Choice is the big draw of the Mass Effect franchise, with your actions affecting both the immediate environment and, quite possibly, the path your Shepard will take in following games. With Mass Effect 3 tying the events of the first two games into one huge conclusion, developer BioWare has spoken a little bit about how those choices will work.
Series executive producer Casey Hudson revealed to PC Gamer that: “I think a way to think about it is if you made decisions early on, you’ll see them affecting this. And the decisions you might want to make that go against those prior things are gonna be harder.
“Killing the Rachni might present opportunities in Mass Effect 3 that you wouldn’t otherwise have,” he added, “but if you don’t take those opportunities and you try to do something in opposition to that, then it would be harder for you than if you work with it. Similarly with the decisions at the end of Mass Effect 2, for whether you saved the base or destroyed it.”
Even with the first two games completed, you’ll need to do a lot more in ME3 than the main plot to get the very best ending. “All the different things that you do, if you do a little side quest, or you go off and do a major plot, these things contribute to the war effort,” Hudson explained. “If you just rip straight down the critical path and try to finish the game as soon as you can, and do very little optional or side stuff, then you can finish the game. You can have some kind of ending and victory, but it’ll be a lot more brutal and minimal relative to if you do a lot of stuff.”
Hudson concluded by promising “an amazing, very definitive ending” to the series for players who put the work in. Better get recruiting.