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Mass Effect: Andromeda

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Mass Effect: Andromeda is a science fiction role-playing action game developed by BioWare for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One. It is the fourth installment of the Mass Effect franchise, and the first Ninth generation Mass Effect game.[1]


Mass Effect: Andromeda was previously slated for release on Holiday 2016,[2] but has since been moved to March 21, 2017 for North American release and March 23, 2017 for European release.[3]

The Collector's Edition of Mass Effect: Andromeda comes bundled with steel game case and the buyer's choice of either a remote-controlled version of the Nomad vehicle or a die cast model of the Nomad.[4]

Early access

As of March 16, a 10-hour trial of the game will be available through Origin Access (PC) and EA Access (Xbox One). The trial includes the multiplayer mode.[5] Progress carries over if the full game is purchased.[6]

Retail bonus items

Depending on where the game is purchased, what edition is purchased and whether or not it was pre-ordered, the customer may be entitled to one or more Retail Bonus Items. The items can be collected once access to the Tempest is achieved.[7]

The following table details which items are available based on which version of the game is purchased, and whether or not the game was pre-ordered.[6]

Standard Edition Deluxe Edition Super Deluxe Edition
Item Preorder Purchase Purchase Purchase
Deep Space Explorer Armor ✓ (Pre-order) ✓ (Pre-order)
Nomad Skin ✓ (Pre-order) ✓ (Pre-order)
Multiplayer Booster Pack ✓ (Pre-order) ✓ (Pre-order)
Pathfinder Casual Outfit
Scavenger Armor
Pathfinder Elite Weapon Set (4)
Pet Pyjak
Digital Soundtrack
Multiplayer Deluxe Launch Pack
Multiplayer Super Deluxe Booster Packs

PC version

The system requirements for the game was made available on February 24, 2017.[8]

System Requirements

Component Minimum Recommended
OS 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
Processor Intel Core i5 3570 or AMD FX-6350 Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350
Memory 8 GB RAM 16 GB RAM
Graphic Card NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB, AMD Radeon 7850 2GB NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB, AMD RX 480 4GB
Disk Space At least 55 GB of free space
DirectX DirectX 11

Controller support

In addition to standard mouse/keyboard controls, the PC version officially supports controllers, allowing players to "seamlessly switch back and forth" between the two in real time.[9]


The game takes place in the Andromeda Galaxy, "far away from and long after the events of the original trilogy," and is "very much a new adventure." The primary protagonist is a human called Ryder.[10] Unlike Commander Shepard, Ryder has yet to achieve "hero status" prior to the start of the game, and will undergo a narrative arc more akin to the traditional hero's journey.[11] While the male and female Commander Shepards are different versions of the same character, male and female Ryders are different characters said to canonically exist as they are twin[12] siblings traveling to Andromeda with their family, including their N7 father. If a player selects the female Ryder, the male Ryder would be somewhere else in the universe and vice versa.[13] However, the non-selected Ryder will not be a squadmate.[12] The fate and whereabouts of the mother Ryder will also be addressed.[14]

The Ryder twins are named Scott and Sara by default.[15] Their father is Pathfinder Alec Ryder.[16]

The Ryders will be onboard the Hyperion, an Ark starship that has been sent to Andromeda as part of the Andromeda Initiative to find a new home for humanity.[11] A coalition of races from the Milky Way are also present in the journey to Andromeda,[17] distributed among four other Arks and led by the flagship Nexus, the Citadel analogue. [18]

Known returning races from the franchise include asari, krogan, turians,[19] salarians, and quarians[20]. Species from the Milky Way not present in the expedition may be included in future installments.[21] Introducing in this game are the kett, an organic native alien race covered in bone armor. They are the main antagonists in the Andromeda galaxy and their culture is very militaristic.[22] Another introduced race is the angara.[23]

Although there will be little to no reference to characters from the original trilogy, a few cameos are expected,[24] but there will be no crew members from the previous games returning.[25] Choices made in the original trilogy may be recognized, but will not be the main focus of the game.[26]. Player choices related to the ending of Mass Effect 3 will not be acknowledged nor will a canon ending be selected.[17] The original trilogy is said to provide a "foundational background," but it is intended that Andromeda be accessible for players who haven't played the original trilogy.[27]

The game will feature more "shades of gray"-type characters than previous installments.[28]



Gameplay will feature a "new and improved" version of the M35 Mako[2], the Nomad ND1, which can be customized.[29]

Branching dialogue options will continue to feature, as will Interrupts. Gone are Paragon and Renegade choices. Instead, players will make tone decisions based on four options. Emotional or Heart, Professional, Logical and Casual. The option to Investigate will still be available in appropriate situations. Interrupts will still be offered that if chosen, will result in an action being taken by the character.

The game will feature an online component, though unlike the Galaxy at War mode of Mass Effect 3, it is unlikely it will affect the main campaign in a manner similar to War Assets.[27]

As with the trilogy, there is a Galaxy Map for space navigation but it is "different" from its predecessors. The map is located at the helm and will be an overlay of the actual view of space. Fish for the player's cabin (and collecting/feeding thereof) will not be returning. Mineral scanning will also return, but with a different execution from previous iterations. The player starship, the Tempest, will not require periodic refueling unlike the Normandy SR-2.[25]

The game is said to feature "meaningful" sidequests, similar to those in The Witcher series.[30] Producer Mike Gamble has stressed that Andromeda is not an open-world game, but rather an "exploration-based game." It is not linear either way.[31]

For Ryder, the traditional class system has been scrapped. Ryder can learn any ability and isn't locked to a single progression tree.[32][33]. In a given playthrough, Ryder can have combat, tech, and biotic abilities whereas Commander Shepard was limited to no more than two categories of abilities. Squadmates, however, will not have as much flexibility and do follow more of the typical classes.[32] Ryder's abilities can be reset regularly as the situation dictates.[33]

Players will also be able to unlock profiles when they invest their skill points in certain ways. For example, players focusing on combat and biotic powers can unlock the Vanguard profile. Each profile comes with bonuses tailored to the player's style. Six of the profiles correspond to existing Mass Effect classes. The seventh profile is called Explorer and comes from investing skill points across combat, biotic, and tech powers.[33]

Combat is more fast-paced than previous titles.[34] Power Wheel pausing and aiming has been removed: the game can still be paused, although it isn't part of strategies anymore. Sticky cover has also been removed, as characters automatically take cover when pressing up against an object and leave just as quickly. Replacing the standard combat roll is the jetpack: aside from greater maneuverability prospects, jetpacks can hover and can aid in formulating new methods of attack.[33]

Two types of Viability Points are earned by the player during gameplay. The first type is A.V.P. or Andromeda Viability Points. These are earned by constantly by simply playing the game. Complete missions, interact with squad, explore, pretty much everything the player does can potentially earn points. These points increase the Nexus rank of the player and allow them the ability to further awaken members of the Initiative still in Cryo sleep. The second type of points are earned directly on specific planets and unlock more activities on that planet.

Mass Effect: Andromeda introduces a crafting system[35] where players can acquire blueprints for armor and weapons throughout the campaign. Weapons can be given custom names, and there is now a slot dedicated for melee weapons.[36]

Six squadmates have been confirmed by BioWare: a human male named Liam, an asari nicknamed Peebee,[37] a female turian named Vetra,[38] a male krogan named Drack,[39] a human female named Cora,[40] and the angara Jaal.[41]

Loyalty missions will return to the series after having been absent in Mass Effect 3. However, unlike the loyalty missions from Mass Effect 2, the loyalty missions from Mass Effect: Andromeda will not affect the game's ending.[42]

As with the previous Mass Effect games, the ability to romance other characters will be available. However, romance in Mass Effect: Andromeda has undergone several changes. Deadlines in the game where a romance must be initiated have been eliminated as has the locking in of romances. Romances will offer differing levels of intimacy, including casual dating and non-sexual friendship akin to shooting bottles with Garrus in Mass Effect 3. Romanceable characters will show more variability in their preferences. Some characters will be more interested in emotional intimacy while others are more concerned about physical intimacy. Romance arcs will follow different paces for different characters with some willing to initiate a relationship immediately while others will take longer. It will be possible to romance multiple characters, though the reactions of the characters involved will vary in that some will react quite negatively while others will be more nonchalant about it.[43]


The game features multiplayer, similar as with Mass Effect 3. However, it differs in the following ways:

  • Players are encouraged to keep moving rather than finding defensible points. Enemy forces will continually try to flush players out.
  • Cooldowns are individual, rather than on a global timer.
  • Jetpacks are available in multiplayer. This reflects the game's map design, which is intended to introduce elements of verticality.
  • Blind card packs return, which are purchased via in-game currency. Players have access to a store that sells a limited assortment of loot on a rotating basis. Purchasing from the store will require "mission funds," which are separate from credits. Real-world currency may also be used.
  • Prestige is introduced as a new XP system. As players engage in multiplayer, they gain Prestige alongside normal XP. Instead of being used to advance a single character, prestige XP accumulates across a particular character style (e.g. playing as a tank). Reaching a prestige level will grant rewards (e.g. increased health).
  • Multiplayer will affect the singleplayer, but not to the extent of Mass Effect 3. It is not intended that multiplayer be obligatory for those only interested in singleplayer.[44]
  • Players will be able to switch between multiplayer and singleplayer on the fly via a "strike team" system.
  • Kits will no longer share class levels, but will instead rank up independently. On top of the 6 base kits, there are also unique kits for humans. Armor within the kits can be visually customized.
  • Playable characters are now divided by rarity and sorted by class/type within each rarity.

The multiplayer will contain a meta-story that fleshes out what's going on in Helios. No dedicated servers will be provided for multiplayer.[45]


Unlike the previous three games of the main series, which were built using the Unreal Engine 3, Mass Effect: Andromeda is built using the Frostbite engine,[2] which is also used by Dragon Age: Inquisition. Because of this, the game will be able to share assets.[46] The multiplayer and singleplayer were designed to be a "more cohesive experience."[34]

Conceptually, the game is intended to embody the themes of "stranger in a strange land," "I am the alien," and becoming a hero. These ideas were present in the earliest days of the project. The Mako's return was similarly planned early in development.[27]

Addressing the relative lack of female aliens in the trilogy, Mass Effect: Andromeda is slated to feature more of them.[47]

Unlike with the original Mass Effect trilogy, BioWare is not setting out to create a new trilogy with Mass Effect: Andromeda.[25] However, future installments in the franchise are a possibility.[48][33]. It is still "to be determined" if the save file for the game carries forward. Future games set in Andromeda may not focus on Ryder as the primary protagonist.[33] It is also to be determined if there will be downloadable characters for the game.[25]

With the new romance mechanic, BioWare sought to create a more realistic and less formulaic approach to romance. Thus, they added more variability in characters' preferences and more variation in the story arc of each romance, including the introduction of casual elements and the possibility of friendships. BioWare also took strides in making sure a character's sexuality fits the character. They wanted to avoid having a character's sexual preference feeling "shoe horned" onto them or the male and female romance options feeling like a set quota, nor did they want to simply make every character a potential romance option.[43]

The lack of the Paragon/Renegade system is intended to represent the nature of the Andromeda galaxy. As there's no Council or standing military, Ryder does not have the same type of governing body to answer to in the manner that Shepard did. Hence, Ryder can operate with more latitude, which is represented in the more flexible approach to morality.[28]

As of January 2017, there are no plans to release the game on the Nintendo Switch, but BioWare will consider doing so if there is sufficient demand.[49]


  1. Mike Gamble Twitter conversation
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 BioWare blog: "Introducing Mass Effect: Andromeda"
  3. Mass Effect: Andromeda Coming March 21, 2017"
  4. Buy the Collector's Edition - Mass Effect Andromeda Official Website
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pre-Order Mass Effect Andromeda - Official EA Site
  9. Ian S. Frazier Twitter conversation
  10. YouTube Live at E3 2016 - Mass Effect: Andromeda Interview
  11. 11.0 11.1 E3 2016: How Mass Effect: Andromeda's Ryder Is Different From Shepard
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ian S. Frazier Tweet
  13. Eurogamer: Mass Effect Andromeda's male and female hero choices are brother and sister
  14. Mac Walters' Tweet
  15. Meet Mass Effect Andromeda's Leading Voice Cast
  16. Andromeda Initiative Orientation Briefing (requires login for information on Alec Ryder)
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Eurogamer: Why Mass Effect: Andromeda won't acknowledge your ME3 ending choice"
  18. Mass Effect: Andromeda Orientation Briefing 2: Arks and Nexus
  19. Mac Walters' Tweet
  20. ANDROMEDA INITIATIVE – Golden Worlds Briefing
  22. Game Informer: Exclusive Look At The Kett, Mass Effect Andromeda's New Race
  23. [1]
  24. "First Mass Effect 4 video shows Mako and new heroes"
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Game Informer: 101 Questions and Answers About Mass Effect Andromeda
  26. "New 'Mass Effect 4' details point to reboot"
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Polygon: "Mass Effect: Andromeda Will Star A Younger, Untested Band Of Heroes"
  29. "Mass Effect: The Mako Returns - Update"
  30. Mass Effect: Andromeda Has "Meaningful" Sidequests, BioWare Says
  31. Mass Effect: Andromeda Is Not An Open-World Game, Producer Stresses
  32. 32.0 32.1 Game Informer: New Mass Effect Andromeda Screenshots
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 Game Informer Issue 284 (December 2016) - "Unexplored Territory: Mass Effect Andromeda Charts a New Course
  35. Gamespot: Mass Effect: Andromeda has crafting
  37. Game Informer - "Meet Your Mass Effect Andromeda Squadmates: Liam And Peebee"
  38. Vetra Nyx - Mass Effect: Andromeda
  39. "Mass Effect Website: Game Awards 2016 Gameplay Reveal"
  40. EGMNow "Two more Mass Effect Teammates Revealed"
  41. MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA | Combat Profiles & Squads | Official Gameplay Series - Part 2
  42. Game Informer: "Loyalty Missions Return In Mass Effect Andromeda"
  43. 43.0 43.1 Game Informer: "Mass Effect Andromeda's New Approach To Romance"
  44. Game Informer: Five Major Changes To Mass Effect’s Multiplayer (And One Big Question)
  45. Bioware On Mass Effect Andromeda's Multiplayer, Mods And Open Worlds
  46. "BioWare Talks Next Mass Effect on Twitter"
  49. Mass Effect: Andromeda Not Planned for Nintendo Switch

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