SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3 IN THIS POST
Yesterday I shared an idea I had to improve Mass Effect 3 with minimal spending by merely changing the final minutes of the game. I referred to this as the Low Budget Option. Today I’m going to share ideas I had for what I call the High Budget Option. This option assumes a large budget for any development team that was tasked with changing Mass Effect 3 and allows for significant changes to be made to the game. Story, gameplay, performance, audio; everything is on the table in this scenario. Below are some my ideas for positive changes that could be made to Mass Effect 3 with the High Budget Option.
Fix all the small bugs
Mass Effect 3 is riddled with small bugs on the PlayStation 3 version. The vast majority of them are things I can overlook, but some really do stand out, like the way characters can turn their heads past 90 degrees in conversations.
Improve performance to a constant 30fps (or higher)
Somewhat related to the previous point, I’d want to see the game’s performance improved so that it runs at least at a constant 30fps. If possible I’d tell the development to aim even higher and go for 60fps.
Give the player the option to recruit Grunt
Mass Effect 3 has a notably smaller roster of characters you can recruit when compared to Mass Effect 2. I’m ok with the smaller roster but the fact that you never have a Krogan on your team (aside from the missions in the Citadel DLC) I think was a mistake. The natural fix to this would be to make Grunt a character you can recruit after you complete the sidequest he appears in.
Get rid of Diana Allers
Having a member of the press on the Normandy was an interesting idea but I don’t think it worked all that well in Mass Effect 3. Diana’s presence feels like wasted space and I’d have her replaced by another character. Speaking of which…
Recruit Kal’Reeger (at the expense of Kaiden/Ashley)
Kal’Reeger was one of my favorite minor characters from Mass Effect 2 and I would have liked to see more of him in Mass Effect 3, but that never happens. Instead, the player merely receives an email in the final third of the game informing you of his heroic death while fighting the Reapers. To keep the roster of recruitable characters from going overboard, my suggestion would be that you could only recruit Kal’Reeger if you decide not to recruit Kaiden or Ashely.
Fix the continuity errors
The continuity errors in Mass Effect 3 were particularly perplexing for me. Did the development team at Bioware forget about the lore and rules established by the first two Mass Effect games, or did they willfully override them for the sake of the story they wanted to tell in Mass Effect 3? Whatever the case, I’d direct my team to rework the game to bring it back in line with proper Mass Effect cannon.
Other alien species in the final battle
Throughout Mass Effect 3 you are gathering support from other alien races to assist you in the fight against the Reapers. In the final battle on Earth you see a lot of those aliens, but some are strangely absent. Even if I could only get them to make short appearances, I’d want the Volus, Hanar, Drell, Elcor, and others to have some sort of presence in the last chapter of the game.
Change the ending to make your choices matter
This is the most obvious change, and might be the hardest to do, even on a high budget. To give the Mass Effect fans what they want and make all their choices from the previous games actually matter, my team would have to slave away for months creating a wide spectrum of endings. Which characters are still alive at the end? Did you cure the Krogan? Did you make peace with the Geth? Did you destroy the Collector Base? Did you save the Rachni queen? There are so many big choices in the three Mass Effect games that my team would have to craft dozens of endings, and then have multiple variants to each of those endings that take into account all details from how your time with the Mass Effect games played out. For my part, three of the endings I’d like to see are a super Paragon ending where Shepard defeats the Reapers and survives the final battle, an ultimate Renegade ending where Shepard sides with the Illusive Man and takes control of the Reapers, and a failure ending where your forces are too weak and get completely wiped out by the Reapers while on Earth, or maybe even before you make it to Earth.