Bioware - Killing RPGs or helping them appeal to a larger audience?

As some of you are aware, the Mass Effect 3 beta is now available for a select users on the Xbox 360. With the highly anticipated conclusion of the Mass Effect saga, many are eager to get their hands on this beta, but it seems that it has left a rather sour impression on some users.

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As you start the game up or make your way to the options menu, you'll find a number of options to customize your Mass Effect experience to your liking. Here's a description of what each mode represents:

  • Action Mode: Preselected replies in conversations, and normal combat difficulty.
  • Story Mode: Manual replies in conversations, and reduced combat difficulty.
  • RPG Mode: Manual replies in conversations, and normal combat difficulty.

Going by the feedback of some users, some argue that this is indeed a dangerous path to take as it represents what direction the publishers/developers are focusing their attention, where as others argue that it's merely just another way to customize your experience to your liking. With Biowares track record of the Dragon Age franchise as well as Mass Effect 1 and 2, it seems that streamlining certain features to appeal to a larger audience is indeed the way we're headed.

Should one worry about the direction one of our industry leading developers are going, or are we merely being presented with more choice?

Update 1 from Bioware:

One feature that was present in this early build is a set of game play modes that are in development. In the beta code they are referred to as "action mode", "story mode" and "RPG mode". We want to stress that these features are still in the early stages of development and will receive considerable iteration and refinement. These modes are designed to give players an even finer degree of control over their game experience than ever before. Whether it be someone who finds the combat difficult but wants to experience the amazing story, someone who wants to focus on the action and combat game play, or fans who want the rich, story-driven RPG Mass Effect experience they've come to love - Mass Effect 3 will support all of these options. We'll have more info in the days ahead!