[Transcript] Live Twitter Q&A with Mac Walters (Mass Effect)

Since I found Twitter horrible for reading through Q&A, I've mucked around and collated all the questions and answers for you to read from yesterday's live chat with Mass Effect writer Mac Walters.

Q: Mac, what made you want to become a writer, and how do draw inspiration to write plot lines and scenes?

A: The original Bard's Tale on Commodore 128 & my love of Tolkein and fantasy & I'm an only child, need imagination.

Q: Considering the events of ME: Invasion, can we asume Aria will have a bigger role in ME3?

A: Yes. I think it's fair to see that we'll be seeing more of Aria in the future in the #ME3 games.

Q: How much changes occur when making a comic to a game in the making, where story elements might be dropped?

A: Generally, we try to carve out an area that won't be impacted too much, but yeah... changes happen. #PartOfTheJob

Q: Can those who play as Commander Shepard (Male) finally have a full, "William T. Riker" beard in Mass Effect 3? #socute

A: What about FemShep? Why no beard for her?

Q: Has the growing popularity of digital editions of comics changed how you work?

A: So far, no. But it opens up a world of interesting possibilities. We some saw of that with the PS3 comic in #ME2.

Q: Invasion already features The Illusive Man and Aria, can we expect any more nemeses or is it centered around those two?

A: What about the General? And Ashe? I'd say we've got some great future conflicts in the making.

Q: Mac who is your favorite ME writer!

A: Hmm... depends. Who is your favorite Lead Writer?

Q: So far what is the issue of the Mass Effect Invasion series that you like so much?

A: I always love the latest issue. I'm a creator. When I see the latest story come to life, it's like Christmas early.

Q: Any plans of making a comic showing Shepard's trial?

A: Actually, I did think about this early on, but it's so hard when we can't reference Shepard (Male/Female/Background)

Q: What utlimately lead to the decision to focus on the emotional side of the story in ME3 as well as combat?

A: I believe it's the difference between a good game & a great one that will be remembered for a long time to come.

Q: In ME3 will we get a chance to perhaps board a mass relay or have more interactions with one?

A: Blowing one up in #ME2 #Arrival didn't do it for you, huh? :)

Q: Would you say that ME3 will wrap up the entire mass effect saga from the comic books, novels, and games?

A: As much as we can, that is exactly what I'm hoping for. #ME3 is the end of Shepard's story. #WrapItAllUpWithABow

Q: Do you find less challenging writing for comics than for an rpg game, having the story only 1 direction?

A: Yes & no. Much less complicated for sure. But there's different restrictions for comics. It's still a fun challenge.

Q: Will having both Garrus and Tali dead for ME3 impact how the galactic war ends?

A: Many of your choices will impact the galactic conflict. Your henchmen are important to Shepard, so... yes.

Q: How different is the writing format and style between writing for the game and writing for the comic?

A: Vastly. I mean, story is story. But interactive narrative is a completely different beast than writing comics.

Q: Because Shep is customizable, did s/he need more background work or less?

A: More background narrative development?

Followup: Yes there were the chosen backgrounds, but they seemed to be less fleshed than other chars (quantity/quality)

A: Ahhh, that's what you saw from outside, looking in. But we spent a great deal of time on Shepard's background.

Q: Do you think that digital distribution is future and that print media will eventually become obsolete?

A: Big question. I think we'll continue to evolve, but don't see print media disappearing entirely in my lifetime.

Q: [Did] any comics influence you?

A: I still remember reading the early Marvel Star Wars comics as a wee lad. Hilarious, but fun.

Q: Do you find your studies as a psych grad help you write dialogue for characters with more ease?

A: Hard to say... chicken & egg. Maybe I liked psych "because" I enjoyed character/people development?? #WillWeEverKnow

Q: Do you see yourself writing more comics after #ME3 is out? Possibly in the Mass Effect setting?

A: Possibly............. #StayTuned

Q: So which do you like better, if you had to choose: writing for comics or games?

A: Can't choose. Each is so different. And they provide a different outlet... & I needs ALL MY OUTLETS. #NEEDSTHEMBAD

Q: Writing comics tat your personal work, or that team work?

A: A little from Column A... though mostly I find myself writing them on "my time". #WhenIsMyTimeExactly

Q: Do the reapers have a leader?

A: Great question... it would make sense wouldn't it?

Followup: I used to think of them like the geth and their consensus, it seems I might be wrong...

A: Or maybe you are exactly right... #NotTelling #TooSoon

Q: What processes do you go through when you're brainstorming plots and/or characters?

A: Oh boy... in 140 chars or less? I actually have a 2 hour presentation on our process I share with #EA studios!

Q: Will we [go] head to head with Tazzik from ME redemption or Kai Leng from Retribution or any other characters?

A: As much as possible, we want all characters from all mediums to be present in #ME3. #TazzikRomance #JustKidding

Q: Who's your favorite Mass Effect character? Let say, one male and one female?

A: Female is Aria for sure. Love that she's such a badass, but still manages to bring order to chaos.

A: Male is tougher. Wrote Garrus in #ME1 & #ME2 - Invented Archangel. But I love the Illusive Man. #MotivesSoUnclear

Followup: Garrus! I'd consider him to be my "closest friend" as I play through Sheperd's tale. Grats on your work!

A: That's what interactive narrative does better than any medium. You LIVE the story. YOUR story. #TheFutureIsBright

Q: How long does it take to go from early draft to final review for a comic?

A: For a single issue, it's about 2-3 months, depending on various factors.

Q: May be random question, but do you ever get amazing ideas for new story lines through dreaming?

A: Hmm... daydreaming, for sure. I'm a notorious daydreamer. I think that's part of my process though. #TheWayIAm

Q: Which character have you found more difficult to write about and why if possible?

A: Illusive Man's my favorite challenge. He's not outright evil, some even agree with him. But his methods are suspect.

Q: If possible, can you give some insight into the 4th Mass Effect novel and how it ties into #ME3?

A: It ties more directly in to the previous novels. More than that, I can't talk about... yet.

Q: [Was] including MP in #ME3 a challenge for you?

A: Yeah, it's fun weaving in all the systems for #ME3. I believe narrative can come out in art, combat, levels, audio..

Q: Do you have a specific theme you like to write the most (i.e. suspense, action, etc)?

A: Love suspense and mystery and drama. I think "action" can have elements of each of those, if you plan for it.

Q: [Who] is your favorite voice actor?

A: Holy crap, so many good ones in #ME3. And they all bring something different. Vega's VA is amazing in the role.

Q: Will Protheans come up in comics, novels and ME3, such as background before and after the reapers...?

A: Protheans are definitely featured more heavily in #ME3 than in #ME2.

Q: Any mention of the races that were around before the Protheans in ME3?

A: Well... nothing I can talk about here ;) . #ThereArePeopleWatching

Q: Generally, while growing up, what kind of comics did you read? Superhero comics? Disney comics?

A: Superhero all the way. But once I read Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" - I was hooked on books.

Thanks to everyone who showed up today. And, yes. The next #MassEffect Comic is being planned. #StayTunedForMoreSoon Cheers! And thanks to @DarkHorseComics for setting this up. Everyone have a terrific and safe holiday season! (Source)

  • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

    Prettifying how we display transcripts and q&a’s is on my todo list >.<