There Wasn't Much To Celebrate On This Year's Mass Effect Day

November 7 marked two important milestones for Mass Effect. It falls in the same month as the first release of Bioware's sci-fi role-playing game series, which came out on November 20, 2007, giving fans a good excuse to celebrate its anniversary. And, more importantly, it can be contracted as N7, an alphanumeric designation belonging to elite soldiers within the game, like protagonist Commander Shepard. For years now, November 7 has been a celebration of all things Mass Effect, a time for news, announcements, and excitement all around.

But this N7 day kind of sucked.

"I swear, if they don't announce a remaster of the trilogy tomorrow, I'll cry," said one fan on Twitter on November 6. They'd better pull out the tissues. Yesterday's N7 brought nothing but a video of people reflecting on the making of Mass Effect, the addition of two character classes to Mass Effect Andromeda's multiplayer, an interactive web tool for nostalgic fans, and of course, some new wallpapers. Fans collectively sighed.

"Kind of a melancholy N7 day this time around isn't it?" asked StrngBrew in what became the Mass Effect subreddit's top comment under its "Happy N7 Day" post.

"We have to be at the lowest point in the history of this series with seemingly nothing new on the horizon. All today has done was serve to remind me of that. Bummer!"

Ever since the release of Andromeda, whose tepid reception and depressed sales led BioWare to scale down the studio that had worked on it, things haven't been right in the Mass Effect Universe. As Kotaku has reported, the series is on ice.

We may see more Mass Effect in the future, but right now, BioWare is focusing on other projects.

Image credit: BioWare 

In all fairness, Andromeda wasn't bad, it just wasn't as iconic or memorable as the games which spawned it. I've been slowly tying up loose ends in its galaxy ever since launch and have come to appreciate its solemn, uninhabited worlds and the farmer-like patience it requires to cultivate them.

Nothing in the game was as memorable as Mass Effect 1's main villain Saren though, or the diverse crew of friends and allies you recruit in Mass Effect 3. And whatever people's complaints of the end of Mass Effect 3, well, you got to spend the entire game fighting skyscraper-sized alien cyborgs. Enough said.

Trawling through comments on the subreddit, forums, and Twitter, these were the types of memories most people looked back on or shared fan art of. It's not surprising then that with the series currently on hiatus, most fans were still hopeful, and would have been jubilant over, some sort of port or remaster of the Mass Effect trilogy on current-gen consoles.

The first Mass Effect had some basic designs, but I bet those skyboxes would look pretty amazing on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

Sadly, it was not in the cards. Over the course of a seven-and-a-half minute video, the series' designers, including director Casey Hudson (who is now the studio's general manager), looked back on what Mass Effect has come to mean to them and fans in its now-10-year history.

"We started off with a grand vision, and as we went through it was amazing to see all of those dreams actually fulfilled," said senior art director Derek Watts towards the end. If that sentiment might have seemed a bit final, another developer off-screen added in a voice over, "The future of Mass Effect I think is really bright. People just want to know more about this place and these characters."

When people will get the chance to do that in game form remains unclear. Rather than announce something concrete, Casey Hudson recently on Twitter teased the idea of a short VR travel experience based somewhere in the Mass Effect universe.

"Was thinking about how cool it would be to see Mass Effect's Citadel in VR," he wrote. "What gaming location would you most want to experience in VR?" Whether that ever materialises or not, it's hard to see when BioWare's next opportunity to expand the series will be given the planned late 2018 release of Anthem, its brand new, Destiny-like space shooter.

Instead, fans will have to settle for re-living their experiences from the original trilogy in the Tapestry, a new online tool the company rolled out for N7 day that lets players revisit and toy around with the complex, interconnected web of choices that played out across those games.

For fans of Andromeda, there's always Mass Effect: Annihilation, a novel out June of next year that attempts to answer questions about the missing Quarian ark many thought might get explored in single-player DLC that never came.

But it just won't be the same.

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Comments

    I just want to buy the trilogy on PC with all DLC bundled for a single reasonable price...

      You probably won't find it bundled, but I remember that the Steam sales sometimes do great bargains on the main games at least.

        You can basically always get the games very cheap (i bought the trilogy for $10 recently). Its the DLC that kills it, easily like $50 for ME2 and $60+ for ME3.

        Overall though its like $130 or so for all 3 games and DLC which in the end is worth it when that can be 140+ hours on one play through (and who stops at one). But It still seems very questionable for 7 year old DLC to be that expensive (ME2), especially when so much of it seems like DLC that was literally ripped from the game last minute to sell as DLC.

          See the issue is that I have all the games and dlc on Xbox and with backwards compat could technically play it there.

          So a Pc playthrough with say a hired texture pack or some mods is a bit of s luxury that I refuse to spend quite that much on.

          Seriously just some cheap goty editions please if not an actual bundle.

            Yeah fair call. I too bought all the games and DLC on xbox for my first playthrough. and couldnt bring myself to spend that much again on PC. In the end i bought the games like i said above because they are very very reasonably priced (underpriced really, id pay a bit more for the base games if the DLC were much cheaper).
            Then I just pirated the games with all DLC. Not saying it was ok or you should do it, but i have spent nearly $200 on the original trilogy (games plus DLC, then games again), plus $70ish recently buying andromeda. So i dont feel too bad about it. I lie i don't feel even the slightest bit bad about it, because like you say if they would just do a GOTY collection of ME2 and 3 for like $30 each i would buy that in a heartbeat.
            I would also in a heartbeat buy a remastered version of each game for like $50 each, EA better do that someday.

      Personally, I'd settle for putting the DLC on Origin and not having it tangled up with Bioware points.

    Playing Andromeda now. It's pretty cool (although I am playing after all the patches) and retains that special 'Mass Effect' feeling in my opinion. Shepard was special, but Ryder could also be cut from the same cloth, given the right circumstances.

    I've only had Liam and Cora as squad mates so far, and Liam reminds me of James Vega whereas Cora reminds me a bit of Ash from ME1/ME3.

    I did my bit on N7 day and tweeted to EA about wanting more Mass Effect. Hopefully we'll see some more great space exploration dramas in the future!

      Andromeda isn't a bad game, it just feels a bit bland, like they weren't really sure what to do with it. My biggest issue with it is that a large chunk of it consists of endless fetch quest side missions, some of which you really needed to do. "Go here, trigger next step on other side of map, repeat" got old really quick.

      They tried to bring back some of the old ME1 stuff but ended up forgetting that the best parts of ME1's exploration was that you did it mostly because you chose to (not because you were compelled to do it). Also you weren't being shot at every time you so much as stepped outside.

        I know what you mean. Good thing I love fetch quest busy-work :-P

        One thing I will say about Andromeda is that the vehicular exploration is miles better than ME1 in the variety of the terrain. I remember zooming across extremely bland and featureless terrain in ME1, just wondering when the next Thresher Maw was going to attack :-)

    I get that a remaster for current gen would be fantastic and all, but surely as we saw with Assassins creed, a true break from a series is sometimes needed. Andromeda was every but the flop Unity and Syndicate were so perhaps a few years away to replan isn't a bad thing.

      It's strange to think that EA hasn't released any rematers of any of its games. Surely it's easy money for them.

        I wonder if they are going to sit on them and tie them to games as a service.

          It would make sense to me. Origin/EA Access already seems quite successful, tying remasters to the service would be a good way to boost it.

          Though I suspect EA just doesn't see a lot of profit to come out of remastering old games. The amount of work you put into them for the rewards might be slim. Might just make more business sense to ensure that the games are able to be run on newer operating systems

          Last edited 09/11/17 1:39 pm

    I think Mass Effect is a great answer to the question. Should IPs ever be retired?

    We decry sequels and unoriginality in gaming, yet the fans demand more about this world, yet does Bioware have an obligation to continue.

    Personally, as much as I love Mass Effect (even Andromeda. Personally I would like to see a sequel) I think it's best to leave it at what it is. As Andromeda has shown, you can tarnish a legacy when the right people aren't involved. Perhaps it's best to leave Mass Effect as it is and allow something new to be created that could be loved just as much

      That universe though. It's so rich. There's room for a dozen trilogies set in there. Like Deus Ex universe, it's just begging to be used for new adventures with new protagonists.

        The narrative problem is they wrote themselves into a corner with the ending of ME3. Bioware obviously doesn't want to invalidate people's choices around the ending and establish a proper cannon ending.

        But honestly, that is probably the only way the franchise can go forward after Andromeda failed to capture everyone's imagination with its rather bland new universe

          I reckon they go to another protagonist set in the time of the Reaper invasion. So you have Shepard's tale going on in the background, but you have someone else with their own, perhaps smaller scale, but nonetheless gripping, tale to tell.

      I want to downvote so much, but will resist the urge.

      I disagree entirely, give me as much Mass effect as you possibly can EA!!!!!

    For me Mass Effect was great because of the world they created and the micro-level plots. The whole grand space opera killed it for me. Use the world created for the original trilogy, make me a cop or rogue detective (think Miller from The Expanse) and just let me explore the scummier side of the galaxy. My dollars would be easily parted with.

    Last edited 09/11/17 12:16 pm

    I really enjoyed Andromeda and am deeply disappointed that we're not going to revisit the Heleus Cluster to wlecome the Quarian Ark or engage with the greater threat posed by the galactic Kett empire. Ryder might've been an immature little upstart compared to 'war vet with the entire Milky Way on her shoulders' Shepard, but it ended up feeling like a breath of fresh air as he found his feet.

      * as she found her feet.

      :-P

        Sara bugged me for some reason, and the romance options were the worst. :P
        Femmeshep all the way, but my Ryder ended up male.

        I am OK with canon Sara, though.

    ***Some spoilers if you havent finished the game***

    Im pretty sad with how badly andromeda was received.

    EDIT: kinda TL:DR at end

    Was it perfect, absolutely not, was it great, maybe not.
    But there many things about it that were genuinely very fun and good.

    - The crew interaction was fantastic (so much banter), and to me thats honestly the most important thing that makes Mass effect for me.
    - Story was decent, but was leading to some very cool places. Figuring out why the angara were made, where their makers went, whether the kett empire would come for vengeance, who the benefactor was (still personally hoping it was geth like some people have theorised), what happened to the quarian ark (pretty sad thats gonna be a book instead of DLC now).
    - graphics overall were quite nice - other than repetitive asari/turians and animals on the planet, the designs were good it just needed more of them. obviously problems with animations but thats a separate issue.
    - lastly the combat was actually fantastic, definitely up there as my favourite 3rd person shooter for combat mechanics.

    Reactions were basically. Reeee, this game isn't as good a RPG as literally one of the best games ever (witcher 3), so its now junk.
    There were obviously legitimate issues but i definitely feel like the positives far outweighed them.

    From what i saw they still got quite good sales (not as good as hoped though im sure), and EA seemed pretty supportive of it.
    What they should have done instead of shelving the whole IP, therefore showing they have no confidence they can improve it.
    Release one really well done DLC (likely quarian ARK), that actually had effort put into the weak areas of the main game like animations and character model variety to show they really could do it properly. I think if they did this to show they could address the problems that most people would definitely give andromeda 2 a chance.

    Andromeda was tracking for some really good sales until early reviews just took the piss out of it, the atmosphere just changed overnight. If they could show with the DLC that they can do a good job and then actually deliver with andromeda 2 so reviews are good i think they would get the sales they are hoping for. And surely a sequel can't cost as much as the original, all the art design is done, all the models are done, yes there would be new stuff but it would be like half the work of andromeda 1

    TL:DR
    Andromeda was treated way too harsh. Had fantastic:
    - combat mechanics
    - crew/teammate interaction and banter
    - Story potential, story was decent but left open some very cool ideas to expand on
    - graphics, graphics themselves were good (seperate from shit aniumations.

    To fix situation:
    EA should have allowed 1 high quality DLC with main issues from game fixed (better animations, NPC model variability etc).
    Would show people they can do it and increase peoples confidence in an Andromeda 2 as Andromeda 1 built a very good base to build off.

    Last edited 09/11/17 5:21 pm

      Yeah, I've got to agree, Andromeda was treated terribly and I really don't think it should have been. Sure, those facial animations were terrible, and they're still not great. Sure, the plot wasn't up to the standard of the series (but if you ask me neither was the plot of 2). And sure, the fetch quests were pretty annoying.
      But-
      If you got past the issues there was something pretty great there. The exploration and movement was fantastic, each planet genuinely felt unique, there was a lot of banter (not always fantastic, but neither was the banter in 2 and 3 if you ask me). And the Nomad. Oof, the Nomad was incredible. I've long argued that ME2 and 3 are overrated, especially 2, because they feel so much smaller in scale than the first, Andromeda actually captured the appropriate sense of scale, and it was amazing for that alone.

      ME1>ME: Andromeda> ME3>ME2

      I tried to articulate this sort of sentiment in a review a while back, and I'd love any feedback anyone was willing to give should they see this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQeWWlhuHqg

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