Mass Effect 3 to follow 'over 1,000' story variations

Bioware not changing 'action RPG' approach for next instalment

Bioware has revealed that Mass Effect 3 will be shaped by over 1,000 story variations from the first two games in the series.

Like its predecessor, Mass Effect 3 will offer continuation of the decisions players made in previous iterations of the franchise.

But according to ME2 project lead Casey Hudson, things have gotten a little complicated for the studio.

"We plan out the larger plot points of the story from one game to the next, but it would be impossible to plan it all in advance," he told PC Zone issue 224 (in all good stores now, folks).

"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.

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"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."