A new interview reveals new details about a potential Mass Effect spin-off that never happened. In contrast to the main series’ third-person RPG gameplay, this game would have been a first-person space flight exploration game that would have been released on, of all consoles, the Nintendo DS. It never got off the ground, but it would have shown us a glimpse of the world of Mass Effect outside of Commander Shepard’s crew.
In the interview with MinnMax, Bioware alum Mark Darrah revealed that this prototype was called “Corsair,” and would have been a first-person game following a character who would explore one of the less-settled parts of the galaxy and who isn’t bound to Commander Shepard’s mission to avert the end of the galaxy. There’s no word on when exactly the game was set, but one would assume it’s set sometime before the Reaper crisis really got going.
Why didn’t we get this game? According to Darrah, the main problem was that it was prohibitively difficult to develop a game for the Nintendo DS. The game didn’t get much further in development than the flight controls when they ran into problems with the DS cartridges. The cartridges were so expensive that there wasn’t enough money left over to make the actual game. Darrah says the Corsair team eventually made Mass Effect Infiltrator, a mobile game set during Mass Effect 3.
In case you’re not up on your Mass Effect lore, the Corsairs are Marines with the in-game human military who were basically given leave to handle missions outside the military’s jurisdiction. In the games that were released, they were only mentioned briefly by Jacob Taylor, who used to be a Corsair — though given that Jacob is by far the most boring Mass Effect 2 squadmate, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not remembering this scrap of dialogue.