Mass Effect 3 delayed, major changes to the series planned?

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Mass Effect 3, the final instalment of Bioware’s sci-fi RPG series for Xbox 360 PC and now the PS3, will now see it’s release date pushed back.

Originally slated for a “Holiday 2011” release window, publishers EA last night confirmed as part of its financial report that the title will now instead hit shelves some time in Q1 Of 2012.

Developers Bioware have suggested that the extra time is needed to make sure that Commander Shepard’s last intergalactic mission meets the series triple AAA standards. However, EA boss John Riccitiello also suggested financial reasons, stating that the gameplay mechanics of the series may even be being altered so as to appeal to the widest possible audience.

“One of the things that Ray Muzyuka and the team up in Edmonton have done is essentially step-by-step adjust the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you’ll see at E3 to put this in a genre equivalent to shooter-meets-RPG and essentially address a much larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 began to approach,” said Riccitiello to Eurogamer.

“We’re huge believers in the IP and are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity.”

Mass Effect 2 certainly leant more heavily towards action than role-playing compared to its predecessor, but that lead for a well balanced, pitch-perfect game. If EA are trying to court even more Modern Warfare fans by neglecting the core “character building space opera” stuff that defined the series, and are instead aiming for a lowest common denominator twitch shooter, Mass Effect 3 could be a much different and much poorer game than those that have gone before.

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Gerald Lynch

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