How much care did you take to accommodate readers who have never played the original game or who might not play the second game? Are there necessary lead-ins or planned cliffhanger endings that either game would expand on?
JJM: Every comic book is someone’s first. So I’ve always tried to approach every story I’m working on — whether it’s Star Wars, Iron Man, or Mass Effect — with the new reader in mind. We always try to lay the groundwork in dialogue or captions, even if we’re in the middle of the action. And then, we also have a recap page in the inside front cover to help as well.
We handle the game situation in the same way. We don’t assume that everyone has played MASS EFFECT, so we really try to establish the flavor of the universe and some of the rules of how things work. We identify biotic powers when they’re being used; we name different species when we meet them. But it’s not all exposition: In the case of the Elcor, we get a good idea about how their species acts and is seen by others right in a single conversation.
As to lead-ins, the comics do address things that happened in the previous game — like events at the Citadel — and we also get into some of the material that’s in the prologue content for Mass Effect 2. Again, the assumption is not that everyone’s seen everything already — but we do hope that comics readers will find the world interesting enough to go explore the games for themselves.
One of the hallmarks of games done by Bioware is that the players can choose some very noble or very despicable actions. Is this freedom still felt in this story? If I was a real bastard in ME will Dr. Liara T’Soni’s actions still make sense here?
JJM: Without giving anything away, we do handle that challenge pretty well. Whatever decisions the character made as Commander Shepard, we are presuming that the game was completed — in which case some things hold true regardless of how the character played. Shepard is still a vital player in the cosmic drama that’s going on, and the focus of a lot of attention. A lot of galactic players have an interest in where Commander Shepard is; in our story, we get to see quite a few of them.