BioWare's Mass Effect 3 was one of the most anticipated games scheduled for release this fall, but unfortunately got pushed back to an early 2012 release. It's believed that BioWare is delaying the game to make some additional improvements, and details on that have surfaced today.
Most prominent of the changes is that the game, which involves a squad led by Commander Shepard to defend the Earth of attackers, has reduced the number of team members. Mass Effect 2 had a total of 12 members on the squad, which left some of the characters without much to do. By cutting back to a smaller team, BioWare hopes to develop deeper relationships between the characters to make more interesting interplay.
"We're not going to have twelve again but we are going to do more with the characters on your squad including Liara, and Kaidan or Ashley. And we're bringing everyone back - every main character is in Mass Effect 3 somewhere," said director Casey Hudson.
The look of each character may also be updated. "The people who redesign the characters are the same people who did the original characters," said lead artist Derek Watts. "And they know best how these things are supposed to mature. Stuff changes. Garrus' armour is going to change. Even Shepard has changed quite a bit. His armour has changed a lot since the first Mass Effect."
Combat-wise the game should also become more challenging. The enemy AI has been boosted for a more dangerous opposition and Commander Shepard can no longer just stay in one spot for cover during an entire fight.
"We really want to make mobility a factor that plays into combat," says lead gameplay designer Christina Norman. "You'll always ask yourself, 'am I in the right position on the battlefield? Where are my enemies? How am I going to get from point A to point B?' Players should never be walking into these safe places with great cover and stay there for the whole fight. It's about how you're going to move through the battlefield as the enemies move through the battlefield, and how they're reacting to one another and to you."
More details on Mass Effect 3 are surely to be unveiled at next month's E3 conference. Other games certain to make a big splash are Battlefield 3 and the next Call of Duty that are both scheduled for release this fall.
Below is the original Mass Effect 3 debut trailer posted late last year before news of the delayed release.