BioWare creates new Mass Effect level to help fan propose

BioWare proposal

When Mass Effect fan Jackie sought BioWare Montreal's help in proposing to her partner, the studio pulled out all the stops. A small team made up of level designer Colin Campbell, writer Ann Lemay, and QA analyst Barrett Rodych put together a completely new level loaded with subtle references to their relationship, then studio manager Marie-Renée Brisebois cooked up a fake contest as a way to bring them into the studio to play it.

A letter sent to Jackie and her partner, Amy, informed them they'd won "A Day With Our Devs" contest at PAX East, and that part of the prize included playing a new Mass Effect level in order to provide feedback to the developers. Lemay, Rodych and other employees made the whole thing look legit by watching and taking notes as she played.

"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," Rodych said. "But I would do it again in a heartbeat."

The final room contained a single console and Jackie and Amy's names for one another painted on a wall in 50-foot high graffiti. When Amy activated the console, a message popped up stating, "Dear Amy, Jackie would like to ask you something. Love, all of us at BioWare."

Jackie then took out the ring and proposed. "When she got to that room, everyone around was riveted and hoping she’d say yes," Brisebois said, and of course, she did. "It was a beautiful sight to see. No matter how grumpy you are, when you see a thing like that you can’t help but smile and maybe even tear up a bit."

A happy story with a happy ending—isn't that nice? Well done, BioWare.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.