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 corrosiveâ€¦ 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.