn't feel... right to me.

Really? For me, it worked, since Mass Effect 2 (my first taste of the series) felt a lot like a TV show. KotOR had these sort of non-main character interactive sequences when applicable, and it seemed all the better for them. KotOR 2 especially, during that split-action between Dxun and Onderon.

chiefohara:
Non humanoid squad mate would push beyond the circle of expectation i think

Volus are not inherently violent, hence them being a client race of the turians

Elcor are too slow and cumbersome, Their homeworld high gravity making all their movement slow and deliberate

Hanar... despite appearances would probably be the most likely of the non humanoid races to be a squad mate. Zaeed talks about how underestimating one nearly killed him in ME2

Volus, not inherently violent? Have you -seen- the Volus in multiplayer? Those guys can own a battlefield moreso than an Asari Vanguard max rank!

Parakeettheprawn:

chiefohara:
Non humanoid squad mate would push beyond the circle of expectation i think

Volus are not inherently violent, hence them being a client race of the turians

Elcor are too slow and cumbersome, Their homeworld high gravity making all their movement slow and deliberate

Hanar... despite appearances would probably be the most likely of the non humanoid races to be a squad mate. Zaeed talks about how underestimating one nearly killed him in ME2

Volus, not inherently violent? Have you -seen- the Volus in multiplayer? Those guys can own a battlefield moreso than an Asari Vanguard max rank!

Thats because a Human is controlling them :p

OT: I'd kill to ride an Elcor into combat as a battlemount. Put some mako cannons on their shoulders and some armor and bam, instant death mount.

josemlopes:
I actually talked to a friend about having a quadruped team mate like in Brute Force that would be capable of doing specific things like running faster using his four legs.

Top right corner

people still remember Brute Force?

for a silly TPS, it had a great co-op.

OT: Really hope Bioware doesn't pull a "you played through the Mass Effect Trilogy, now here is what happened behind the scenes! You dont get to save the galaxy, so here is some hot Krogan on Turian lesbian action. BE DISTRACTED!"

and distracted we would be.

for about five minutes, then we realize we would of already been here, and a second viewpoint wasn't really needed.

here's hoping for a new story, just based in the Mass Effect universe.

Beffudled Sheep:

Parakeettheprawn:

chiefohara:
Non humanoid squad mate would push beyond the circle of expectation i think

Volus are not inherently violent, hence them being a client race of the turians

Elcor are too slow and cumbersome, Their homeworld high gravity making all their movement slow and deliberate

Hanar... despite appearances would probably be the most likely of the non humanoid races to be a squad mate. Zaeed talks about how underestimating one nearly killed him in ME2

Volus, not inherently violent? Have you -seen- the Volus in multiplayer? Those guys can own a battlefield moreso than an Asari Vanguard max rank!

Thats because a Human is controlling them :p

OT: I'd kill to ride an Elcor into combat as a battlemount. Put some mako cannons on their shoulders and some armor and bam, instant death mount.

That's what you assume, human....

Don't really know why the Elcor couldn't be squadmates? Sure they move slow and deliberate on their home planet but they are not on their home planet. If the gravity really is that big they would be fucking monsters in combat because guess what >Fz = >Fmuscle + >Bone density they should be able to move like we do on the moon, though it might give them a bit of a burn because of the atmospheric friction when they leap over buildings in a single bound. Which also explains why they were not in the game as squadmates because the Elcor are basically the Mass Effect version of Superman, normal on their homeplanet, but under our gravity (read sun) they gain superpowers! Having them would nullify the GOW cover shooting and we can't have actually interesting strategic combat can we?

No make that GOW clone with a third rate SyFy channel plot! Pump it out the idiot fans will gobble it up! Muhahahaha!

We already saw just HOW lazy Bioware had become when they photoshopped that picture or when they just slapped assault rifles and pistols on everyone regardless of the weapon loadout you had or your squadmates class. Somewhere around the time Bioware started working on SWTOR they also lost their soul.

Kalezian:
here's hoping for a new story, just based in the Mass Effect universe.

Here's hoping for not.

The Mass Effect universe has now thoroughly been fucked sideways by a combination of plotholes, bad continuity, retconning, laziness and Mac Walters, who is to story telling what Larry the Cable guy is to Pixar.

A complete reboot I could get behind but any attempt to "continue" the story is basically impossible. Telling other stories within the universe is also kinda tough because they would essentially be nothing more but sidestories to the grander save the universe story or they would be forced to explain away the ME3 endings.

Imo the best thing they could do is just wipe the slate clean, fire Walters, kick Casey in the nuts and actually expend some effort on their games this time. Craft an actual story that is not riddled with stupidity and stop trying to be GOW or at least stop sucking at trying to be GOW. Maybe we could actually have a continuation where ME2 and ME3 were nothing but fever dreams experienced by Shepard allowing them a second chance at not fucking up and basically making ME2 and ME3 non-canon.

Though we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Bioware might not even be around anymore if they fuck up Dragon Age 3 like they did 2.

Parakeettheprawn:

Beffudled Sheep:

Parakeettheprawn:

Volus, not inherently violent? Have you -seen- the Volus in multiplayer? Those guys can own a battlefield moreso than an Asari Vanguard max rank!

Thats because a Human is controlling them :p

OT: I'd kill to ride an Elcor into combat as a battlemount. Put some mako cannons on their shoulders and some armor and bam, instant death mount.

That's what you assume, human....

Human? You also assume...

Beffudled Sheep:

Parakeettheprawn:

chiefohara:
Non humanoid squad mate would push beyond the circle of expectation i think

Volus are not inherently violent, hence them being a client race of the turians

Elcor are too slow and cumbersome, Their homeworld high gravity making all their movement slow and deliberate

Hanar... despite appearances would probably be the most likely of the non humanoid races to be a squad mate. Zaeed talks about how underestimating one nearly killed him in ME2

Volus, not inherently violent? Have you -seen- the Volus in multiplayer? Those guys can own a battlefield moreso than an Asari Vanguard max rank!

Thats because a Human is controlling them :p

OT: I'd kill to ride an Elcor into combat as a battlemount. Put some mako cannons on their shoulders and some armor and bam, instant death mount.

Actually, some of the fluff for the Elcor say that that's pretty much what they do in actual wartime. They just get some heavy armor and strap the biggest guns they can to themselves.

kwagamon:

Beffudled Sheep:

Parakeettheprawn:

Volus, not inherently violent? Have you -seen- the Volus in multiplayer? Those guys can own a battlefield moreso than an Asari Vanguard max rank!

Thats because a Human is controlling them :p

OT: I'd kill to ride an Elcor into combat as a battlemount. Put some mako cannons on their shoulders and some armor and bam, instant death mount.

Actually, some of the fluff for the Elcor say that that's pretty much what they do in actual wartime. They just get some heavy armor and strap the biggest guns they can to themselves.

Sucks we never get to see it.

L34dP1LL:
Mass Effect almost had a decent ending, BADUM TSS!

I've been waiting forever to use this, so...

image

OT: YES! I WANT ELCOR SQUADMATES BIOWARE!

In ME3 they said the mount guns on their backs! They are living tanks! DO IT!

that would've been cool but almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and money shots.

Beffudled Sheep:

Parakeettheprawn:

Beffudled Sheep:
Thats because a Human is controlling them :p

OT: I'd kill to ride an Elcor into combat as a battlemount. Put some mako cannons on their shoulders and some armor and bam, instant death mount.

That's what you assume, human....

Human? You also assume...

I assume... direct control of this form.

...I'm sorry, I'll go now.

I would have liked some more variation in species. Couldn't care less about the NPC scenes. Would have really aprreciated a good ending.

"With fervour...perish, Reaper scum."

"Concerned and with haste...cover me as I reload, please."

"Frustrated, this gun is too small for my hands."

You know what creature they should have included?


We all know he/she/shim would've defeated the reapers in no time. All hail the Giant Flying Tit-Whale!

News just in: Mass Effect 3 could have been a better game!

"I don't believe it!"
- Nobody, ever.

Aww. I mean, I appreciate all the extra work that would have been required to implement as comparatively small a part of the game as a non-humanoid squadmate, but all the same... I would've really, really liked an Elcor companion. Heck, you don't even have to give him guns, and you can just make him some sort of extra-powerful biotic or something to make up for it. Not only would it add variety to the available selection of squadmates, but think of the character interactions!

"Reaper. A label created by the Protheans to give voice to their destruction. In the end, what they chose to call us is irrelevant. We simply... are."

"Defiant outburst, Sovereign. The Protheans disappeared fifty thousand years ago. You could not have been there. It is impossible."

"...You're really killing the mood, you know."

An elcor squadmember? Yes please.

"Badassfully, can you not see the giant cannon strapped to my back?"

CpT_x_Killsteal:
You know what creature they should have included?


We all know he/she/shim would've defeated the reapers in no time. All hail the Giant Flying Tit-Whale!

As Shephard looks on in digital horror no less. There's a meme in there somewhere kids, write it down.

OT: Space jellyfish trying to bamboozle other sentients into backing Shephard's hair-brained scheme to save the galaxy from Reaper control! QTE moments when people disbelieve what's going on! I sense an under-funded over analyzed sequel!

I was always curious why I never got to have (in more ways than one) a spacecow squadmate

I'm Commander Shepard and Blasto is my favorite spectre on the Citadel.

All those "aliens" that barely look like more than cosplaying humans really bored me in mass effect and then they even got rid of the hanar in 2.
They really dropped the ball here, cutting the corners of what made star wars so interesting.

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