Posted on April 4, 2008,

Why Are Mass Effect and Too Human Trilogies?


It seems like everything that comes out nowadays is a trilogy. Is there actually a reason behind that, is it just a way of being like Star Wars (or how it should have been, at least) and Lord of the Rings, is it a marketing ploy, or what? MTV Multiplayer spoke with both BioWare and Denis Dyack of Silicon Knights to find out just why it was decided on that Mass Effect and Too Human would be trilogies.

Denis Dyack explained that Too Human was meant to be a trilogy from the outset: “I would strongly contest that Star Wars was ever meant to be a trilogy. So the only true trilogy in the movie industry that I’m aware of, to date, has been Lord of the Rings. It was meant to be a trilogy from beginning to end. And I’m very very leery of these games that are successful and are suddenly called a trilogy when they’re on the third one. Because that’s just marketing.

“Too Human, from when we started to work on the game for the 360, has been a trilogy. For the first game, the theme is discovery; the second game, the theme is revenge; the third game is enlightenment. We know exactly what’s going to happen from beginning to end. It’s planned out in such a way that there is without question a reason for the three parts. If there would have been a reason for four parts, we wouldn’t call it a trilogy, we would call it a! canto, I guess.”

BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka seemed to think it was just the right thing to do, although it, too, was decided at the game’s conception. “At the lunch we decided that we want something that really feels epic. It’s like you’re the tip of the spear of humanity on a galactic stage. Something that’s big and ambitious. What about a trilogy?

“Great science fiction arcs often occur in trilogies. It seems like it’s sort of the way of it. Maybe it’s a convenient number. But it allows you to have different pacing in parts of the story. So we’re excited about the next installments. We haven’t announced them formally, but we’ve talked about how we have grand ambitions and we want to [c]ontin[u]e to build.”

I’m all for trilogies, and Mass Effect did a fine job of really closing up the plot of the first game. I think the problem is that when you run into situations like Halo 2 or Assassin’s Creed where the story is left unfinished so that it can be picked up in a subsequent game. At that point, I think gamers feel cheated and there’s a difference between leaving us wanting more and leaving us with nothing BUT to want more.

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2 Comments on Why Are Mass Effect and Too Human Trilogies?


On April 5, 2008 at 6:57 am

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On April 5, 2008 at 8:22 am

Dyack is apparently an idiot with no sense of history. Star Wars was always intended to be a trilogy of trilogies. Only two of the story arcs got made (and are every likely to get made). This was Lucas’ vision from the start.