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BioWare Hopes To Finish Mass Effect Series On 360

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the yeah-that's-knights-to-you dept.

XBox (Games) 41

In an interview with the folks at Games Radar, BioWare's co-founder and president Dr. Greg Zeschuk discussed their hopes for Mass Effect . Zeschuk commented that the team expects to finish the planned trilogy of games on the Xbox 360 - this is, before this generation of consoles has played out. "Zeschuk: Certainly out intent is to have all three iterations or installments of Mass Effect to be on Xbox 360. That's the goal. GamesRadar: Exclusively to 360 all the way? Zeschuk: Can't really comment on that aspect yet, it's too far into the future. Thinking a year in to the future is a big challenge these days. The law we can't control is the length of the console cycle. I hope, I hope, I hope that this cycle is longer than the last one. We kind of just got started last cycle and it kind of ended when our second game came out. Downloadable content could also bridge the gap by giving you new little islands of story between the big game releases."

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1 a year then? (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20667929)

So, 1 a year then, eh? Sony's been saying the 360's lifespan is about 5 years, since that's how the original XBox went. If they're correct (and I think they probably are) then there's 4 years left to produce 3 games... Pretty tight, if you plan to actually make changes to the engine. Not so bad if you just plan to change the levels and plot.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20668089)

While I agree with you that they are likely correct in saying that 5 years will be the lifespan, don't accept what one company says about another's products as being the truth.

You wouldn't believe Microsoft if they had said prior to it's release that the PS3 was going to not do nearly as well as Sony thought, would you?

Re:1 a year then? (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20668285)

No, I tempered that with facts... Microsoft does typically have a lifecycle of a few years on their products. Also, most of their games work on 360 and PC both, and it won't be long before the PC's most basic video cards out-do the 360's. MS is going to have to figure out how to keep their console alive when that happens. One option (and maybe the only viable one) is to release a new console.

I admit it. I'm a sucker, and I'll buy the next MS Console when it comes out, whether it be 4 years or 10. I resisted the 360 for about a year, and I resisted the PS3 for about 6 months. (Getting the PS3 used and super cheap had a lot to do with that, though.)

I'm not yet convinced that Mass Effect is the next Halo, though... They've been advertising it as an RPG and it's extremely hard to get a long-running RPG series. Planning to have 3 of them before they even start reminds me a lot of Advent Rising... AR even got Orson Scott Card to write the plot, and where's the second game? I haven't even heard anything about it.

Anyhow, I think they'll need a LOT of luck to manage to get all 3 Mass Effect games to market before the 360 goes the way of the coelacanth. (Extinct, but with a few copies that didn't know they should be dead.)

Re:1 a year then? (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20668407)

As far as PC's outdoing the 360...well I mean that's par for the course, isn't it? Typically when a console is released, it offers better graphics and more power than it's computer counterparts....generally within a couple months (and in some cases, before the console even launches) the pc has already surpassed it's abilities...Oblivion in 1080P still doesn't look nearly as good as it does on the PC in the same resolution. This isn't a new development, this is just how things have generally worked for a long time.

And you know what? So long as PC gaming requires upgrades every 6 months-1 year (and expensive upgrades at that), the market will NEVER be as big as console gaming.

Mass Effect won't be the next Halo, because they are entirely different games...I know this doesn't necessarily apply to EVERYONE, but generally the people that I see that are Halo-obsessed are what I refer to as "Madden Gamers"...I highly doubt I really need to explain that one to you...

Mass Effect is being developed by Bioware, and if their track record is any indication it's going to be an amazing game.

Re:1 a year then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20669451)

Consider that Mass Effect will probably appeal to the same audience as BioShock, and most of the original purchasers of that game will have wrapped it up and be ready for a new challenge by 11/20, I'm sure ME will be a bit hit.

I loved KOTOR, but they just take so long to play! I didn't even get 20% through Oblivion!


Re:1 a year then? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20669685)

What makes you think Mass Effect will appeal to Bioshock players? They are both entirely different games...not even in the same it's core, Bioshock is an FPS. At it's core, Mass Effect is an RPG/Over the Shoulder Tactical Shooter hybrid...

Re:1 a year then? (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#20679553)

By "same audience," he probably meant something like "gamers who are somewhat serious about their hobbies, read online reviews, and don't buy Madden every year." I'd say that a fair amount of the people who are interested in BioShock will also be interested in Mass Effect, because they are both important "gamer's games."

Re:1 a year then? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20679611)

Ah...whether or not that is what he meant, that makes sense to me 8D

Re:1 a year then? (3, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | about 7 years ago | (#20668505)

Heh, well so long as the Xbox360 gets itself into enough hands before a new console completely destroys it's appeal, they can still reap profit from releasing on the Xbox360 instead of the next-gen console(that's right, I'm calling the Wii, Xbox360, PS3 current-gen now). The Xbox360 doesn't need to be better than the new consoles to sell more copies, since although the new consoles will undoubtedly have neat features going for it, the new consoles will also need a good userbase and rate of adoption while the Xbox360 may have already established itself.

The PS2 is an extreme example(and I seriously doubt the Xbox360 will do as well), but it does show that a console can potentially hang in there to survive against the following generation for a while.

Still, it does seem a little optimistic to declare the hardware you'll release the 3rd game on before even the 1st is gold. Poor Advent Rising...they blew their budget and didn't leave enough to strain out all those horrendous bugs. It was a pretty fun game otherwise, I wish it could have done better.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 7 years ago | (#20669585)

The PS2 is an extreme example(and I seriously doubt the Xbox360 will do as well), but it does show that a console can potentially hang in there to survive against the following generation for a while.

The PS2 isn't really extreme. It's basically always been common industry practice for successful previous generation machines to remain in the market during, and in some cases beyond, the next generation. A successful console's lifespan is about the same length as two console generations. Only the failures are off the shelves the day the next generation is released. Financially, the original XBox was a failure for Microsoft, thus you can't buy them anymore while you can still buy PS2s. Whether or not the 360 will have a longer lifespan than the XBox has mostly to do with whether Microsoft can get manufactuing costs way down over time, and whether or not they make the (stupid) decision to pull the 360 off the shelves for fear of it cutting into their next generation sales.

Anyway, just look back to the NES, Genesis, SNES, Atari 2600/7800, PlayStation/PSOne, any of the Gameboy iterations, and now with the PS2. You'll see that the successful machines have life, including *new* system sales, far longer than the generation they were released into. I would even go so far as to say life into the next generation is the single definition of whether a system was successful or not.

Re:1 a year then? (2, Interesting)

Grave (8234) | about 7 years ago | (#20675397)

The 360 will live longer than five years - Microsoft has already alluded to this. They have also said that the 360 will stick around and be supported even after the next generation launches. However, I don't see them continuing to support the 360 as substantially as Sony is supporting the PS2. A lot of early 360 adopters were people who had XBOXs and saw that if they wanted more new games, they either had to buy a 360 or jump sideways into a PS2. Now, I'm not saying PS2 owners would go for the PS3 if the PS2 new game well were dried up, but I have to think that more of them would do so. The PS2 is a bit unusual, because it is really outselling the PS3. Did the PS1 continue to outsell the PS2 10 months after the PS2 released? The PS2 was/is an immensely successful console, but it is probably being helped out now by the fact that the PS3 is prohibitively expensive and lacks many games. There are plenty of casual gamers who aren't interested in the 360 or Wii, as they've grown up on PS1 and then PS2, so getting the PS3 just makes sense, but not until a price drop that means something.

Either way, it's almost certain that the next generation of consoles will start with Microsoft or Nintendo (or both), and not with Sony. The PS3 was designed to be around for awhile, and unless things change big-time, it does not appear that it will not be financially possible to release a new console for Sony for awhile.

Re:1 a year then? (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | about 7 years ago | (#20675521)

Now, I'm not saying PS2 owners would go for the PS3 if the PS2 new game well were dried up, but I have to think that more of them would do so. The PS2 is a bit unusual, because it is really outselling the PS3. Did the PS1 continue to outsell the PS2 10 months after the PS2 released?

The PSOne didn't actually come out until months after the PS2 came out, so PlayStation sales were pretty flat for a while, but they pulled even for a good long while, and stayed fairly strong for over a year after the PS2 came out. The PS2 didn't gain week-to-week ground until FFX came out. Supporting the previous generation strongly isn't new to the PS2 for Sony though. There was an additional hardware rev, new accessories, and continued new releases on the PS1 for a long time, years, after the PS2 came out.

As for Sony and the PS3 financially, expect Sony to be turning a profit on the hardware by Q408, even with price cuts. Microsoft should be turning a profit already on the 360, and I suspect they would have been if not for the hardware issues and warranty extension.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#20679633)

The PS2 is an extreme example(and I seriously doubt the Xbox360 will do as well), but it does show that a console can potentially hang in there to survive against the following generation for a while.

I think the "winning" console has always managed to hang on a lot longer, on some cases (such as the VCS 2600 or the Game Boy) even surviving the next generation of consoles.

Re:1 a year then? (2, Interesting)

brkello (642429) | about 7 years ago | (#20668729)

That's not really a fact. There is no typical with the Xbox considering we are just on its second iteration.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | about 7 years ago | (#20668919)

Yeah, more support for over-zealous RPG epics would be Xenosaga [] . Being basically a prequel to Xenogears [] , most people expected great things. What they got was a boring FMV with some RPG elements. (can you sense that I was one of those people let down...?) Originally, Xenosaga was to be a six part series. This would be working off the popularity of Xenogears.

I'm very much looking forward to Mass Effect. And there is little doubt that it will be a great game. I just hope they don't blow it on the sequels.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | about 7 years ago | (#20676451)

But theres a catch in this case. Bioware has stating that they're planning on using downloadable content to expand on the Mass Effect games for several months/years now and given the overall success of Xbox Live Marketplace, they might actually have a chance of pulling it off. A couple side-quests every few months and an "expansion" every Christmas would be easy given Bioware's love for leaving tons of unexplored characters/backstories/areas in their games. Hell, KOTOR 2 (the "good ending") literally ended completely open-ended.

In comparison, the Xenogears series was one (big) mis-step after another. Its biggest flaw, however, was easily the fact that the game was SLOW to come out. The first Xenosaga came out in '02 and the second Xenosaga came out in '04. By that metric, the sixth game would've come out in 2012.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

Hawkeye05 (1056362) | about 7 years ago | (#20668321)

Or that the Wii would be a smash hit with Grandparents and others who have no clue what a REAL videogame is. I bet money the Wii would be vaporware but then it was called the revolution... Still like that name more, and now I'm out $50.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20668483)

I figured the Revolution/Wii was going to do well, but I never imagined it would do THIS well.

I just hope that the 8th gen consoles that Sony and Microsoft put out don't try to emulate the Wii with motion controls (which Sony is already semi-guilty for with their 7th gen machine) That would be really bad...innovation, people! (Yes I am aware that innovation and coming up with something original is harder to do than to, I have no idea what they should do to innovate...if I knew, don't you think I would be working for one of them instead of working in a call center?)

Re:1 a year then? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20668663)

I hope exactly the opposite... I hope they have the sense to make wii-like wands, but keep the current joypads as well. In fact, the PS3 is poised to do that in this generation... They can firmware upgrade at any time, and the bluetooth will connect more than 1 kind of controller to it. (I've got a bluetooth tv-style remote for it.) If they simply re-shape the controller and keep the motion sensing, they'll have a wii-mote for the ps3.

I love my Wii, but the pitiful resolution always shocks me when I switch back to it after playing the PS3 or 360 for a while. The games are still fun, but I could wish they were visually stunning -and- fun.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#20679783)

As far as controllers go, I think Nintendo had the right idea: Make the Wand the main controller, but allow other controllers to be plugged into it. I hope the next gen consoles ship a standard/classic controller along with the Wand controller for those games that make no sense with the Wand. I understand why Nintendo was forced to not include a classic controller - otherwise, most devs would simply have used that one.

At the end of this gen, "Wand" control will be more established, and consoles can go back to coming with a "normal" controller.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20680573)

I would have far prefered that the 'classic' controller not plug into the wand. It's annoying. It could simply have been a nice wireless controller, like everything else in this generation. Instead, I end up balancing a wiimote in my lap while I futz with the cord from the classic controller while playing.

I disagree that 'everyone' would have used the classic controller, too. The whole point of the Wii was the Wiimote and that's what would be used whenever possible. On the other hand, travesties like Super Paper Mario would have used the classic controller instead, with the wiimote serving a few odd functions. (Or none at all, for my money. It adds nothing to the game.)

Wii Sports, Trauma Center, Carnival Games... Those all work best with the motion controls. Just about everything else is worse, especially the FPSs.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#20684895)

On the one hand, I would have preferred a stand-alone classic controller, too. On the other hand, the classic controller costs 20 euros, and the PS3 controller costs 50 euros. For 30 euros, I'm willing to put up with hooking it to the Remote. Just put the Wii Remote in your pocket, that's what I do.

Super Paper Mario is one of the games that might have used the classic controller, but in my opinion, it's also one of the games that works really well with the Remote. Playing it actually feels a bit like playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES...

Finally, I have to disagree on the FPS. The currently available Wii FPS are mostly attrocious, but even so, I actually prefer control of even the most crappy games like Far Cry to the dual analog controls. FPS will be the Wii's biggest success.

Re:1 every other year more likely. (1)

trdrstv (986999) | about 7 years ago | (#20668377)

So, 1 a year then, eh? Sony's been saying the 360's lifespan is about 5 years, since that's how the original XBox went. If they're correct (and I think they probably are) then there's 4 years left to produce 3 games... Pretty tight, if you plan to actually make changes to the engine. Not so bad if you just plan to change the levels and plot.

Probably 1 every other year, which seems about right. Console life cycles are in the 5-6 year range (unless you're Sega). MS went out in 4 years just to get a jump on the competition. The question is do you want that 3rd one to be one of the Swan songs of the platform (Like God of War II) or one of the Launch titles for the new one and use the new tech available?

If they do break up the trilogy between 2 platforms (which is likely), would it make so much of a difference if the other 2 remain Backwards compatible? (preferably like the Metroid Prime Series, and not the Halo series. Being able to use the original saves files is important especially on games this big.)

Re:1 every other year more likely. (2, Insightful)

PhoenixOne (674466) | about 7 years ago | (#20668883)

"The question is do you want that 3rd one to be one of the Swan songs of the platform (Like God of War II) or one of the Launch titles for the new one and use the new tech available?"

I'd like to see Mass Effect 3 squeeze every last drop from the XBox360 and make us question why we need a new system when this old one can still rock.

Then I would love to see Bioware release a totally new game series on the new platform that makes us forget all about the 360. :)

Re:1 every other year more likely. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 7 years ago | (#20674669)

I'm still playing last gen Xbox 1 games which make me wonder why we needed the PS3 or 360 in the first place?

Both of them launched a year too early in my opinon.

Re:1 every other year more likely. (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | about 7 years ago | (#20678327)

Yes, Microsoft really rushed the entire market this generation.

If they waited a year (or two), maybe 1 out of 3 360s wouldn't need to be repaired. The PS3 could of cost 1/2 to 2/3 the price. And the Wii could of used a next generation graphics.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

brkello (642429) | about 7 years ago | (#20668523)

Why would you believe what Sony would say about their competitor's product? The original Xbox was what they used to break in to the market and learn from. It had a short cycle because they wanted to take what they learned and be first to market this time around. Things do change with each generation, you know.

Modded "Insightful"? (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | about 7 years ago | (#20668589)

How can a post be insightful if it can't even do basic math?

The first game is almost out. Which gives them four years to do two games (1 every TWO years). Which is about how long most new game projects are designed to take.

Since BioWare will probably build on the tools and engine of the first game, the second and third should be much easier (not trivial, but easier). I would guess 18 months between each game (given the huge amount of content).

Re:Modded "Insightful"? (1)

provigilman (1044114) | about 7 years ago | (#20668865)

Considering that the first KOTOR came out in July of '03 and Jade Empire came out in April of '05 (and now Mass Effect is coming out in Novemeber of '07) I would tend to agree with the above poster. If they stay within the current gen console they don't have to worry much about meeting new specs or anything, and can use essentialy the same engine with each release (with modifications as the system gets older and they learn how to tweak it more). That means it should be completely feasible for them to release a new Mass Effect every other year, with perhaps some episodic content in between major retail releases.

Also, considering their past success with KOTOR and Jade Empire, they would have to make a real stinker in order to screw up enough to negate the possibility of a sequel or two. Mass Effect is slated to be everything those two games were and more, and from everything I've seen in the previews it has nowhere near the issues that Advent Rising had.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

damiangerous (218679) | about 7 years ago | (#20668605)

Sony's been saying the 360's lifespan is about 5 years, since that's how the original XBox went.

That's a poor yardstick. There was an article on the Xbox's end of life a few issues back in OXM. Microsoft was losing money on the Xbox and couldn't get the cost down because they built it with off the shelf parts. Just continuing to makes XBoxes was losing them money. With the 360 they control the hardware front to back. Like Sony and Nintendo have always been able to they can now take advantage of re-engineering the system to get costs down. The 360 is more like the PS2, MS will be able to get the costs down enough that they can make a profit on it for as long as they choose to sell it. It will be around more than 5 years.

Re:1 a year then? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 7 years ago | (#20673795)

Considering Microsoft's history with hardware manufacturing (including joysticks), I doubt they'll get costs down much. They admitted before launch that it might be the one issue that Sony would have a leg up on them with -- Sony's ability to continually improve yields and margins on product over the years.

A trilogy (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | about 7 years ago | (#20668399)

I'm just excited to hear that Mass Effect is set to be a trilogy. Had this been announced before?

Re:A trilogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20668851)

I'm not so happy about it being a trilogy. Several games that were announced as a planned trilogy or a series have gone wrong.

Advent Rising was supposed to be a trilogy and ended up getting canned because the first game sold poorly. Now most would agree it was a series that didn't deserve to be continued based on the quality of the first game, but say you were one of the people who actually liked the game - now you're left hanging with 1/3 of a story, never getting to see it to conclusion.

Sin Episodes, same deal. It was supposed to be 9 episodes. If you liked the first episode (I did) you're left completely unfulfilled.

Beyond Good and Evil was supposed to be a trilogy too. Now there's a game that really deserves to be continued, but we'll never know where the story goes.

Xenosaga was supposed to be a 6 game series and ended up as 3 games as interest waned. The story seriously suffered as a result. Coupled with drastic aesthetic and gameplay changes between each game, the series can barely be considered a complete experience.

I'm worried about Mass Effect. I mean, first of all, we're guaranteed that Mass Effect is going to end in a cliff hanger - it sucked with Halo 2, it's going to suck even more with a game where story is a central focus. From that point on, there are worries about what's going to happen. Sure I guess we're all assuming Mass Effect is going to sell well and guarantee it continuation, but Xenosaga 1 sold like gangbusters and that didn't prevent huge shake ups at the developer and a largely inferior sequel. A lot of things can happen in 2 years between games.

Re:A trilogy (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20669023)

To comment on the cliffhanger ending of Halo 2, I thought it was perfectly done. It was the right moment in the storyline to stop the game, and it allows for the PERFECT set up for Halo 3.

That being said, I think the best cliffhanger in a game ever was at the end of Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance...seriously. No other game had me shouting NEARLY as loudly at the TV "WHAT HAPPENS?!?!?!?!" than that game.

Re:A trilogy (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 7 years ago | (#20669175)

Yep, I second that. I really have a hard time to find a gaming trilogy that actually did get completly finished as originally planed. There are of cause dozens of games around with multiple sequels, but those very seldomly build up on each other, most of the time its simply more of a same with not much if any connection to the previous story. And heck, even if the trilogy works out, you might end up with a game split across multiple platform, some of which you might not own. So no matter of it turns out, the potential for trouble with a gaming trilogy is *huge*.

Re:A trilogy (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 years ago | (#20671873)

It takes a great deal of chutzpah to announce "We're doing a trilogy" on a new game.

Sure, it's Bioware and all...

Re:A trilogy (1)

wezeldog (982156) | about 7 years ago | (#20669943)

I think it has been. My take is that Bioware is moving towards having more original "properties" that they have control over. They are also developing Dragon Age with a completely new rule set and settings. With ME, my understanding is that there will be updates issued between full games. In addition they are expanding to other media with at least novels, a la Halo. It'll be work to get them out in that time. This version is a little late. I pre-ordered late 2006 for Jan 2007. Disappointed, but I'd rather have it right than bugged.

News ? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 7 years ago | (#20668403)

A developer of a game that's not out yet hopes to release more games in the future on the same platform.

"Hopes" for the distant future of an unproven game franchise aren't really news.

There will be plenty of actual news from the Tokyo Game Show this week. It's no big deal, but there's no need to post this kind of thing unless you're using it to test your internet connection or something.

Re:News ? (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | about 7 years ago | (#20671475)

I think the news here is that Bioware is planning a trilogy (I don't know if it was announced before or not). Those of us hoping for an epic SF story have something to look forward to. Bioware's good with the story element so we may see some depth. If they meet their intentions this should be an awesome interactive graphic novel. Though the valley of hype, guarded by John Romero's roving and restless soul, is littered with the bones of those who have failed. Keep your fingers crossed.


Editors? (0, Offtopic)

jmpeax (936370) | about 7 years ago | (#20669049)

Certainly out intent
Why are errors like this not noticed by the editors?

Re:Editors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20669611)

Slashdot doesn't have editors.
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