Pathfinders are the "tip of the spear" for exploring new worlds. While planetary surveying is typically a long-term, multiple-team process, the Initiative found an alternative, thanks to Alec Ryder's AI research: an individual equipped with the best training and technology available, and an AI partner that can run complex studies in seconds and a hundred test simulations a minute.
With AI support, Pathfinders can determine within hours whether a planet is suitable for habitation, and direct the Nexus as to what colonist block stands the best chance there. Pathfinders are trained to improve the viability of potential planets, initiate first contact with unknown species, find suitable outpost sites, and handle any external threats before the first colonist touches soil.
The presence of a Pathfinder is a reassurance that a planet can be settled safely and with a high expectation of success.
Known Pathfinders Edit
- Human Pathfinders
- Salarian Pathfinders
- Asari Pathfinders
- Matriarch Ishara - Brokered the Komoth Peace Accords. Killed by kett after being abandoned by her bodyguard, Sarissa Theris.
- Sarissa Theris - Legendary asari commando. Replaces Matriarch Ishara. Can be relieved of duty by Pathfinder Ryder.
- Vederia Damali - Junior asari commando. Replaces Sarissa if she is relieved of duty.
- Turian Pathfinders
AI Partners Edit
Each Pathfinder is supported by their species' own copy of the byproduct of Alec Ryder's AI research. These AI are universally called SAM (Simulated Adaptive Matrix) and are neurally linked to their Pathfinder through the use of implants, assisting them in combat and research. However, as a result of this link, a SAM unit can be heavily damaged, should their current Pathfinder perish. As such, a SAM must be transferred if a Pathfinder is functioning but critically wounded.
- Human SAM - Ark Hyperion. First SAM developed. Modified by Alec Ryder, making it the most advanced SAM. Transferred to Pathfinder Ryder.
- Salarian SAM - Ark Paarchero. Deactivated and dismantled by Zevin Raeka following a kett invasion of the ship. In the process of reassembly after Paarchero's recovery.
- Asari SAM - Ark Leusinia. Transferred to Sarissa Theris. Transferred again to Vederia Damali if Sarissa is relieved of duty.
- Turian SAM - Ark Natanus. Damaged when Macen Barro died during the transfer process, but still partially operational.
- In The Art of Mass Effect: Andromeda, an early concept art of the Pathfinder can be seen sporting a hologram reading "Tarn-Vedra mission log". Tarn-Vedra is a planet featuring prominently in the lore of the TV show Andromeda.