CCC: 7. How deep is the customization for the characters?
BIO: You can customize as much - or as little - as you want about your character, since you can choose a pre-made character or create your own. For those looking for depth, the character creation system offers a lot of customizability, starting with the ability to shape every feature and detail of your character's face. You can also choose your character's backstory, which will affect the way people react to you throughout the game. By choosing your military specialization, you'll determine the kind of skills and abilities you'll have, and in doing so you'll determine the types of weapons, attacks, and charismatic influence you'll have access to. And over the course of the game, you'll be able to equip your character with new weapons and gear, modify them, and improve your character's abilities.
CCC: 8. How many characters are there to recruit? Are there any secret characters or do all the characters become available through a playthrough?
BIO: You'll travel in a squad of 3, including yourself, and you'll be able to pick your 2 other squad members from a group of 6 other characters. Each of those characters have their own unique talents, so you'll have different tactical advantages depending on who you decide to take with you into combat. And since they have very different personalities, your choice in squad members will affect the way you experience the story.
CCC: 9. How much does the morality system affect the gameplay this time around?
BIO: We're taking a different approach with Mass Effect, given that we want to put players in positions of greater urgency and importance. Therefore we try to provide choices that each offer different forms of sacrifice, and the player therefore has agonizing decisions to make. Decisions that make personal sacrifices for the greater good are considered "Paragon", whereas harsh decisions that get the job done at any cost are considered "Renegade". Instead of having a sliding scale, we accumulate both types of decisions, so every harsh action you take is on record forever!
CCC: 10. The Normandy is the main mode of transportation, but the player can explore the Normandy between missions like in KotOR. How much is there to do in the Normandy? How large is the area in the Normandy that can be explored?
BIO: The Normandy is actually quite a big ship, with 3 decks and a number of characters to talk to and things to do. It's also where you can develop the romance aspect of the story, by spending time talking to your love interest.
CCC: 11. Mass Effect looks like an incredibly deep game with a lot of different and fully realized alien races and backstories. Does the game do anything to ease players into this world so that they don't feel overwhelmed?
BIO: I think that's part of good storytelling, to gradually introduce the world and story to the player. It is a particularly tricky thing to work on when creating the first installment of a new science-fiction universe, and for that reason we actually start the game with a prologue that sets up the universe and the story concept in a way that gives you really good perspective by the time you're at the helm of the Normandy.
CCC: 12. Will there be any cheat codes in the game? If so, what type?
BIO: There are certainly some special techniques and cool easter eggs to be found, but no actual cheat codes.