Mass Effect: Andromeda is looking set to be a different beast to the original trilogy, much like how Dragon Age: Inquisition reworked that series for a new crowd, introducing more open-world elements and dotting the world with busywork activities. Mass Effect will also be expanded for Andromeda, opening it up to a scale befitting of an interplanetary adventure, but hopefully with a little less filler.
For more combat in the cosmos, check our list of the best space games.
“If you look at the trilogy, you see all the hubs we created and the side content that came off the hubs,” says producer Mike Gamble to GameInformer. “That’s one place to put it, but imagine that side content in a place where you’re not limited to keeping your weapon holstered. There are so many different elements we can bring in by putting it on those planets with exploration areas. It makes the number and the type of side quests that we can do that much more interesting, whereas before if you’re on the hub you’re kind of limited to a fetch quest type of thing.”
Hopefully this equates to a bit more than just putting us into loads of combat scenarios as we explore these new planets in the Mako-like Nomad. Apparently that's not the case, though. “There are combat-related encounters, puzzle-related encounters, narrative-related encounters, and a lot of things will happen that add more depth to the critical path,” says Gamble.
As we reported earlier in the month, loyalty missions return for Andromeda, letting you uncover more backstory on the companions who interest you, in a personal quest - one that perhaps might lead to some inter-species banging. Apparently these can also lead to interesting new places to explore, but people are probably in it for the banging, let's be honest.
Elsewhere, away from the banging, the Nomad won't just be useful for travelling across open expanses - it'll be crucial to survival, as you'll need it to traverse planets with sulfur pools and magma flow, as well as other environmental hazards.
Drop Zones need to be uncovered when you land on planets, giving you a fast travel waypoint. These can be found by pinging a sonar and following a marker, but BioWare say they haven't highlighted every discovery - they want players to stumble upon surprises too, so you hopefully won't be icon hoovering. Expect optional boss fights with massive monsters, enemy bases and more.