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Having worked with UE3 on the original Mass Effect, lead producer Casey Hudson says his team pushed every aspect of the sequel forward from both a technology and gameplay perspective.
(Having shipped the game on Unreal with a Mass Effect total framework in place, we looked at what our final performance memory budget was and billed Mass Effect 2 to that budget,) explains Hudson. (We didn't have the opportunity to do that in the first game, so that helped us to better develop content. We also were able to look at where we were spending the most time on the least effective tasks. So it's not that we're using more of the CPU, it's just that we look at things like the pre-vis phase, for example, in Scaleform and we rewrote our code for that. We just found little opportunities where we were surprised at how much time we were spending in the wrong places like you do in any normal game development process.)
We also learn the unsurprising news that Unreal Engine 3 will be powering Mass Effect 3, too:
After using it for the first two Mass Effect titles, UE3's impressive tech has convinced Canadian studio BioWare to use it as a base for the upcoming Mass Effect 3.
(BioWare chose UE3 for the Mass Effect trilogy because they wanted to make an immersive third-person perspective shooter game with sci-fi environments,) Epic VP Mark Rein told Develop, in a feature outlining the use of the Unreal Engine in Mass Effect 2.