Mass Effect fans apparently error on the side of mercy… yep… this is the big story on Sick Critic for today. As a series, Mass Effect has shipped more than 16.5 million units over the span of four games and 12 years. On Wednesday, former cinematic designer for Mass Effect John Ebenger retweeted a post highlighting our natural tendencies to be merciful and forgiving in video games. He also added a comment that “Something like 92% of Mass Effect players were Paragon.”
Yup. Something like 92% of Mass Effect players were Paragon.
And we put a lot of work in to the Renegade content too 🙁 https://t.co/lywwx7n4Hy
— John Ebenger (@EbengerJohn) February 19, 2020
While this itself is certainly not the biggest news to come out of this week, it brings up an interesting question of why we so often choose against the hardened routes in RPGs. As someone who adores Mass Effect (well, the original trilogy) and chose the Paragon path on two separate playthroughs, it certainly gets me thinking. Do we all make the decisions we would make in real life? Do we feel to guilty for exploring beyond kindness? Is the story more compelling if the hero acts in line with the Paragon path?
Ebenger also states that “we put a lot of work in to the Renegade content too,” and he ends it with a frown. Mass Effect is already acclaimed as one of the best worlds and stories in gaming, especially the second installment. However, how good would it have been if decisions were less black and white? What if all the effort that was put into Renegade was used towards developing dialogue that hovered in some gray areas? It’s reasonable to say that we may have had a different game on our hands that also consistently challenged our morals or perceptions of decision-making.
While this statistic thrown onto the internet by Ebenger is far from 100% factual, it would make sense for BioWare and other studios to take this little Tweet as a caution sign. Why spend money and recourses on a bunch of content that only 8% of people will experience? That’s part of the gamble with some RPG mechanics. It’ll be especially interesting to see how games like Cyberpunk 2077 approach the matter in the future.
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.