Two years after Commander Shepard repelled invading Reapers bent on the destruction of organic life, a mysterious new enemy has emerged. On the fringes of known space, something is silently abducting entire human colonies. Now Shepard must work with Cerberus, a ruthless organization devoted to human survival at any cost, to stop the most terrifying threat mankind has ever faced.
To even attempt this perilous mission, Shepard must assemble the galaxy’s most elite team and command the most powerful ship ever built. Even then, they say it would be suicide. Commander Shepard intends to prove them wrong.
Is Commander Shepard Alive?
Commander Shepard is the main playable character in Mass Effect 2, but Shepard’s death is a central theme in the story, especially since the Commander is preparing for what can only be described as a suicide mission.
How will our saved games from Mass Effect 1 work for Mass Effect 2?
If you finished Mass Effect 1 and continue from your savegame, you will see the consequences of your decisions from the first moments of Mass Effect 2. And throughout the game you will see the results of choices you made in Mass Effect 1, both large and small.
What if I didn’t play Mass Effect 1, or didn’t keep my savegame?
Mass Effect 2 starts with an introduction sequence which, in combination with interactive decisions made by the player, introduces new players to the storyline and establishes a "canon" backstory.
What DRM will you use for Mass Effect 2?
We will make an announcement about DRM at a later date.
What if I have multiple saved games?
You will be asked to pick a specific save game to import each time you start a new game of ME2.
If a character died in Mass Effect 1 will they come back in Mass Effect 2?
No – they are dead!
What characters from Mass Effect 1 will come back for Mass Effect 2?
If you watch the various trailers and videos we have and will be releasing, you will start to see some familiar faces that are returning for the second game.
What improvements or advancements have been made for Mass Effect 2?
Mass Effect 2 incorporates improvements to nearly every aspect of the game, in areas such as combat and AI, space exploration, and technical systems such as area transitions, frame rates, and texture loading. All of these are incorporated into the overall game design, including a new planetary exploration vehicle.
Will the romances from Mass Effect 1 continue in Mass Effect 2?
Part of telling a great action / adventure story is having a love interest to give deeper meaning and character development to the relationships. So much like in the original Mass Effect, you will be able to develop relationships into love interests over the course of the game.
Will there be new romances to pursue?
Yes. You may see an appearance of your love interest from Mass Effect 1, and there will be completely new characters that can be developed into the love interest for Mass Effect 2.
Is combat going to be changed at all?
The overall concept of combat is very much the same, but every aspect has been polished and improved. You still command a squad of 3 characters with incredible special abilities. But many improvements have been made to give you better real-time tactical control of your squad as well as making the shooting controls much more fluid and precise. Location-based damage (head shots and blasting pieces off enemies ), new physics-based powers, and a new cover system make combat much more spectacular and intense.
Will there be any new weapons in Mass Effect 2?
Yes! Players will have a large variety of new weapons to use including a new system of Heavy Weapons.
Will there be hand to hand combat in Mass Effect 2?
Commander Shepard will have melee attacks he can use against enemies that get too close.
Is Mass Effect 2 still coming for the 360 first or will it come out for the PC at the same time?
We will release details about release timing at a later date.
Will there be a PS3 version of Mass Effect 1 and 2?
Mass Effect 2 is planned for the PC and Xbox 360.
Will there be any new biotic, tech, or soldier abilities in Mass Effect 2?
Absolutely – stay tuned for more videos, screens and features that will reveal some of those.
Will the Normandy return in Mass Effect 2?
The Normandy plays a major role in Mass Effect 2.
f.a.q.#2(post e3 blog)
Just the Facts, Man…
Well we’re back from E3, and I’ve been checking out some of the feedback on our first live demonstrations of Mass Effect 2. We showed some pretty dramatic stuff, and the response has been incredibly positive. The demo also inspired some passionate debate about what it all meant.
There are some really good articles out there describing what we showed at E3, but I figured it might be useful if I clarified some points and answered a few questions people have asked here and on the BioWare forums since E3. I’ll won’t drop any real spoilers here - this is all just the basic premise of the game that we described for people at the show…
The Suicide Mission Concept
In Mass Effect 2, you (as Commander Shepard) are faced with what appears to be a suicide mission: taking a team into the heart of enemy territory where you shouldn’t have any chance of coming back alive. Your survival therefore is based on how well you’ve built a team – who you recruited, how well-equipped they are, and whether they’re loyal to you. Loyalty (and the things you’ll do to earn it) is a central part of the game, and it is critical to Shepard surviving the final mission.
Paragon / Renegade decisions affect a lot of things in the game - and will affect which how the game ends - but they are completely separate from your character’s readiness to survive the final mission.
When we say that Shepard can die in Mass Effect 2, it’s not something that happens at points in the middle of the game. Yes, you can “die” in gameplay as normal but that’s not what we’re talking about here. It’s not a “Game Over” screen. It’s not a gimmicky thing where you make a choice, “die”, and reload to continue to the “real” ending. When you get to the very end of the story in Mass Effect 2, you will get one of a wide variety of climactic and satisfying endings. Depending on how prepared you were, your ending may involve Shepard making the ultimate sacrifice to accomplish the mission.
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. Throughout the middle of the game you are building up information, resources, a team, and a ship that will be able to do the job, and although you can jump straight to the final mission at a certain point, you’ll have a good feel for whether you’re likely to survive it.
Part of what makes the final mission dangerous in a more profound way is that each squad member could potentially die a real, story-based death during that mission as well. 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. And for all characters, death in Mass Effect 2 means they won’t show up in Mass Effect 3.
One big reason you’ll want to be alive after the ending is that after the credits roll, you are returned to the game world - ready to head back out for more adventure. You can complete unfinished missions, explore the galaxy, and download new adventures to play. But Mass Effect is a trilogy about Commander Shepard’s journey - if your Shepard dies in the end of Mass Effect 2, that’s the end of him / her. In that case, you can play Mass Effect 3 as “a” Shepard – just not “your” Shepard. As in real life, not being able to keep living is really the main down-side of death. So if you care about playing the next game with your character, make sure you survive this one.
If you die in the end but in retrospect you really wish you had lived, you can of course go back to a savegame from before you attempted the final mission. From there you can make the improvements required to survive and continue your character into the next game.
Importing your Mass Effect Savegame
First, you do not need to have played Mass Effect to enjoy Mass Effect 2. The introduction is designed to introduce new players to the story and universe, and to recap the situation for previous players.
If you have completed Mass Effect and you still have your savegames, you can view each playthrough you’ve completed, and choose the one you want to continue from. The Mass Effect savegame doesn’t just contain a couple of your big choices. It contains countless decisions you’ve made, both large and small. These things could each potentially carry forward and affect your story in Mass Effect 2. This has never been done before on this scale, and it means you’re actually continuing your own story from exactly where you left off.
Some have asked “I built a level 60 character with lots of loot in Mass Effect – will it all carry over to Mass Effect 2?” We will definitely provide benefits for those who put time into developing their character in Mass Effect. But to support all the improvements made in combat and inventory, the skills and items are pretty much completely redone for Mass Effect 2. So if you import a character from Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 will adapt the key assets of your character into starting benefits that work in the new system.
Answers to Other Popular Questions
• “You demonstrated feature X, so does that mean you’ve forgotten about feature Y?” Some worry that by emphasizing certain things in the E3 demo, it means we’ve forgotten about other elements. Not so of course. When you take a game to E3, you really have to focus the message down to something razor-sharp, to cut through all the noise of the show. In our case, it was the key differences between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 that we wanted to emphasize – and we didn’t even have enough time in our slot to show them all! Examples of things we did not show but are definitely in the game are: a completely new and beautifully-handling vehicle, richer and more diverse Uncharted World locations, new space exploration interactivity, systems for character progression, new weapon and armor customization, other cool characters (some new and some you know from the first game), and a ton of content and features.
• “Will Ashley/Garrus/Wrex/etc return in ME2?” Pretty much all the main characters from Mass Effect appear in Mass Effect 2 in one form or another (if they survived your decision-making), and some can join your squad. In general you can expect to continue relationships with these characters across the trilogy, unless you get them killed.
• "Why can't every squadmember from Mass Effect join my squad in Mass Effect 2?" Part of the answer is that the story of Mass Effect 2 is really about the characters - how you go about building a team of interesting individuals - and we wanted to provide some new characters for you to learn about. But beyond that, we're creating a story full of thrilling twists and turns, and while it may be frustrating to not have all the answers right now, these surprises will make the actual playing part really enjoyable. As part of that story, you'll discover what each of your original team members is up to, and why they will or won't join you. You wouldn't want us to spell out exactly who you team up with before you have a chance to discover it on your own, right? Once you're playing Mass Effect 2 and you're immersed in the story, you'll be glad we saved lots of juicy surprises and revelations that can only be found inside the game.
• “Was that a reload animation I saw in the demo?” Like in the first game, most of the futuristic weapons in Mass Effect 2 do not require ammo but they do overheat. The difference now is that instead of waiting for your weapon to cool, you can hit a button to eject a small heat sink to immediately cool the weapon and get back into firing. So it’s a similar system but now you are in control of the cooldown.
• “Do I need fast reflexes to use the Interrupt system?” Interrupts are not meant to be “quick time events”. They are additional options that can appear throughout an NPC’s line that allow you to take a more physical action versus one of the verbal responses. You don’t need to fixate on a part of the screen – a flashing icon will catch your attention in your peripheral vision when it is available. A red icon on the left of the conversation wheel means you can pull the left trigger to fire a hostile interrupt. A blue one on the right side means you can pull the right trigger to do a heroic interrupt. This system allows you to really throw your weight around and get involved in more dynamic interactions with other characters.
• “Did you remove pausing in combat?” No. We’ve made a bunch of changes that add up to the ability to fight without pausing. But you can still hold the powers screen up to pause the action and plan your next moves. One of the biggest improvements was the option to fire your powers in realtime by mapping your favorite ones to buttons – this is a lot of fun and really unlocks the real potential of the combat system. The other big improvement was separate, context-based squad commands on the d-pad. So with a single press of the d-pad you can send a specific squad member to exactly where you want him / her, or to hit an enemy with a special power. This means you can run around with the best powers of your team right at your fingertips and enjoy realtime tactical mayhem – or you can pause with the powers screen to really think about what you want to do next.
• And the two most common questions: “Did you fix the slow elevators?” and “Will there be alien love scenes?” Yes and yes. We actually had our new level transition system on display in the demo, which replaces elevators and other transitions from the first game. The new system did its job perfectly in the demo– it was a natural part of the visual narrative and went by fast enough that no one noticed it even happened. As for whether there will be alien love in an elevator, you’ll have to play to find out.