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Mass Effect: Andromeda

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Mass Effect: Andromeda is the title of BioWare's upcoming game in the Mass Effect franchise. The game is planned to be released for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One.[1]

Release

Mass Effect: Andromeda was previously slated for release on holiday 2016,[2] but has since been moved to Spring 2017.[3]

The Collector's Edition of Mass Effect: Andromeda will come 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]

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 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.[5]

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

Plot

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.[6] 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.[7] 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[8] 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.[9] However, the non-selected Ryder will not be a squadmate.[8] The fate and whereabouts of the mother Ryder will also be addressed.[10]

The Ryder twins are named Scott and Sara by default.[11] Their father is Pathfinder Alec Ryder.[12]

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.[7] A coalition of races from the Milky Way are also present in the journey to Andromeda.[13]

Known returning races from the franchise include asari, krogan, turians,[14] and salarians. 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.[15] Species from the Milky Way not present in the expedition may be included in future installments.[16]

Although there will be little to no reference to characters from the original trilogy, a few cameos are expected,[17] but there will be no crew members from the previous games returning.[18] Choices made in the original trilogy may be recognized, but will not be the main focus of the game.[19]. Player choices related to the ending of Mass Effect 3 will not be acknowledged nor will a canon ending be selected.[13] 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.[20]

The game will feature more "shades of gray"-type characters than previous installments.[21]

Gameplay

Singleplayer

Gameplay will feature a "new and improved" version of the M35 Mako[2], the Nomad ND1, which can be customized.[22]

Branching dialogue options will continue to feature, as will Interrupts. Paragon and Renegade choices will not be classified as such, but there will be decisions that feel like them.[18]

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.[20]

As with the trilogy, there will be a Galaxy Map for space navigation but it will be "different" from its predecessors. 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.[18]

For Ryder, the traditional class system has been scrapped. Ryder can learn any ability and isn't locked to a single progression tree.[23][24]. 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 do follow more of the typical classes.[23] Ryder's abilities can be reset regularly as the situation dictates.[24]

Players will also be rewarded for specializing by unlocking profiles through investing their skill points in certain ways. Each profile comes with bonuses tailored to the player's style. Six of the profiles correspond to existing classes. For example, players focusing on combat and biotics can unlock the Vanguard profile. The seventh profile is called Explorer and comes from investing skill points across combat, biotic, and tech powers.[24] Combat is more fast paced than previous titles.[25]

To date, four squadmates have been confirmed by Bioware: a human male named Liam, an asari nicknamed Peebee,[26], a female turian named Vetra, and a male krogan named Drack.[27]. A fifth squadmate has since been revealed. The name of Cora was dropped by the voice actor Tom Taylorson to describe a person in an image along with Ryder and Liam.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30]

Multiplayer

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.[31]

Development

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.[32] The multiplayer and singleplayer were designed to be a "more cohesive experience."[25]

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.[20]

Addressing the relative lack of female aliens in the trilogy, Mass Effect: Andromeda is slated to feature more of them. [33]

Unlike with the original Mass Effect trilogy, Bioware is not setting out to create a new trilogy with Mass Effect: Andromeda.[18] However, future installments in the franchise is a possibility.[34][24]. 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.[24] It is also to be determined if there will be downloadable characters for the game.[18]

In creating the romance mechanic, Bioware sought to create a more realistic and less formulaic approach to romance. Thus, they introduced more variability in characters' preferences. They also included more variation in the story arc of each romance, including the introduction introduction of more causal elements and allowing for more friendship. Bioware also took strides in making sure a character's sexuality makes sense for the character and avoiding "shoe horning" a sexual preference onto a character as well as to avoid a set quota for male and female romance options as well as making everyone a potential romance option.[30]

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.[21]

References

  1. Mike Gamble Twitter conversation
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 BioWare blog: "Introducing Mass Effect: Andromeda"
  3. Mass Effect website: "An Update On Mass Effect: Andromeda"
  4. Buy the Collector's Edition - Mass Effect Andromeda Official Website
  5. Pre-Order Mass Effect Andromeda - Mass Effect Andromeda Official Website
  6. YouTube Live at E3 2016 - Mass Effect: Andromeda Interview
  7. 7.0 7.1 E3 2016: How Mass Effect: Andromeda's Ryder Is Different From Shepard
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ian S. Frazier Tweet
  9. Eurogamer: Mass Effect Andromeda's male and female hero choices are brother and sister
  10. Mac Walters' Tweet
  11. Meet Mass Effect Andromeda's Leading Voice Cast
  12. Andromeda Initiative Orientation Briefing (requires login for information on Alec Ryder)
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Eurogamer: Why Mass Effect: Andromeda won't acknowledge your ME3 ending choice"
  14. Mac Walters' Tweet
  15. Game Informer: Exclusive Look At The Kett, Mass Effect Andromeda's New Race
  16. MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA WON'T FEATURE EVERY SPECIES FROM THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY
  17. "First Mass Effect 4 video shows Mako and new heroes"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Game Informer: 101 Questions and Answers About Mass Effect Andromeda
  19. "New 'Mass Effect 4' details point to reboot"
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Polygon: "Mass Effect: Andromeda Will Star A Younger, Untested Band Of Heroes"
  21. 21.0 21.1 HOW MASS EFFECT 3'S ENDING INFLUENCED ANDROMEDA
  22. "Mass Effect: The Mako Returns - Update"
  23. 23.0 23.1 Game Informer: New Mass Effect Andromeda Screenshots
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Game Informer Issue 284 (December 2016) - "Unexplored Territory: Mass Effect Andromeda Charts a New Course
  25. 25.0 25.1 HOW MULTIPLAYER INFLUENCES MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA'S CAMPAIGN
  26. Game Informer - "Meet Your Mass Effect Andromeda Squadmates: Liam And Peebee"
  27. "Mass Effect Website: Game Awards 2016 Gameplay Reveal"
  28. EGMNow "Two more Mass Effect Teammates Revealed"
  29. Game Informer: "Loyalty Missions Return In Mass Effect Andromeda"
  30. 30.0 30.1 Game Informer: "Mass Effect Andromeda's New Approach To Romance"
  31. Game Informer: Five Major Changes To Mass Effect’s Multiplayer (And One Big Question)
  32. "BioWare Talks Next Mass Effect on Twitter"
  33. https://twitter.com/GambleMike/status/798589977366040577
  34. https://twitter.com/macwalterslives/status/796114282161274882
Mass Effect Series
Games Mass Effect (CE, ) • Mass Effect 2 (CE, ) • Mass Effect 3 (CE, , Multiplayer) • Trilogy
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mobile Games Mass Effect GalaxyMass Effect: InfiltratorMass Effect 3: Datapad
Downloadable Content Mass EffectMass Effect 2Mass Effect 3
Books RevelationAscensionRetributionDeceptionNexus UprisingAnnihilationInitiation
Comics RedemptionEvolutionInvasionHomeworldsFoundationIncursionInquisition
ConvictionBlasto: Eternity is ForeverHe Who Laughs BestLibrary Edition
Films Paragon Lost () • Mass Effect

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