I've been fortunate to squeeze in about 15 hours of Mass Effect 3 over the past few weeks, and I love it. It's a bit glitchy, especially during the in-game cinematics, but those rare lapses are easily forgiven thanks to consistently pretty environments, dramatic and rewarding character abilities, and (especially) an interesting cast of characters that you can identify with. The guys and gals responsible for the aliens in ME deserve medals, both for how they look and animate, but also how they speak (good job, writers), and how they sound (good job, voice-actors). I genuinely care about almost every character in the game, and I want to be their hero.
The next paragraph is full of spoilers.
I was treated to several sombre moments during those 15 hours. I said goodbye to Mordin and watched him heroically cure the genophage while singing his version of the Major-General's Song softly under his breath—his singing provided one of my favourite moments in ME2. I said goodbye to Thane while reading scripture with his son. I wanted Legion's AI people to experience their awakening, but wasn't willing to sacrifice the Quarians for it.
My point is that in each of these situations I was genuinely feeling something that was much more far-reaching than what many might even consider is possible through this medium. I've been genuinely sad for these characters, and deeply conflicted in what choices to make. Hearing Mordin vehemently admit that he was wrong before sacrificing himself—seeing him close his eyes and hearing his characteristic sharp intake of breath as the lift took him to the top of the tower for his final act—this was cathartic and satisfying in ways that good novels and movies have only occasionally made me feel. Do you remember how you felt when Sia's Breathe Me started to play at the end of the season finale of Six Feet Under? ME3 is delivering miniature moments like these every few hours.
It's a big deal. BioWare has really achieved something here, just as they've always worked to do, and I'm pleased and even kind of absurdly proud that they're uplifting two of my passions, gaming and writing.
Anyway, to bring this ramble back around. How I felt during those moments in Mass Effect 3 are why I want to make games. I believe, like many do, that videogames are the art form of the 21st century and that these games can have enormous emotional impact. I don't think you can overstate how significant they will be over the next decades, and I'm looking forward to helping create moments that will make my players feel.
Did I mention R.O.Bit is a bit tragic? ;) In case you missed it, I provided a bunch of details about our final project over on the LiveFire Studios blog. Katie said she wouldn't play it if it made her sad, but my description of the game coupled with Grey's mock-ups might have convinced her.
Thanks for stopping by.