Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Final Hours of Mass Effect 3?
A: The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3 is the story of the creation of the new video game Mass Effect 3 from EA. This multimedia journey takes you through the development of all three games in the series and shares new insights into the creative process behind the games.
Q: I don't understand, is this an article? A book?
A: The core of this App is a 15,000 word story about the making of Mass Effect 3. The story is filled with dozens of photos, screenshots, audio clips, videos from development, and some interactive experiences as well.
Q: What was your vision for this App?
A: After the success of The Final Hours of Portal 2 I was interested in creating another app and investing more in its production. Mass Effect felt like the right game to pursue. My goal has been to create an app that is even more interactive an in-depth than what I did last year with Portal 2.
Q: How can I read The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3?
A: Currently The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3 is available from the iTunes App Store for iPad devices, PC and Mac and Kindle. The cost of the story is $2.99.
Q: I don't have an iPad. Will The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3ever be available to read on the web or other platforms?
A: Yes! The Final Hours is now available for PC/Mac and Kindle. I am also working on an audiobook version that is currently being approved by Audible and will soon be available on Amazon and iTunes.
Q: Why are you charging money for this story?
A: The bottom line is that this App costs a lot of money to create. Beyond my time there's an army of programmers, designers, photographers and other team members who work on this project. For Mass Effect 3 I've added more video elements and increased the production value from the previous app. I hope you feel that $2.99 is a fair price, especially in a world where art books and other collector's items cost a lot more money. My goal with these stories is just to break even.
Q: The Portal story cost $1.99, why does this one cost $2.99?
A: The answer to this one is simple: The app cost more money to make. We have more interactivity, original video production, and traveling a team to/from Edmonton (home to BioWare) is expensive. As long as these apps continue to be successful my hope is to increase the production values with each release.
Q: If I buy this app am I going to see lots of ads and sponsors throughout it?
A: No, there is zero advertising or sponsorship.
Q: How was BioWare involved in the creation of this story?
A: A story like The Final Hours is only possible with an incredible amount of support,coooperation and trust from the game development team. Casey and I first started talking about a Final Hours story around Mass Effect in the Spring of 2011 and I began work on it during the summer of last year. Even though he was in the thick of finishing the game, he was generous with his time, as were many other team members at BioWare. They sat down for interviews, photos, and answered countless questions over e-mail.
Unlike Valve, EA is a huge game publisher (which owns BioWare) and navigating the kind of access I needed to the team wasn't easy. But I must thank the tireless Andrew Wong, the head of BioWare's PR group, for his energy, responsiveness and support of this project across many trips to Edmonton. Even though he was launching one of this year's biggest games, he and his team, including Lisa Chan, always made time for the Final Hours. Similarly, my thanks extends to Jeff Brown at EA. Many of you many know him as nothing more than EA's oft-quoted and colorful "spokesman," and while his quotes are legendary, he is also one of the smartest guys I know and a dear friend. Jeff was instrumental in inspiring me to continue with the Final Hours series and helped ensure that I had to support of EA to write the story I wanted to write.
Q: Have you played Mass Effect 3?
A: Yes, I played a pre-release version the game in January (with my name watermarked on the screen in yellow text for 20+ hours).
Q: What did you think of the ending? Is this addressed in the story?
A: I've seen the uproar online about the ending and understand the fan perspective. Personally I respect the creative choices the team made and had no problems with how the story ended -- it made you feel something, even if that feeling was uncomfortable.
The Final Hours addresses the challenges BioWare faces in writing a story with defined parameters in a game environment where players want to feel like they have choice. Ultimately your opinion on the ending will depend on who you see as the "author" of Mass Effect's story -- BioWare or the player.
The ending of the game is discussed in the App and there are some notes from the team about how they were thinking about the ending. Since this story was completed before the public release of the game, I do not address the fan petitions or reaction. I hope to update the story with a new chapter on this down the road.
Q: I have another question that isn't answered here. What should I do?
A: Contact Geoff by filling out the contact form.