Mass Effect 2 Interview

Game producer Adrien Cho on BioWare boozing, pushing Unreal Engine 3 to its limits, comparisons with Star Wars: The Old Republic and a “holistic” approach to development.

By Adam Doree, December 5, 2009

VGD: It’s nice to know there are some people at BioWare who relax enough to drink! I met the Dragon Age team last year, and I can’t see those guys getting pissed and talking about what they’re going to do in the sequel.

Cho: Well, we’re people too! We like playing games, and we like going out for a drink. I think that keeps us relate-able to the audience, too – we have to listen to the people who play our games. And it’s no longer a “nerd” culture, we’re branching out to larger audiences, and we like watching movies, we like listening to the same music you guys do!

Either that's alien gore or they've been reduced to throwing custard pies.

Either that's alien gore or they've been reduced to throwing custard pies.

VGD: What would you say was your chief responsibility this time round, as a producer?

Cho: One of the fun things of my job for Mass 2 was ensuring that things get done on time and efficiently – lots of times an asset goes through several different hands, so the joy is making sure that whole process isn’t blocked. I’m still able to take a lot of my tech experience and fill in the gaps, so to speak, but I get a lot of joy in seeing a character developed on time, passed onto animation and then coming to life in a cinematic, all running smoothly. Because if those assets ever get delayed, ultimately that has an impact down the line – you might not have a great-looking character, or as great-looking a character. But if you can help in a production capacity to ensure that things are delivered to the best quality and also on time…

VGD: Do you think that’s where some projects in the industry that have bags of potential end up going wrong? Because the glue that holds development together is missing?

Cho: Yes, because you have to look at the project holistically, and if there’s an imbalance – maybe you’ll have the best audio ever, but if no-one ever paid attention to the gameplay, what’s the point because nobody’s going to play your game, nobody’s going to hear your audio! So you kind of have to make sure equal attention is paid to all areas of a project, and to then allow each to shine as well, to have the opportunity to do the best they can, but to also keep the focus on – to say “we are together as a team, working on this one objective”. We definitely want people to bring their best, but to make sure everybody works well together.

The Collective mean business.

The Collective mean business.

VGD: Last year you showed me the PC version of Mass 1, which obviously made a bunch of improvements on the Xbox 360 game. Will there be a discrepancy between versions this time round? Or will you bring the same stuff to both?

Cho: Definitely, it’s a very tight integration. We learned a lot about usability from PC development on Mass 1, and the great thing is with Mass 2 is that it’s a parallel development. So they’re sharing things and if they don’t work out so well on one platform or the other, or work out really well, we can seamlessly integrate those changes onto both. So there’s not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage with one.

VGD: You guys are working with EA Montreal on this as well.

Cho: Yeah, this is the first game we’ve started developing using a small subsidiary studio out there – BioWare Montreal – and they were helping out on all aspects of the game from cinematics to mission development to level art and character.

Posted in Interviews, Previews, Spotlight, and tagged with , , .

3 Responses to “Mass Effect 2 Interview”

  1. Van says:

    Niceeeeee.. i always love reading your interviews.
    This site is kickass. there was a time when this site went all quiet and i had to go back to ign which seems like it is now run by a bunch of egotistic unfunny teenagers these days. Its good to have kikizo back to get my daily hit of video game news. not sure if you guys have a new staff and that. but i still enjoy reading your reviews, previews and interviews. still seems just like the old kikizo.

    • Hey there dude, thanks for the thumbs up! Kikizo’s basically been rebuilt from scratch over the past six months, which is why we haven’t had many updates. And yes, we do have new staff – you’re talking to one of ‘em! (Though come to think of it I’ve been around over a year now, probably lost my greenhorn status.)

      Everything’s still a little wobbly, as we’re trying out what sort of content works best on the new sites, but yes you can expect a more robust output from now onwards :) Coming up next on the interview front, a chat with the makers of Singularity…

      • DR Jam says:

        I’m glad to see you guys kicking again. I also took a long break from this site, due to the slow phase.

        Please, track down Itagaki San for me, and bring those epic interviews with industry luminaries.

        Nice interview, and I like the idea that Mass Effect (the series) should include a few shorts to tell the story of certain locales, races, and characters. Something like a flashback with high production values. But it’s important that they should NOT be longer than 5 mins, seriously. I love MGS but, I wouldn’t like to see other games taking the same route with 30+mins-long cut scenes.


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