Fans of video game novels take these things very seriously. Many of them read the books because they love the universe, the characters, and the rich lore created by the development team. It’s understandable then that if a rookie writer gets it wrong, it’s not a mistake they’re likely to make twice.
A classic example of this novelisation fact-checking was at BlizzCon 2010, as the now-famous Red Shirt Guy questioned World of Warcraft developers over an incorrect character’s inclusion in a storyline.
Today though, the wrath of the readers has turned upon a new franchise: Mass Effect, which is preparing for the release of its fourth book, Deception – not quite ready for release, but there’s a number of review copies floating around.
Previous books in the series had been written by Drew Karpyshyn, and were arguably pretty good. The new one, however, sees William C. Dietz behind the pen, and fans are counting the myriad of ways in which he has dropped the ball.
…and what better way to count than by creating a crowd-sourced document which lists them all?
Sure, some might be typos and others might have been misinterpreted, but there are plenty here that are blatantly wrong. (And, um, there are some that are spoilers for the games and the books, of course.)
Asari are said to be asexual – In ME1 Liara describes Asari as mono-gender, all female species.
Quarians wear environmentally sealed suits to protect their weakened immune systems. They do not wear “a motley collection of clothing, held together by a variety of straps and leather fasteners”.
Two volus are described as wearing masks that don’t completely cover their faces – This would result in instant death for a volus, as they must wear completely sealed environmental suits that provide both the ammonia atmosphere and high pressure they require to survive, and keep them isolated from the oxygen-nitrogen mixture breathed by other species, which is poisonous to them.
In addition to the other problems related to biotic implants, Dietz consistently confused the implants with the biotic amps – which are wholly different things.
Titling a quarian “Fothar vas Maynar” (and others) and referring to them as “Maynar” means that you are addressing them by the name of their ship, not by their own name.
…the list goes on, and is currently being edited further as more people find more errors.
To put this into perspective, William C. Dietz is hardly a newcomer to the world of writing science-fiction game novels. He’s written a number for Star Wars: Dark Forces, as well as Halo: The Flood, the first Hitman novel, two for Sony‘s Resistance, and the most recent StarCraft II tome, Heaven’s Devils.
This is his first for Mass Effect and BioWare, and we’re guessing that if there’s a second in the works, the team might want to sit down with a red pen and a slightly stronger prescription from their optometrist.