Mass Effect 2 overseer Casey Hudson wants to take players to the most brutal parts of the universe in this upcoming "dark act".
"As a trilogy we have our three acts. So Mass Effect 2 is the dark act. It's an opportunity to really explore the tougher, more brutal parts of the universe," Hudson told IGN. "They say in the first act you put a guy in the tree, in the second act you throw rocks at him, and in the third act you get him down.
"That's the fun of the second story is that now we know who these characters are, we know what the situation is and we can really beat up the hero of this story and take you to the most brutal parts of the Mass Effect universe."
BioWare will talk about ME1 hero Shepard's role in the sequel at E3, although we saw an unidentified but familiar male character wearing N7 armour at the end of a pre-E3 teaser trailer. And we'd be surprised if Shepard didn't return, after all, you're reusing your saved game throughout the series. Still, Shepard's official status is "Killed In Action", according to the very first trailer.
Those reused saved games, incidentally, will alter the universe depending on the choices you made: who died, if a race survived, which path you followed and so on.
"The fun for players is that it's not just a branching story, it's a multi-dimensional story and then there is branching within that," said Hudson, before adding that ME2 will act as an "excellent entry point" even if you haven't played the first game.
BioWare has so far been cagey about specifics. We know the game will remain a PC and 360 affair and be out here early next year, and we also know combat and AI have been improved - downed enemies will try to fight on and a new range of heavy weapon has been added. Co-op is rumoured, too.
Hudson added that there are "a lot more interesting things to do" on the surface of planets in Mass Effect 2, and they'll be more interactive in terms of the way you look at them and decide on a place to land.
Those side-quests will be better implemented into the overall story, too, and "really matter" to the people you accumulate on your ship. Apparently the consequence of your decisions and actions "really start to snowball" as you reach the conclusion of the campaign.
We'll bring you more from E3.