Presumably, with the war against the Reapers going on, there won't be things like the resource-gathering from planets? What will players be able to do along those lines in ME3?
We have things like that, but they're different. In Mass Effect 3, we try to think of everything in the context of universal war - it's kind of like World War II. Everywhere you go, people are fighting this war, and people are suffering because of the war. It didn't make any sense for you to spend time mining for resources in Mass effect 3, but we kind of adapted that aspect of the experience so it feels more like search-and-rescue missions.
Even though there are areas occupied by the Reapers, because the Normandy is a stealth ship, you can actually go to some places that are otherwise off-limits, and try to rescue people and assets and find things. You can even find missions to play. So there is that kind of non-linear exploration.
Can you carry that on after you finish the story - or does finishing the story wrap up the war?
Because the story is about the final end in total war against the Reapers, that really is the interest in the game experience. So, you'll be able to play after the game ends, obviously, in a number of different ways.
We have a New Game Plus, so you take that character from the end-game and restart the game with a powerful character. We also have a premise for being able to play ongoing adventures from the perspective of the middle of the game, like we had in Mass Effect 2.
Are there alternative endings depending on what you do in the game?
It's not so much that there is a fixed set of alternative endings, but all of your choices really determine how things end up in the universe. So, how you approach the end-game, for every player, you're going to have a different set of results in terms of who is alive and who is dead, and which civilisations survived and which ones were wiped out.
There is a huge set of consequences that start stacking up as you approach the end-game. And even in terms of the ending itself, it continues to break down to some very large decisions. So it's not like a classic game ending where everything is linear and you make a choice between a few things - it really does layer in many, many different choices, up to the final moments, where it's going to be different for everyone who plays it.
What part does Origin play? Will people have to sign up for it?
We use Origin, and it's interesting because really, it's just a way to get access to the online and digital features that, you know, generally, PC games have now. I think people are going to be fine with it.
Because the whole issue of DRM and being always-online is an emotive one for gamers. Do you think people will have a problem with that?
No I don't, because it comes up only when people hear certain trigger-words. I think that the people who try Mass Effect 3 on Origin will realise that it's not an intrusive DRM scheme - it's just a way for you to sign up for the online services that you're going to get on an ongoing basis through Mass Effect 3.
Just like you get with any other kind of online digital distribution, or multiplayer or whatever. It's not something that requires you to be always online - you can play Mass Effect 3 offline.