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Earlier today a Twitter user posted a fan-made campaign video for US Republican candidate Donald Trump. A vague riff on the Mass Effect universe, it was a fairly amateuristic piece of Trump worship that no one would have paid much attention to, had Trump not retweeted it himself.
That naturally lead to the video going viral and, eventually, staff at studio Bioware and publisher EA catching wind of it. Mass Effect 3 designer Manveer Heir was among the first to speak out about the video, claiming it was "gross as hell".
"I love the idea that Trump may think he's the Illusive Man, who is verifiably the bad guy in the game," Heir added later.
EA eventually intervened, and the offending tweet from Trump was removed (though it remains available on the creator's account). In a statement sent to Game Informer, the publisher was curt. "The video was an unauthorized use of our IP," a rep told the website. "We do not support our assets being used in political campaigns."
It's well within EA's rights: the video heavily featured music from the series, as well as voice work contributed by Martin Sheen to Mass Effect 2. There's no proof that Trump or his people had any hand in the creation of the video either. Indeed, it's highly unlikely given its content.
BioWare have been keeping a tight lid on Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s [official site] plot, but it seems some details have appeared in the form of a customer survey. Not the world’s most reliable format, as these tend to be, “How would you feel about a game that featured a race of evil melons as the main antagonists?” before asking you about your mobile phone usage, but likely indicative of the direction in which the game is heading. So if you want all your news about the game to be carefully spoon-fed to you via the appropriate PR departments, look away now.
BioWare said earlier this week that N7 Day, its annual celebration of all things Mass Effect, would bring no "major" announcements about the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda. So far, it's holding true to that statement. But that doesn't mean it's got nothing.
The N7 Day 2015 video is a look back at humanity's first tentative steps into space, and an exhortation to carry on into the darkness. It's pure hype—but holy cow, that Commander Shepard sign-off really got me good. You'll have to excuse me, I think I've got something in my eye.
BioWare also posted a brief "Happy N7 Day" message on its blog, again more of a reminiscence than insight into the future of the series. "As we look back on the trilogy, we think of the many amazing things your enthusiasm has created," it says. "Your passion has formed friendships spanning the globe, brought people together, and inspired a new generation of gamers. It s the reason you can walk down an unfamiliar street in a strange city, share a knowing nod with someone in an N7 hoodie, and feel at home."
Mass Effect: Andromeda is slated to come out during the holiday season of 2016. Here's what we're hoping to see in it—How about you?
Update: Not too long I put up this post, Mass Effect Producer Michael Gamble said something interesting on Twitter.
Hope you enjoyed our #N7Day video. Maybe you should look closer, too.
— Michael Gamble (@GambleMike) November 7, 2015
Did you see anything?
Most RPGs ask you to save the world, but not all of them offer a world worth saving. Honestly, there’s been quite a few where given the choice I’d have joined the evil overlord just to beat up all the potion vendors who wouldn’t even give me a discount before the final battle, and for the mere chance of stabbing the guard in Act 1 who wouldn’t let me into The Town Where The Actual Bloody Game Starts.
This week though, I’m interested in the other side of that – the worlds that become more than just a place to grind for loot and XP. The places that feel real. Beloved worlds, which don’t necessarily correlate with beloved games. I really enjoyed Skyrim for instance, but Skyrim as a world largely leaves me cold for reasons that have nothing to do with the Frostfall mod. That’s not the same as saying it’s bad, or any real quality judgement at all, simply that for me it never became a second home, more than a playground. Fallout New Vegas meanwhile, despite its problems, ticked all of the boxes. It was a world I could believe in, get immersed by, and not want to leave, which given the current political climate around the world is quite probably for the best.
Here are some of the most special worlds for me. How about you? Note, we’re talking entire worlds, as in the settings for whole games, not specific places like, say, Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII or FFXIV. Those are cool too, but… another week!
California's Great America, a roller coaster-based amusement park in the San Francisco Bay Area, is launching a Mass Effect themed "4D holographic" movie show. Far from conventional understandings of four-dimensional Euclidean space or spacetime, 4D is the theme park term for crowd-facing special effects: wind and water effects and rumbling seats, perhaps. Though we don't know exactly what this show will entail.
"This exciting guest experience involves cutting edge technology customized for Great America and delivers 4D effects combined with a live performer and incredible special effects," the theme park wrote in a press release today. "Great America guests will be taken on a thrilling adventure across the galaxy where they will travel through awe-inspiring landscapes, face off against bigger than life adversaries and ultimately help save the day."
Having been to a few too many 4D shows in my time, I'd just as soon watch a Mass Effect movie without a nozzle shooting lukewarm water in my face and curious smells wafting by, or whatever they have planned. It might be worth putting up with for a big dose of new Mass Effect lore, though, so I'll be keeping my eye on the as-yet unnamed movie, coming in 2016.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
The original Mass Effect was one of my entry-points to RPGs, a genre I’d bounced-off-of throughout the 90s. But Mass Effect’s sci-fi, Star Trek and 2001 trappings held my interest even as the indifferent combat and dull planet-exploration did their best to convince me that I should call it quits. … [visit site to read more]
Some game mods are practical in nature: They add features, boost performance, or restore content that was cut prior to release. The GTA5 Reaper mod is not one of those. It's better.
Unfortunately, it's not a real Reaper, which is to say that it can't turn the city of Los Santos into a smoldering pile of rubble. Mod creator JJxOracle explains that it "replaces the blimp," but in reality, as this video (via GamesRadar) makes clear at around the 2:45 mark, it's still there, stuffed inside a big, floating space-lobster shell.
The Reaper skin will sometimes disappear, he said, and collision detection still needs to be added, but he's still working on it. And even just as it is, it looks fantastic. Enjoy!
I have no flupping idea what to expect from Mass Effect Not-4, aka Andromeda [official site], given all signs point to it being a clean break from the Shepard saga. But the reveal that combat will be similar to Mass Effect 3’s frantic shooty fare does start to make it a solid thing in my brain, rather than an entirely abstract concept with a few twinkly stars in it. … [visit site to read more]