At the Microsoft booth at New York Comic Con this past weekend, gamers were treated to a demo of the hotly anticipated Mass Effect 3. Guests were able to get their hands on the E3 demo, playing through the section of the game where Shepard and crew has to assist Mordin Solus in saving his work from being destroyed by Cerberus.
BioWare's Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, was on hand, herding the masses lining up for hours to the limited demo stations available. Amidst the craziness, he was kind enough to walk us through the demo and give us a little preview of what's to come.
It hurts a little to write this, but Mass Effect 3 comes out March 6, 2012 and not tomorrow.
Open the Fridge: We'll start off with an easy one: just how awesome is this game going to be?
Chris Priestly: (laughs) It’s really good. The team has worked really, really hard essentially so that when the third chapter is over and Commander Shepard’s trilogy is done, all of are fans go, “Well damn, I’m really sorry it’s over, but THAT was the way to go out!” That’s what we want.
OTF: Wonderful. So, what can you tell us about the demo you have on display here at NYCC?
CP: Here is a section of the game, you play as, of course, Commander Shepard. You have Garrus [Vakarian] and Liara [T'Soni] with you on Mordin Solus’s home planet, trying to save a female Krogan. If you know the story of Mass Effect, the Krogan are a race that are impeded from reproducing, due to an introduced genophage that prevented most females from being fertile. But now that there’s a female that fertile, Mordin wants to possibly solve and undo the genophage, and Commander Shepard is trying to rescue this female Krogan from the Cerberus operative who are there to taker her for their own nefarious doings, shall we say.
OTF: We had a chance to play it, and we saw that there were some new mechanics. The skill trees are new, and the power advancement is all different, could you tell us anything about the new features?
CP: Yeah. Every time the team makes a new game, we always try to improve what we’ve done before, and there are things like the weapons banks that allow you to customize your weaponry, or the skill tress allow for more character customization as you level up. New combat mechanics, there’s a new dodge mechanic where you’re able to roll, move around corners easier, hide behind things is a lot better. New melee attacks with our Omni-blade weaponry, and some other things that we haven’t introduced yet, so there are lots of new improvements and changes for Mass Effect 3.
OTF: The big news last week was that there will be multiplayer for the co-op. Will that affect gameplay in any way, in terms of completion with or without a partner?
CP: No, not really. The multiplayer is a four-player, co-op multiplay, and it’s an awesome, optional thing for those people who like four-player co-op multiplay. Our other fans like single-play gaming, and they’re going to be able to play Mass Effect 3, they’re going to get the awesome story, the endings that they want, the character, the romance, all that they loved from Mass [Effect] 1 and Mass [Effect] 2. But those folks that like to play a shooting game with their friends, now we an option of a four-player co-op and we know they’re going to love it.
OTF: Speaking of the multiplayer, can you tell us a little bit about the Galaxy At War system and how that comes into play with the multiplayer?
CP: I can't really give too many details yet. We only just announced it this week. It fits into the story because, as we’ve already revealed, Commander Shepard is trying to amass an army to put an end to the Reaper invasion that’s decimating Earth and is going to move throughout the galaxy. So you will be moving throughout the galaxy, trying to find allies to help you stop the Reapers, hence, the "Galaxy At War." But, that’s the sort of thing [Executive Producer] Casey Hudson and the Mass Effect team will be revealing in the future.
OTF: Going back to the multiplayer real quick, will there be any cross-platform features, for example, 360 to PC for the multiplayer?
CP: Honestly, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong information. That’s something that we’ll reveal in the future.
OTF: We saw some of Mass Effect bleed into Dragon Age 2. Are we going to see any of the Dragon Age mechanics bleed into Mass Effect 3 like the conversation system where your character, the more conversation choices you picked in a certain direction, they constantly acted that way?
CP: Really, the Mass Effect universe is it’s own game. We make both the Dragon Age series and the Mass Effect series at our office up in Edmonton, and there’s always a good share of information between the Mass teams and the Dragon Age teams. We always try to help each other out, but really, the Mass Effect systems are always being refined, but I’m not aware of anything that we’re taking directly from Dragon Age.
OTF: So, we have one more question for you. Why is it not March 6th, 2012 yet?
CP: I really wish it was, because I know our fans are going to love Mass Effect 3. Like I said, it’s the way to end the Commander Shepard trilogy. We know our fans are going to love it, and the day can’t come fast enough.
OTF: We’ll, we’re looking forward to it.
Thanks for the interview, Chris! March 2012 can't come fast enough!