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Developing Mass Effect MMO would be 'tough', says BioWare

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We're a little over a week before the release of Mass Effect 3, BioWare's newest installment of the Mass Effect series, which is a perfect time to discuss the possibility of creating an MMO based off of the highly popular and very successful franchise.

That's exactly what BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka did when Penny Arcade asked them about the fan rumor of creating a Mass Effect MMO.

Fresh from the December 2011 launch of MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, they admitted creating a Mass Effect MMO would be "a tough one".

"The implication of a Mass Effect MMO has so many expectations," explained Greg Zeschuk.  "We already bit off a big thing to chew with a Star Wars MMO, and that's not so small."

Despite being BioWare's first MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic has posted outstanding numbers, becoming the fastest selling MMO to date.  While SWTOR's early numbers are impressive, the true test for any successful MMORPG is the test of time.  For years, World of Warcraft dominated the MMORPG market, and if BioWare plans to do the same with SWTOR they must continue to create to maintain fan interest.  While difficult, they seem to be up for the challenge - as seen with the game's 1.2 update preview.

The time and effort needed to put into an MMO is "daunting", they admit.  "But the neat thing is it would lend itself to a different type of game play."

"It’s fun to think about," said Zeschuk. "I imagine people think it would be just like Mass Effect as it is… but there’s lots of people there. It’s really interesting, I don’t know. It’s a tough one.”

“The possibility space, that’s a term that I heard Will Wright say about ten years ago, and it really struck me,” Muzyka added. “When you deliver a game, and you deliver it for a player, you have to capture what they think is the possibility space. You need to let them do everything they think they should do, and you can’t block them from doing anything they think they should be able to do. You have to nail all the features and content that should be in that possibility space.“

“Mass Effect is a big possibility space," he concluded.

Up to this point, Mass Effect has been strictly a single-player game, focusing on telling a cinematic story in a rich science fiction universe.  Mass Effect 3 is the first time players will see multiplayer in the series, via four-player co-op missions independent of the main story, but contributing to your "Galactic Readiness". 

Now, BioWare has already proved they could create a compelling story in an MMO space with Star Wars: The Old Republic.  But are they capable of creating other traditional MMO features (crafting, PvP, etc.) within the Mass Effect space?

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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Games: Mass Effect 3

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