BioWare did an amazing thing for Jackie and Amy, who are fans of Mass Effect fans. Jackie contacted the Montréal studio when she decided that she wanted to propose to Amy in-game. When studio manager, Marie-Renée Brisebois, got the email from Jackie she put out the word at the BioWare Montréal studio and was quickly able to assemble a team for the project: writer Ann Lemay, lead level designer Colin Campbell, and QA analyst Barrett Rodych, all of which helped on the project for free. When working on the level they tried to insert references to Amy and Jackie’s relationship but not enough that Amy would spot them right away. They also made the level difficulty seem realistic but keeping in “saftey-nets” so that Amy would not die and be able to beat the level on her first try. As part of the proposal Brisebois created a fake contest and sent the couple a letter, saying that they had won “A Day with Our Devs” at PAX East, and invited to tour the Montréal studio and test out the next Mass Effect.
“I was really nervous, even having gone through the level 20 times on my own making sure all the doors were working and all the message boxes were working,” Barrett said. “But I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
After loading up the level, Jackie was prompted by a mission briefing, stating that a drone manufacturing lab had stopped sending reports and asking her to investigate. As she played through the level, Jackie uncovered more and more reports that contained subtle references to her relationship with Amy.
“I did get some of the other writers to read through it to make sure I wasn’t selling the punch too soon,” Ann said. “But I also know that it can be a stressful environment for someone to come into a studio and starting to play something, so I tried to plant good hints as to what was going on.”
Once she reached the end of the level, Amy walked into a room with a lone console in the center that had her and Jackie’s names for one another spray-painted on the wall in 50-foot high graffiti. When she clicked on the console, a message popped up: “Dear Amy, Jackie would like to ask you something.
All of us at BioWare”
Jackie then got down on one knee, took out a ring, and proposed.
Amy said yes.
Get the full story on the BioWare blog.