Mass Effect 2 screenshot
Mass Effect 2 screenshot What is the addition to Mass Effect 2 that you're most excited about?

CH: We've made so many improvements that it's hard to pick just one. We're still making improvements. Even just yesterday, we did a lot of improvements to the way sound works, so you can hear bullets whizzing past your head and striking metal behind you. When you're firing on an enemy you can hear you're hitting their shields, and you can hear the "plonking" sound of bullets against armour, and you can hear them hammering into the meat of Krogan flesh. Just little things like that we're doing all throughout the project, that you'll maybe not notice on a one on one basis, but makes the whole experience so much better.

The two areas we've made the biggest improvements in is in combat, which again contains countless improvements, from the feel of how you aim, the way you track enemies, the way you move and take cover - a completely new cover system - and the weapons feel fantastic. So, all the stuff we've done in the combat area. But then all of the things we've done to make the RPG aspects a lot more intuitive. I wouldn't say they're simpler, because you can do a lot more - there's a lot more customisation, there's more research and upgrades, there's just generally more there in the RPG side of it too - but what we've done is we've moved things into interfaces and screens where you can realise the full potential of these things without them becoming cumbersome or it having too many items and all that kind of stuff.

So, both of those areas simultaneously give Mass Effect 2 the same kind of balance we had in Mass Effect 1, where you have exploration and story progression and developing your character and combat - all of these different pillars we experience are still there in the same balance - but they're all improved in pretty amazing ways.

Mass Effect 2 screenshot Can you elaborate on what you've done to improve the control and combat system?

CH: I guess it starts with the feeling of player control. There are many things that go into that. If you played Mass Effect 1, one thing we're really excited about is it continues to be very well received and it holds up well against other games. But we're excited to be able to let everybody play Mass Effect 2, because the improvements we've made are so widespread that each one of them is an increment, but it adds up to quite a revolution in the overall experience. It starts with even fairly subtle things like framerate. In Mass Effect 1 we didn't always have a high framerate, but that's one thing we've been able to do as part of doing a sequel, is now we've got the ability to have a lot of discipline around memory and performance budget. Generally the framerate is much faster, much smoother, and that contributes a lot to the feel of combat.

But we've also done a lot of things for the feel of aiming with weapons, the feel of the weapons themselves. Most people now, even though weapons all still have their different behaviours and stats and rates of fire, a lot of people in Mass Effect 2 end up choosing their weapons based on how they feel. That tells you a lot about how different the weapons are - when you switch to a new weapon you've got and you fire it and you decide right then if you like it or not. For example, in the pistol category we have new subcategories like a hand cannon, which would be like a magnum or a desert eagle style big high calibre single shot, or you can also have a submachine gun, like an Uzi, with a high rate of fire but less accuracy. When you feel these weapons in your hand, they feel fantastic but in completely different ways. That ends up being a big part of what's fun about combat, is you end up picking your favourite weapons partly because of how they feel.

Then also a thing like the cover system is completely new. In Mass Effect 1, again in terms of incorporating feedback, we noticed when we watch people play it they would play it like the way you might play Halo, where you strafe around, you tuck yourself behind cover and then move back out, and then they would move to a level sliding against objects - in Mass Effect 1 we had automatic cover, it would pull you into the cover automatically. You would see people accidentally getting stuck in cover. We made cover more of an active system where you hit A to engage it. Now you can slide in and out of cover without engaging cover, and it's smooth, but you also just tap A to put yourself into cover behind the object. That's helped a lot too, plus the entire animation system is different for the way you move in combat and everything, so it's just smoother. So that's just some of the many improvements we've made to the control and combat.

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User Comments

IndoorHeroes's Avatar


Yes. Also, buy Mass 1. It's brilliant even now.
Posted 10:43 on 10 December 2009
SexyJams's Avatar


Wow, I'd hate to type this up.
I never had Mass Effect 1;
Should I be looking forward to Mass Effect 2?
Posted 21:32 on 07 December 2009
player66's Avatar


I simply can't wait for this game to come out. ME1 was a slow burn, but when it finally got it's hooks into me, I replayed it twice without a second thought. I just hope they haven't gone overboard and skimped on the polish. That was one thing ME1 did wrong.
Posted 21:14 on 02 December 2009
IndoorHeroes's Avatar


Sweet lord, that just sounds immense. Most anticipated game of the generation for me now. 31st of January is going to be exquisite.
Posted 16:37 on 02 December 2009
Mark_S's Avatar



All I need is a coffee and this is my entire evening sorted.
Posted 15:39 on 02 December 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 29/01/2010
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 172 4
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