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Why Games Need Writers — Real Writers

Those of you following me on Facebook know that I just finished Mass Effect 1 yesterday afternoon.  While the snow came down I saved the galaxy from the Reapers.

Overall this was a fun game.  The planetary visuals were gorgeous, it was a big science fiction story with twists and turns, and cool alien races.

There were problems.  Not enough character interactions with your team.  When big things happen there is almost never any reaction from the crew.  They should have had a personal mission for Kaidan, Ashley and Liara.  Even Tali gets short changed.  I think we should have had to deal with Tali’s father.  The faces tended to be pretty plastic, but advancing technology should take care of that.

And there was one side mission that could have been folded into the plot and made the story even better.  I guess I better put down ___SPOILER!!!!!!____ now.

 

Early on in the game you get a chance to scan the Keepers, these enigmatic aliens that keep the Citadel running.  If you succeed in that you get money, but it turns out at the end of the game that the Keepers were created by the bad guys to allow them to enter our area of space and kill every living thing.  As a novelist this bugged me.  My scanning the Keepers should have played into the conclusion.  Sheppard should have had an insight into the purpose of the Keepers, and used that knowledge to help thwart the Reapers. 

The whole — Keepers created by the Reapers, but after 50,000 years they’ve gone rouge — is played as back story.  And I hate back story when it’s not integrated.  I always hear that old producer whispering in my ear when I write anything “You can’t play the back story.”

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