Mass Effect almost got a first-person Nintendo DS spin-off

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BioWare was once working on a first-person space Mass Effect game for Nintendo DS, but the project was eventually disbanded.

Speaking to MinnMax, former BioWare producer Mark Darrah spoke about the game – called Mass Effect: Corsair – and revealed what the project was meant to be. “It was going to be a DS game, it was going to be first person, you would fly around a ship,” he said. “We were going to put it in a part of the galaxy that was more pirate and not really fully explored.”

“It was going to be kind of a combination of Privateer and Star Control,” he continued. “You would be independent, you would be more like a Han Solo character, not a Specter. And you would fly, pick up cargo, explore, and sell that information back to the Human Alliance.

By this description, it appears that Corsair was intended to take place in the Mass Effect Terminus systems; a lawless sector of space beyond the reach of the Council and the Earth Systems Alliance. The players would have had control of their ship and could have engaged in space combat.

However, little had come together when BioWare encountered a stumbling block. “Almost all we had was the start of the flight controls, we didn’t have the rest of this game set up,” Darrah said. “We were still figuring out how it worked from an intellectual property perspective. “

This stumbling block was the DS itself; more precisely his cartridges. “The problem is, the economy of the Nintendo DS is just terrible,” said Darrah, explaining that the cartridges needed for Mass Effect: Corsair cost $ 10.50 each. And with DS games retailing at $ 30, that meant very little money for development costs once the cartridge was purchased and localization paid for.

“That was the problem, ultimately,” he said. “We know how to make big games, not games that control their cogs. It didn’t make sense. EA predicted that we would only sell 50,000 copies.

Darrah said the team at Mass Effect: Corsair has finally gone mobile and created Mass Effect Infiltrator, a third-person shooter made for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

For more on BioWare’s sci-fi galaxy, check out our reviews of the legendary edition of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. BioWare also recently revealed the fate of the planned Mass Effect movie.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK news and entertainment editor.


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