Mass Effect‘s “new game plus” element, which allowed players to restart the game with items and attributes from the first playthrough, will not be featured in Mass Effect 2 according to Lead Designer Preston Watamaniuk.
Watamaniuk addressed the question yesterday on BioWare’s forums saying, “The reason is progression. We have been working very hard to make sure we design the abilities system to offer smooth progression into ME3 from ME2. Allowing double progression on characters makes that almost impossible. We have to have reasonable knowledge about where a character could end up finishing all content on a playthrough. We also want to offer choice of character build within specific classes. We replaced that feature with playing after you were done because it preserves progression and allows for smoother downloading of PRC.”
Replacing new game plus with the ability to play post-main story seems like a decent tradeoff. A cause for concern could be that nabbing achievements for a completely different character-build would require a brand new playthrough. That’s being pretty picky, though. As long as I can still get it on with some uni-gender extra terrestrials, I’m totally in.