By Kirk Hamilton
By now, we all know how I feel about BioWare's incredible new role-playing game Mass Effect 2. But even with two massive RPG launches under their belt in just the last four months, BioWare hasn't rested on their laurels. I recently found the pitch for an upcoming spin-off, a modern-day RPG based on the dramatic, emotionally engaging lives of hipsters in San Francisco's Mission District. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present this exclusive preview of BioWare's next role-playing epic, Mass Affect.
In Mass Affect, players will assume the role of a part-time photography studio receptionist named Shepard. After choosing Shepard's age, sex, tattoo placement, sexual preference, and slightly-edgier stated sexual preference, players will be able to customize their character's appearance through an innovative, intuitive "blind dressing" interface that simulates the act of putting on clothes while standing in a lightless room. Also, players can invest in vintage sewing machines, re-purposed fabric, and online make-it-yourself clothing guides, resulting in over one million possible character outfits that, while composed of entirely different materials, all manage to look like ill-fitting ass.
An Epic Quest
Mass Affect tells a compelling, Emotionally Engaging story of a single hero facing overwhelming odds. An unknown menace is threatening the outer fringes of the known galaxy (south of 24th street) as unemployed artists, bike messengers, apparently college-educated homeless people, and design-studio interns have begun to vanish at an alarming rate. Shepard must recruit a motley crew to venture into the lawless "Outer Mission" and discover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances. The quest will take Shepard through the whole of San Francisco, from the cold reaches of the Outer Sunset to the corrupt corporate bustle of the Financial District, revealing a sinister plot to force young people to get jobs and reasonable haircuts.
An Open World Filled With Varied Side-Quests
The world of Mass Affect is a sprawling, open-world playground navigated via bicycle, MUNI, and an all-new ride-bumming mechanic. In addition to the main story, Mass Affect will offer a plethora of engaging side-quests, including bike messenger assignments, competitive coffee-brand disparagement, horrible-dancing competitions, and an interactive café-posturing minigame that involves using motion controls to keep the cover of your barely-skimmed copy of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" within eyeshot of as many cute girls as possible.
Central to the player's quest to save their friends from a life of Squaritude is the recruitment of a strong, loyal team. Using the patented Mumblecore Dialogue Wheel(TM), members can be recruited from all over the city, including Dahl the jewelry-stand owner, Briann the sitar-enthusiast, April the girl who has a car, and Bill, a corporate lackey who works in a highrise downtown but whose pressed suits hide his ironic tattoos and collection of sharpied Chuck Taylors. In the BioWare tradition, romance will be an option with select party members, provided you are careful about drunk-texting and never, ever talk about commitment.
Your Decisions Matter
In their quest, Players will be given a plethora of choices, each one altering the game's ever-branching storyline. Do you protest the construction of an American Apparel, or do you strike a deal with the owners and allow them to build? Do you choose to ride a fixie, or do you secretly install brakes on your bike? Do you allow your party members to know that not only do you actually still like Franz Ferdinand, but you don't really care for mashups that much? Be careful! Choices that seemed clear-cut can have unforeseen consequences that seriously impact your cred.
Unprecedented DLC Support
BioWare is committed to supplying its players with top-rate Downloadable Content, and Mass Affect will be no exception. Since the definition of hipster changes on an hourly basis, DLC will be regularly released through the in-game "Pitchfork Network," allowing players to keep their own personal Shepard from being even a minute behind the times. New characters will also be made available to be downloaded immediately, though they will only turn up in the game when their flakey asses are good and ready.
The Next Great BioWare Franchise
BioWare is very excited to add this new franchise to their decades-deep, hugely celebrated catalog of outstanding role playing games. Featuring an unprecedentedly tedious open world, incredible player freedom from responsibility, the next evolution of BioWare's branching plot model, and innovative navel-gazing dialog, Mass Affect will mark the start of an epic trilogy that will continue for years to come, or at least until it turns 30.