Chapter 3: It Festers (Page 5)
Reference scene: Mass Effect 2 Opening Scene
Mass Effect 2 started with a literal bang. Bioware was like "Hey, we hear you like this Shepard character. Would be a damned shame if something happened to him." I was lucky that I hadn't seen any trailers because then this would have been spoiled for me. When I started the game, fresh from Mass Effect 1, I saw the Normandy gets blown to bits and pieces and Shepard just float off into space. I thought "Nah. He's not dead. He can't be dead. Wait, what's that gaseous stuff coming out from the back of his helmet? Oh, that's not good. But I'm sure someone will come save him, right? They can't just kill Shepard so early in the...whoops, there he goes burning on entry into a planet's atmosphere. Well that just happened."
I think it was actually a very clever way to allow players to respec their Shepard whilst still allowing your to feel continuity. If you got to Mass Effect 2 and thought "I want to change what my Shepard looks like", even if you felt "I think I'll change their sex", this mechanism had you covered.
Bioware's strength has always been storytelling and I really wish they had stuck to that. Their greatest weakness, something we can say they are terribly poor at, is business management but no one can touch them when it comes to storytelling. All their strongest games, Mass Effect Trilogy and Dragon Age, were strong narrative and focused games with little open world shenanigans to distract you from the story. I really enjoyed Dragon Age Inquisition but suffered from the 2010's gaming fad of "Open World! More is better. BIGGER is better!" The problem with open world games is that they kill the pace of the story. It's hard to balance that if the game is not meant to be a lived-in world.
When Bioware decided "We want to tell a great story, take you on an adventure and give you an experience that will haunt you for a good chunk of your life", they delivered on that. The days of open world, multiplayer, microtransactions and "games as service" are what killed Bioware. DragonAge4 is really just a last chance they have to stay alive and they need to wow their fanbase back into shape. The remaster of the Mass Effect Trilogy is really just them buying time to make it that far.
I would say "Bring Back The Bioware We Love" but after the second departure of Casey Hudson and the departure of Mark Darrah, things are really not looking good.