No Origin-Story Comic For New Players in Mass Effect 3

Illustration for article titled No Origin-Story Comic For New Players in Mass Effect 3

A small but neat feature of the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2 was the "Mass Effect: Genesis" comic that allowed new players to go through the story of the first Mass Effect and make all of the decisions that would come into play in the sequel.


Mass Effect 3 is surely being designed with an eye towards bringing in new players—when I spoke with BioWare's director of marketing David Silverman, he made it clear that the game would be quite welcoming to newcomers. As he put it, viewers were able to come into Star Wars: A New Hope without knowing what brought on the conflict between the Empire and the Rebels. It was enough that the story had conflict and drama, clear drama, Luke, the Force, Vader, and the Death Star.

Mass Effect introduced the Reapers; Mass Effect 2 let us know what their plan was. Mass Effect 3 will be a the final big conflict, and so newcomers shouldn't have too difficult a time hopping on board.

Before our hands-on at PAX, we were shown two "Previously on Mass Effect" videos that detailed the story so far and explained the various races of the Mass Effect galaxy. When I asked Silverman if those videos would replace the comic that caught newcomers in the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, he answered in the affirmative.

And while I thought the comics were a great idea, Silverman made the entirely valid point that really, the only people who cared about the decisions (Does Wrex live or die? With whom does Shepard hook up?) were the people who had already played the games. To newcomers, the choices didn't resonate that much. "Do I hook up with this girl, or this girl?" he asked. "Well… this one's blue, so, sure!"

Personally, I'm very interested to see how BioWare actually makes all the choices of the first two games play out in the concluding chapter. (Can't help but wonder if Conrad Vermer is finally going to go ahead and propose marriage to my FemShep. Or try to kill her.) And while it's certainly true that creating a comic that spans both games and lets players make every possible choice would have been more than a little cumbersome, it's a shame that I won't be able to see the full range of potential consequences without at least playing through Mass Effect 2 a few more times.

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My biggest annoyance with the choices in this series, is that many of them don't seem to matter.

(Mass Effect 1, 2, and Retribution SPOILERS)

What did you do with the Council? They're not very helpful in Mass Effect 2 even if you were good to them. How did you resolve the matter with Saren? I'm hoping your decision regarding the Rachni plays a big part in Mass Effect 3 instead of becoming a case of "well, we didn't need them anyway" (see also holding back the Alliance ships to go after Sovereign, which apparently wasn't necessary after all, versus sacrificing them to save the Destiny Ascension and its many occupants and destroying Sovereign anyway).

The mission on the world of Feros isn't mentioned at all in the Mass Effect: Genesis comic, and that was one of two places in the game I know of where you were actually given skill-based moral decisions. You did get to choose through dialogue what happened to Shiala, though. For people who played Mass Effect 2 on the PS3, does Shiala actually show up on Illium, or does she appear at all?

Judging from the end of Mass Effect 2, what happened in the Mass Effect: Retribution novel, and what we've seen of Mass Effect 3, it looks like the pro-human group Cerberus is our enemy again even if we buddied up to them in Mass Effect 2 (I didn't, but I imagine some players did). So what really came of that, other than handing over a ton of Collector/Reaper technology to a bunch of bigoted elitists? Speaking of Retribution, it apparently doesn't matter whom we chose to join the Council at the end of the first game, because Udina (yes, that Udina) is the canonical councilor.

(End Mass Effect 1, 2, and Retribution SPOILERS)

I'm hoping that Mass Effect 3 will have one heck of a downer ending if you just said, "Screw you" to everyone in the galaxy in the first two games, to the point where no one is able or willing to help you anymore.