BioWare Wants Mass Effect Andromeda To Recapture The First Game's Wonder

BioWare is still mostly in the we're-not-talking-about-that-yet phase of hyping next years' Mass Effect Andromeda, but the outlines they're sketching show a game that's returning to the strangeness of the 2007 original.

"If you go back to the original Mass Effect, there was that sort of awe of going to a new galaxy and meeting all these aliens for the first time -- new races, new cultures, new civilizations," Andromeda's creative director, Mac Walters, told us in Los Angeles during an EA gaming showcase today. "We want to bring that back."

Andromeda, which is set to come out in early 2017 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, takes place far away from the other Mass Effect games; it's set in an entirely different galaxy. You're playing as a human, but you should feel like an alien, too, Walters stressed. "The twist we are putting on it is that this isn't your home. Here, everybody is looking at you and going 'Who are you?' as well."

BioWare is still thinking of the game as an action-RPG, one they're saying gives players more freedom than ever, though at the moment, details on what that freedom entails are thin as moon dust.

Vaguely, though: Walters said the team is trying to blend the cinematic, linear missions people liked in the previous Mass Effects with a richer, more open experience on the surfaces of the worlds players explore. "We want to lean into that open-world experience. We don't want you to feel like you've landed on the planet with one objective and then leave the planet. We want you to spend some time there."

The game is being developed by a combination of BioWare's Edmonton, Montreal and Austin teams to make what Andromeda creative director says is a "bigger game all around" when compared with any of the previous games. There will be a campaign, presumably what was shown in tiny bits in a developer video today, and multiplayer, about which even less has been said.

The idea for now, though, is that BioWare wants fans to guess, to scour trailers for clues, to keep them hungry for details. BioWare knows when Andromeda takes place, for example, but they want to be vague about it publicly. "I think it's fair to say that with even the most creative scientific advancements, it's hundreds of years to travel to Andromeda," Walters said. "So that should give you some sense of how far in the future it might be."

Even the T-shirt Walters was wearing during our interview was a vague clue. There's a logo on it, but he's not going to explain it. Not now.

This is all fine. The game isn't coming out until early 2017. No need to know that much more about the plot now. Here's one thing some trilogy fans may appreciate knowing: they're determined to nail the ending this time, especially after the divided fan reaction to Mass Effect 3's ending. "I think it's fair to say we are very sensitive on the project about our ending. And we a lot of internal focus testing on it as well," Walters said. "That's probably something we're more aware of and we're paying more attention to it for sure. It's changed in that regard."

Next year, we'll know all about Mass Effect Andromeda's ending, as well as its beginning and middle parts. For now, some vague hints, a smiling Asari and a T-shirt logo will have to suffice.


Comments

    I think I may need a few months off life for this...

    Interesting because ME1 did nothing for me, it wasnt till ME2/3 came out that I really got involved in the game, just CBF with ME1 but im still very keen regardless

      ME1 did everything for me. Played through it at least 4 times. Still haven't gone back to 2/3. That reminds me I have been meaning to reinstall 3 and check out the DLC.

      I remember playing ME1 and not playing it for long, hating the combat. The second one came out and a friend convinced me to give it another go. Glad he did.

      That said, I hope it's a bit more "RPG" and a bit less "Action shooter" because walking into room after room of chest-high walls is lame as all hell.

      ME1 was like A New Hope; it set the foundation and was revolutionary at its time. But in hindsight, Empire Strikes Back/ME2 had far better character development, as second installments usually do in a trilogy. It makes sense because the first installment of a trilogy establishes the characters, and it's not till the second one where we get to the more interesting meaty details about said characters' motivations and personality.

      For me, I think the best thing ME2 has over ME1 is the wide array of companion characters with their different personalities. The variety made things more interesting, and the fact that you have a bigger role in interacting with your companions than the first one was a major plus for me.

      Whenever I feel like replaying the trilogy again, the first one always feels like a drag, an obstacle to overcome before I could get to the more interesting bits filled with drama and tension. The first one was more like a James Bond movie, or even the first Star Trek Abrams reboot, whereas the second one was often compared to the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven - the drama is naturally more existential in the latter.

    I hope they can also capture the third games ending.

    When people say they prefer Mass Effect 2 and 3 to Mass Effect 1 it makes me not want to be alive anymore. Hope the reapers come soon.

      I think it depends on what. I certainly agree on combat, in ME1 biotics was way OP and heat sinks in guns negated the heat system to the point where you can basically hold down the trigger button and not care about anything

      it terms of story telling I prefer ME2 but that's not to say ME1 and 3 wasn't good (ME3 ending aside off course)

      in terms of Andromeda, I don't know what my expectations are, ME1 was great . hub exploration and story wise, my only gripe is the whole odd mako exploration experience (well tbh I'd settle for it to bounce less )

    ME1 is, in my opinion, the worst game, but the best ME and by far my favourite from the trilogy; the first time playing through it I nearly quit on multiple occasions: the combat was clunky, the visuals pretty great but inflexible and with a very strange issue with lighting and eyelids and the pacing was very strange. But the more I played the more invested I was in every individual character, every aspect of the world and the raw, awe inspiring wonder of looking up at an alien moon from an alien soil was utterly unmatched.

    Ultimately the aspects most people hated about ME1 were the aspects that really made me love it: the empty worlds and barren, featureless landscapes of many planets added to a sense of wonder and discovery when there was something to find (most people found them dull and pointless) as well as having a certain majesty and size 2 and 3 lacked, the politics and confounding design of the citadel made for a truly bizarre experience that, although leaving many players lost, made me feel as though it really was my first time on the citadel; the clunky combat and somewhat jarring transitions between TPS and tactical commands eventually endeared me more towards the game than it turned me away as learning that crouching while behind cover greatly improves your aim added to a complexity and depth that was all but cut out from the sequels and the hours of deleting or selling useless inventory added a weight to the virtual loot that ME2 and 3's couldn't match. Initially I tried to play the way other games taught me to play and it didn't feel right: I had to really play as though I were Shepard and all of a sudden the game became an amazingly deep and complex experience.

    If ME4 gets the feel of ME1 right I might actually buy it on day one, it would be the first game to earn that (perhaps dubious) honour, but I've spent more time in ME1 than in any other singleplayer game (HL1 comes pretty close though) and if 4 has half of the magic 1 had the day one price would be totally worth it. (On a side not, if they are going for the Heart of Darkness sort of invasion story wherein you're not really the "good guy" at all like I think they might be I might be even more excited).

    Me1 was by far the best rpg experience out of the trilogy characters the story the side missions. Me2 Leaned more to the shooter genre and me3 went all out shooter and that ending was so bad. I just hope bioware doesn't do what they did to dragon age inquisition with useless crap collecting like the shards etc and the side quests you pick up by walking past people.

    My gosh, some of you ppl are so hungry for anything ME that you'll accept a clone. I doubt that the person that created ME and all the other folks who left Bioware behind didn't play on ME4 being a clone of ME1. I start thinking about ME1 and my eyes start bleeding and I get a migraine. One of the worse games ever. And that Mako with the bouncing and impossible steering system. I was more than happy to move on to ME2 and then was terribly disappointed in ME3, esp. the ending. This game is going to be such a wipe. Multi-player just makes it worse. I like just plain old RPG. Going to sit out the first rush and sit back to read the reviews.

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