Dr. Greg Zeschuk, co-founder and president of the mighty BioWare, is always a great interview. It immediately becomes clear as soon as he enters to room that he can't wait to sit down and have a good chat about Mass Effect and where it's going.
Would you say this is BioWare's most challenging game to date in terms of ambition and what you want to achieve with it?
Greg Zeschuk: Every time we do a new game we want to up the ante. Mass effect has probably covered more territory than any other game we've ever done. In terms of technology and design it's certainly been the most challenging. I'd sort of give a qualified 'yes' on that.
Do you feel there's a lot of pressure on you to really deliver with the game?
Zeschuk: Yes, for a few reasons. One is time - we've spent a lot of time on this game. Second is that, along the way, we've picked up a lot in terms of awards, PR and expectations of the game. The third is down to our own desire to be successful and stamp our mark on the next-generation. There are already some great games out there and this is ours.
The menu clearly states there'll be downloadable content at some point. What can you tell us about that?
Zeschuk: It might do (laughs). We certainly have plans with what we want to create for downloadable content and we'll announce them around the time of launch. We have a long history with post release content. For us it's about value and fair trade. If you're going to pay us money we want you to get something that's really cool.
We've been working a lot on what kind of package we'll do. Downloadable content can really help and drive the longevity of a game so we'll be going aggressive on it.
So are we talking about extra missions?
Zeschuk: We haven't absolutely nailed down exactly what we're going to do. Our perspective on it is that the edges on Mass Effect are almost none-existent so you can continue to push. It could be a range of things.
It could be more content it could be new equipment or game features. We're really going to take some time and think about what we can do there.
Any plans for a downloadable demo before release?
Zeschuk: We're still thinking of the exact form the demo could take.
So there is a demo planned then?
Zeschuk: Probably... I'm being particularly non committal... Our goal would defiantly be to have one depending on time challenges and things. I can't remember who said it, I think it was Mark Rein.
I'd hate to quote Mark (laughs), but it's a huge challenge getting a game and demo out around the same time. We're still thinking about how exactly that's going to play out. We're clearly running out time though.
You've already expressed your plans for Mass Effect to be a trilogy. Do you see all three games being released on Xbox 360?
Zeschuk: Certainly out intent is to have all three iterations or instalments of Mass Effect to be on Xbox 360. That's the goal.
Exclusively to 360 all the way?
Zeschuk: Can't really comment on that aspect yet, it's too far into the future. Thinking a year in to the future is a big challenge these days.
The law we can't control is the length of the console cycle. I hope, I hope, I hope that this cycle is longer than the last one. We kind of just got started last cycle and it kind of ended when our second game came out. Downloadable content could also bridge the gap by giving you new little islands of story between the big game releases.