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Player's actions in Mass Effect could leave the universe in various altered states. How did you guys approach the problem of building a sequel that picked up from any point that the player might have left off?
It was probably the biggest challenge we had in developing Mass Effect 2, and an ongoing challenge that we've had throughout the trilogy is to honor the high-level promise that the whole trilogy responds to the decisions that players have made. When you think about it, if you have a trilogy of games, there is really no point in it being a trilogy or an ongoing story if the decisions you make don't cascade from one game to the next. Otherwise we would have to tie everything back together, to the same starting point, at the end of each game. And at that point they become separate stories. What we wanted was for each entry to be part of this larger overarching story, but also be their own separate pieces of fiction that have a beginning, middle, and end. So that's probably the most complex part of developing these games. You really do feel like you're starting where you left off. If you come across a minor character in Mass Effect 2 that character will remember how you reacted to a certain situation in the past and it may come back to haunt you or it may reward you. It's a very complex part of the Mass Effect trilogy.
...followed by some additional comments from Casey on MTV Multiplayer...
"We're already working on 'Mass Effect 3' right now. We do want to develop it in concert with listening to the way people are experiencing 'Mass Effect 2'. We've got a lot of DLC coming out for 'Mass Effect 2' that we're also working on, and then we'll kind of blend that into developing and finishing 'Mass Effect 3'. We don't want to take forever with it. We want people to be able to conclude this trilogy that have been with us over the years... [Development will be] along the same kind of time frame as 'Mass Effect 2'."
"It's tough to say how long we'll continue to do Cerberus Network in terms of the free content, for example. When you get Cerberus Network you get all this free stuff that's been released. On an ongoing basis we plan to have the whole spectrum, from a free item all the way up to paid stuff and potentially larger packs that tell a big portion of the story. And we want to do that in a way that connects 'Mass Effect 2' to 'Mass Effect 3.' I think we'll be pretty close to the release of 'Mass Effect 3' before we really start focusing on that as the next story."
...and an audio interview with an unnamed EA representative on AnalogHype.