Mass Effect 3 combat improvements detailed

BioWare gameplay designers talk about how new tweaks to AI behaviors will make Mass Effect 3 a more challenging game than its predecessors.

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Mass Effect 3 is supposed to be the culmination of Shepard's battle against the Reapers, and the team at BioWare wants to make you work for that final victory. A recent CVG interview with gameplay designers Christina Norman and Corey Gaspur outlined how the next installment will beef up the difficulty with more variable AI enemies.

Norman said that movement around the battlefield will be more complex as enemies take up different positions, rather than simply finding a safe spot and shooting from there. She also said the team does an AI overhaul "pretty much every day" and they're working to build in multiple behaviors. "In Mass Effect 3 it's not just that the game is harder on Insanity, it's that this creature actually behaves differently on higher difficulty levels," said Norman. "On those harder difficulty levels we can make the enemies exhibit specific behaviours more often, or even give them new behaviours that we think will work for a harder difficulty level."

Norman claims that the enemies are now being designed as a unit, to work together and fulfill individual roles for a more strategic approach. Gaspur pointed out that enemies themselves have a wider array of abilities. "Enemies like the Cerberus Troopers are elites," he said. "They can do everything that Shepard can do now as well, so you're fighting a force that's a lot more intelligent this time around, and a lot more punishing. The game is just intense even when you play it on Normal."

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  • reply
    July 6, 2011 1:15 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Mass Effect 3 combat improvements detailed.

    BioWare gameplay designers talk about how new tweaks to AI behaviors will make Mass Effect 3 a more challenging game than its predecessors.

    • reply
      July 6, 2011 1:30 PM

      The Emperor: You want this, don't you?

      Fuck yes I do.

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      July 6, 2011 1:33 PM

      I'm always a fan of better AI.

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      July 6, 2011 1:33 PM

      Whenever I think ME3 I think Kinect followed by "Garrus use ummm... murder on that umm... fool..."

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      July 6, 2011 1:55 PM

      a huge boner is being erected upon every news item I read about Mass Effect 3.

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        July 6, 2011 2:02 PM

        Isn't that the critically acclaimed "Mass Effect"?

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      July 6, 2011 2:32 PM

      uh huh

      I've heard this before. Just about every FPS/TPS touts their next-gen AI and it invariably ends up being 99% the same as it was beforehand.

      Believe it when I see it.

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        July 7, 2011 7:50 AM

        Like th Witcher 2s "Living Worlds" spiel. Loved it mind you, but making a big deal out of npc's having 2 or 3 paths to follow every day (work, wander, home)just wasn't that amazing to me =P

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          July 7, 2011 12:07 PM

          Lol. Considering how much "work, wander, home" is like my actual life, I think TW2 got the AI pretty good.

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      July 6, 2011 3:13 PM

      I actually don't really care about the AI. As someone not very good at shooters, I don't care if the enemy AI is simplistic*. I do care about the story and the RP elements, and I hope both end up being significantly better than in ME2.

      (I'm not against good AI... it's just not something I'm going to perk up about.)

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      July 6, 2011 3:15 PM

      We created a successful franchise so now we're gonna fuck with it.

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        July 6, 2011 3:24 PM

        Right in the ASS.

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        July 6, 2011 3:27 PM

        The enemy AI was one of the absolute worst aspects of the first game, and they only improved it slightly for the second. I'm glad to hear they are attempting to make something you end up being forced to do quite often even better.

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          July 6, 2011 3:29 PM

          I think he means that they are shifting toward more of a FPS game than an rpg.

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            July 6, 2011 3:34 PM

            The post & interview pretty much only covers enemy AI though, is he in the wrong thread?

            At any rate, the combat has always trended towards 3rd person shooting and action. Even when you play it as I do with squad power usage off and pausing often to queue up your squad's attacks.
            It's a shooter/RPG hybrid, always has been. Might as well try to improve the half of it that involves all the shooting.

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            July 6, 2011 3:42 PM

            That's what it should have been in the first place: a shooter / exploration game with RPG elements. ME2 moved a bit in that direction and was a far better game than the first. This of course has no bearing on DA2, which was originally an RPG then moved in the direction of becoming crap.

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            July 10, 2011 10:54 AM

            I agree. And it's too bad. I don't want a more difficult game. I just want a fun game. I don't know where the notion that the more difficult it is the better it is came from in gaming. I just want to play and have some fun. Follow a good story. I was so looking forward to this thing. But now ??????

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      July 6, 2011 3:18 PM

      They mostly just need to fix thinking they are being tricky with their ambush scripts.

      No Bioware you aren't tricking anyone when we walk into a room full of cover and there are no enemies around.

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      July 6, 2011 3:29 PM

      How about some special advanced behaviours to make my squadmates capable of opening fucking doors.

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      July 6, 2011 3:44 PM

      Can they actually start talking about the fucking ROLE PLAYING?

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      July 6, 2011 3:51 PM

      Taking this all like a grain of salt. After DA2 and the numerous other garbage EA has pulled, I'm not opening the wallet until I play the demo.

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        July 6, 2011 3:54 PM

        DA2 was pretty much a total departure from the first game, including the characters. Mass Effect 3 is still telling Shepard's story, I don't think they'll fuck it all up that badly.

        I'm already in after playing through both games, I want to see how it ends. For better or worse.

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        July 6, 2011 8:12 PM

        DA2 was a different team than that of the one working on the ME series.

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      July 6, 2011 4:04 PM

      1) Count the number of times that any developer has made bold claims about innovative AI.

      2) Count the number of times that these claims have actually been delivered in the final product.

      3) Observe the large gap between these two numbers. That's all I'm going to say about that.

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        July 6, 2011 4:13 PM

        I could actually see it happening in this case. For one, BioWare's previous games have been more RPG where this kind of AI is already non-existent. The enemies just stand there and attack when it's their turn. It was evident in how poor Mass Effect's enemies behaved. Secondly, ME2 was a decent upgrade over that, but it was still lacking compared to other shooters so they could realistically jump ahead of what they've done previously.

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        July 7, 2011 6:46 AM

        I think they're just trying to sell it as a competent shooter at this point. I don't think they're claiming it's Halo AI X 2. They're just going to make combat be awesome and not something to snore through til the next cutscene.

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      July 6, 2011 8:10 PM

      Need better squad AI, it was terrible in ME1, adequate in ME2 and it better be the greatest squad AI ever in ME3.

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      July 7, 2011 6:44 AM

      If we can marry off "better AI and squad tactics" with "Not gonna just give the badguys 3x the armor and 4x the firepower" in higher difficulties, I'll be happy. I have no problem with "normal" difficulty having one tank to blow up and "hard" difficulty having two tanks, but simply moving the "HP and DPS" slider bar all the way to the right does not appeal to me. If the Cerberus agents are using the same powers/equipment, then they should do the same damage.

      Either that, or when I loot them, I better get some of that sweet armor/weaponry they were just using against me.

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        July 7, 2011 7:11 AM

        Hahaha when you loot them

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          July 7, 2011 7:20 AM

          Exactly. So armor and weapons are magically fused to the enemy's body, which allows the handguns they use to be absolute howitzers, while your pea shooters can't dent their Enterprise-class shielding.

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      July 7, 2011 7:30 AM

      "the battlefield will be more complex as enemies take up different positions" Been said for the last 15 years...My enthusiasm for AI died many years ago when I realised we'd reached the peak.

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        July 7, 2011 12:13 PM

        The AI doesn't have to be super smart, as long as it doesn't keep sticking its head out of cover after I sniped three of its buddies. A little critical thinking goes a long way.

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