Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bad Omens for Mass Effect 3

You don't mess with perfection.
A couple of disconcerting announcements on Friday regarding Mass Effect 3:

1) BioWare has delayed the release date for three months, from fourth quarter 2011 to first quarter 2012.

Not a big deal in itself—I'd rather they take the time to iron out the kinks if that's what they need to do. But the fact that they're forsaking that prime holiday real estate might be a sign that all is not well in Mass Effect land.

Then there's this...

2) BioWare is "realigning its Mass Effect franchise to appeal to a larger audience."

Oy.

BioWare was pretty successful in streamlining the game mechanics between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, but even then it was teetering on the edge between RPG and shooter.

They were much less successful in doing so between Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. As I pointed out in my review of the latter, it felt less like they were streamlining the game and more like they were cutting corners.

This is so disappointing. BioWare makes money by producing top-shelf role-playing games. To deliberately gut a successful franchise to try to sell more copies is just sad. Mass Effect should not be a shooter.

It doesn't seem like BioWare made decisions like this before EA acquired them. I wonder if EA is pressuring them to bring in more dollars.

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