Commander Shepard, hero of the Citadel and savior of the galaxy, is going to find himself somewhat less capable at the start of Mass Effect 2 than he was at the end of the first game, as his abilities are reset to accommodate the game’s new systems.
The question of what to do with characters in sequels who, thanks to their past exploits should be virtual superheroes, is one that has long plagued developers. Most take the easy way out by either ignoring the matter entirely or coming up with some lame contrivance to explain why the hero has been dialed back to “chump” status but with players able to import their own personal Commander Shepards into the upcoming Mass Effect 2, it appeared that perhaps BioWare had come up with a better solution to the problem.
Apparently not. In an interview with Computerworld, producer Casey Hudson says Shepard’s abilities will be reset to a more basic level, although he promised the change would make sense within the context of the story. “There’s something that’s happening with the story that explains what happens with your abilities. It’s something we can’t go into detail about for obvious reasons, but it actually happens the other way around,” he said. “Our goal with the story, in terms of getting the game started quickly and players into really compelling story situations… that dictated and allowed us to do certain things including changing the way that your abilities work and the way you develop your character.”
Part of the reason for the reset, he noted, was the sheer number of changes to “every system in the game,” from character stats and inventory system to weapons, combat and other functions. “All of those things have been dramatically improved, so there’s no direct way to map the stuff you had in Mass Effect over to Mass Effect 2 anyway,” he added.
“That said, we’re taking into account all of your accomplishments in terms of building a character from the first game. So things you’d expect to be acknowledged, like if you were a level 60 character, or you were highly Renegade and don’t want to start out at the middle again,” he continued. “If you import your save game from Mass Effect, these kinds of things will be acknowledged in ways that map across to the new system. You will feel, even in terms of the character that you build, that you are continuing as that character.”