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Could a ‘Mass Effect’ MMO Be on the Way?

Could a ‘Mass Effect’ MMO Be on the Way? (photo)

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Here’s what I love about how BioWare views their games: the folks at the Edmonton development collective view their games (and attendant DLC and transmedia projects) as huge, perpetually unspooling skeins of fiction that can be braided and folded in a variety of interesting ways.

You can look at how BioWare used the DLC for “Mass Effect 2” to suss out that philosophy. Players got backstory on established characters, all-new characters to ad to their intergalactic crew and tonal variation that ran the gamut from super-spy genre tropes to futuristic horror. It never felt like you were being wheedled out of $10; it felt like you were paying to access more of a richly imagined universe.

Now, via the new issue of Game Informer, comes word that BioWare’s not averse to creating a massively multiplayer online game based on their successful sci-fi franchise. “Mass Effect 3” should be out by the end of the year and one of the persistent rumors was that it would finally bring a multiplayer component to what’s always been a single-player experience. But, series executive producer Casey Hudson soft-pedals that idea:

“We’ve been trying to think of a way that makes sense for people to experience Mass Effect with their friends… We haven’t yet come up with a way to do that, so we don’t have anything to announce at this time. But, obviously, multiplayer is something we want to do more of in the future as a company.”

So, while multiplayer on “Mass Effect 3” seems to not be happening, Hudson says an MMO “makes sense”:

“A lot of people say that they want to see an MMO, I think that kind of makes sense for this universe. Part of what you’re trying to do is save the universe so you can live in it. That’s part of the promise, I think, for any great IP. It has to be a world worth saving… I think Mass Effect has that quality to it. If you get rid of the Reapers and win that, wouldn’t it be amazing to just live on the Citadel or just take a ship to Omega? That makes sense.”

With most companies, you’d receive the news that they’re thinking of entering the MMO market with heaping gobs of skepticism. After the seemingly unstoppable success of “World of Warcraft,” many game companies view the idea of an MMO as a way of creating their own perpetual-motion money machine. And, while bean-counters at parent company EA may have mercenary considerations as a motivating factor, it seems as if the creatives at BioWare may seize on an MMO as a way to just keep extending out this fictional construct they’ve built. I especially love the idea of treating the MMO as a reward, as a sort of Elysian Fields or Valhalla for “Mass Effect” players. You still need conflict and drama to make the thing go, of course, but the idea of getting to live in a universe that you’ve saved and fundamentally reordered is a particularly great one.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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