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Bioware to dilute Mass Effect franchise with iPhone games

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Although the original Mass Effect was promoted as a go-anywhere, do-anything exploration game, it was in fact merely a varnish of exploration layered over an admittedly good action RPG. That makes the jump to the iPhone as a pure action game much less of a shock than, say, KOTOR would have been. The iPhone may even be a good platform for this sort of thing, but if they ever hope to deliver on the promises of the franchise, they’d better stop with this one.

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Mass Effect: Jacob’s Story will be a short action game providing some back story for one of the characters in Mass Effect 2. The flexibility of the naming structure implies they’re leaving it open for every other character in the series if this one makes a splash. It’ll be a top-down shooter (think Ikari Warriors in the future) probably with some RPG features like upgrading weapons. Don’t get me wrong, Bioware makes good games and this one will probably be solid as well, but the deep, spacefaring Mass Effect brand is only going to be hurt by short, shallow games like this one.

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