"One of the things that Ray Muzyuka and the team up in Edmonton have done is essentially step-by-step adjust the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you'll see at E3 to put this in a genre equivalent to shooter-meets-RPG," he said, "and essentially address a much larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 began to approach.
"We're huge believers in the IP and are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity."
Does that mean Mass Effect 1 was a watered down shooter?
Nope, it was an RPG with shooter elements. I know this was directed at DarthP, but it's a good opportunity to try to make a point.
There is no philosophy involved in what is an RPG in the context of video game genres. Just like there's no philosophy involved in what is a Real-Time Strategy game. In order for a video game to be classified into the RPG genre of video games, it must posses a specific set of gameplay elements. The same applies to RTS games, Shooters (Third and First person), Action games, P&C Adventures and any other genres you can think of.
I think the genre confusion can happen when a developer borrows gameplay elements from another genre in order to enrich the gameplay of their game (this is the reason most "modern RPGs" give the player the ability to talk to people like he can in good old LucasArts adventure games). This is especially the case if a game is marketed as belonging to base genre A while borrowing elements from genre B, when in fact it belongs to base genre B and borrows elements from genre A.
Since we're talking about RPGs, here are some related examples.
Darksiders was an Action Adventure game. There's no doubt about it - it possessed all gameplay elements of such a game, but it also borrowed certain RPG elements to enrich its gameplay. Namely, you had some light progression in the form of primary weapon level ups gained by gathering enough experience (the gathering was done by killing enemies), as well as a limited inventory and weapon upgrades. You could also buy new/upgrade your weapon combos and abilities at Vulgrim's store. So you could say this game was an Action Adventure with RPG elements.
A similar example would be the Assassin's Creed game series (specifically ACII and AC:B).
On the other hand a more recent example of an action RPG would be Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga. This game has all the elements of a classic RPG - inventory with lots of slots, attributes, a bunch of skills (where each skill/spell can be upgraded at least five times), quests, character progression; to name a few. What this game also has is real-time combat (also labeled as button-mashing combat by some) where one click equals one weapon swing (or one arrow shot) and where you have to position your character yourself in order for that swing/shot to count - similarly to the above mentioned Darksiders, or AC, or even Jedi Outcast/Jedi Academy. You can also jump/roll around to avoid enemy attacks, but the damage you deal is calculated based on the equipped weapons and appropriate attributes. After a certain point in the game, you will be able to turn into a dragon at will and fly around and burn stuff like a dragon tends to do. So there's even a flying element in there.
A similar example would be Two Worlds II.
Keeping all this in mind, it is correct to say that Mass Effect 2 is a Third-Person Shooter with RPG elements, while ME1 is an RPG with shooter elements. And there's nothing wrong with that. Both games have their good and bad sides, just as each genre has its good and bad sides. It is important, however, to differentiate them in order to avoid confusion.
BioWare aims to "enrich" Mass Effect 3's role-playing mechanics without burdening players with heaps of trivial statistics that barely impinge on the action, according to senior designer Christina Norman.
"We want to enrich the role-playing aspects of the game, while making sure that they're always meaningful in combat," Norman told OXM when asked whether the threequel's fleet-footed tactical gunplay might clash with its RPG elements.
"We don't want to have any meaningless behind-the-scenes stat games, where the output is very minor in combat. Every single thing you do has a real impact in the battle."
Fans of Mass Effect 2 might not notice many of the alterations to the combat system at first, Norman went on.
"We got combat the way we wanted it for ME2, so you're going to feel right at home straight away. But there are so many subtle improvements that you'll miss them if you go back."
I'm not sure what the "meaningless behind-the-scenes stat games" refers to. There are no combat character stats in ME - it's all twitch-based. I can only assume it is some reference to the scaling damage of powers and weapons, as there is nothing else you could really term a "stat".
The ME system is already about as bare-boned as it can be without being a pure shooter in the vein of Gears of War. I can't see how on the one hand you can say you are bringing back RPG elements that were stripped out in ME2, yet on the other hand say you're are streamlining elements out.
Well, RPG is more then only Stats on skills and whatnot, who get used in a "Dice" rolling system. It was pretty clear they sort of kicked that out in ME-2.
Mayhaps, teh developpers are bringing back a more slightly elaborate item upgrade thing and armours? That could be considered an RPG aspect aswell.
Then ofcourse they did say they'd bring back more indepth stat stuff... I could see they offer you more choices to spend points in when you level up, sort of mini skill tree's?
Ack... idiots >_<
You are right when you say that a RPG video game is more than just stats, but that applies to all the other elements you mentioned as well - you can't just put some weapon upgrades, or just put some kind of inventory in a game and call it an RPG.
If you've read my previous post (the long one), then you should see that this is precisely one of two points I was trying to make - if you want to classify a game as belonging to a certain genre, then it needs to have a specific set of gameplay elements that defines that genre of video games. Not just one or two elements, but the whole set. This applies to any genre, not just RPGs.
My other point is that players need to understand this in order to successfully differentiate between, for example, an Action RPG (RPG with elements of action games) and an Action game with RPG elements.
Not too much of a surprise considering some of the stuff they unveiled in the comics. TIM got his shiny eyes from Reaper tech, so I kinda figured it would only be a matter of time before we got some sort of OMGTIM=REAPARZ!!!1!!11 plot twist
How is Cerberus working for the Reapers any bigger of a plot twist than the Protheans, an Assari Matriarch or a Spectre working for the Reapers? We already have seen in ME and ME2 that humans are just as acceptable to indoctrination as any other species in the Mass Effect universe. We also have been shown over and over that Cerberus will do anything to get technology to advance the human race. Add to that results matter and safety is of little or no concern and it is a pretty easy leap from fighting the Reapers to joining them. I could see this scenario happen very easily for someone that did not destroy the collector base (which is one of the reasons I always destroyed it), but it could happen almost as easily if Cerberus decide to study other Reaper technology discovered in the universe.
It isn’t like we haven’t seen examples where Cerberus, Alliance and miners find Reaper technology that had the power to indoctrinate in the past. Then again the TIM is arrogant enough to believe he has some angle where he can deal with the Reapers to weaken the galaxy and then destroy them to put human in charge. Perhaps that ancient “dysfunctional” weapon he told Shepard about when getting the mission to get the FTL from the derelict Reaper.
Depending on how it is done, true. However, since I don't know how it will be incorporated into the story I will hold off my judgment. What do you really expect from a company that biggest plot twist to date was in KOTOR, which by the way was lame and predictable?
That "plot twist" re TIM and Co. makes sense, even if predictable and lame. Besides, I'll also w/hold judgement till I see what they do w/ME3. Still, I plan to go into this w/no real expectations beyond it being at least as good/no worse than the first two games.
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