Mass Effect 2
Released n/a
Details
<big><b>Gameplay</b></big>
A "Prelude to E3" developer diary was released on May 15, 2009. The developers confirmed that the combat system has been upgraded, with everything from the feel of the combat and the AI being improved, including realistic damage modeling and downed enemies still continuing to crawl and fight. New to the series is a heavy weapons system that will allow you to "kill [somebody] a thousand times" over. The tone of the game is similar to that of the Wild West, featuring warlords and crime gangs. The video also confirmed the existence of new alien races and an attack by one race on Citadel-controlled space, wearing armour with an "M1" logo painted on it and seeming to control similarly armored varren, a race of non-sapient animals similar to dogs.

The characters in Mass Effect 2 will be more detailed not only graphically, but technically. In the original Mass Effect, Commander Shepard only had 20 animations for cover, while in Mass Effect 2, the character has over 200. The world will also be more open-ended in this installment; uncharted worlds the player could only explore for "cheap thrills" will now be more detailed and have more to explore.

The camera positioning for conversations with AI characters has also been improved, the previously static camera now moving around to provide "a much needed cinematic touch."


<b><big>Plot</big></b>
Mass Effect 2 will be darker than the first game, with Bioware stating that "Saren's evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater peril." Online retailer listings have further elaborated on the plot: "The second chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy takes you to the darkest reaches of space, where you must uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of humans across many worlds. Prepare yourself for a suicide mission to save mankind."

Casey Hudson, Project Director for BioWare, and Greg Zeschuk, BioWare co-founder, as well as various developers on the official Mass Effect message boards, have said that players should keep their Mass Effect save-files, because decisions made by the player in the first game will continue to have influences on their character in the sequel. Players who have not played the first Mass Effect will start a new character in Mass Effect 2, and will be brought up to speed on the story elements that have taken place thus far in the series. Hudson also states that characters from the previous game will come back, provided that they were not killed. The first teaser trailer for this game gives the impression that Commander Shepard has been killed in action, but a later trailer shows that Shepard is still alive at the beginning of the game. Players themselves can dictate whether or not Shepard will die based on choices that they make throughout the game.

Following E3 2009, BioWare Executive Producer Casey Hudson reiterated some aspects of the game which had been on display during E3. Regarding the issue of Shepard's death, Hudson explained that based on decisions made during Mass Effect 2, Shepard can die in some of the game's multiple endings. Hudson stated "If you do die in the ending of Mass Effect 2, it will not come as a surprise, nor will it be random. It will be pretty obvious that you headed into the final mission knowing that Shepard probably wouldn’t make it out alive." Hudson also confirmed that team members would be affected by the player's decisions during the final mission: "You might have an ending where Shepard’s entire team survives, or where the entire mission is a bloodbath and everyone (including Shepard) is killed, or anything in between." The ending in which Shepard is killed represents a permanent death, implying he would not be available for Mass Effect 3.


<b><big>Development</big></b>
The team that worked on Mass Effect will work on Mass Effect 2. EA CEO John Riccitiello confirmed during a conference call with investors that Mass Effect 2 would be available on "multiple platforms." Riccitiello also revealed that Mass Effect 2 will be released in fiscal fourth quarter of 2009, which is between January and March 2010.

On March 2, 2009, BioWare and Electronic Arts announced that they have set up a new team, set to work in Montreal, using the existing EA Montreal facility. The team's main task is to develop Mass Effect 2. Around half of the team of thirty worked on the original Mass Effect, with the others being mostly new hires. This new team will supplement the teams already working on Mass Effect 2. BioWare co-founder and CEO Ray Muzyka said the team is "really excited about it, and we think it's going to be a huge opportunity to tap into the talent base in Montreal while supplementing our existing teams in Edmonton and Austin, which are doing some great stuff on all the other projects BioWare's working on."

Voice actor D.C. Douglas, who voiced Albert Wesker in Resident Evil 5, has confirmed he will be voicing a character in Mass Effect 2. Douglas stated that he has to be silent about the character he is voicing.


<b><big>Marketing</big></b>
BioWare Project Manager Corey Andruko and BioWare Lead Technical Designer Dusty Everman led a 60-minute lecture on Level design for Mass Effect 2 at the 2009 Game Developers Conference. The session gave attendees insight into the new approach BioWare is taking in designing levels for Mass Effect, one that maximizes iteration for quality, while minimizing rework and cost.

A promotional trailer was released on February 20, 2009. The trailer pans across a very close up set of armor, with captions listing off Commander Shepard's achievements and known alien allies. At the end of the trailer, Shepard's current status is given as "Killed in Action." The camera then pans upwards to show the head of a geth with armor bearing the N7 logo (part of the Systems Alliance Military Vocational Code and printed on Shepard's default armor) in front of it. In a development blog Casey Hudson, BioWare's Executive Producer, commented on the rumors of Shepard's "KIA" status, stating "Better not be. We had a lot of big plans made, so if someone’s gone and killed Shepard then things are going to take an unexpected turn…"

On May 29, 2009, BioWare released the first full trailer for the game. It revealed little that wasn't already known or hinted at by the previous trailer and developer diary. This trailer also confirmed that Shepard is alive for the events of Mass Effect 2, and not dead prior to the game as the previous trailer seemed to indicate. BioWare later confirmed that Shepard would not die in the game's storyline until the final mission, when the choices made by the player would decide Shepard's fate.