Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

BioWare are holding an open competition to find a voice actor for Mass Effect Andromeda [official site], releasing tidbits of story as they do it. They re asking interested folks to read two audition scripts and send in either video or audio recordings of their best takes. The video below explains the competition exclusively via the medium of jokes, so this blog post about it may also be helpful. Before you enter – remember that Mass Effect games are known for their literate conversations and complex characters. Are you ready for your first scene? Okay, you are playing the role of Tough Mercenary.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

It s hard to picture space without getting a bit romantic and philosophical. Looking up at the stars is arguably humanity s oldest form of entertainment. Space reminds us who we are, who we were, and who we re trying to be. Space gives us distance and perspective from our pale blue dot, and it invites us to our most dangerous challenges.

A lot of our favorite games are set in space, and it s no coincidence that many of those games are absurdly gorgeous. We want to look at beautiful space pictures all the time, so we rounded up the best shots on the web and brought them all to one place.

Some of these pictures have run on PC Gamer before, usually captured by screenshot maestro Andy Kelly in pixel-boosted 4K glory. We found others by crawling through subreddits and Steam community groups in search of awe-inspiring starships and nebulas. All of them are worthy of adorning your desktop.

Want 'em all? We've packaged the whole lot of hi-res images as a zip file.

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PC Gamer

You will recall a couple of weeks ago that Electronic Arts VP Patrick Soderlund said the publisher is absolutely actively looking at remastering the Mass Effect trilogy for current-day platforms. That represented a dramatic change in direction from the previous year, when he told Game Informer that EA's focus is on making new games, not re-releasing old ones.

But now it looks like he may have spoken too soon. EA's chief competition officer Peter Moore didn't deny the possibility outright when he was asked about it in an interview with IGN, but he made his position very clear.

It's just not what we do. We've got incredibly talented devs and studios around the world who are focused on delivering new IPs, new experiences, more and more live services, he said. Could we make an easy buck on remastering Mass Effect? Yes. Have a thousand people asked me that? Yes they have. Do we have... No. I mean, we just feel like we want to go forward. There's a little thing called Mass Effect Andromeda that we're totally focused on at BioWare, and it's going to be magnificent. Anything that distracts from that... Do we have teams lying around that are doing nothing right now, that can go and? No, we don't. We want to focus on the future.

Moore acknowledged that there's a demand for a remake, but said that's true of many of EA's properties. There is a lot of people who want Skate 4. There's a lot of people that want Fight Night to come back. We're a 34-year-old company that has thousands of pieces of IP around the world," he continued. "Road Rash! And if you allow yourself to take the easy road, to go do something here and again, not to diss remastering great franchises but there are so many opportunities for us, and there's an opportunity cost for this, to have people do something else other than what their objectives are to go forward.

Moore and Soderlund clearly aren't on the same page here, which does us no good in trying to predict whether or not this is actually going to happen. Based on my understanding of corporate structures, Moore is higher up the ladder than Soderlund, but even so I think will eventually do it that's just too much money to leave on the table, especially given the new Mass Effect audience that Andromeda is bound to drive. Peter will probably pass on the tattoo this time around, though.

The relevant bit starts at the 1:16 mark. Thanks, Shacknews.

PC Gamer

Last year, Electronic Arts VP Patrick Soderlund told Game Informer that the company was focused on developing new properties, not remastering old ones like, say, Mass Effect. But times have changed, and in a new interview from Gamescom, Soderlund strongly hinted that a Mass Effect redo is likely to happen.

What's changed is that there is proof in the market that people want it, maybe more than there was when we spoke, he said, when asked about the possibility of a Mass Effect trilogy redo. There were some that did it before, but I think there is even more clear evidence that this is something that people really want. The honest answer is that we are absolutely actively looking at it. I can't announce anything today, but you can expect us most likely to follow our fellow partners in Activision and other companies that have done this successfully.

Activision, you'll recall, announced earlier this year that a remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will be released in November alongside (but, sadly, not separate from) COD: Infinite Warfare. That news, I think, caused at least as much of a stir as the reveal of the brand-new game.

EA has to be careful about which brands it chooses to remake, and ensure that they're redone properly, so players feel that it's the same game but it feels so much better in this new shape and form, Soderlund said. There have been titles that have come out that have done it really well, and there have been others that maybe haven't done it so well. We just want to make sure that we stay in the 'done it really well' camp."

As hard as it is to believe, the original Mass Effect is pushing ten years old, which makes it a prime candidate for a fresh coat of paint and especially so with Mass Effect: Andromeda waiting in the wings. But there are plenty of other EA properties that could do with the same sort of treatment, like Black and White or Battlefield 2142; hell, I'd pay good money for a Command & Conquer: Renegade remake. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.

Speaking of Mass Effect, the "franchise" (although it's really just the first two parts, because of that whole thing with Origin) is on sale on Steam for 85 percent off until August 19.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Steven Messner)

Last week I wrote about how Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] wasn’t chained by the choices you made at the end of Mass Effect 3, and how that left a lot of questions unanswered. Well, answers are coming next month in the first of four Mass Effect tie-in novels published by Titan Books that aim to bridge gaps between Andromeda and the events of our own Milky Way.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Steven Messner)

There is a lot of questions floating around the big black hole of Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site]. Who is the lead character, Ryder? How did they get to a whole other galaxy? Can I romance the Mako? But perhaps an equally important question is what kind of impact the final decision of Mass Effect 3 might have on the story. According to an interview with Eurogamer, the answer is not a whole lot.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Richard Cobbett)

Hello there. This week, I’m writing not just as an RPG columnist, but as president of the newly formed League Of Folks Who Don’t Really Play MOBAs But Are Bizarrely Hooked On All The Trappings. As far as I can tell, our membership is roughly a billion people and counting. That’s what happens when the likes of Blizzard and Riot spend literally tens> of dollars creating gorgeous videos to promote their worlds, yes, but it goes somewhat deeper than that. Have you ever watched a new character reveal for a game you know you’re never going to play? Then the sickness might have spread.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
Image via Esquire

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.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

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.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

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.

Did you see anything?

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