Posted on July 29, 2014, Phil Hornshaw BioWare: Feedback Had ‘Impact’ on New Mass Effect; But What?
Speaking during the panel “Charting a Course: Developing the Next Mass Effect,” Gamble addressed a fan question about what BioWare took away from the feedback related to Mass Effect 3′s ending, and how that experience might affect the development of the new Mass Effect title the company is developing at its Montreal studio. (The Mass Effect trilogy was developed by BioWare Edmonton, but ME3′s “Omega” DLC and the new entry into the franchise are being made by BioWare Montreal.)
“Fans were pretty vocal about the ending of Mass Effect 3,” one fan asked during the panel’s question-and-answer portion. “I was curious whether you agreed or disagreed with fan perception. What things are you going to take from that to bring into the new title in terms of branching storylines and those storylines kind of ending in a way that makes gamers feel like they had made those decisions and had all those different endings and different experiences?”
Gamble’s response to the question was, like much of the panel, guarded. He said BioWare took the feedback into account and responded to it — specifically in the form of Mass Effect 3′s “Extended Cut” DLC — and also has internalized what it learned for future development. But his close-to-the-vest response also suggests that BioWare’s interpretation of the fan response might be different from what many fans were trying to convey.
“Well, we did take fan feedback. Like, we really did — that’s why we made the Extended Cut,” Gamble said. “But it’s all relative to the story that you’re telling. Is that to say that the response to the ending is going to make it so that you don’t have choice in your game or that your choices aren’t showing throughout? No, we can’t go down that path. It’s all about being smart in your development. It did have an impact on us at the studio and we did look at the way that we developed it and we did make some changes and we are making some changes for in the future.
“That said, the point of it is always to go back to things that matter, choices that matter,” he continued. “That’s a key focus to keep in our game, and regardless of how many endings or how many things we have to build in the end, we still want our players to have those emotional experiences within the game, and have those choices and have those reflected.
“So in effect, yeah, we saw what you guys said, we saw what the fans said, and we made adjustments. But it’s not like we’re going to turn everything on its head.”
Fans looking to BioWare’s future and wondering whether they’ll be satisfied with the next entry in the Mass Effect franchise will be glad to hear that BioWare has made some adjustments to the way it develops things like endings and choices because of the experience.