The director of Mass Effect Legendary Edition looks back on the trilogy


Mass effect: Legendary Edition This is a way to relive the original RPG trilogy, and this is the first time some people have seen the game. The series hits are different from 2021, but some of them, such as romance and squads, are still shining.

Mac Walters was a writer and director for all three games and had a follow-up title. Mass effect: Andromeda.. He also served as director of Legendary Edition, It demanded that he sit down and play the game again fresh.He has some ideas Mass effect 1Legacy, the cry of sex with Garrus Vakarian, and the most unnecessary potential death in the series.

[Ed. Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]

Polygon: Looking back at the trilogy a few years after its first release, what do you think of the reaction to the squad, especially the interpersonal relationships with the characters and the romance scenarios? It feels like you can see that fingerprint in many of today’s games, from the release of Triple A to mobile games.

McWalters: We sought to push the boundaries of what we call interactive, cinematic storytelling. Everything from the fact that we have patented a conversation wheel — you see something like that everywhere right now, right? It’s very commonplace. But its overall goal was to remove some of the barriers between the game and the character’s interaction, making it feel like a cinematic-quality seamless experience.

Thankfully, not all characters appeal to everyone, but I think we’ve managed to create a character that has a character for everyone. Each artist is given their own influence and nuance so that the characters can express themselves with their individuality and liveliness.

The importance of developing the relationship between shepherds and characters and linking them all to suicide missions [at the end of Mass Effect 2] I thought it was meaningful, but I think it was unimaginable to allow people to explore those relationships as part of their journey towards a successful mission. Sure, it’s very cool to see what others have done with it.

What I find really interesting is that the romance is all different. Jacob throws you straight away — I think he’s the only one to do so. With others, you have more soulmate connections. Was it intended from the beginning to be very diverse in the relationship between Shepherd and the crew? What comes in to plan it and understand who fits where?

We knew that there was a trilogy relationship and we didn’t have to call them romance, but somehow span all three games.From the beginning, the idea was planned that you would meet and become a potential best friend or be romantically involved. [with Kaiden, Ashley, or Liara] In the first game, but then in the second game it will be a kind of decline. Only if you remain loyal to them will you be able to continue that particular aspect.

But when, for example, fans see a desire to be able to build romance and deeper relationships with Gallas, we are encouraged to try more and add more layers to those relationships. I did.

Image: BioWare / Electronic Arts

In the wake of Mass effectThere was a person like, I don’t care about Miranda and Jacob, I’m here for Gallas and Tari.. Were you surprised at how quickly players formed relationships with aliens in Normandy, and perhaps humans felt a bit boring in comparison, or was it what you expected?

I don’t know if I was expecting it, but as a writer, I’m sure I was drawn to aliens over human characters, so I should think about it later. I had the opportunity to write Garrus and Wrex in the first one, not only to be able to partially define who they are, but also to use them as a centerpiece to explain their role in species and galaxies. By doing so, I freely found a very big challenge. It was probably a pleasant surprise that people were so eager for those relationships, and then we were able to take them further.

Characters like Conrad Burner and hostile journalist Harissa Al Giran were developed based on how fans reacted to them. How do you think those arcs are read now that players can see them in a row? Do you think the pace of their stories would be read differently without years of fan debate and memes? Is that positive, or may some people not understand why a guy like Burner is in the limelight so much?

correct? Yeah, that’s a good question. Personally, I experienced this as a proper trilogy and realized that including all the content in it changed the way I felt when I played it. Before it feels, you’re right, three different blockbuster movies. Looking back at the original Star Wars trilogy, I had to wait three years for each to come out, but while I was still whipping for the next trilogy, everything had to be self-reliant. did.

But now I think it feels like the three acts of one giant space opera. The downbeat between each curtain is, so to speak, really fun. Then everything starts to refresh and start again, and it seems you rejuvenated to get back to it. So so far, I’ve really enjoyed it and have done it all at once. It will take some time, but I am enjoying it.

Mass Effect-Shepherd sees a giant alien creature on the planet of Eden Prime

Image: BioWare / Electronic Arts

What was the most amazing thing about returning to the trilogy and revisiting it?

Two things. How much is one? You can’t underestimate the amount of content there. In the three games, you have to test everything, not to mention single player DLC, every time you make a change. man, time consuming. When you are making multiple changes that you have noticed Oops, there are many here, And all the different options and paths that people can take, as you have grown up before. It’s just huge.

Another really interesting surprise for me Mass effect 1.. I’m having a hard time returning to the game I shipped and playing it because I only see bugs. It’s very difficult to get the developer’s head off and back.Even when we were working Andromeda, And I wanted to relive the trilogy, I was like Oh man, this is a slog..

So it’s been a while since I was there. When I started playing, I couldn’t believe what I did. When it went on sale in 2007 … You built it in 2004 and 2005, didn’t you? And all this physics, gameplay, everything we could achieve. It was awkward in some respects, but I was just like, Wow, awesome..

I am very lucky and lucky to have the opportunity to come back and revisit now Mass effect 1 Take some of the lessons learned from 2 And 3 And apply them to 1 So we can get rid of those rough edges and let the amazing things we have accomplished shine.

Looking back, I think the fans are still discussing the following: Is Ashley an alien exclusion? Or What is the correct decision for a particular mission? Do fans’ game-based conclusions surprise you? Have fans ever adopted and implemented theory or interpreted sentences in unexpected ways?

I think a good example is something like teaching theory. I didn’t plan it. I have never thought about it.But I love the world and IP helping people make the following theories [indoctrination theory] And break up the writing like this: I really believe this.. That’s great for me.

Ultimately some of my favorite storytelling leaves room for imagination, so people love to have their own spin in the game. You have to fill in some whitespace yourself. That mysterious feeling and being able to discuss it as people who have experienced the story together.

I don’t know if I deliberately set out to create those spaces and how much they did, but I love being there. In retrospect, I think it’s one of the reasons why this series has become so popular because people can apply their experience and imagination.

Renegade feels like it takes a while to find a foot Paragon..There are times Mass effect 1 Where Renegade is knocking out people and slamming people around you, and sometimes it’s more practical, the end justifies the worldview of means. How did Renegade get together, and how do you think it will work now, benefiting from hindsight?

That’s a really good question. So I call these “the dynamics of the story”. Whether it’s an interrupt system, Paragon or Renegade, they evolve a lot over time as we understand what works and what doesn’t.I remember Mass effect 2 We have begun a much clearer definition — the design and writing teams can say: Too Paragon.After passing here, it’s Too Brick de. Try to stay within these ranges using specific examples. So as you progress through the series, it becomes a little more predictable and you can see what will happen.

That said, I’m thinking of a few things … I don’t want to be persistent, but guys, there are some really difficult rebel choices.Recently I did a trilogy, a complete rebellion playthrough [for the first time], Paragon selection options are not used. And oops, guys, there are some options that are really hard to make as humans. I don’t think there is any data, but I want to know how many people got the data because it is set as follows … I don’t think this can be done as a Renegade player..

Like Virmire, when Wrex confronted you, I actually wrote the scene in Virmire.I forgot how Brutal Who killed Wrex. Often people don’t want to take those options.They make Paragon choices, even if they say they are rebels [at story points].. So how well did it last? I think I did it.If you have no doubts and have not asked [your path], Then we think it was wrong. So the fact that people are still uncertain about some options would mean that we did it right.

Mass Effect 3-Shepherd attacks the shell with an omni blade

Image: BioWare / Electronic Arts

I remember Mass effect 2 Renegade interrupts have always been much better than Paragon interrupts. Renegade’s interruption was always like “See you next fall!” Then you will push the man out the window. It was really good.

It was actually the first interrupt we made. I made a prototype at that level. I don’t know if it was the best, but it’s strange that many people call it.

When Mass effect 2, You are assembling a character for a suicide mission, and I think some of them (like Jacob) have many flaws. I read him as a shepherd’s restraint to balance space pirates, and it’s really interesting to bring him to Renegade Run, where you’re throwing people out of the window. I’m interested — when people see a character they dislike, do you try to improve it for the future? Or is it intended so that not everyone wants to see every aspect of every character in the crew?

Oh yeah, it’s 100% intentional.It goes back to what I was saying, it means you want to write a character, so someone will hopefully be drawn to [them]..But when you try to write that character Everyone Attracted to, you will fail. So how real is the character, not just failing? How meaningful is a character if it appeals to everyone?

There must be something there that you have to work with, it challenges you. And if it challenges you very much like you No i don’t want to deal with it, That’s good. That is your choice. I think it emphasizes the choice. In my Renegade playthrough, I was like, what do you know? This is going to make the wolf lonely. So I got people together, but I didn’t talk much and I knew what that meant. The last was a catastrophe.

But what’s interesting is the choice of whether or not to interact with the character, right? It can obviously affect gameplay, but it can also express how you want to play the game and how you want to interact with it here. And the others you attract, it’s always 100% intent.