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Bioware talks Mass Effect; Game goes gold

Bioware’s Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, sat down with IGN AU to talk about Mass Effect. Priestly talks about the game’s length, how its size compares to KOTOR, and even Baldur’s Gate III gets a mention. Bioware also announced today that the game had officially gone gold.

From the interview

IGN AU: Let’s start with a biggie. What is the total number of explorable planets in the final build?

Chris Priestly: To be honest, I don’t know the exact final number - and it depends on what you mean by explorable. In terms of the total number of celestial bodies, shall we call it, that you can visit in Mass Effect, the number is somewhere around 240 to 250. Of those, not all of them are explorable. It would be like visiting Jupiter here in our solar system; there’s just nothing to do when you get there! Wow, you found a great big gas giant! If you tried to land on it, you would die instantly because the atmosphere is corrosive… so not everything you can land on. Some things you just look at and leave. Other times we have subplots where you can recover gases and strange minerals and that kind of thing - where you can do some scanning for materials.

Then there are those that are fully explorable, that are smaller and you can do on foot and some that are so large that you need to get into the Mako - the combination ATV tank that you get to use. Again, you’re looking at somewhere around 20 to 30 full-sized, plot driven planets where you’re going to have to explore around.

IGN AU: How much do these vary in size? When compared with the worlds in Knights of the Old Republic, for instance.

Chris Priestly: There’d be a few that are about the same size as Kashyyyk or Taris - something along those lines. Some are larger - which is why we give you a vehicle this time to get around, because if we made you walk around, it would be a whole lot of walking. Even with the vehicle, if you were going end to end, on some planets it would take five minutes just to get to get to where you’re going and five minutes to get back if you didn’t bother stopping to do any of the plots along the way.

Priestly mentioned that the game’s main quest line will take around 20 hours to complete, but the side quests can add over 40 hours to a playthrough. Mass Effect has moral choices, much like KOTOR, and Priestly notes that although he doesn’t know the specifics, how you finish the first game will have an effect on the sequels. Priestly also noted that while there will be some sort of carry over between games, people starting the second game without having played the first will not be at a disadvantage from a gameplay standpoint. If you’ve been following the game since it was announced and are worried about not being surprised by anything, Priestly mentions that only five percent of the game has been seen “at best”.

Priestly notes that although there’s no official timeline for the release of the 2 Mass Effect sequels, preliminary work has already begun on part 2. Priestly also stated that work was already underway on the game’s first batch of DLC, and that it will hopefully be out in time for Christmas, and that the release depends on how well the game sells. Fortunately, the game has already gone gold, so DLC should be out before you know it. the topic of Baldur’s Gate III was raised, and Priestly said that Bioware wasn’t sure what it would be doing after the Mass Effect series, and that it was a possibility.

The press release announcing that the game had gone gold also explained exactly what the limited edition would contain.

  • A Mass Effect fiction book titled “Galactic Codex: Essentials”
    A 36-page guide to the Mass Effect universe, including a Citadel timeline and a guide to all non-human races, biotics and the key locations in the Perseus arm of the galaxy
  • An additional Mass Effect art book titled “A Future Imagined”
    A 36-page collection of BioWare’s concept art for the game
  • A bonus DVD of exclusive Mass Effect background material and additional content including:
    -“The Vision of Mass Effect” documentary
    -“The Making of Mass Effect” documentary
    -“Interactive Storytelling” documentary
    -“Inside BioWare” documentary
    -18 Mass Effect themed gamer pics (three unique sets of six)
    -16 dashboard themes (four unique sets of four)
    -Ten songs from the Mass Effect soundtrack
    -Five historical Mass Effect trailers from X05 through E3 2007 and the official TV trailer
    -A demo for “Blue Dragon” and videos for “Lost Odyssey,” “Halo 3″ and “Halo Wars”
    -Design galleries featuring 600 concept images fully commented by the Art Directors

The limited edition certainly looks nice, but gamers looking to pick it up in a store will be a little disappointed. The game is set to be a Gamestop/EB exclusive, and according to the game’s listing on ebgames.com the item will only be available from their online store. Stay tuned for more info as the game nears its release on November 20.

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16 comments on 'Bioware talks Mass Effect; Game goes gold'

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Comment by H1TCHMAN on 2007-10-22 18:42:59 | Reply

40 Hours seems a little low when there’s been so much hype about how massive this game is. Hopefully there’s plenty of replay value.

that’s 40 hours for side quests on top of the 20 it’d take to finish the main questline for a total of 60 hours.

Comment by Buff on 2007-10-22 18:48:37 | Reply

im just wondering how they have mannaged to get all this on one dvd when ubsoft cant mannage to get creed on one!?!

Comment by lothar on 2007-10-22 19:32:45 | Reply

With Creed they’re trying to cram 8 languages on it, I dont know if they’re doing that with ME.

Comment by DSK UK on 2007-10-22 19:35:31 | Reply

starting on mass effect 2? does MS have a contract with them that EA can’t break? That would be great , as having another developer doing the sequels won’t be as good

Comment by Scott on 2007-10-22 20:50:09 | Reply

why do MS need a contract. the IP could now be owned by EA

It can’t be owned by EA when Bioware has the rights to the franchise. But Bioware is now owned by EA so you may have a point there …

Comment by Scott on 2007-10-22 21:59:21 | Reply

well ok smart arse. the ip is owned by bioware which in turn is owned by ea so by proxy, the IP is owned by EA

Comment by mass9 on 2007-10-22 22:32:13 | Reply

but EA is just the producer to BioWare’s development.

One pays, the other codes (basically).

Comment by Scott on 2007-10-22 23:43:42 | Reply

right… if ea has bought bioware, by proxy they own the IP’a unless biware have moved them on.

EA dont personally own the IP’s, Bioware does. I know that… but who owns Bioware now?

Comment by Scott on 2007-10-22 23:45:14 | Reply

it’s not rocket science! jeez!

Comment by The_Glovner on 2007-10-22 20:08:34 | Reply

cool free gamerpics and themes are always cool on a bonus disc

Comment by The_Glovner on 2007-10-23 01:29:21 | Reply

For fucks sake, can we not get something on this site to stop the fucking pricks posting under your name!!!

Comment by strahd on 2007-10-22 23:54:11 | Reply

I am sure there is some sort of exclusive contract for ms to publish all 3 games through bioware EA probably knew this before the buyout i doubt anything has changed

I doubt that … is it rational to think EA would just let BioWare work on Mass Effect exclusively for the 360 when it could be developing potential multiplatform hits? The answer is obviously a big no ;)

Comment by jammer on 2007-10-23 13:19:28 | Reply

20+ hours is plenty of gameplay. I would in fact rather have much lesser but better gameplay in many games today. They tend to get repetitive. After a while you have tried it all. So the story has to be REALLY interesting to keep me playing.

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