The wait is nearly over. In a matter of months I’ll be sitting down with Mass Effect 3 in my Xbox 360. However, as much as I’m looking forward to it, there are some aspects that I’m a little worried about. In this article I just thought I’d try and get them off my chest, clear the air, and hope for the best come the 6th of March. While a lot of these hopes and fears can’t fully be realised until I actualy play the game, they will be the first thing on my mind until that faithful day I bring the final fight to the Reapers. Let’s get into it.
It’s January the 29nd. Mass Effect 3 is released on the 6th of March. Michael Beattie has not recorded his lines for Mordin Solus. Now, while many fans are still holding on the fact that “they’ll eventually get to him”, it’s looking worryingly like Bioware has simply recast Mordin for Mass Effect 3. In fact, in the leaked Beta fans have noticed that Mordins voice is indeed different, even if a good imitation.
Personally, I found Michaels performance one of the most memorable elements of Mass Effect 2. It troubles me that Bioware either don’t see this, or simply don’t care. Some fans on the Bioware forums are starting to wake up to the fact that we could have a Michael Beattie-less Mass Effect 3. While it is late in the game, if fans let Bioware now how they feel about this it may change something. It’s cutting it close, sure, but it’s worth it, right?
There are some characters in the Mass Effect universe that could be successfully recast without too much damage. As far as I’m concerned Liara, Tali, Garrus, and Mordin are the characters that were made, crafted and shaped by their voice actors. While every other voice actor seems to be safe, it doesn’t look like we’ll be hearing Michael come the 6th of March. However, we’ll let the fans have the last say on that one.
Bioware have stated that this is the end to the Mass Effect trilogy, not the franchise. That’s fine. The Mass Effect franchise has quite a lot of potential. Much like with Star Wars, Bioware has constructed a universe teeming with interesting characters, a fascinating history, and endless potential. I’m guessing the next Mass Effect game will be an RTS though. Think about it; it’s the First Contact War between the Humans and the Turians. You take command of one force as you do battle on Earth using armies, ships, and all sorts of resources. That would be fucking awesome.
Or how about a FPS? You play a member of the Bun Suns that is proficient in Biotics. Imagine freezing an enemy with your left hand only to push them into a wall using your right hand, thereby shattering them. Regardless, I think the franchise could be opened up to many different types of genres.
When playing Mass Effect 1 & 2, I always considered the Omni-Tool to be a thinking mans device. From simple interactions to complex Biotics, it always seemed like a smart tool to use during combat. So once I saw that in Mass Effect 3 you can use the Omni-Tool to stab enemies, I couldn’t help but feel a little deflated. Stabbing? Is that what a Bioware brainstorming session led to? Stabbing? This isn’t Modern Warfare 3, Bioware. It already feels incredibly tacked on, much like when developers of FPS’s think that adding dual wielding to sequels makes it edgy and fresh. It doesn’t. Neither does making the Omni-Tool a stabbing device.
I’m sure to kids will love it though. Fresh off a 5 hour session of Battlefield 3, buzzed up on an energy drink, they’ll lap this shit up. Absolutely. As a loyal Mass Effect fan that adored both games so far, I’m not sold. Sorry.
I’m hopeful that each character will have their own mini ending. From Commander Shepard, to Garrus, and all the way down to Dr.Chakwas, I think each character deserves a good send off. Even if it’s just a quick scene of how they got on after the events of Mass Effect 3′s climactic sequence, that would be perfect. But again, Bioware aren’t foolish so I don’t see it happening that some characters won’t at least be mentioned briefly to give the player some closure. That is, assuming Dr.Chakwas wasn’t liquified into Reaper slime in your Mass Effect 2 game.
One of my biggest fears for Mass Effect 3 is the impact Ginny McSwain’s departure will have on the game. Don’t know who Ginny McSwain is? Check out this interview I conducted with her. Ginny McSwain was the voice director on Mass Effect 1 & 2 and, according to most of the cast during my round table interview, was an integral part of the series. Almost every voice actor sang her praises, and talked about how Ginny brought the best performance out of them.
In voice acting circles Ginny is considered a master of her craft, a 4 time Emmy award winner, and with projects such as Resident Evil 4, Earthworm Jim, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Batman, and Jade Empire under her belt, it’s hard to disagree. It’s because of this that I can’t for the life of me work out why Bioware would pass up on her voice directing Mass Effect 3. After working on the first two games, and delivering to us incredibly believable performances, they have seemingly dropped Ginny without much consideration. Bioware should know better than this. Surely, they know how important Ginnys contribution was to the series.
I won’t pretend like I can speak about the new voice director, Caroline Livingstone. While she did work on Mass Effect, it would be simply wrong of me to assume she’s not up to the task of Mass Effect 3 on her own. However, what strikes me is she has no voice directing experience outside of Bioware. While merely working with Bioware is not exactly a bad start to a voice directing career, I would prefer a veteran like Ginny at the helm. It’s just bizarre, dear readers. Why would Bioware drop Ginny after working on the first two games? Why drop her when the proof of her talent can be seen and heard in the game itself? Why drop her when the voice actors themselves marked her as a vital part of the Mass Effect world? We’ll never know, I guess. A shame.
I think Bioware is smart. They won’t show Tali’s face. The most iconic aspect of Tali, and the Quarians themselves, is the suit and the mask. It gives them character, and the idea of showing her face would cheapen her appeal, and make her a little less unique.
I mean, think about it. Sure the Star Wars prequels were fun (yeah, sue me) but was it really necessary to make Anakin Skywalker the creator of C3PO? This is how I see revealing Tali’s face. Rather than doing it for the story and the characters, it would be done to appease the fans. The fans are wrong. They don’t know what they want. She should keep the mask on. In fact, we should never see the face of the Quarians. Period.
After a massive set up and many interweaving story threads, what if Mass Effect 3 doesn’t give us the conclusion we want? What if once the credits roll it doesn’t feel complete, feel like the ending it deserved? Bioware have surely set themselves up for a monumental task of tying up a whole bunch of loose ends. Will we see a conclusion to the Rachni Queen? What about the Thorian? Thane’s Keplar Syndrome?
As someone who has invested time into the series, I expect and demand a satisfying conclusion to the main missions as well as the little ones, Bioware. Give me my moneys worth.
On the other hand, what if Bioware do deliver on giving us a satisfying conclusion? I mean, I personally haven’t been let down by a Bioware game yet. No, I didn’t play Dragon Age 2, you at the back of the class! Personally, Bioware have never let me down quality-wise. Solely going from their games I’ve played, I’d very readily consider them one of my favourite developers out there at the moment.
While I’m always worrying about certain aspects of Mass Effect 3, I’m more on the side that they’ll give us the end we’ve been waiting for. Time will tell though.