An-Open-Letter-To-BioWare

Open Letter To BioWare: Mass Effect 4

To whom it may concern

Hello there, person of BioWare. My name is Michael and I’m a long-time fan of Mass Effect. I got into the game after I played through another one of your masterpieces called Jade Empire. That game impressed me so much… it was so unique… that I was curious what else you had. So I purchased Mass Effect and never regretted it for a second. The reason why I am telling you this is because I want to emphasize that I am a fan. I’ve purchased all of your games, many of the DLCs, and even have an N7 hoodie. I’ve supported the Mass Effect series financially. So that should mean something.

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I’m concerned about Mass Effect 4. Yes, I remember a report saying that it won’t be called ME-4, but I don’t remember the working title for the game. Yes, not much is known about the game at this point. But the direction you went with Mass Effect 3, and Dragon Age 2, felt off. It has me greatly concerned for the future of the franchise. So rather than criticize, I want to offer you suggestions so the game might be better. Or the series will be put back on the right track.

All I ask is for you to read what I have to say. Agree, disagree, or ignore it… it’s up to you..

It’s About Mystery, Discovery And Adventure

The original intentions behind the Mass Effect series was to reflect the best science fiction shows out there. It’s to re-create that magical experience we used to get when watching or reading good quality science fiction. No, I’m not talking about the shooty-fighty science fiction. Those stories, to me, aren’t true science fiction. Science fiction uses science in some way to help progress a story. Science is all about discovery, learning to do something new, curing something, or just going to someplace new. It’s always about pushing that boundary further, letting humanity see its potential.

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I’d like you to do that again with the series. Mystery, discovery and adventure tends to lead to a sense of wonder and grandeur. Yes, fighting is cool and we all know that it’s all about shooting things in multiplayer.. and by the way… you did a great job with ME-3’s multiplayer. Major congrats on that. … anywho…

You need to make us get lost in the world again, show us how strange and mysterious it is. Like all the planets in the first game with unexplained lights, structures, and artifacts. No explanation, but they were there. It created a mystery. How did those things get there? Why are there so many of them scattered around? That naturally gets people wondering, and you really did a good job of that.

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And the science! Man, you had explanations for everything in that game. It all felt consistent, like the world was a unified whole created by that very science. You need to go back to that. Yeah, flashy battles look cool. But that’s not what attracted me, and I’m betting others, to the series. It was being able to be immersed into a new… fantastic… and futuristic world.  A world ripe with possibilities and adventure.

Dare to dream.

It’s About Characters

I don’t know how you did it, but you made me care about Garrus. About Mordin. About Thane. About Liara. It wasn’t cheap emotional appeals. I felt like I was connected to them, and that’s crazy! They are just video game characters! They aren’t real.. but somehow, they feel real to me. I liked that. It was a critical part of the game.

Like the entire Geth / Quarian struggle played out before us in one scene between Legion and Tali. Legion believed the Quarians were going to try to harm his people and Tali was ready to shoot/kill Legion out of fear for her people. That’s exactly what happened in the Morning War. And we watched it get resolved right before our eyes. That little thing meant a lot to me, feeling like I was able to plant a seed of peace between two ancient enemies. That exchange was far more meaningful than almost anything done with the Geth in the 3rd game… think about it. Legion cares about his people, only wanting them to live. The Quarians are the ruthless aggressors, fooling themselves into thinking they are the victims. Violence wasn’t needed to solve it. Only talking was required.

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Or the collective guilt of the Salarian people was embodied within Mordin. He truly believed what he did was for the good of the Krogans and for the galaxy… but he could never forget about the mountains of dead Krogan babies. That sort of guilt forced him away from the STG and to Omega where he dedicated his life to solely helping people. His struggle was the Salarian’s collective struggle. I believed that, and still do believe it.

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When you make a new game, please make sure you spend extra time on the characters. Make them fun to talk to. Give us something that we will remember.

It’s About Choice

Players choices should always be reflected in the game. Like in Mass Effect 2. I loved how I was able to hear news reports about the consequences of my actions in the first game. I loved that. And when something new came up, it felt like it seamlessly blended into the greater whole… like the Vorcha! They were creepy as hell, but I could understand why they weren’t in the first game. Shepard didn’t go anywhere where they lived. And they weren’t exactly that important, so there would be no reason to feel their impact until running directly into them.

By killer_rabbit_05 of Deviant Art

By killer_rabbit_05 of Deviant Art

Just remember that the player wants to see the consequences of their choice. If they don’t see what they feel is a fair representation of the consequences of their choice, they will get upset. This normally isn’t a problem for you, so I just urge caution.

It’s About…..

The player. The story. The music. The action. The characters. The choices. The consequences. The magic. The mystery. The science. The enemies. The politics. The adventure. The ships. The galaxy. The mass relays. The aliens. The history. It’s about paragon. It’s about renegade.

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It’s about creating an immersive experience that players will want to keep on coming back for.

Thank you for reading this BioWare. Just please don’t forget what made Mass Effect great in the first place.

Signed

Michael Zack

A loyal fan

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