Will voice recognition in Mass Effect 3 make it harder to be a bad guy?
After I played the Mass Effect 3 demo with my Kinect the other day, the thing that stuck with me was the voice recognition. My first reaction to the use of voice recognition in the game was that it is a cheap gimmick. But as I thought about it more, I realized it could be a real game changer.
Let me start off by saying that I play Mass Effect in the most boring way possible: as a good guy. I’m not sure if it’s because I like to think of myself as a heroic do-gooder in real life, or if I’m just lazy and don’t want to think too much, but I always choose the paragon option in Mass Effect.
I know for a fact that there are a lot of people out there who love to be a bad ass in Mass Effect and other games with a morality system. And before Mass Effect 3 with Kinect for 360 , being a bad guy was as easy as pressing down and hitting the A button. But what if players have to speak the renegade options out loud? What happens when the player cannot simply click the option that says “let them all die,” but instead has to speak these words and hear themselves say them? It seems to me that this may make it more difficult for people to be the bad guy and make the morally wrong choices.
I’m not sure if this is will be the case with Mass Effect 3. I can imagine a situation where a game builds a relationship between the player’s character and another character (perhaps a female character). Then towards the end of the game you have the option to be a traitor and kill this other character that has been your companion the entire game (through all of your previous evil actions) and who you have grown to care for. In this situation you can imagine how it may be difficult for the player to say the words “kill her.”
It will be interesting to see if Mass Effect 3 does anything interesting like this and takes advantage of the potential for voice recognition to make morality systems more meaningful. If it does this well it could truly have a mass-effect on gaming as we know it…
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