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BioWare's Cho On Critic-Proofing  Mass Effect 2
BioWare's Cho On Critic-Proofing Mass Effect 2
January 25, 2010 | By Staff

January 25, 2010 | By Staff
More: Console/PC

Immediately after Mass Effect shipped, BioWare knew what it wanted to fix for the sequel -- and the team incorporated feedback from fans and media to try to address "absolutely every issue" for Mass Effect 2.

"Every area needed improvement... We knew what we wanted to change right away," says lead producer Adrien Cho in a new Gamasutra feature interview. "But the other part of the equation was actually taking all the feedback -- I'm not saying some -- absolutely every feedback from press and the fans, and collating all that into a huge list."

From there, they categorized the feedback and mapped it against the team's desired changes, and from there "it became really clear. It became a blueprint," he says. "It made making the sequel really easy."

It helped that the original Mass Effect provided such a "firm foundation," according to Cho, but that doesn't mean it was easy sailing: "I cannot describe just the amount of effort, the tensions," he says.

But with the core ideas in place, it's been easier for the team to target specific areas, like improving the digital acting. Combining "very focused changes" with developing all the game content means that "all of a sudden the game is very different."

"We wanted to make sure that absolutely every issue that was brought up was addressed... so the press had nowhere to go, and all the critics had nowhere to go, because we had made an attempt to hopefully address all those issues in some capacity," says Cho.

Thoroughly addressing the feedback meant more than choosing generalized areas like simply combat or exploration -- it was all about the specifics.

"Because Uncharted Worlds came up as 'We wish it was better,'" he says. Getting specific with the aspects that needed improvement, "we found out that people really like the idea of exploring planets, it's just sometimes the execution where the planet looked the same."

Easy fix, according to Cho: "Let's keep the exploration side and keep the idea that you can explore all these different planets," he says. "What people are really just saying is that they wish the planets looked different and that you didn't end up at the same base all the time. And that made it really clear to say, 'Well, how can we go about implementing that?'"

More details on Mass Effect 2's design and development are now available in our feature interview with BioWare's Adrien Cho.

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sam darley
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"Enemies everywhere!"

I expect ME2 to feature a reference to this or I will mark it down in my mental review.

Fiore Iantosca
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Been waiting for this game a long time. I really do hope they took all the complaints from ME1 and implemented the fixes/enhancements in ME2. If they did that, this game will be very successful!

Alex K
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"We wanted to make sure that absolutely every issue that was brought up was addressed... so the press had nowhere to go, and all the critics had nowhere to go, because we had made an attempt to hopefully address all those issues in some capacity"

I don't understand, I thought the big gripe with "press" was the sex scene in part 1, and now there are several more in part 2. So what was being addressed here, nudity? Subtlety? (I personally don't care about the issue either way, I'm just confused)

Adam Flutie
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You can't fix everything. Even if there is little to find the critics will find it and focus on that instead. But for me personally I really hope they did fix most of the bugs from the first.

Just by watching previews and such I can tell you right now I wish they would have stayed more in the PG-13 realm though. Let that be my feedback for the next game that they can add to their excel spreadsheet.

Jonathan Gilmore
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@Alex K I'm pretty sure they were referencing gamers complaints, not FoxNews' complaints. The biggest complaints I remember were bland worlds in exploration, bad texture pop-in, terrible inventory managment system and the elevators/load times.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Kimberly Unger
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As long as they figured out how to speed up those go**amn elevators I think I might be happy :) I'll reserve critical judgement for when I actually have the game in my hot little hands though :)

Eben Sullivan
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There is no such thing as "critic-proofing", however hard you may try. It's an admirable attempt, and I think it's great that the team too into account all of the criticisms about the previous game (which was still a fantastic game) and tried to improve upon their efforts: something every studio that is considering developing a sequel should do. That being said, if a critic or individual is determined not to like your game, nothing you do will change their mind. You can't please everyone, right?

Regardless of how "critic-proof" this game is, it will still sell like hotcakes.

Kevin Reese
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Bioware is such a strong developer. Guys just can't do anything wrong.

I'm a bit concerned that they weakened the RPG-ness of M.E 2 in favor of a more action focus, but I'm probably in the minority. I'm sure the game will be a success in every respect.

Jonathan Gilmore
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What indication is there that Bioware took out some of the r.p.g. elements for ME2? I've been trying to avoid some of the articles to avoid spoilers and whatnot, but at a glance it doesn't seem like the customization options or powers and tactics aspect of the combat have been diluted.

Kevin Cardoza
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Bob Dillan, you're nuts. The combat in ME2 is vastly improved over the original and is much more fluid. I would even put it above more "action" based cover shooters like Army of Two.