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GamesRadar: You made several dialogue choices in this intro segment alone. How much are these decisions already affecting the progression of the story and of your character?
GZ: A little bit, but not too much. Further on, the decisions are pretty big. With the whole concept of you being the only human Specter - the representative to all the species of the galaxy - most of the choices really move the needle.
The idea with the smaller decisions is that you're playing a role. You can get into a particular mindset and the different locations on the dialogue dial match that mindset. The bottom right is always the aggressive, brusque choice where you're interrupting a lot. I can literally choose to interrupt a sentence at any point and just say "Do your job!"
GamesRadar: One of the more constant menu choices was "investigate." What does that do?
RM: You can always probe deeper if you're interested. A lot of times there will be optional elements to conversations. If you want to find out more about Eden Prime, the Proteans, for example, you can ask. The option exists for players who want to know more of the detailed information... who want to realize the greater history of the story.
GZ: For the completist. Our intent is to get the player into the game quickly, but that background is available if you want it.
RM: We want to make this game incredibly intuitive and accessible, and to allow players who just want to get into the action / exploration elements to do that. On the other hand, there are players who want to spend more time with the story and dialogue before moving forward with the action sequences.
You're sent to Eden Prime on a smaller escort with two generic crew members. The more intriguing Nihlus prefers to work by himself, which seems to suit the others as they don't trust his race or his reasons for being on their ship. Now, less than 10 or 15 minutes into Mass Effect, you're already on the surface of a beautifully strange world and ready to explore.
RM: This was the first outpost of humanity as we entered the greater galactic arena. It proved that we could hold our own against all odds, but now it lies in ruins. You can see the ash falling around you, representing humanity's shattered dreams.