mass effect 4 Articles RSS Feed | mass effect 4 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 5 Games You Need to Play to Prepare for 2017 Releases Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 Naomi N. Lugo

2017 is officially here. While you may still be reeling from the tide of solid releases in 2016, the new game release calendar, unfortunately, just isn’t going to wait.

This year is set to see quite a few sequels and comebacks from major franchises. Below is a list of games that, if you didn’t get a chance to play them the first go-around, you should play right now. If you have played them, you should replay them in anticipation of these new titles.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

In anticipation of South Park: Fractured But Whole

Stick of Truth was exactly what the next gen South Park game needed to be. It’s combat, albeit simple, was fun (the “summons” were definitely a highlight), the humor was very very South Park and it all actually tied into the franchise nicely.

In other words, if you haven’t played this game yet go now! There isn’t really a better time to do so. The Fractured But Whole is slated to come out soon, on March 30. TSoT is a little bit more forgiving to your schedule too since the play time is about 15-20 hours.

Bonus: If you’re not caught up on recent seasons of the show it might be a good idea to start a marathon. At the very least watch season 13 episode 2 and season 14 episodes 11-14. That whole superhero franchise thing definitely seems like it will be a huge part of the new game.

The Resident Evil series

In anticipation of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Ok, so you may not have time to play every game in this series, but it might be worth playing one or two to hype yourself for the latest installment. There’s a small window for this one since Resident Evil 7 is supposed to release later this month on Jan. 24.

Through the demo, gamers have been able to see a game that seems to depart from the formula of its siblings. There have been reassurances from Capcom saying that this new game will not completely abandon all that makes the series what it is.

Knowing that tidbit of info, it might be a good idea to venture back into the franchise. Even if it’s just to enjoy the 'amazing' voice acting of the first.

The God of War series

In anticipation of God of War

The reveal of God of War was a highlight of the E3 2016 Sony press conference. The public got a new view of an older and paternal Kratos. A huge development for the character since past games. Big changes are coming to the God of War universe.

Playing the older games of the series would be worth it just to see the progression of the protagonist. Just look at the description for the game on its website:

“With new purpose and his son at his side, Kratos must fight for survival as powerful forces threaten to disrupt the new life he has created..."

The game doesn’t have a solid release date yet but is rumored for late 2017. That’s plenty of time to at least get started on past games.

The Mass Effect Trilogy

In anticipation of Mass Effect: Andromeda

Another game rapidly approaching release in March is the latest in the Mass Effect series, Mass Effect: Andromeda. On March 21, players will be able to explore a whole new galaxy within the Mass Effect universe.

It’s still not entirely known if Commander Shepard will have any sort of role in the game, whether it be through lore or otherwise, what we do know though is through trailers and words from BioWare. A 2015 blog post from the developer reads, “this game is very much a new adventure, taking place far away from and long after the events of the original trilogy.”

Playing the first trilogy before this release might be a good idea not only to catch up on the inner-workings of the game’s world, but this game could signal the start of something completely new. No need to miss out on a solid story line in the hype of the new.

Red Dead Redemption

In anticipation of Red Dead Redemption 2

The original Red Dead Redemption could debatably be called one of the best games of all time. Its beautiful open world is paired with a strong story and a highly personable underdog of a hero.

Fall can’t get here fast enough. The good news is though, you have plenty of time to play the first game. Especially if you never got around to finishing it the first time.

Chances are, the story of the first game is going to play into Red Dead 2, but of course, all the details aren’t out just yet.

What are the games you are playing or replaying to get ready for 2017 releases? What other games should be on the list? I would love to hear your thoughts via the comments below!

Mass Effect Ride Coming Soon Sun, 01 May 2016 05:59:38 -0400 _Glitchchic_

Mass Effect will be opening up a new Theme Park ride at Great America in Santa Carla, CA. It will launch on May 18th of this month and is called Mass Effect: New Earth 4D.  

 This up close and personal experience will place you on the Normandy with Commander Shepard. A live action performer will be playing the part of captain on your voyage while interacting with the holographic screen. You, along with the other ride participants, will be seated in an 80 seat theater equipped with motion seats, wind effects, water, leg pokers, neck tinglers, and surround sound. 

“It’s very important that we create an attraction that fits seamlessly in the world of Mass Effect, while including the elements we know are critical to making a good amusement park experience. We want to ensure that dedicated fans and park-goers being introduced to the franchise alike walk away thrilled and excited.”

-- Christian Dieckmann, Corporate Vice President of Strategic Growth at Cedar Fair Entertainment

Also to come to Great America theme park rides are Rabbids and Assassin's Creed. Nintendo may also soon be in the mix of up and coming attractions. The new Mass Effect game, Andromeda, is set to release sometime next year. 

A Census on The Top 10 "Most Anticipated Games of E3 2015" Sat, 13 Jun 2015 08:30:02 -0400 Dalton White I


Of course there are dozens of other franchises that did not make the top ten that will hopefully be making a debut at E3 2015. Many of the websites I researched counted games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Mad Max, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Kingdom Hearts 3 among their personal top tens.


What about you? What personal favorites you are aching to see at next week's E3? Leave a comment below, and as always - for all your gaming news and stories stay tuned to GameSkinny.


1. Mass Effect Project (?????)


It seems that a lack of information is what hooks the attention of the gaming community for this year's E3 convention. If there were little to no details concerning Fallout 4, there is a total lack of information about the next installment in the Mass Effect universe. Bioware has definitely confirmed that the game will not be called Mass Effect 4, it will have a different story that's separate from the previous three games, the Mako vehicle will be making an appearanc, and a multiplayer component will exist. Other than a few early conceptual art pictures, Bioware has kept tight-lipped about the development of this project. Personally, I myself will be anticipating a trailer or any other form of information about what exactly Bioware has been up to with the beloved Mass Effect universe.


2. Fallout 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)


After the recent release of their trailer, the internet has been in a flutter about Bethesda's next entry in the Fallout series. Not much is known so far beyond what the trailer shows. It seems that our main character once again has a "Dogmeat" companion and will focus on a post-apocalyptic area known as "The Commonwealth", which will consist of many parts of the New England area of the USA. Bethesda releasing a trailer so close to E3 has definitely given fans high hopes for more information at Bethesda's E3 conference in the upcoming week.     


3. Star Wars Battlefront (PS4, Xbox One, PC)


With a November release date fast approaching, its very likely that EA will show off this highly anticipated entry in the Battlefront series. From what trailers at last year's E3 showed us, it seems this game will feature maps from fan-favorite locations like Hoth, Endor, and Tatooine. It seems that all battles will be planet-based, so space exploration is likely not going to be in this game. With a release date for the game and its first DLC, "Battle of Jakku", hopefully EA will tease us with a bit more information on the game before it hits shelves in the fall. 


4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)


Many people seem rather excited with the next game in the Uncharted series, especially with such an ominous title. It seems that Nathan Drake, after seemingly retiring from treasure hunting, has to take on one last job at the request of Sam, his older brother (who Drake thought was dead). It seems that the target this time is the Libertatia; a long lost "pirate colony" with a fabled treasure. So far the gameplay footage looks gorgeous as ever and rather innovative, with Drake wielding a sort of grappling hook to take down enemies. Sadly, this game has been delayed to 2016, but that hasn't made fans any less eager to learn more about the story, gameplay and setting for Naughty Dog's next hit game.


Did I mention that the game directors for The Last of Us were leading this project? Safe to say that if this is Drake's last adventure, he has the potential to go out with a huge bang.


5. Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One)


It seems that 343 Industries has prepared the next game in the Halo franchise for this October. Despite its release date quickly approaching, there has not been much light shed on the story of Halo 5. There seems to be a new character, known as Spartan Locke, who must track down the missing Master Chief in order to stop another mysterious force threatening the galaxy. After the somewhat stumbling launch of The Master Chief Collection, let's hope that Microsoft can wow us with the next installation in the story of Master Chief.


6. No Man's Sky (PC and PS4)


No Man's Sky has been catching the eye of many people since it stole the show at E3 2014. The game seems to have an amazing potential to be a game that achieves many of the goals of sci-fi fans: to explore the universe, find different planets, interact with the different wildlife, and take in the gorgeous environment of each one.


It seems that the player's goal in general will to be to "reach the center of the galaxy". What that entails is unknown, but a simple, yet broad goal like that definitely would seem to entail one hell of a journey. No official release date has been announced for this game, so lets all cross our fingers that HelloGames will finally let the public know when this game finally be theirs during E3 this year.


7. Star Fox for Wii U (Wii U)


Sadly, Nintendo has confirmed that the highly anticipated Legend of Zelda for Wii U will not be appearing at E3 this year. Luckily there is a real possibility that a new Star Fox will finally be shown for the new generation of consoles. There is has been little to no public information about this game, but Shigeru Miyamoto has definitely expressed his desire to have this project completed as soon as possible. Does that mean that Star Fox will be gracing Nintendo's digital event during E3 this year? Who knows? Looks like we will have to watch to find out if this classic series will be hitting shelves in the near future.


8. Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PC, PS4 and Xbox One)


It has been seven years since the release of Mirror's Edge, but it seems EA has finally been working on a sequel to the gorgeous futuristic platformer. Technically speaking it seems this game will be more of a prequel that will focus on the past of Faith, the protagonist.


Originally announced at E3 2013, there has not been much information released about this game other than some basic gameplay. The environment looks gorgeous, Faith's movements seem smooth and natural, and the game definitely seems to focus on first-person movement and combat. This demonstrates that EA is keeping to the original formula while adding some new features. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this game won't perform a disappearing act like it did at last year's E3.


9. Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PS4, Xbox One, PC)


Despite the terrible glitches experienced in Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft has really impressed a lot of people with the small bit of information concerning AC: Syndicate. The game will focus on Jacob and Evie Frye - two main characters, both with differing playstyles - in Victorian London. London will apparently be even bigger than Paris was in AC: Unity and Jacob and Evie will have new ways to traverse London such as zip lines and carriages. Hopefully Ubisoft will present some story to go along with the vast world of Victorian London next week.   


10. Persona 5 (PS3, PS4)


I am a little sad that the next game in the Persona series barely scraped into the top ten. Personal feelings aside, after seven years of enjoying the wild antics of the Persona 4 and Persona 3 casts, it seems that fans are going to be treated to a new setting, battle style and troupe of characters to fall in love with. There has not been much revealed about Persona 5 since February. This gameplay trailer was fierce, flashy, and intense, leaving many fans wanting more. Here's to hoping that more light will be shed on the story and characters at E3.


After tirelessly sifting through multiple articles discussing various people's "Top 10 Anticipated Games", I was finally able to compile a list of ten games that majority of the articles and sites agreed on as the games they really want to see showcased at next week's E3 convention. Without further ado, lets begin!

Top 10 Stories in Video Games Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:23:21 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

1.) Half-life series

There isn't a game in the world that more people are clamoring for than Half-Life 3.  A lot of that has to do with just how good the world and its narrative are.  One of the most fascinating aspects about the story is how much of a passive rider the player character, Gordon Freeman is.  The entire video game medium is centered around the idea of control, and most of the time, game characters are in control and/or the center of attention.  Gordon Freeman is the exact opposite of those things, and the result is refreshing.  In fact, the story isn't even about Gordon Freeman, but rather about the world around him, and he is simply the vessel that the player experiences the world through.


What is also compelling about the Half-life experience is how naturally everything unfolds.  There are no interruptions for cut scenes as the story unfolds in front of the player, and Half-life was the one of the first games to really let the player have the freedom to move about the environment as the story unfolded in front of the player. 


Subtle audio cues also helped to enhance parts of the narrative as well and the biggest example of this is the Combine Soldiers.  The game frequently let the player hear their enemy before seeing them, which worked to further imprint the enemy's importance both in terms gameplay mechanics and what they meant to the world.  Because the game was challenging in its combat, the player became conditioned to feel a sense of dread every time one of these audio cues played.




What do you think? What are your favorite examples of narrative in games? 

2.) The Last of Us

The driving force behind the entire experience of The Last of Us is its narrative.  The game is a character-driven narrative that is quite a linear affair but the all of the extra nooks and crannies keep it from feeling too straight forward.  When the player uncovers these hidden places, the game provides some poignant moments between Joel and Ellie that provide context and insight of the state of the world that really drive the generational differences between someone who lived in the world before (Joel) and one who grew up in the current state of affairs (Ellie).  


Speaking of Joel and Ellie, they are the very foundation of the game itself, both narratively and mechanically.  The loneliness of the journey, the forced cooperation, and the ugliness of the people and the world around you helps to create an authentic sense of protectiveness over Ellie.  It is very much a journey of you against the world, and every time Ellie is forced to leave the safety of your side for the sake of cooperation, it is an authentically uneasy feeling.  


While the post-apocalyptic zombie-esque world isn't particularly unique when factoring in The Walking Dead's immense popularity, it is the journey and the interactive delivery of Joel and Ellie's journey across the country that helps set it apart.  The Last of Us is an ever lasting example of the evolution of interactive story telling and will always hold a significant place in gaming history.

3.) The Walking Dead (Telltale Series) 

Telltale Games has made an entire business around being able to tell quality stories.  But they really didn't take off until they released their first season of their episodic Walking Dead series.  Its popularity isn't derived from the AMC blockbuster series, but employs a style that is closer to the comic books.


The journey of Lee Everett and Clementine is one of the most compelling arcs ever crafted in interactive narratives.  Despite the fact that there isn't much of a challenge (or game depending on who you talk to), the narrative drives a satisfying set of in game prompts that mean the difference between life and death.  In this zombie apocalypse, death rears its head around every corner and isn't afraid to take your heart strings, rip them out, and throw them in the dirt before stomping them into submission.

4.) The Witcher Series

The Witcher series can be tough to get into if you haven't read the books and/or choose to skip the first game.  The series' second entry, Assassin's of Kings more or less assumes you know what is going on from the start and is unapologetic about it.  However, it doesn't take too long to realize that you are dealing with one of the most unique video game narratives around.  Most stories clearly state who is good and who is bad at every turn, but in this universe, it's not that simple.


It's said that there are two sides to every story and that ideal is the foundation of The Witcher's narrative.  Almost nothing follows the path of "this side is good, this side is bad". In fact almost all of it is bad on some level.  The world operates in shades of grey rather than light versus dark.  Villains are not representations of the Evil Railway Baron trope, instead having legitimate goals that you, yourself might be trying to accomplish had things been different.  


In fact, Assassin's of Kings offers up a choice between following two different leaders, a murderer fighting for the rights of non-humans and a human trying to uphold the peace, but whose actions are perceived as racist by some.  Neither are good, neither are evil, it all just depends on the player's perspective, much like the world we live in now.  The result is a very believable and grounded story in a high fantasy world.

5.) BioShock series

Yes, in many ways, BioShock is basically System Shock 2, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the most compelling and hotly debated stories in the history of interactive narrative.  I mean, would you kindly take a look at that insane timeline of BioShock Infinite.  


The original BioShock was a master class of its own in balancing functional level design, with a believably lived in space and the events that lead to Rapture's undoing let the combat mechanics fit the story like a glove.  It can be debated that despite its critical appeal, BioShock Infinite never quite achieved the same heights as the original, but it doesn't exclude the fact that the series as a whole tells one of the best stories that video games have ever seen.

6.) Final Fantasy VII

It wouldn't be a list of narratively focused games if the semi-divisive Final Fantasy VII wasn't on the list.  


Of course, this entry is more or less on the "it's cool to hate" spectrum by a lot of Final Fantasy purists.  However, its impact both as a game and as a narrative cannot be denied in terms of its ever lasting legacy.  A lot of that has to do with "the death."  On the outside, it seems kind of silly that one event could make an entire narrative that famous, however it has done just that.  That death of course is everyone's favorite flower girl, Aeris.


Never have I seen so many gamers live in such denial about one death in a video game.  Even now, coming up on 20 years after the game's initial release, there is a sect of players that are still convinced that there is a legitimate way to bring her back from the dead.  *Spoilers* there isn't.  As much as I love this game and its story, I admit Aeris' death is a bit illogical given the fact that Cloud and Co. should have had at least one Phoenix Down in their back pocket.  Bah, details.

7.) Metal Gear Solid (PS1)

Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation is widely recognized as one of the greatest games of all time and for good reason.  Despite its relatively short length of 12 hours, it has great story pacing and tight gameplay.  At the time, Metal Gear Solid was renowned for being one of the most cinematic experiences and it was obvious that a lot of care went into trying to be accurate with smaller details, which is a bit ironic considering how super natural many elements of the game are.


David Hayter's performance as Solid Snake was revolutionary at the time for how good it was, and his voice has since become arguably the most iconic in the industry.  The story humanized a couple of the supposed villains in the game like Sniper Wolf and Psycho Mantis upon their deaths which effectively blurred the lines between the player's side and the antagonist's.  


Despite the fact that the series has become quite convoluted in its logic over the years, Metal Gear Solid's emphasis and delivery on story telling is in in some ways unmatched even today.  With Hideo Kojima's tenure at Konami looking like it's end is near, it's important to appreciate the impact that the Metal Gear series has had on interactive narrative.

8.) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Before Mass Effect and Dragon Age's enormous impact on the Western Role Playing game market, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was BioWare's flagship role-playing franchise.  KOTOR, as it is known, released back in 2003 during the early days of the original Xbox and took place 4,000 years before the Original Star Wars trilogy where a Sith Lord, Darth Malak, the former apprentice of the feared Darth Revan, has commenced a fierce attack on the Jedi Knights with a large armada, forcing them to scatter across the galaxy.  


Its narrative formula would build the foundation that both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises would come to lean heavily on.  KOTOR featured teams of three allies in combat and had the player travel from planet to planet, finding new allies on each one that represented a different class or class combination.  


Arguably the biggest reason that KOTOR's narrative is so fondly remembered is the big twist around the halfway point in the game that takes its inspiration from Darth Vader's infamous "I am your father" reveal.  YOU are the villain, Darth Revan.  Before the big reveal, Revan's role is little more than a reference to give context to present events, much like Luke Skywalker's references to his father were.  But once the cat's out of the bag, it revolutionizes the way the player views the entire story in the same way Vader being Luke's father did in Empire Strikes Back.

9. ) Minecraft

Sometimes the best stories in video games aren't directly told to you, but rather the story you tell yourself.  Minecraft accomplishes just that with the personalization, tools and authentic sense of discovery that lies at the heart of the experience.  Imagination is the name of the game, and Minecraft's formula is built to appeal to ours.


There are so many different ways to play the game, and it all depends on what kind of character the player wants to role play as.  Are you a survivor that washed up on a mysterious land?  Are you a farmer that wants to herd the land's animals?  What about the threats that befall the land?  Do you hide from them at night while planning for the next day? Do you brave the night to slay the monsters for their resources?  How do you deal with hunger?


Minecraft is the poster child for individual story telling, spawning a whole host of survival adventures that permeate Steam's Early Access page that have evolved on Minecraft's principles.

10.) Portal Series

Portal's narrative begins simply enough.  You awaken inside your room in the Aperture Science labs, and are instructed to begin testing by the soft, robotic voice of GLaDOS.  Like the character we inhabit, we follow the instructions without question.  The player has no concept of what is going on outside of the casually comedic tone, the task that is laid out before us and that there's cake at the end (Yum!).  This setup allows us to effortlessly step into the shoes of Chell, the Aperture lab rat.  But as the player progresses, we quickly find out that "The Cake" is a lie. 


Portal is especially good at tying dialogue into in game accomplishments.  As the player masters more and more puzzles, GLaDOS in turn becomes more and more talkative and goes from being mockingly hilarious to being mockingly cold and murderous (while still being hilarious).  It is this dark comedy that really helps make Portal stand out on its own from the Half-life series in terms of its tone.


Not everybody plays games for story.  And as a result, ludology vs narratology is one of the hottest debates in gaming.  And to be fair, a lot of games tell some pretty crappy and/or cliched stories, and sadly a lot of them are actually trying.  However, there have been some legitimately great stories that have come from the interactive entertainment medium and in many ways their impact is best felt as a video game.  


These games were chosen on the basis, of not only the quality of the narrative, but how well the story utilizes the mechanics of the interactive medium.  I think it goes without saying that massive story-ruining spoilers follow.  Here are the Top 10 stories in video games.

Mass Effect 4 Leak - Real or a Great Big Phony? Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:24:17 -0400 Thomas M Gumbel

A Mass Effect 4 (or whatever they end up calling it) market survey’s been allegedly leaked.  Assuming this is legit, EA sent out a survey with chunks of info on Mass Effect 4 detailing major gameplay and narrative elements, asking the participants to rate them according to how satisfied they would be should these elements make it into the final game.  Sure, it’s always possible that this is fake and we’re all suckers, but there was a similar leak with Dragon Age: Inquisition back in 2012, which turned out to be largely accurate.

So what’s new, Mass Effect?

  • The next chapter takes place in a galaxy far, far away from the original trilogy
  • Our new protagonist is a “pathfinder,” an explorer looking for habitable worlds
  • The new world/galaxy map is around 4 times larger than Mass Effect 3’s
  • Plot focuses on a long-gone race called the Remnant and the technology they’ve left behind
  • Resource hunting!  Less Don’t Starve, more Civilization
  • Seven party members (not at a time, silly); the survey specifically mentions Cora – a biotic – and Drack – a Krogan
  • Something new called Strike Missions: you spend resources on AI-controlled mercs to complete side missions while you’re busy doing other things; these “Strike Teams” complete these missions in real-time, so you might be on another mission when your mercs come back to report
  • Multiplayer “Horde” mode (you + friends vs. waves of enemies)
  • Even more in-depth dialogue trees, because that’s how BioWare do

Nothing on here sounds too outlandish, right?  In the words of Agent Mulder, “The truth is out there.”  However, with no real evidence of a Mass Effect reveal at this year’s E3, “out there” could be pretty far off for a while.

Mass Effect 4 Developers Tease Combat and Animation Progress Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:21:11 -0400 Elijah Beahm

While Mass Effect 4 is still a far off point in the distance, but that hasn't stopped BioWare from slipping gamers a few hints of what is to come. Now we've got a few more tips, and they indicate the game is moving along quite well. Ken Thain, Lead Animator at BioWare tweeted out a picture of their mocap team at work.

It's hard to tell what's going on, save for two things. You can distinctly see that there are two mocap actors, one male, one female, so this is most likely motion capture for the new protagonist. You can also see one of the mocap pieces is a chair, hinting to this possibly being from a vehicle section. Perhaps mocap work is beginning on the new Mako?

Senior Development Manager Chris Wynn also gave us another little teaser:

So Biotics are most certainly back, but what's interesting is that Wynn only says "weapons," not "guns." Is there a chance that after all the experimental classes in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer, we'll a melee focused option? Might want to keep your eyes peeled to see what sort of combat BioWare has in mind.

Image Credit: Twitter, Movie Pilot

We Need to Change How We Talk About Game Genres Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:53:16 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

Game genres are pretty big business, they allow you to identify what the game is, and what type of game it is. Take Mass Effect, well, it's an RPG with 3PS mechanics.. but is it only that? What is Call of Duty? It's a first person shooter, right? And Halo? It's also an FPS, yes? The Elder Scrolls? Oh, pick me! Pick me! It's an RPG, with some FPH (first person hitting) mechanics? Did I get it?

But there's an issue: these genre labels don't really tell you enough about the game beyond the mechanics. I think this needs to change. As games are playable media, knowing the mechanics is useful; but, as games get more diverse we also need to know what type of game they are. Is it story driven? Is it funny? Is it action? Or is it adventure (as in Uncharted, not Grim Fandango)? Is it sci-fi or any number of other things?

How We Talk About Game Genres Matters

When vastly different games are under the same umbrella, how do you really know what you are buying? If Mass Effect, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls are all next to each other in the RPG section, and you didn't know about these games, how would you know that one is a space romp, one is a wasteland walker, and one is a high fantasy? Side note: I know that The Elder Scrolls isn't Lord of the Rings, but all Fantasy takes cues from Tolkien's world of Middle-Earth (or Arda if you are into your LotR lore).

Don't just 'RPG' it, action drama sci-fi it!

If you take The Stanly Parable, what genre would it be? FPS? Wwait you don't shoot, so it wouldn't be that. How about platformer? Well, you don't really jump anywhere. Maybe art game? That could really mean anything, "art" doesn't describe what type of game it is! But, if we started to use a more book or filmic genre style, we could call it a comedy game because it's funny. And because perspective is important in games, The Stanly Parable be re-genre'd to a first person comedy.

Mass Effect, I now pronounce you action drama sci-fi, with RPG and 3rd-person shooter elements.

Why do we need a change?

Games have become so diverse now, that simply saying RPG doesn't tell you anything you need to know beyond a few conventional mechanics. A genre should tell you roughly what the game is in terms of where/when it's set, and how it will play. If you look at RPG, this could be turn-based or real-time, it could be a shooter, or involve swords and magic. Some games may be Fantasy RPGs or sci-fi RPGs, and we need to know this.

Now if you look at first-person 'shooters.' They can show you:

Things that were… things that are and some things that have not yet come to pass.

- Galadriel (from Lord of the Rings).

But they are not just about wars, so these can't all be called war games. The FPS games that are more about exploration, or survival, like DayZ. Disaster games maybe? Some are simply about a story, like Dear Esther or The Stanley Parable, possible to be referred to as a first-person thinker or aforementioned first-person comedy games respectively.

Semantics Affect Purchases

Games are also crossing over the current genre lines more and more, is Borderlands an RPG FPS? Is Destiny an MMORPG FPS? Does the 'Massively' in MMO really stand with Destiny? Maybe Borderlands should be an action comedy FPS? And Destiny might be an online sci-fi FPS.

Does adventure game really tell you what it is? It's an adventure but how does it play exactly? Take Grim Fandango, it can be funny, but is it a comedy? Adventure games are hard to put into a genre, but if we take the core aspects of them, that they are story driven. We can now call them story comedy games. Which new genre would you put your favorite adventure game under?

Genres need to shift slightly

Genres in gaming are no longer telling us what the games are, and as games have become so diverse they are now crossing over the genre lines it is time for a change.

Header image credits to mediahsba.

Everything We Know About Mass Effect 4 So Far Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:46:53 -0500 Venisia Gonzalez

Mass Effect is a massive fan-favorite, science fiction, action RPS series by BioWare. Fans have begged for the next installment in the saga since 2012, after the release of Mass Effect 3. BioWare has teased at events like E3 2014 about releasing a new game. Rumors have even spread on Twitter recently about news at the upcoming E3 2015.

Senior Producer, Jonathan Warner has definitely helped "fuel the flames," so-to-speak, on the game's progress.

What can we expect for Mass Effect 4?

Here's what we know so far:
  • Mass Effect 4 will be a next-gen console game and possibly PC...sorry Xbox 360 and PS3 owners
  • We'll see familiar and new alien races

  • So far there's no title or release date on the horizon
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition will not be a template for Mass Effect 4, despite the gameplay similarities

"But after that, the next Mass Effect will be (and should be) drawing on its own rich and successful past more than what Dragon Age: Inquisition would say it should do. Take the Mako for example, something we've already shown in prototype form. We had that in Mass Effect 1, and bringing it back is more related to a feeling that we can do it much better than we did before and fulfill the original promise of that gameplay. That has nothing to do with Dragon Age: Inquisition."

"We're very proud of what Dragon Age: Inquisition has achieved, but that does not set a 'template' for what every other game we make needs to be. Each game franchise needs to innovate and improve their experience based on what's best for it, not just what another game had success with."

- BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn

Mass Effect's fundamental appeal is the interactions and relationships you can have with the characters. This was by far the most talked-about reasoning for the love of the game, aside from its dynamic storytelling. The good news for fans is that this is going to still occur in Mass Effect 4.

What would players like to see?

1. The ability to play as an alien

The series has such vast alien species that it would be fun to see their perspective in the universe.

2. A prequel that explores Mass Effect history

My example for this will be Halo: Reach. Fans of Halo are aware of the important events that take place throughout the series. This led to the release of Halo: Reach, a prequel of the UNSC's long war against the Covenant with the Humans and the heroic sacrifice of "Noble Team."

The events within Mass Effect - like the Geth Wars, Krogan Rebellions, the Leviathans, the Rachni War, the Turians, or the fall of the Protheans - could possibly be used in the next game to give gamers a deeper look into the world.

3. Tell us what happened to Commander Shepard

Exploration of the universe and what happened to Commander Shepard after the "infamous" ending of Mass Effect 3 would be awesome -- some of us want to know, BioWare!

4. Exploration of the Yahg species

We're introduced to the Shadow Broker in Mass Effect 2 as Commander Shepard and Liara T'Soni attempt to raid his base and rescue Feron. The Yahg, consummate predators known for their violent and aggressive nature, are a sentient race native to Parnack, with rapid preception and mental adaptability. These unattractive, massive giants are quite the formidable foe. Seeing a more in-depth storyline, rather than the mere DLC mention, would be appreciated.

5. Multiplayer aspect similar to Chromehounds

A persistent online war (PvP or PvE) to dominate control of a player's world existing within the realms of Mass Effect.

6. Drop-in/Drop-out Co-op

Being sucked into a dynamic campaign is always fun, but what's even better--getting sucked in with a friend. Anyone who has played the Mass Effect trilogy knows how long the campaigns, along with the side stories, can go. Many players would benefit with the co-op feature which has already proved to be successful in many other games. I'm a big fan of online co-op myself.

Hopefully in the upcoming weeks we'll hear and see some new information on this highly anticipated return. I know many gamers cannot wait for the return of Mass Effect. With PAX East this upcoming weekend and E3 in June, perhaps we won't have to wait too much longer.

My Top 5 Pieces of Mass Effect Merch - Geek on Your Sleeve Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:18:57 -0500 Pip Simon

So I don't know about you, but I am just wringing my hands and jittery, waiting for more news from BioWare about Mass Effect 4. Since falling in love with Mass Effect, I have been obsessed with finding interesting merchandise, and discovering as much as I can about Mass Effect's rich and riveting world.

So this week, I am rounding up the top 5 pieces of Mass Effect merch that I just can't live without.

1. First up is this Tali'zorah hoodie from Bioware. I am a bit biased about this one because through the series Tali was definitely my favorite female character besides FemShep. Tali's character design was sleek and unforgettable. I really fell in love with Tali's lavender/purple scarf that she wears, and I had been waiting for a hoodie like this to come along. The hoodie itself is subtle. This hoodie is matte black with sublimated fold up cuffs and matching hood designed like Tali's scarf. What I like best about this hoodie is that it's subtle. It does not have Tali's full suit printed on the body. Unless you're a Mass Effect fan, you'd just think it was an interesting hoodie. It lacks a cartoonish vibe, which makes it much more wearable for different occasions. This hoodie retails for $40 on the BioWare store, which I think is well worth it. I wear mine constantly, and it shows no signs of wear.


2. Next is this Garrus Calibrations tee-shirt by SassyNessie on Red Bubble. I have high praise for Red Bubble's tee-shirt quality. This is a structured tee shirt, and the fabric is soft, durable, and comfortable. I love the call back to this famous Garrus quote and the vibrant lettering. I got this shirt in grey, which ultimately softens the whole design, though if you got this shirt in black it would definitely look more edgy. I think what I love best about Red Bubble is the variety of styles and colors you can choose from on most of their designs. This shirt is between $22 - $25 depending on the style of shirt you choose.

3. This next Mass Effect piece is pretty iconic. The Omega 4 Relay pendant is sold by The Bird & The Bee on Etsy. Without too many spoilers, the Omega 4 Relay is part of a crucial event in Mass Effect 2, and leads to some of the most memorable scenes in series. From what I've seen, this pendant is unique. Much of the Mass Effect jewelry sold features the paragon and renegade symbols, so I appreciate how distinct this pendant is. The pendant comes on a black cord with a clasp, but can easily be removed and put on a sturdy chain or key chain. For only $18, this is a steal.

4. The Art of The Mass Effect Universe released by BioWare, is a must have. If you've played Mass Effect, then you are aware of just how beautiful, detailed, and atmospheric it all is. Even the non-artistic types among us can appreciate the magnitude of the Mass Effect Universe. This book features commentary by BioWare, as well as page after page of some of the most stunning concept art you'll see. This book retails for $40, and If you get your hands on it, you will take a pause on each page just letting this massive universe sink in.

5. Mass Effect: Revelation written by Drew Karpyshyn is a prequel to the Mass Effect games. Well before Shepard's rise to fame, this novel follows a young Lt. David Anderson as he investigates an Alliance military research facility that had been attacked for some unforeseen reason. This may not be high-brow science-fiction writing, but it's a fun and interesting read. I love how this work expands on the Mass Effect universe, and really clears up questions you may have been wondering about since playing the games. For only $7.99 it's worth looking into.

So let me know what your favorite item on the list is. If you have any recommendations for other Mass Effect merch let us all know in the comments. Be sure to check out Geek on Your Sleeve on Youtube for further updates and reviews.

Mass Effect 4, Shepard In Mass Effect 4? Fri, 02 Jan 2015 18:09:43 -0500 Rob3rt Gittin9s

I love the Mass Effect series but the ending to Mass Effect 3 was rather disappointing and even the extended cut did not change how I felt about that poor ending but if the ending was that way on purpose for a big surprising reveal then perhaps my faith will be restored in the beloved franchise. 

So why we haven't seen anything yet except for this concept art (featured on the Bioware blog)?  

Why would this Mass Effect Producer suggest to us to keep our Mass Effect 3 saves when the story ended with Commander Shepard?

BioWare have stated that Mass Effect 4 won't star Commander Shepard and that ME3 was the end of the Shepard trilogy. So how can they up sell a fourth instalment of a game without the main protagonist, Commander Shepard?

Many people hated the ending to Mass Effect 3 so much that EA's reputation was damaged and then of course there is the indoctrination theory that many believe to be true. 

I have a feeling that BioWare have been pulling a fast one on us for years and the whole ruse will be revealed which will turn out to be mind-blowing and make Mass Effect 4 sell like hot cakes whilst restoring our faith in the story and the writers.

Perhaps BioWare have been telling us white lies, Commander Shepard's journey as a playable character might have ended in Mass Effect 3 but he/she must still be mentioned in the game in some form even if it's brief after all Shepard has clearly become a legend as hinted at in the after credit sequence. 

This explains one of the main reasons for not having Command Shepard as the main playable protagonist. We know that Shepard has become an awe-inspiring character that we are lead to believe it either dead or partially alive depending on how you finish the third instalment.

So Shepard won't be playable, which is fine especially if it’s for a greater purpose. What purpose? We can only hope that Shepard’s absence adds to the story in a good way that won’t ruin the already established character and story.

What if the story of ME4 is about saving the universe yet again from another unknown enemy that is associated with the reapers? This new enemy could be reminiscent of the character Saren who worked alongside the reapers in Mass Effect 1 because he was heavily indoctrinated. 

Indoctrination plays a huge role in the Mass Effect universe so what if this unknown enemy is Shepard? What a story that would be! Commander Shepard turning to the dark side, it's like Darth Vader all over again. 

Would you buy Mass Effect 4 if you found out that Commander Shepard has become the new main antagonist? I certainly would! 

His appearance in the game could be limited, a hidden threat we unmask during the game. It's certainly not the first game to bring back a character that we were lead to believe gone. 

If what I've said turns out to be true, then EA, Take my money!

An In-Game Proposal For Two Lucky Mass Effect Fans Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:46:10 -0500 Benjamski

When Marie-Renée Brisebois, Studio Manager at BioWare Montreal, received word that a Mass Effect fan named Jackie was looking for help in proposing to her partner Amy, it was never a matter of if they could help and simply how. She quickly asembled a team made up of writer Ann Lemay, lead level designer, Colin Campbell, and QA analyst Barrett Rodych to craft a unique vehicle for Jackie's proposal in the form of single level of Mass Effect.

The team was careful to craft an experience that would contain subtle little references to their relationship while trying not to give away the surprise. The couple was invited to visit the studio under the pretense that they had been the winners of a fake "A Day with the Devs" contest and would be able to play a portion of the next Mass Effect game. The development team anxiously watched Amy play through the level, pretending to take notes on her experience, as she worked her way through the level.

"Once she reached the end of the level, Amy walked into a room with a lone console in the center that had her and Jackie’s names for one another spray-painted on the wall in 50-foot high graffiti. When she clicked on the console, a message popped up: “Dear Amy, Jackie would like to ask you something.


All of us at BioWare”

Jackie then got down on one knee, took out a ring, and proposed.

Amy said yes."

 You can see the magical moment in the above image, and I'm sure you can feel the collective "awws" of the gaming community at what is possibly one of the best gamer proposals out there. 

"There are only a few stories like that in history, and it’s awesome to be part of one of them.”

Colin Campbell remarked on the experience saying that “There aren’t many situations in videogame development where you get the chance to step back and do something like this for somebody else. I think videogames are powerful and an incredible form of art and entertainment and interaction, but they don’t often get two people married. There are only a few stories like that in history, and it’s awesome to be part of one of them.”

Mass Effect 4 News Released to Celebrate N7 Day Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:21:43 -0500 Mary-Kate Wagamon

To Mass Effect fans everywhere, last Friday, November 7th, was N7 Day - a day to celebrate all things related to Mass Effect. BioWare, the studio behind the Mass Effect games, released new items for purchase on their store website as well as a discount on certain items, which is still going on. 

BioWare also took this opportunity to reveal a little about the next game in the Mass Effect series. A blog post on the BioWare website announced some of the Development Team Leaders who are working on the next Mass Effect, including lead writer Chris Schlerf (also lead writer for Halo 4) and Chris Wynn, who's "worked on over a dozen AAA titles," as a senior development director. 

All of the developers discussed what they hope to bring to the next Mass Effect game, and a few of them introduced some new concept images during a developer roundtable video. 

Several developers really emphasized a greater ability for exploration in the next Mass Effect, which makes sense, considering the recent announcement that the Mako will return in the next game.

Also, according to creative director Mac Walters, the player's character isn't the same type of character as the previous hero, Commander Shepard.

"With Shepard, you arrived on the scene as a hero, and you were called forward from there...For the next Mass Effect, however, we've been looking at more of a hero's journey: how you become a legend and what it takes to get there."

To take a look at all of the concept art BioWare released, head over to the official Mass Effect Facebook page.

What I'm hoping for in the Next Mass Effect Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:33:40 -0500 StayNoLonger

Before you start reading this I will let you know I have no new facts and am probably in the same boat as you. This article is more summarising what we do know and what I would like to see from the next game set in the Mass Effect universe. 

So we know that development started for this game at the end of 2012 making it two years into its development cycle, obviously this isn't too informative because we have only been teased about the scale of the game. We know that exploration will be closer to the first game, where you can land on planets and search for anything of value.

So far they have been rather secretive about the project, hopefully, things will change at E3 this year (I know, if time permitting, I will be tuning in for the conferences). Most of the information we do have is from San Diego Comic Con, where the Mass Effect team leads held a panel.

There we found out that first of all the Mako all-terrain vehicle was returning and getting a full redesign. In Mass Effect 2, which had a two-year time gap from the first installment, they had stopped using the Mako and replaced it with the Kodiak dropship. This could mean that the game is set before the events of the current games, or it could also be that the Kodiak's Mass Effect technology no longer works after the events at the end of Mass Effect 3, involving the Crucible, and the Mako is still functioning due to it using an engine to operate.

A lot of people have been hoping that you will be able to select what species your character will be. This is something I like the idea of, I may still go with the Human character myself although, it is a step in the way games should be going. This will allow for more variety in how the game will progress, it will also prevent similarities in replays and allow for unique gameplay from player to player.

At Comic Con it was revealed that you would definitely be able to play as a Human character, they said that at the time they hadn't decided whether this would be the only option but they were considering the possibilities.

One big question that people asked was, "what is going to happen with Shepard and the crew of the Normandy?" Being quick to reply to tweets after the announcement on Twitter BioWare said that Shepard would not feature in the next installment. This statement was slightly changed a Comic Con, when the team said that Shepard and his crew might be present in the game. Although he would not have anything to do with the main plot. I think that erasing the characters from the games would be a pretty bad idea. I'm not saying that I want everything to be the same, just that some of the characters would remain the same, even if just for cameo appearances.

A few chat options like this would be nice (RIP Mordan)


We still do not know when the game is going to be set, some people have speculated that the game would be set during the First Contact War, following a supposed leak of the name Mass Effect: Contact. This would mean that the setting would be before the events of the original games, when Humans first made contact with Turians sparking a war which almost wiped Humans out. Until finally a truce was made and Humans given an embassy on the Citadel. It was not long before these rumours were shot down.
In my opinion, however fun it would be to fight during the First Contact War I am happy that this is not the setting for the game. First of all because it would completely write off everything that you have done in the past games as that would be future events which you will be unable influence. Secondly, it would mostly be about Humans fighting with the Turians and the other species would not possess a large role in the game, this is the biggest flaw as the different races are one of the best parts of the Mass Effect Universe.

The place on the timeline I'd like the game to be is about a generation after the Crucible events (a Human generation, of about 50-100 years, rather than an Asari one, of around 1000). This could allow players to import game saves from past games allowing them to follow on from the events in their playthroughs, this way people will already have an investment in the world, yet all the main characters will be fresh faces.

Following this it would be interesting as different species would appear in different ways depending on your choices in the past games. You could have the Quarians working with the Geth to rebuild their home planet Rannoch, you could have the Krogans suffering or cured of the Genophage, even the Reapers could be working with you to protect the galaxy from whatever it is that could be worse than them --which is kind of scary. I am really looking forward to finding out more about what happened to the Quarians following the other games.

Whatever it is that they decide to go with I look forward to it and hope that they don't mess it up!

What do you think about my ideas? What would you like to see in the next installment of Mass Effect?

The only thing we can do now is wait until E3 and hope we find out more then.

BioWare Teases Fans with Announcements on Mass Effect 4 Sun, 10 Aug 2014 01:27:36 -0400 Strider1254

Throughout gaming history, sagas and trilogies have come and gone; some lost over time, others are still remembered with an air of nostalgia today. But of all the memorable games, the science-fiction RPG Mass Effect  trilogy tops every gamer's love or hate list, and with BioWare's unexpected announcement of a fourth addition to the trilogy, it is unknown what wonders await ME fans.

In true BioWare style, little information has been released about what Mass Effect 4 (title yet to be announced) will hold for the community, but what little we do know is slowly creating more and more hype within the Mass Effect community.

BioWare has announced that the new Mass Effect game will not be starring the well-established protagonist, Commander Shepard, but rather an unknown character. Along with a new hero comes a new setting -  the fourth installment will be set in an unnannounced region of space  This leads to speculation that the new location is due to the large amount of complaints received from the fan base about the repetitive setting through the first three Mass Effect games. Or perhaps it is an attempt by BioWare to give players a new setting to partner with a new game and a new character.

Male and Female Commander Shepard from Mass Effect 1-3

It wouldn't be a bad idea to hold  on to your Mass Effect save files.
-Mike Gamble

A key and well-loved feature from the original Mass Effect trilogy was the option to carry over your personal stats, player choices and character model from the previous game saves, and it would seem that this may be a continuing feature available in Mass Effect 4. The Associate Producer of Mass Effect, Mike Gamble, had hinted at the feature via social networking sites.

Save Import system from Mass Effect 3

As for gameplay mechanics, the new game is being produced in the Frostbite engine, along with several other games currently in production stages. It is also said that the upcoming game is likely to share a lot of core features with Dragon Age: Inquisition, leading to a new experience for both new and old players of the Mass Effect series.

Linearity, a straight evolution of the gameplay and story of the first three games.
-Yannick Roy, explaining the meaning of a new Mass Effect title

On November 7th, otherwise known as N7 day, Bioware released a few small "teaser" pictures of the production team working on the game;  however, little detail could be seen of the game in these pictures. Despite the lack of revealing pictures, the Bioware "teaser" was still enough to quench the thirst of the waiting community and ramp up the Mass Effect 4 hype to even greater proportions.

For now that is all we know about the upcoming Mass Effect game. Although the release date is yet to be announced, BioWare has predicted it to be finished in October of 2015. All we can do is drool at the thought of what may be in store, and hope BioWare will be kind enough to endow ME fans with little crumbs of anticipatory information.  Come on, BioWare - you know you want to.

Another Mass Effect to Hit Shelves... But Still A Few Years Off Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:31:54 -0400 Mary Yeager

Fans of Mass Effect can rejoice as news comes out of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). BioWare unleashed several images at SDCC this year with a few hints on the title that is yet unnamed and still years left in the making. Don't expect to play Shepard this go round though. We have a new hero in the making.

BioWare had little on the definitive side to relate to fans of the original trilogy. Players will have the option to play as male or female as seen in the shots of the hero's armor. The hero's race has not yet been determined nor do we know if players will be able to choose their own race. In the announcement, Mike Gamble, the producer for Mass Effect said, "It's ingrained in us to give players as much choice as possible."

The Mako vehicle is reappearing in the new title. Redesigned after feedback from players as well as innovations in technology since the original Mass Effect, the Mako looks like a sweet ride that can go just about anywhere. The redesigned Mako is more agile, but it does lack the cannon. Since the focus of the new game will be new planet exploration, the vehicle will be a key part to playing the game.

Set Within Shepard's Timeline

The title is set during Shepard's lifetime, so there is no huge jump forward or backwards. The storyline will also not involve Shepard, but it was undetermined on whether Shepard will have a cameo role or not.

There will also be multiplayer. There will be competitive multiplayer, but cooperative play is their utmost focus. With the game possibly being set in a new galaxy, the options for the BioWare team are virtually endless in what they could add to the new generation of Mass Effect titles. One thing to note, the game is not and will not be called Mass Effect 4.

It is unknown at this time what platforms the game will be released on.

Have Thoughts on What You Want from Mass Effect 4? Bioware Wants to Know Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:08:14 -0400 onpv3rtigo1

If you are a HUGE Mass Effect fan like me, then you are probably clamoring for any new information to surface about Mass Effect 4. While this is not any new information, Bioware is asking their fan base for feedback on what we would like to see from the next installment.

The feedback they are looking for comes in the form of a survey. The survey is an effort to make Mass Effect 4 "the best one yet". According to Bioware Producer Michael Gamble, the response has been "overwhelming". Gamble stated that within the first two hours of the survey going live, he had enough reading material for a month. Bioware and Gamble still want to hear our feedback though and have asked us to "keep it coming".

The survey focuses on RPG gaming in general and asks you what games you have played, how often you play them and what activities are most important to you. The survey goes on to ask what part of the new Mass Effect you are most looking forward to: story, exploration, combat, or customization. These choices come with the ability to rank them from 1 to 7 based on their importance to you. Bioware has also asked us to elaborate on anything that we feel is missing from the survey.

For those of you who will be attending the San Diego Comic Con this year, Bioware will be holding a Mass Effect 4 panel. The panel is entitled "Charting a Course: Developing the Next Mass Effect" and will consist of ME4's Lead Animator, two Producers, the Senior Artist and the Community Manager. Although no major news or announcements will most likely come out of the panel, small tidbits of information will most likely be available.

Stay tuned to Gameskinny as any and more information become available on Bioware's next installment of Mass Effect. Until then, my name is onpv3rtigo1 and this is my favorite website on the Citadel. Keelah se'lai.