Fancast Xtra -- BioWare interview with Greg Zeschuk
We got a chance to sit down with Dr. Greg Zeshuk, president of BioWare, to talk about Mass Effect. The interview was conducted by Joystiq's Ludwig Kietzmann. We captured the audio, which you can download on MP3 (Fancast subscribers will receive the audio automatically). A breakdown of our discussion can be found after the break.
The first subject is the uncanny valley (the concept that hyper realistic characters seem less realistic or even creepy). Mass Effect's characters are very realistic, which makes inconsistencies stand out more. We noticed this in our recent GDC eyes on preview of the game. Zeschuk speaks to the idea that the aliens actually seem more realistic than humans at times, and notes that the artists really enjoy creating the alien expressions. About Mass Effect's dynamic conversation system, Zeschuk says that difference is between "reading" dialogue and "playing" dialogue. Mass Effect's system allows for more interesting and surprising results than traditional dialogue systems.
Zeschuk says that the universe is open to players from the very beginning of the game. Players are not forced to go on a predetermined path and can begin exploring immediately. In order to keep players from getting lost in sub-quests (something that happens in Oblivion), BioWare has made sure to keep the main objective on players' minds.
Concerning the combat system, Zeschuk says that BioWare wanted to provide players with a more action oriented system. In particular, BioWare looked at cover systems in games like Gears of War and GRAW. He is sure to point out though, that players can pause the action and make the game as slow or as fast paced as they want.
BioWare still isn't ready to reveal a release date, but notes that the game is getting more polished all the time. Mass Effect has gone through multiple revisions and is reaching the finalization phase. Zeschuk maintains the hope that Mass Effect will be a landmark game.
Zeschuk also mentions his thoughts on developing games on different platforms, the Wii, and whether or not it's important for the industry to focus on technology (referring to certain quotes from Chris Hecker). Hit the "read" link to download the audio.