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BioWare: Mass Effect inspired 'a lot' by Final Fantasy film

Art director discusses "great" influences

Though fans often cite Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner and Alien as influences for BioWare's Mass Effect universe, you might be surprised to hear that one of the developer's biggest reference points is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

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Speaking in the latest Xbox World 360 magazine, Mass Effect 3's art director Derek Watts discussed how the art team regularly draw inspiration from Square Enix's ambitious CGI movie.

Although the movie was ultimately a huge -and very expensive - flop and even delayed the merger between Square and Enix, BioWare's art team has looked to it when designing GUI, ships and environments.

"Yeah, you know we actually reference a lot from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. We used a lot of their GUIs and the way they did their ship - that was kind of like in some of the early designs for the Normandy," revealed Watts.

"Our attack helicopters are loosely based off that movie. There's some great stuff, especially their glowing GUI screens; we used those a lot. I keep a folder of that stuff and I still actually tell the guys 'just go back and look at that. Change it like that!'"

We're a bit ashamed we didn't notice this before.

Sources have indicated Mass Effect is set to feature a four-player co-op online mode with missions that are totally unique from the solo campaign.

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