Commander Shepard’s abilities and statistics won’t transfer to Mass Effect 2 in an obvious fashion. Retooling of the game’s core systems has made raw character data carryover impossible. But don’t start throwing things yet. Mass Effect 2 will know if your character was a level 60 Geth stomper with a Renegade edge and acknowledge it. Also, as an added bonus, the game will explain away the stat wipe.
Mass Effect 2 lead designer Casey Hudson explained the stat wipe and the reasons behind it to Computer World. “There’s something that’s happening with the story that explains what happens with your abilities. 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.”
Hudson goes on to explain that “literally every system” in the game — inventory, guns, stats, etc., — have been improved, thus prohibiting a straight transfer. The designer adds that BioWare is “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.”
Even outside of the technical issues with a straight stat and ability transfer, this move makes perfect sense: imagine the uphill battle it would be for a first-time player to go through a game created specifically for Mass Effect veterans. It would be rough to say the least.