Alan Smithee

Mass Effect 2’s Save Game Import Explained

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SAREN

Casey Hudson of BioWare had an interview recently with PC World that goes to great lengths to explain to all of us fans of the first game what will happen when we import our data from Mass Effect into Mass Effect 2.

“[Mass Effect 2] is completely different from anything you’ve played before, because it’s literally, potentially threaded into everything that happens,” he explained. “When you’re playing the first game, everything that you do is setting a variable so that as the story progresses we know that you did a certain thing on a certain planet, and then internal to the game, we can reference those things. Your Mass Effect save game contains all of that information.

When you import it into Mass Effect 2, now we can continue mining all that information. And it’s not just what your ending was, or a couple of the big choices, you know, where we could have stuck a conversation at the beginning and asked you what you did and moved on. This is literally hundreds of things.

Anytime we have a plot or a character or situation in Mass Effect 2, we think about what you did, potentially, in the first game that might affect said plot or character or situation in the second. We can look at each variable and dynamically change what happens in the moment. It ranges from small things like, by way of example, Conrad Verner was a fan of Commander Shepard’s that you met in the first game, and it’s like you meet this guy in an alley and you can be nice to him or you can be a jerk to him, and at the time you might have been thinking of it as just a trite role-playing convention, good-guy bad-guy, and that’s that.

Jump forward two years. Now you’re playing Mass Effect 2, and oh my god, who’s this, it’s Conrad Verner! And based on what you’ve done, you realize that while the moment in the first game maybe seemed throwaway, now Conrad’s back and involved in another plot in a game you’re playing two years later…and what you did two years ago is meaningfully affecting what’s happening.

That’s a small example.”

I immediately started to panic after reading this because I was a complete dick to that Conrad guy…It’s going to be interesting, I hope my character is still hooked up with Liara at the beginning of ME2.

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