Exclusive: Mass Effect 3’s Director addresses the game’s controversies (Updated!)

exclusive mass effect 3s director addresses the games controversies  3 s game

[Updated: Following the brew-ha over the ending, BioWare has announced that it will be making some modifications to it. The details of those modifications, how they will be distributed, and when we can expect them will be announced in April. Check out the full story here.] 


EA has shipped 3.5 million copies of Mass Effect 3 worldwide since it was released last week on March 6. And while the game has sold over 1 million copies and counting, the launch has been marred by controversy. There’s been the influx of negative player reviews on Metacritic, the blowback from the introduction of same-sex male relationships, the perceived letdown of the game’s endings, and the Day One DLC issue. The BioWare game franchise, which is also in development as a major motion picture from Legendary Pictures, remains one of the tentpole titles for EA and BioWare. Casey Hudson, the Executive Producer and Director of the bestselling franchise talks about the game’s launch and addresses some of the concerns that have arisen in this exclusive interview.

What impact did fan feedback from the previous Mass Effect games have on what you guys set out to accomplish with Mass Effect 3?

exclusive mass effect 3s director addresses the games controversies  3 s game

Well, to a large degree we always take feedback from every source very seriously. It’s very important to us because as a game designer, you and a small group of other people design a game–and everything that you have and everything that you know–to make it as good as possible. But that opinion really pales in comparison to the opinions of millions of people that actually play it under the intended conditions, buying the game, wanting to enjoy it as a piece of entertainment, and then providing their honest feedback. That’s where we learn a lot as game designers and artists and developers–really listening and really trying to analyze what’s behind a lot of the feedback that we get and convert that into a new set of principles that we carry forward into each game. So it has everything to do with finding a really good balance between action and role-playing systems that we did for Mass Effect 3, or even deciding which characters we really want to feature strongly, or what we want to do with those characters.

Do you have an example of how fan reaction has impacted the new game?

Some of the characters in the Mass Effect series were never intended originally to be potential love interests — characters like Garrus or Tali who are quite alien. From the outset, we didn’t envision them as characters that people would want to have a romance with. And yet they were successful as characters, and so popular amongst a lot of people that people really wanted to develop a relationship with them, so we integrated that from Mass Effect 2 and it’s become a big part of the series.

What impact do you feel Kinect voice commands has added to Mass Effect 3?

exclusive mass effect 3s director addresses the games controversies me3

I think we do story and conversation with greater depth than you get in most games even without the Kinect functionality, but when you’re deep in the game experience and you’re speaking to these characters, having a conversation using your voice and you’re not even holding a controller, that’s when it got really interesting for me as a player. I realized that there is essentially no game. The game, or gaminess of the experience, disappeared and all that was left was me in this virtual world with these virtual characters having a real conversation. I think it hints at where things are going in the future of interactive storytelling.

What are you most proud of with this third game in the franchise?

I think what I’m most proud of is that we’ve told a story that will be remembered. I think so much of what we set out to do was create something that would be a memorable experience for people that they would think about after they played it. There’s so much throwaway entertainment out there. I didn’t just want to make something that was essentially the videogame version of a popcorn movie. I wanted to make something huge and exciting and the biggest thing possible that felt like a blockbuster and had that big action science fiction feel.

What are your thoughts on the reaction to the game’s endings?

I didn’t want the game to be forgettable, and even right down to the sort of polarizing reaction that the ends have had with people–debating what the endings mean and what’s going to happen next, and what situation are the characters left in. That to me is part of what’s exciting about this story. There has always been a little bit of mystery there and a little bit of interpretation, and it’s a story that people can talk about after the fact.

How closely do you keep track of the fan reaction when it comes to that kind of stuff?

exclusive mass effect 3s director addresses the games controversies me3

Oh, we pay very close attention to it. It’s very important to us and we will always listen to feedback, interpret it and try and do the right thing by our fans. That’s why if you look at Mass Effect 2 we knew that people wanted to spend more time with a character like Liara, and so we created an ongoing storyline with her as part of the comics and then built it into the DLC stuff, and we’re always listening to fans. We have some really great multiplayer content and some really great single-player content coming over the air, and their feedback will become part of how we design that.

How do you feel Mass Effect has pushed the acceptance of relationships, first with same sex females and now with same sex males in this universe?

I think we always just strive for being inclusive. Over the course of the series, in a lot of ways the Mass Effect series has been in uncharted waters because even right down to the endings there are examples of TV or movie series that have a big fan following and a lot of expectations, but none of them have told a 50 to 100 hour interactive story where people feel not just an attachment to these characters, but an ownership of the story. It’s a different thing than has ever been done before. A lot of this stuff is new and that’s what’s exciting about it for us and for fans. It’s also a learning experience and I think we’ve learned a lot about how people perceive their experiences with our characters and what they wanted out of them. Some of these things that we’ve added or changed about how we view this is in response to things that we’ve learned or feedback that we’ve had from them.

What are your thoughts on the fan reaction on the Day One DLC, From Ashes?

exclusive mass effect 3s director addresses the games controversies 3 prothean artI think a lot of the common sense is prevailing. Initially, it was spun in a direction that suggested that we had taken the lore out of Mass Effect 3 and were holding it inside the DLC only, which now the people who actually have played Mass Effect 3 and the DLC they know that that’s not true. So that fear was set aside and, ultimately, I think people get it now. They get the fact that sometimes the way that things work in game development isn’t known very well by a lot of people, so there’s an opportunity for misunderstanding, including the fact that as a multi-studio team and company, we have many projects that are ongoing. When we finish a game, we finish it many months before it actually hits the shelves and that team goes on to work on something else that in those intervening months represent millions of dollars of development time, which either goes towards the next game that you might not see for several years, or a different game that they might go to work on like Dragon Age or the Old Republic. We work on all these different things. So in this case, we chose to work on a DLC which people really enjoyed for Mass Effect 2 and we also wanted to make sure that people had it as an opportunity to build it into their first play-through if they wanted that as an optional thing. That’s what they did and now that people have played it they can see that, yes, it was optional versus the way it was initially spun by some people on the Internet.

For more on Mass Effect 3, check out our review, then head over to our guide on what’s new to the series, and what you need to know.


Once the dust settles, 'Fallout 76' will be a nuclear wasteland worth exploring

The launch of Fallout 76 has been nothing short of apocalyptic, but that doesn’t mean the game is dead on arrival. Bethesda has a path forward, paved by The Elder Scrolls Online, another game that suffered a rocky start.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Movies & TV

Ice meets fire in HBO's latest 'Game of Thrones' season 8 teaser

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Product Review

'Marvel's Spider-Man' slings and swings its way to the top of the superhero heap

Insomniac's entry into the superhero genre has a big suit to fill, but ‘Marvel's Spider-Man’ is a phenomenal action game, a strong Spider-Man story, and an open-world game that has plenty to do without getting boring.

Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.

Ditch the meditation app. 'Katamari Damacy Reroll' is pure gaming zen

Katamari Damacy Reroll brings the magic of the PS2 classic to Nintendo Switch and PC. With updated visuals and the same great, singular loop, Reroll stands the test of time. Katamari Damacy is the ultimate relaxation game.

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

The NES Classic is back in stock just in time for the holidays

The NES Classic is back in stock at multiple outlets at its original launch price of $60 in time for Christmas. Retailers offering it online are Walmart, GameStop, Target, and Best Buy -- if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for…

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.