I generally favor game delays, so long as the extra development time is used to squash bugs and provide a more polished experience. However, according to Joystiq, EA revealed in an earnings call that Mass Effect 3 has been delayed to Q1 2012 because Bioware is “adjusting some of the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you’ll see at E3 that can put this into a genre equivalent of shooter-meets-RPG, and essentially address a far larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 did and Mass Effect 2 began to approach.”
While it’s clear that Mass Effect 2 shed some of its RPG depth in favor of a more action-oriented experience, it wasn’t necessarily a bad move. Traditional loot and weapons systems were missed, but removing those aspects did indeed help tackle some of the main points of contention in the first game (as evidenced by my Mass Effect 2 review.) Of course, this is akin to euthanizing a dog because it has bad breath, when instead you should just brush its teeth. The question is, how much further can the RPG side of a Mass Effect title be diluted while still retaining its status as an RPG? I sincerely hope that tweaks are being made on the action side to better compliment the RPG side, rather than at the expense of traditional role playing game elements. You already took out some of the RPG elements so you could tweak the action side of things, Bioware (or EA…after all, we don’t know whose call this was); now that you have the action nailed down, why don’t you concentrate on bringing the RPG stuff back in a way that’s both accessible and multifaceted?
Time will tell, I suppose. What are your thoughts?