Mass Effect: Andromeda
The next entry in the sci-fi RPG Mass Effect will be out early next year, but details have been slim in terms of what to expect. Fans have speculated about the new protagonist's name, we know that jet packs will be a new feature, and that this entry takes place in a new galaxy, long after the events of the previous installment. To find out more, we had a chance to sit down with BioWare studio producer Aaryn Flynn and creative director Mac Walters. While they weren't able to tell us as much as we'd hoped, they nonetheless gave us a better idea of just how large the Andromeda galaxy is.
The new setting allows for a complete blank slate for the creative team, to introduce new characters, planets, and races. While we'll see the return of the Asari, Krogan, and humans, new races will be introduced as well, though BioWare is remaining secretive on just what these races are. "We want to bring back some of the races and species from the trilogy, but because we're going to Andromeda, there's going to be new civilizations," says Walters.
"I think the great thing with going with the Andromeda galaxy is that we get a really clean slate to do a lot of storytelling," says Flynn. "While we bring a lot of elements from the previous trilogy, such as the races, at the same time we also really relish in the opportunity to have this blank canvas." Flynn adds that these new planets play a big role in what stories they want to tell. "And that starts with planets. The setting can help form the kind of stories we want to tell. Is it hostile? Is it a world full of strife?"
We've seen glimpses of these planets in both the E3 2015 trailer and this year's teaser. These range from a sandy, rocky terrain reminiscent of the Krogan home world Tuchanka, to a grassy planet with forest. "I think one of the biggest things the team has spent a lot of time on is [transitioning] from the last generation of consoles, to the new generation of consoles. [We asked] what should we do differently and what kind of things should we be embracing as we move there. A big open world is the big thing the team is trying to embrace, and that's expressed through those amazing looking planets."
These planets will be reachable by traversing through the stars in the Normandy's replacement, a new ship called The Tempest. As for the new protagonist, BioWare will be giving more details on him/her and the overall story this fall, but we can expect the similar narrative and gameplay mechanic of forming a team. Relationship building will also come back, but it should be more realistic than previous games.
Mass Effect: Andromeda arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2017.