Do you think EA might have managed to actually finish the Mass Effect 3 endings, have an actually functioning journal system, any interesting side quests, and not butchered the Tali face reveal if they had spent the resources used to add Kinect/MP support to Mass Effect 3 on those other things instead?
Errr.... given that the first is a bad writing problem, the second I hadn't even noticed as an issue, the third a structural choice rather than ommission and the fourth some weird art direction splurge, I fail to see how otherwise engaged level designers and programmers could have caused them?
The ME trilogy hadn't exactly suffered from an abundance of bad writing prior to introducing MP. Yes, I know correlation does not imply causation, but it's hardly the only game where, once MP was introduced, the quality in other areas suffers. Writing the plot, like EVERYTHING ELSE in a game is a function of resource allocation. Say the budget for a game is $100 just to make up a number. Now say that you have to add in MP and Kinect into that game, still have the same timeline, and the same budget. Maybe that means that the budget to deliver the original stuff planned for is $80 instead of $100.
Money is a fungible resource. Opportunity Cost with regards to economics. Put another way, the more you try and do, the less likely to do EVERYTHING well. Bad writing is more likely to happen the more features you try and add into a game. Since MP is a feature I don't like and won't use, adding it in makes it more likely that the features I DO like and use won't be as good.
A functioning journal system UPDATES. Mass Effect 3's did not. You got quests just by randomly walking by people talking about things. You could find things, but the journal wouldn't update you with a reminder of where that thing was supposed to be delivered to. Basically, you got a journal entry when a quest was assigned, BUT NOTHING ELSE.
The third being a structural choice is, again, a issue with resource allocation. You have a limited budget to use when creating a game. You can spend it in certain places and in certain ways. For me, interesting an fun sidequests are MANDATORY for a truly great RPG. Those that don't have it don't meet the criteria to me. Things like coop are not mandatory for a good RPG.
The fourth item was the fact that the designers and programmers didn't actually MAKE Tali's face. They looked around on the Internet, found a stock photo, and then photoshopped it a bit. It would be like using the picture that came with a frame you bought at the department store. Tali was a character that a great many people were looking forward to getting a true romance scene with and they totally mailed that in.
Which brings me back to my assertion that certain elements show poorly decided upon priorities for games. When you're skimping on areas like good writing, side quests and character development to put in motion control and multiplayer you're skimping on the things that truly make an RPG great.
Edited by nocoolnamejim, 11 January 2013 - 04:20 PM.