The wait is over. The time to take back Earth is now.
And that is probably what a good majority of your gaming friends are doing right now. If you are living under a rock like the guys at my Target were, Mass Effect 3 launched yesterday, and many stores across the US and Canada had some pretty awesome midnight release parties to commemorate the event. BioWare, the company behind the award winning series, went all out hosting four launch parties across North America (sorry Hawaii and Alaska, you were left out)! They even hosted a LiveSteam of all four events last night, you can watch that footage here.
Each party had an array of cast and crew from the games. Boston brought out Art Director Derek Watts and Cinematic Director Ken Thain. At the Chicago launch party, Producer Mike Gamble, and Combat Designer Corey Gaspur came out to talk shop. The L.A. team pulled no punches in their event with Executive Producer Casey Hudson, Lead Writer Mac Walters, Voice Over Director Caroline Livingstone and two of the main voice actors from the series: Jennifer Hale (Female Shepard) and Brandon Keener (Garrus).
But it was in Edmonton, Canada where Creative Director Preston Watamaniuk came out and brought a good portion of the ME3 development team, and to the surprise of many fans, Mark Meer, the voice of Commander Shepard himself.
I spoke with Mark earlier today about the event, and he said it was great, “I showed up at the game store the signing was at (EB Games) at around 11PM, and there were already hundreds of people waiting. Bioware very kindly sprung for pizza for the crowd, and that was being distributed as I arrived.” He also said that “There were a number of great Mass Effect costumes, but I have to give a tip of the hat to the costumers who turned up in full Thane and Liara make-up, including prosthetic appliances.” That takes some real dedication!
That dedication doesn’t just go with those who showed up at midnight to snag the game.
Lindsey L. of Atlanta, Georgia, has even requested time off of work to play Mass Effect 3, “I definitely couldn’t have worked this week, what with the game being available and at my fingertips, so I took three days off. My boss asked me why I was taking vacation, and I told him it was because of a video game. He stared at me like I was insane. The vacation is paid, so I’ll just pretend I’m getting paid to take back Earth, though facing the Reapers makes me reconsider asking for a raise.” She is one loyal soldier!
And with eight hours of game play under this girl’s belt, I’m kind of wishing I had some time off too! I will say, the first part leading up to the title screen was some of the most intense and amazing game play I’ve ever run through.
While taking back Earth and saving the universe is all well and good, many of us want to know what will become of Shepard. Mark Meer hinted at the fate of our dear Commander, “Well, the fans will largely determine what Shepard’s development is in this game, but I think they’ll generally see the pressure and weight of responsibility weighing particularly heavily on Shepard’s shoulders. The stakes have never been higher in the Mass Effect universe, and that takes its toll.”
I’m off to save the world, why don’t you check out what some fans were up to during the release parties. If you have photos you would like to contribute, please send them to ana aesthetic at gmail dot com.