I finally sat down today and read a few articles in my Game Informer that's been lying here for a few days. I found an article, an interview, that I had to read entitled "A New Era Begins at BioWare". The interview was with BW Edmonton general manager Aaryn Flynn, about the ME and DA series. The interviewer was Matt Helgeson.
I'm only posting the questions and/or responses that deal with Mass Effect. I found the article interesting and although I remain steadfast in my "wait and see" approach to the next ME game, I found a few points that give at least some reason to be optimistic... cautiously... optimistic. But I just thought I'd share and let you be the judge.
G.I. - As you look to the future of ME, what's the philosophy for the series moving forward? Is it going to be an outgrowth of what came before or is it taking a radical new direction?
A.F. - I wouldn't say that it's a radical new direction. I think we know what we want to give the fans and we know what they want. When you switch engines to Frostbite, it opens up some opportunities for things. The team in Montreal is taking a fresh take on things. So yeah, I wouldn't say it's radical, but certainly we want to try new things and shift perspective a little bit and give players a chance to see different aspects of the ME universe. We always used to say that ME was a universe with millions of stories and we were only telling a few with the trilogy. So, I think that's the spirit we're going into this with, the idea of what kind of stories can we tell and how can we tell them in a way fans will love?
While BW was pushing interactive storytelling and choice in ME, Bethesda pushed open-world exploration to new heights with Oblivion and Skyrim. Where do you see the genre moving; are you influenced by what Bethesda has done?
I definitely think we're influenced by it... [points out Skyrim's good/bad and influences]
In terms of where I think RPGs are going, I think we have to get back to more exploration in our games. [Hope began to flicker for me here] I think that's not just because of some of the shortcomings in DA2, but because there's a heritage there, something we used to do a lot of in games like Baldur's Gate [slight drool, more flickering] and Neverwinter Nights, where exploration was one of the key themes. We've gotten away from that in DA2 and ME. We want to get back to those themes. Not only because they seem powerful, but they are things that fans want. They want to know more about these worlds we're crafting, and they want to chart their own course through it.
ME was a trilogy, and your choices carried throughout the entire series. Is that something that's a part of the DNA of ME - games being interconnected - or will future games be more standalone?
I don't think we've made any decisions on that yet. I think you're right, one of the hallmarks and successes of ME was that it was committed to be a trilogy right from the beginning... [elaborates a bit more]
...We want to make sure we have the technology before we make big decisions.
So you don't feel that the games necessarily have to be connected in that way?
No, I don't think so. It will depend on the choices we make about the setting for ME. Do we want to give the fans a story that they are going to relate to? Absolutely. It wouldn't be a ME game if we didn't do that. We want this game to be very identifiable as a ME game. But how we'll connect the choices and all that is to be determined.
So that pretty much wrapped up what was discussed about the future of ME. Other questions were asked about DA and the ending controversy of ME, but as I said... I want the focus here to be on the future and what hope it may (or may not, for some) hold.
I liked the mention of Baldur's Gate, exploration, all the things that made ME as a series great to me. I hope they do get interconnecting the games' decisions figured out, but if they 'don't have the technology' to make it work the way it should, I guess I could live without it.
Well, I have more reason to hope than before... but time will tell. How about the rest of you?