According to EA’s CEO John Riccitiello, Mass Effect 3 was delayed so they could tweak gameplay to make it a “shooter-meets-RPG” game as well as “address a far larger market opportunity”.
The direct quote from him is:
“Essentially, step by step, [BioWare is] adjusting some of the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you’ll see at E3 that can put this into a genre equivalent of shooter-meets-RPG, and essentially address a far larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 did and Mass Effect 2 began to approach.”
This worries me greatly. I love the RPG component of Mass Effect. Just as I loved the RPG component of Dragon Age. Both sequels – Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2 – were ‘light’ on the RPG elements and for me that made them less enjoyable.
I’m a RPG fan at heart. I look forward to opening crates and barrels and finishing quests to discover the awesome loot I can equip on my character. I like being able to level up my character and see them grow stronger and stronger as the game goes by.
I don’t play Mass Effect for the combat. I’m sorry. I play it for the story. For the experience. And yes. I play it for the dialogue. I play it for the romances. To watch the characters evolve as the story progresses. I will put the difficulty down just so I can finish the fighting areas more quickly in order to get to the meaty story parts.
So hearing something like this frightens me. I don’t want another Call of Duty or Gears of War. If I wanted that experience I would play those games. I play Mass Effect for the story and for the RPG elements that have, for the most part, become almost non-existent in a market that has become saturated with shooter style games.
Bioware – you are known for your RPG elements. For your ability to create poignant moments in videogames. For your ability to create characters that players care about. That they become invested in. Why is it not enough to be known for this? Why do you feel the need to mess with a format that has, if we’re being honest, gotten you to where you are today?
Let Infinity Ward and Bungie and Epic Games do what they do in making shooters. Let them play to their strengths. And in return play to yours. Keep making amazing RPG games. Story-driven games. Character-based games. Because as great as a developer as you are – you are never going to take the market away from the big shooter developers. And trying to increase your market share by wooing shooter players is just going to alienate both your long time fans and those shooter players you’re attempting to woo. Your old fans will be upset at the ‘dumbing down’ of their RPG game and the shooter players will be annoyed at the ‘stupid talky talk dialogue’ within.
Please, Bioware, don’t lose what you as a studio are known for in an effort to appeal to a ‘larger market opportunity’. Keep creating amazing RPG’s. Be the developer I go to for an immersive story world. Don’t water down the experience of playing in an epic and atmospheric universe that you have created solely to cater for shooter fans.
I was excited to hear about the delay originally. I, perhaps naively, thought this was Bioware taking the time to make the game that completes Commander Shepard’s story as amazing as they could.To make it an epic finale worthy of the story so lovingly crafted throughout the previous two games in the series.
Now to discover that the actual reason for the delay is to change the game from a RPG to a ‘shooter meets RPG’ in an effort to ‘address a far larger market opportunity’ completely deflates any sort of excitement I had. As a long time fan of Bioware, and as a gamer who places Mass Effect on their ‘must experience’ list, I’m now legitimately worried about the final game.
I want to feel like I’m playing Mass Effect 3 by Bioware. I don’t want to feel like I’m playing Call of Duty: Space Edition by Bioware: We wanna be Infinity Ward division.
I just want an immersive, story-driven experience as crafted by a developer who is known for being the best at creating immersive, story-driven games. Is that really too much to ask for?