Mass Effect Lead Writer Talks DLC, Commander Shepard, And Potential For New Stories

mass effect 3 interview

Mass Effect 3 was perhaps one of the biggest games developed in Canada in 2012. Despite all the fan backlash stemming from the game’s original ending, the game sold quite well and even won hundreds of awards including Best Console Game, Best Original Music and Best Writing at the Canadian Videogame Awards. All those things aside, the one thing that Mass Effect fans all agree with is that the trilogy has some of the best writing and the most memorable characters ever written.

I recently had a short chat with Mac Walters, the Lead Writer of the Mass Effect Trilogy at BioWare and the man responsible for creating Male and Female Shepard, one of the most influential game characters in the medium today. During our chat, Mac discussed fans reactions to pre-and-post Extended Cut and Citadel DLC’s, why people love and identify with Commander Shepard, and where the franchise could potentially go in the future.

Check out my full interview with Mac Walters after the break.

mass effect 3 citadel

Mass Effect 3: The Citadel – One final adventure with your crew.

JTM Games: First of all congratulations on Mass Effect being nominated (and winning) a number of awards at the Canadian Videogame Awards. Mac, how did you feel about fans’ initial reaction towards Mass Effect 3’s ending and how they reacted after BioWare released the Extended Cut and Citadel DLC’s?

Mac Walters: It was obviously a hard time for the team but at the same time we were looking forward to the future; looking at we were going to be doing with the Citadel pack. We knew a lot of the answers that the fans wanted, some of the closure that they wanted would be available in that pack; and as well as the other DLC that we created.

Looking back now, with the Extended Cut that we added in we certainly were able to flesh out some of the details that the fans wanted. Most of the fans I’ve talked to now are really happy about where things are at, especially with a lot of the fun that they had with the Citadel pack. It was such a great time and brought a lot of the closure that they were looking for.

JTM Games: Why do you think Commander Shepard has been such a powerful character and why he/she is so memorable to millions of fans?

Mac Walters: With Shepard you’re talking about a character that people get to choose; here’s a perfect example – we have Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale who’ll voice your character – that’s the first thing you can choose, whether you’ll be male Shepard or you’ll be female Shepard. And then after that the choices are all yours, you’re owning that character and I think we presented a character that was strong regardless of whether they were femshep or maleshep.

The Shepards were characters that people could identify with and they were going through – despite the fact that the story was huge and epic – a lot of the individual moments, where things were more personal that you can relate to whether you’ve ever saved the galaxy or not.

mass effect 3 citadel crew

It’s these personal, intimate moments that players can relate to despite the larger-than-life story.

JTM Games: Who was your favourite character in the Mass Effect universe and why?

Mac Walters: You mean besides the Shepards? I think for me I really liked Garrus – one of the very first henchmen that I wrote – so he’s near and dear to my heart. Then after that probably the Illusive Man; I like characters who are morally grey. I don’t like black and white characters.

I liked Illusive Man because you never know if he was coming or going, if you can trust him or not, and obviously working with Martin (Sheen) on that was fantastic. But you know, to me that character embodied a lot of the things that I wanted to do to challenge myself as a writer. I wanted to write a character who at any moment you can go “Yeah I side with him,” or “No I hate him.”

JTM Games: Where do you see the Mass Effect franchise going in future installments?

Mac Walters: I think we’ve been pretty clear that the Mass Effect Trilogy – as far as Shepard’s story – is over now. But it’s a universe that is massive, it’s huge, and there’s so many interesting stories to be told both in the past and in the future. And even beyond our own area of space that we’re familiar with in the Mass Effect universe.

So I think there are no end to stories that we could tell there. I think the one thing that will probably hold true is they will always be wrapped around the characters that you love or new characters that you will grow to love.


I would like to personally thank Mac Walters, Jennifer Hale, and Mark Meer for chatting with us at the Canadian Videogame Awards. Check out the site tomorrow for our full interview with Jennifer and Mark about their experiences with Commander Shepard and their favourite characters from the universe.


Did the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut and Citadel DLC’s give you the closure that you wanted from the game? Also, where do you think the Mass Effect franchise could go in future installments?


About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming.

Posted on May 1, 2013, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. So is this suggesting a new Mass Effect in the future? With a different character and story line?

  2. Martin Vurbanov

    I personally think that bioware did a poor job on the ending of Mass Effect 3. I grew up playing the game and I’m only 18 years old.. I love playing male Shepard, and I want to ask a few quick questions that I hope will be answered. First of all, why did bioware make the ending scene where the burnt body, supposing to be Shepard’s, took a breath. What happens after that ? And why the scene where the child says to his grandfather “Tell me another story about the Shepard.” afterword the grandfather answers “It’s getting late, but alright one more story.” I personally feel somehow misdirected/lied.. Yes I got a lot off topic, but as far as the topic from the Extended cut I liked everything basicly, as for the Citadel dlc they could have atleast made it as what happens after the reaper war… I’m starting to loose my hope for this series, but I hope that something will pop-up.

  1. Pingback: “Commander Shepard, here. Signing off.” Bioware Team Discusses the End of ME3 | I Am Out Of Character

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