Mass Effect 3 Won't Have Sifting or Fiddling

Several paragraphs from an interview with BioWare's Casey Hudson in the latest issue of PC Zone magazine have been teased by CVG. All of those perfect review scores means that the shooter-heavy, statistic-lacking formula we saw in Mass Effect 2 isn't going to change a whole lot for Mass Effect 3:
"More importantly, we'd never be able to plan as many creative opportunities if we'd do it all up front. Instead, we record what a player has done in a play-through, and then we have all of those choices available that writers can refer to as they build storylines...

"Numerically, it's over 1,000 variables that we'll have access to for shaping the Mass Effect 3 experience for people who've played the previous games."

Hudson said that Bioware wouldn't be reinventing its action-RPG approach with the third game - which the studio has already started work on.

"If you define an RPG as a game where you equip your hero by sifting through an inventory of hundreds of miscellaneous items and spend hours fiddling with numerical statistics, then Mass Effect 2 isn't one," he added.

"In Mass Effect 2 we focused on what we love about RPGs: An awesome sense of exploration, intense combat, a deep and non-linear story that's affected by your actions, and rich customisation of your armour, weapons and appearance...

"We had an overwhelmingly positive response to this approach, and while we'll make further adjustments to it for Mass Effect 3, we're really happy with how it's been received so far."
We may have been given a choice about which squad member to recruit next, but Mass Effect 2's "story" was far from non-linear. And what is this "rich customization" of armor and weapons we keep hearing about? Did I play a different game than everyone else?