Casey Hudson says the decisions you made in previous Mass Effect games won't necessarily keep you from a happy ending in Mass Effect 3, but they might end up making things a lot harder for you when the crunch comes.
It's not exactly news that the decisions you make in Mass Effect can come back to bite you in the ass later. That's one of the game's biggest selling points: decisions have consequences. Had a rocky relationship with Wrex? Didn't get that Thanix cannon installed? That's the kind of thing that'll cost you in the long run, particularly when the rubber hits the road in Mass Effect 3.
"I think a way to think about it is if you made decisions early on, you'll see them affecting [Mass Effect 3]. And the decisions you might want to make that go against those prior things are gonna be harder," Hudson explained. "Killing the Rachni might present opportunities in Mass Effect 3 that you wouldn't otherwise have, but if you don't take those opportunities and you try and do something in opposition to that, then it would be harder for you than if you work with it. Similarly with the decisions at the end of Mass Effect 2, for whether you saved the base or destroyed it."
And much like Mass Effect 2, immersing yourself in optional bits like side quests will ultimately make life easier and, more importantly, more satisfying. "If you just rip straight down the critical path and try and finish the game as soon as you can, and do very little optional or side stuff, then you can finish the game. You can have some kind of ending and victory, but it'll be a lot more brutal and minimal relative to if you do a lot of stuff," he continued. "If you really build a lot of stuff and bring people to your side and rally the entire galaxy around you, and you come into the end game with that, then you'll get an amazing, very definitive ending."
I can't imagine being thrown into the middle of a huge, immersive sci-fi epic like Mass Effect and not rolling around in it like a drunk pig in a mud hole, but apparently that's how some folks prefer to handle the looming intergalactic apocalypse: jump in, kick ass and call it a day. Efficient, I suppose, but it sounds like a good way to miss out on a lot of cool stuff, too. [And for the record, I let the Rachni go.]
Mass Effect 3 is currently expected to come out in early 2012 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Source: PC Gamer