In a panel titled "Where Did My Inventory Go? Refining Gameplay in Mass Effect 2," BioWare's Christina Norman talked about the radical changes made to the second chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy. A key goal for Mass Effect 2 was to introduce "more satisfying combat," with an "intense feel" missing from the first game. One of the admitted failures of the first Mass Effect game was the incongruity between its look and feel: it looked like a shooter, but it didn't exactly play like one. With that in mind, Norman decided that the team needed to focus on rebuilding the combat in its entirety for Mass Effect 2. "BioWare is strong on RPG and story," but "not so strong on shooter combat." BioWare needed to rebuild its gameplay core, because the game's "other features depend on shooter combat."

The streamlined gameplay and GUI of Mass Effect 2 made it a huge critical success, but Norman pointed out some major criticisms from vocal members of the official BioWare forums. Threads titled "Mass Effect 2 is not an RPG" and "Gears of War with interactive dialogue" were highlighted as examples of fans disappointed by the strong shooting focus of the second game.

As with the transition from the first Mass Effect to the second, BioWare is taking these criticisms to heart for the third game, with Norman hoping the third will offer "richer RPG features" and "more combat options." What we can probably expect less of, however, is the mining minigame, which Norman described as the part that "nobody liked."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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