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Okay, so we know Mass Effect is set in a massive universe. But how do you plan to make it work properly? Won’t all the planets and landscapes get a bit samey? Isn’t space a great void?
Hudson: It’s really all about creating a sense of discovery, and the idea that you don’t know what’s there until you arrive. There’s a full spectrum of locations, from extensive areas with deep plots and combat to barren asteroids whose mysteries are well hidden. You will be attempting locations with varying depths of exploration and adventure all around. It’s actually the variety that allows us to create the feeling of a huge, explorable galaxy.
Give us an idea of the sort of stuff we will come across…
Hudson: Well, you may come across a group of mercenaries recovering a downed military satellite, or you might find a resource-rich area that’s infested with monsters. Some locations are man-made, like space stations or ships, while others are natural, like planets and moons. You may even get something of value from orbiting a gas giant along the lines of Jupiter, such as picking up a radio transmission that provides coordinates to locate something on another world. But you’re not just exploring for peaceful recreation - you’ll be scouring the galaxy on an intense mission where everything you discover might help you uncover the dark plot that threatens all life.
That sounds deep. Question is, do we get a spaceship?
Hudson: You’ll command the starship Normandy, and the crew (including the veteran pilot) answers directly to you. You get around space by using the enormous galaxy map, issuing navigation orders to your crew. The Normandy is a prototype stealth ship of the Human Alliance, capable of faster-than-light travel, and has the ability to make itself invisible to sensors so that it can enter a star system and land undetected.