October 26, 2011
By J.D. Cook
On Saturday, October 15th I sat at Comic Con in New York City watching a panel about the Mass Effect video game franchise. Anyone interested can read about my exploits there here. The panel consisted of Mac Walters, the lead writer for the series and the Dark Horse Director of Public Relations, Jeremy Atkins, the Director of Custom Programs, Nick McWhorter, and Mass Effect 3’s voiceover producer Caroline Livingston.
Walters was the primary speaker and spoke about the difference between creating stories for the Mass Effect video games vs. the Mass Effect comic books. He said that it was tough because they could not show Commander Shepherd from the game series, due to the fact that the character is created in large part by players of the video games. Yet overall the process is much simpler and easier as he does not have to think about the variables that come with players. Essentially it is a straightforward narrative instead of a branching broad expansive story like the games.
Walters then gave some tidbits about the new Mass Effect comic Invasion. He said that it, “leads directly into Mass Effect 3,” and that it primarily “looks at Cerberus.” Mass Effect fans will be familiar with the pro-human extremist group Cerberus who were a huge part of Mass Effect 2. True fans of the game will be happy to hear that the events in the comics are mentioned in Mass Effect 3. Comic Fans will be impressed to know that the cover artist for the forthcoming Mass Effect Comics previous work included the well known comic book Y the Last Man.
After this the panel announced an upcoming Mass Effect book entitled The Art of the Mass Effect Universe. The Cover was then revealed.
From there the conversation turned to the upcoming Mass Effect 3. Walters said there would be “3 huge moments” in the game and that the game included many “personal elements” and that all the various story threads would come together. Livingston said she was “emotionally spent” after doing a great deal of the voice work for the game and that she had been literally crying due to the fantastic nature of the work.
Following this Dark Horse Comics announced an upcoming Dragon Age Comic Book that will be released digitally In February focusing on the character of Alistor.
From here the panel went to a question and answer session as Dragon Age writers David Gaider and Mike Laidlaw joined Walters and the others on stage. The questions went primarily to Walters. He confirmed that an animated Mass Effect film is coming after Mass Effect 3. Walters then declared his favorite characters to be Garrus, Wrex, and the Illusive Man. My favorite quote of the session from Walters was that, “the video game Citizen Kane is coming.” For worried fans Walters announced that there were, “no loose ends in Mass Effect 3.” He also explained why certain side missions in the Mass Effect Universe end up so silly, think about the Krogan and the fish in Mass Effect 2, or Conrad Verner in Mass Effect. His answer;
Fun is had at the end of game creation”
This was the most interesting panel of the day!
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