Mass Effect Lead Writer: Next Game Can't Be A Spin Off

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Mass Effect Lead Writer: Next Game Can't Be A Spin Off

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Mac Walters can't go into specifics, but he can talk about the last game's ending.

"We have agreed to tell a story that doesn't relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever," says Mac Walters, Mass Effect's writer throughout the series. The next game absolutely has to feel like Mass Effect, look like Mass Effect, but cannot be a Mass Effect spin off. Don't expect to see Shepard or any of that character's companions; the next game has its own story to tell.

Story telling is much on Walters' mind, particularly after the fan outcry that followed after the end sequence in Mass Effect 3. Walters acknowledges that the development team underestimated the level of ownership the fan base felt it had over the character. "I'm not saying that our decision was wrong or right," says Walters. "I think we just underestimated the impact that would have on certain players." It's a lesson learned, says he. Now it's time to go forward, not dwell on the past.

But if you were hoping Walters would say a little more about what the next Mass Effect would be about, rather than what it wouldn't, you're out of luck. We just know it's coming; we don't know what it is.

Source: Complex Gaming

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Yeah, this is more-or-less what I had been expecting. Hopefully they put their alien modelling from ME3's multiplayer to use and give us a few options of what kind of character we'd like to play. Even if it was just a selection of different pre-modeled characters. Though, I suppose that'd make voice acting a mess.

Here's hoping for a return to ME1's darker Sci-Fi tone (like a dirty 80's sci fi) and RP heavy mode, or even ME2's compromise between RPG and Shooter elements.

I suspect that is not going to happen, but a man can hope right?

Man, I am still butthurt about ME3's ending. Shouldn't I have let go of it by now?

So it's a game that take place in the Mass Effect universe but doesn't have to do anything with ME's main story arc? That's pretty much a spin-off, as it should be.

Doom972:
So it's a game that take place in the Mass Effect universe but doesn't have to do anything with ME's main story arc? That's pretty much a spin-off, as it should be.

Pretty much, this sounds like EA doublespeak to me.

Captcha: sick puppy

First Contact War, Rachni Invasion or Krogan Rebellion?
Hmph with our luck it'll probably be something else entirely. Too bad there won't be any returning characters from the original series: Playing the takeover of Omega a la Saints Row as Aria or the Patriarch would have been fun.

carpathic:
Here's hoping for a return to ME1's darker Sci-Fi tone (like a dirty 80's sci fi) and RP heavy mode, or even ME2's compromise between RPG and Shooter elements.

I suspect that is not going to happen, but a man can hope right?

Man, I am still butthurt about ME3's ending. Shouldn't I have let go of it by now?

I'm still butthurt and I haven't even played the game yet. Still replaying ME2.

Same universe, different protagonist/companions/perspective?

Isn't that basically the definition of a spinoff? ._.

Unfortunately, whatever Bioware do this game is going to pay for the sins of number 3. I played 3 to finish the story I'd begun two games previously and to sign off those characters, I had an emotional attachment to getting to the end similar to watching Star Wars or reading The Lord of the Rings. I put up with the shrinking of the game to a linear TPS because of that, the bits I remember are all conversations, there's no striking gameplay moment like running up the side of Citadel Tower or stepping through the shattered CIC of the SR1.

The new game, unless the gameplay moves back massively towards Mass Effect 1's variety and ambition I've no interest from a gameplay perspective. Since the story of 1-3 is now officially 'done' I've no attachment to whatever ass pulled plot comes next, however compelling it may actually be.

Even if it's really, really good Bioware and EA are going to have a hard time selling the next Mass Effect to people who consider their involvement with the series 'finished' like me.

carpathic:
Man, I am still butthurt about ME3's ending. Shouldn't I have let go of it by now?

It was a pretty shitty ending to 120 hours plus of game, not just plot wise, the gameplay in the last two hours of ME3 is pretty terrible as well. It's really amazing how lazy it was actually, given that they apparently had/have no intention of continuing the story it begs the question why they didn't structure it like the suicide mission, but apparently running in circles for twenty minutes followed by a QTE and blue/green/red was the epic conclusion John Riccitiello demanded.

I'd be hesitant to touch another Mass Effect regardless, but Mac Walters getting to keep his Lead Writer role?

Nuh-uh. Excitement level: 0.

Well you can never underestimate the 'fans' enough.

They will always surprise you with their perceived level of 'ownership' of your own damn work.

just give us that goddmand, frakking Mass Effect 3.5 we deserve!!!

It's not that Shepard dies, it's that the fucked up ending needs to be finished properly.
And Shepard'S death does also not inherently mean that the story arc is finished, which isn't by the end of ME3.

Alpha Maeko:
Same universe, different protagonist/companions/perspective?

Isn't that basically the definition of a spinoff? ._.

I think a spin off is something that explores a minor element that has already been introduced in the series more deeply. Like if the next game followed the backstory of a minor character or companion. It's sort of like how Star trek TNG doesn't have any of the original characters, but it isn't a spin off.

carpathic:
or even ME2's compromise between RPG and Shooter elements.

ME2's gameplay was utter shite. From a RPG stand point and as an FPS.

OT:I get the feeling that he wants and is trying to say the ME4 will be a sequel.

JediMB:
I'd be hesitant to touch another Mass Effect regardless, but Mac Walters getting to keep his Lead Writer role?

Nuh-uh. Excitement level: 0.

I think Mac Walters (or any Bioware staff) had very little to do with the end game, the defining factor of it's development would have been when EA told them to spend a third of the budget on a multi player mode and that it had to be tied into the single player and feature micro transactions. Everything from that point on is damage control, including the game we got at the end.

mad825:

carpathic:
or even ME2's compromise between RPG and Shooter elements.

ME2's gameplay was utter shite. From a RPG stand point and as an FPS.

OT:I get the feeling that he wants and is trying to say the ME4 will be a sequel.

ME2's gameplay was shite. I was often frustrated, and as a person who is not particularly good at shooter games, I found I constantly ran out of ammo and my powers couldn't take care of baddies the way they could in ME1. My supreme hope is that we'll see another ME1, but it is never going to happen.

Sgt. Sykes:
Well you can never underestimate the 'fans' enough.

They will always surprise you with their perceived level of 'ownership' of your own damn work.

Which is largely Bioware's fault to be honest. No other company comes out with things such as:

"And, to be honest, you [the fans] are crafting your Mass Effect story as
much as we are anyway."

Interviewer: "So are you guys the creators or the stewards of the franchise?"
Hudson: "Um... You know, at this point, I think we're co-creators with
the fans. We use a lot of feedback."

That is not to say that I disagree with you, as some people do take it too far, but Bioware likes to use things such as the above to get people interested pre-release, but not dealing with the fans reactions afterwards.

I was on the Bioware forums a fair bit prior to ME3's release and I guarantee you that there is practically nothing in ME3 at all that fans were clamouring for.

Except for one thing. They gave Joker and EDI a romance.

OT: Like other people it seems they are using the term incorrectly. If it takes place in the ME universe but doesn't follow the story already set out then it is pretty much the definition of a spin-off.

I guess they may mean it is set in a completely different time-zone, like the Knight of the Old Republic did in Star Wars. In which case the game would either be set in the First Contact war, or years after the game finished, around the time they used that idiotic scene with the grandfather talking about "The Shepard" or some time in between.

To be honest the fact that they consider the hologram brat canon has more or less killed my interest in the series anyway. I can't say "never", but in many ways I wish I'd never started the series, knowing I will never get a satisfactory resolution to the story arc.

fix-the-spade:

JediMB:
I'd be hesitant to touch another Mass Effect regardless, but Mac Walters getting to keep his Lead Writer role?

Nuh-uh. Excitement level: 0.

I think Mac Walters (or any Bioware staff) had very little to do with the end game, the defining factor of it's development would have been when EA told them to spend a third of the budget on a multi player mode and that it had to be tied into the single player and feature micro transactions. Everything from that point on is damage control, including the game we got at the end.

While BioWare were quite obviously locked into a scenario that was hard to manage, due to the "Take Back Earth" marketing campaign, it doesn't change that the story Walters and Hudson wrote was full of contradictions and general nonsense.

But the ending isn't the only reason I dislike Walters (and Hudson). There's the shift towards a stronger focus on human characters, and then there's the completely unnecessary character of Vega, who seemed to exist only so that Walters had a character of his own to write.

carpathic:

ME2's gameplay was shite. I was often frustrated, and as a person who is not particularly good at shooter games, I found I constantly ran out of ammo and my powers couldn't take care of baddies the way they could in ME1. My supreme hope is that we'll see another ME1, but it is never going to happen.

Wait, so because you are bad at shooters the gameplay of ME2 is bad? That's like someone whom is illiterate saying that the writing in a game is bad.

OT: Cool, I feel extremely sorry for the mostly unwarranted hate/sneers that Bioware are/are going to be getting from many people, but hopefully they'll cool off, watch Jim's latest vid and realise that they're anger is being misused in this situation. One should never hope for failure in an attempt to make something great, encourage Bioware, show them that you're worth striving for, give them constructive critique instead of, "I AM SO BUTTHURT! YOU GUYS ARE JUST SO BAD AND I WILL BUY THIS GAME USED".

Seriously, why should they make a good game if no one seems to like or encourage them?

they should fix the ending by getting rid of this retarded spacekid. even when the extended ending did fix the problems, it still would be better if they would have changed the entire ending.

oh, and this sounds like a spin of to me as well.

bug_of_war:

carpathic:

ME2's gameplay was shite. I was often frustrated, and as a person who is not particularly good at shooter games, I found I constantly ran out of ammo and my powers couldn't take care of baddies the way they could in ME1. My supreme hope is that we'll see another ME1, but it is never going to happen.

Wait, so because you are bad at shooters the gameplay of ME2 is bad? That's like someone whom is illiterate saying that the writing in a game is bad.

OT: Cool, I feel extremely sorry for the mostly unwarranted hate/sneers that Bioware are/are going to be getting from many people, but hopefully they'll cool off, watch Jim's latest vid and realise that they're anger is being misused in this situation. One should never hope for failure in an attempt to make something great, encourage Bioware, show them that you're worth striving for, give them constructive critique instead of, "I AM SO BUTTHURT! YOU GUYS ARE JUST SO BAD AND I WILL BUY THIS GAME USED".

Seriously, why should they make a good game if no one seems to like or encourage them?

Yep.

Though your inflammatory analogy to a person who is illiterate doesn't really apply here. I beat the game, I beat it on insanity with a soldier and an infiltrator. Also, a person who is illiterate is certainly able to judge the strength of the writing in a story - someone else can read it to them. I just don't think I am very good at games that are shooters, I get very frustrated with them.

Though most of my concerns around gameplay being shite had nothing to do with the shooting mechanism, I did beat the game like 6 or 7 times. I just like to see better balance between the powers. I preferred the overheating mechanism of the first game and found it fit better with the regenerating shields/health/armor.

It had better not be a prequel (by which I mean anything set earlier in the ME universe). I can't stand prequels.

Isn't it, by its nature, a ME spin-off?

carpathic:
Here's hoping for a return to ME1's darker Sci-Fi tone (like a dirty 80's sci fi) and RP heavy mode, or even ME2's compromise between RPG and Shooter elements.

I suspect that is not going to happen, but a man can hope right?

Instead, they will finally go FPS like EA has been transitioning into.

I was expecting a completely different storyline, but I guess some part of me expected the usual cameo or reference to the choices you made. Then again, this depends where in the timeline they decide to set the next game (past? future? present in some far off corner of the universe?). Still, this is pretty much what I think everyone was expecting to happen right? Make this set of Mass Effect games as if you can play them without the first set? Makes sense.

Ignoring everything Shepard related seems a bit weird though, but maybe they didn't want to rely too much on the love for the previous series and do their best to make this game how they want. Won't really know how well this will work out till we get more info.

Going to remain pretty optimistic though!

fix-the-spade:
Unfortunately, whatever Bioware do this game is going to pay for the sins of number 3. I played 3 to finish the story I'd begun two games previously and to sign off those characters, I had an emotional attachment to getting to the end similar to watching Star Wars or reading The Lord of the Rings. I put up with the shrinking of the game to a linear TPS because of that, the bits I remember are all conversations, there's no striking gameplay moment like running up the side of Citadel Tower or stepping through the shattered CIC of the SR1.

The new game, unless the gameplay moves back massively towards Mass Effect 1's variety and ambition I've no interest from a gameplay perspective. Since the story of 1-3 is now officially 'done' I've no attachment to whatever ass pulled plot comes next, however compelling it may actually be.

Even if it's really, really good Bioware and EA are going to have a hard time selling the next Mass Effect to people who consider their involvement with the series 'finished' like me.

carpathic:
Man, I am still butthurt about ME3's ending. Shouldn't I have let go of it by now?

It was a pretty shitty ending to 120 hours plus of game, not just plot wise, the gameplay in the last two hours of ME3 is pretty terrible as well. It's really amazing how lazy it was actually, given that they apparently had/have no intention of continuing the story it begs the question why they didn't structure it like the suicide mission, but apparently running in circles for twenty minutes followed by a QTE and blue/green/red was the epic conclusion John Riccitiello demanded.

All these words.. All of them. A soothing balm to my butthurt and the oil in my flames of EAWare hatred.

Glad to see Hack Walters sound as clueless and obnoxious as ever. Learned their lesson? Hardly. Had that been true, he'd be fired or sent to writing school and everyone, who has anything to do with this "Honestly, not a spin-off. We just want to never ever ever mention Shepard again in hopes the sheep will forget what we did there."-thing looming ahead, would clam up and say nothing until the game is reaching gold.

I just watched the latest Jimquisition out of the corner of my eye and what I took away from it that one should not focus hate on individuals. So while Walters and Hudson and even Mike Gamble do their best to set themselves up for it at every turn, remember that someone important thought ME3 in all its glory was a good idea. Or good enough and couldn't see the shitstorm behind the revolving dollar signs in their eyes. Think on that next time you are reaching for that EA branded box.

We have agreed to tell a story that doesn't relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever

So considering the Shepard events involved the entire galaxy it's either a prequel or set in some backwater location where nothing important exists and there is no intelligent life. Maybe it's set in the Bioware writing department?

Karloff:
the next game has its own story to tell.

Story telling is much on Walters' mind,

Story telling huh?
So did Mac Walters finally look up what "story telling" means?

there hasn't been a story told in a Mass Effect game since the first one... Hold on.............
Ha! He wasn't even lead writer on the first one! That's funny.

If there's any hope for the next Mass Effect game or Bioware as a company, the first thing they need to do is FIRE MAC WALTERS. He is not good at writing. He has 2 shining examples of the shit he's capable of producing.

We hear all the time about talented writers leaving Bioware and this hack stays on. Seriously Mac, jump on the grenade. It's intended target is you.

EA cares about money, not about artistic integrity or grim derp ... the only thing I "blame" EA for is multiplayer and since multiplayer is the only thing which made me not regret the money I spent on the game I'm actually thankful.

BTW reading between the lines and how tentative the ideas are after being in pre-production for so long I'm getting the distinct impression that they are getting push back in their quest for a prequel ... only writers like prequels, and the unimpressive sales of the latest GoW games probably has made the suits finally realise this.

I'm looking forward to the next Mass Effect game. I'm glad they're going to keep moving forward instead of miring themselves in side-stories and prequels.

So it's not a spin off, except it has nothing to do with the previous game's stories.

So it is a spin off then? Did he think we were expecting Mass Effect pinball or something?

carpathic:
Here's hoping for a return to ME1's darker Sci-Fi tone (like a dirty 80's sci fi) and RP heavy mode, or even ME2's compromise between RPG and Shooter elements.

I suspect that is not going to happen, but a man can hope right?

Man, I am still butthurt about ME3's ending. Shouldn't I have let go of it by now?

I sincerely doubt it, hoping for it, but doubt it.

The ME universe was conceived/created by someone else; Drew Karpyshyn (Kotor, Baldurs, Neverwinter, ME1 and ME2 etc.). Heck, Walters wasn't even in on the first game at all, he co-wrote the second, with Karpyshyn still leading the go of things... and the transition/shift in style and theme from ME1 to ME3 kinda shows with the middle ground of both writers affecting the 2nd instalment - who wanted it to go in what directions.

1: Very mysterious, lovecraftian, explorative, unity through diversity, a very lonesome galaxy full of wonders (open but barren), heavily focused on dialogue and talking to progress, good and deep (and time consuming) companion talk about (un)important stuff.

2: Kinda mysterious, less explorative, unity through diversity, improved combat, still heavy focus on dialogue but a little bit limited due to the explorative aspect shortened down, improved companion talk with some more severe choice affecting personal missions etc.

3: Mystery mostly gone (Star Child included...), unity through diversity but Shepard is now doing amazing things solo, further improved combat, dialogue semi-auto chosen which gives Shepard a specific character pre-set, less overall interaction with your squad mates (can't talk to them about a specific event more than once)*

*Although with the whole loyalty mission thing, I can to some extend forgive them for no more side missions - I mean... they already trust you deeply. But they still could've done something more with it, as Walters even somewhat admits here. Indoctrination affection perhaps? Faith/Loyalty vs falling to indoctrination affection/despair?
**Also these points are done minus the extended cut ending and all the DLC to expand on the game: just lining up the initial vision of each released product. It does not make sense to include something that was forged due to feedback unless it is a sequel, if holding it up to predecessors and successors.

...So yeah, sadly, I sincerely doubt Walters is gonna let it go in that direction, he seemed to have his own ideas/visions on how the ME universe should be shaped, and it is in his hands mostly at this point since Karpyshyn left.

Its a matter of creator and keeper of legacys really, and everyone wants to set their own personal mark on something. Walters has the reigns right now, so if you like his work on ME2 and ME3, then that's the direction things are most likely to go (if based on previous work). Not ME1, which saddens me personally, since an intellectual threat is far more menacing than a physically powerful threat. But that's personal taste at the end of the day. They each had their own ideas, and this is the one that ended up being the end lore, regardless of how ME1 set out to do things.

Also sorry for the wall of text. The ending aside, ME3 is a pretty interesting to study really, in many aspects to be quite honest, about cause and effect of things.

I still think the obvious answer is to have the game set in the aftermath of 'Mass Effect 3', rebuilding a galaxy shattered by war.

The game would start on Earth, with a new mass relay being constructed in orbit. Your character could be a diplomat trying to keep all the various peoples stuck in system from at each other's throats, while an antagonistic organization foments dissent and chaos from the shadows.

Basically, I just want to play a game where the objective is to create as opposed to destroy. Obviously Mass Effect is a shooter, so there have to be people who need shooting, but it would be great to get a Mass Effect game from the perspective of someone who's not a hard as nails space marine.

Yeah, you only gave us the most control over the flow of a story that we've seen to date and then yanked it out of our hands to royally butt-fuck the entire setting. Can't imagined why we'd feel entitled to, I dunno, Paragon/Renegade the entire ending sequence so we can make the ending we want to make. It's more fitting to find out that the big Lovecraftian horror looming over our galaxy is a Failarmy of Fail that's been Failing for millions upon millions of years, and then pull three random Failendings out of a Failhat and force us to pick one. Way to make our choices mean something.

But we're not bitter.

Man, Bioware's in for a rude awakening when nobody buys their shit.

I've got a feeling this next game is going to be utter ass, like ME3.

They learned the wrong lessen then.

Lesson 1, Scrapping a prior planed ending was a bad idea even if it was spoiled due to leaks.
Lesson 2, Utilizing Dues Ex Machina for an ending has been considered poor writing since the Ancient Greeks started abusing it.

But any college English major would have been able to tell them that. Mass Effects ending should be covered in Modern Literature as an example of how, and why, Dues Ex Machina is bad writing.

I hope the MP part will be as good one as the ME3 one. He can take the SP story and shove it down to some of his orifices for all i care. The Witcher series and Walking Dead are now where you go for a good story. Bioware's wave been falling since KOTOR.

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