BioWare’s Casey Hudson has told Computer World that players will notice Commander Shepard is not as powerful in Mass Effect 2 as he was towards the end of the first game.
Apparently, stats for the character have been reset to basic abilities so that an improved system could be implemented, but to compensate for the lack of prowess, his storyline will delve into the reasons why he is weaker than before.
“There’s something that’s happening with the story that explains what happens with your abilities,” said Hudson. “It’s something we can’t go into detail about for obvious reasons, but it actually happens the other way around. Our goal with the story, in terms of getting the game started quickly and players into really compelling story situations…that dictated and allowed us to do certain things including changing the way that your abilities work and the way you develop your character.
“Part of it, too, is the fact that we’ve gone in and improved literally every system in the game, your powers, the controls, aiming, the way that your character stats work and how you build a character, the inventory system, weapons, and so on. All of those things have been dramatically improved, so there’s no direct way to map the stuff you had in Mass Effect over to Mass Effect 2 anyway.
“That said, we’re taking into account all of your accomplishments in terms of building a character from the first game. So things you’d expect to be acknowledged, like if you were a level 60 character, or you were highly Renegade and don’t want to start out at the middle again. If you import your save game from Mass Effect, these kinds of things will be acknowledged in ways that map across to the new system.
“You will feel, even in terms of the character that you build, that you are continuing as that character.”
Hudson goes on to chat about the new vehicle and other ME2 details, and talks a bit about emotional attachment in games like ICO through the link.