Mass Effect 3's Citadel will be larger and more content-packed than the facility you explored in Mass Effect 1, BioWare has revealed, and the game's possible endings will be far more varied, as the developer no longer has to worry about paving the ground for Shepard's next chapter.
"The Citadel is really big in this game. It's bigger than it's ever been, in terms of stuff to do," executive producer Casey Hudson commented in a Game Informer interview. "But yeah, it's those moments where there's fun and silly, neat stuff to explore."
The game will feature a canned Mass Effect 2 mission which takes place on the enormous space station - "a kind of callback to the first Mass Effect", in the words of lead writer Mac Walters.
The plot will spread itself far and wide, however. "Once you get out into the missions, it returns to seeing the face of the galactic war," Hudson continued, adding "we end up exploring some spaces that maybe have never been done before. Because interactive storytelling is still kind of new, there are neat things to try."
Mass Effect's ending saw the Citadel coming under fierce attack. Will Mass Effect 3's finale also take place within spitting distance of the Wards? All bets are off.
With Mass Effect 3, BioWare's writers don't have to worry as much about continuing the story in a future game - future Mass Effect titles are almost certainly on the cards, but Shepard's role is coming to an end. "We have the ability to build the endings out in a way that we don't have to worry about eventually tying them back together somewhere," Hudson explained.
"This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different. At this point we're taking into account so many decisions that you've made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It's not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C.
"It's more like there are some really obvious things that are different and then lots and lots of smaller things, lots of things about who lives and who dies, civilizations that rose and fell, all the way down to individual characters. That becomes the state of where you left your galaxy. The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them."