Mass Effect: Andromeda story details hinted at in a "seamless open-world galaxy"

Mass Effect Andromeda plot

The great thing about galaxies is that they're all far, far away. A marketing survey is doing the rounds that seems to reveal some key story elements from Mass Effect: Andromeda, Bioware's sci-fi followup to their hit trilogy, due early next year. It's not exactly groundbreaking stuff, seemingly being tests for key phrases that will be used on the back of boxes and store pages, but it does put a slant on the extra-galactic action that hadn't been considered before. We're heading out there to find somewhere to live - and the indigenous races aren't too pleased about it.

Wondering about the Mass Effect: Andromeda release date, system requirements and all the rest? Here’s everything we know.

Screenshots have popped up on both Reddit and Neogaf showing the survey, with a varying amount of information in each. The longest is from a question specifically on how this brief description makes you feel about buying the next game, not taking into account how you feel about the previous iterations:

Mass Effect Andromeda plot

There’s two fascinating tidbits in here. First, it sounds like we’ve had to get the hell out of the Milky Way for some reason. Whether we’re just greedy or yet another massive apocalypse threatens the galaxy, not so clear, but I doubt Bioware would go for the full on ‘no, you’re killing them all and taking their land because you’re explorers’ angle. Either way, it should set some interesting political overtones for the next game - let’s just hope it’s a bit subtler than Avatar.

Then there’s this line about a “seamless” open-world. Listen, I love Mass Effect, but those games are all seams. You’re constantly going from map to mission to town level to elevator. It never really took anything away - though those rides in the first game, yeowch - but could this hint at actually flying around in the Normandy equivalent, coming in to land on planets where and when you like? That’s ambitious, and far past the scale that Dragon Age: Inquisition managed.

Here’s the other two descriptions, which also came with questions about how they make you perceive the game - again, these are marketing angles from EA, not necessarily Bioware-branded plot summaries:

Mass Effect Andromeda plot

Mass Effect Andromeda plot

What’s interesting to me here are the mentions of “creatures and species entirely unknown” - we already know that Mass Effect: Andromeda is a reset, no longer featuring Shepard and far enough out from the original timeline and location that your playthrough can remain canon with everyone else's. However, this would suggest that we’re not going to be seeing a lot of our old favourites like the Krogan, Geth, Asari and Quarians. That would be a shame, but if it means Bioware are going full-force on creating an entirely new galaxy-worth of creatures for me to totally fall in love with - literally and figuratively - then more power to them.

Of course, nothing’s final and this is all speculation. Plenty more of that going on in the relevant Gaf and Reddit threads. There’s also a lovely new render of Andromeda’s Pathfinder, part of which you can see above, from a recent art summit. Very pretty. We’ll likely hear more on ME:A at E3, with release now planned for Q1 2017.

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MrAptronym avatarAnAuldWolf avatar
MrAptronym Avatar
360
1 Year ago

I think it was a good move to distance itself from the first enough that they aren't tied down. I hope they return to the writing style of ME1, it felt more like a space opera to me, while the later games felt like action movies. Having a fancy set-piece is nice, but I like to see a focus on weaving more methodical, long term stories and character development. It's also important not to show/explain too much, I think the series fell into that and the universe lost a lot of its luster for me. They didn't leave any mysteries. (also reign in the expanded universe stuff, some of those books were comically bad. Like, atrocious even by the low standard of tie-in fiction.)

Gameplay wise, I am also a ME1 curmudgeon. They definitely improved the shooting and controls in ME2/3 but I would like them to return some of the RPG elements that were lost. Biotics were way more fun then too. I doubt that is going to happen though. In any case I will be sitting this one out if it is like ME2/3 in terms of gameplay without many improvements. Seamless doesn't really entice me much, open world games can be great, but they are not by default any better. If the level design is excellent, that is all that matters to me.

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AnAuldWolf Avatar
865
1 Year ago

I still feel sadness for the third Mass Effect. A post I saw on Tumblr summed it up perfectly.

"If they had made the Synthesis ending exactly the same as it was, removing only the glowing green eyes and lines that people were physically incapable of parsing as symbolism, then the majority complaining about it would have loved it. Oh, there'd still be a few people kicking up a fuss about it, but the vast majority would've eaten it up."

It's a true statement about the narcissim of our species and the innate desire for Aryan purity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race), entirely unbesmirched by any outside forces and representing the "height of God's work." It's that kind of in-built and overly vain, narcissistic, and shallow xenophobia that leaves me feeling unimpressed by most of my own species.

Honestly, I recall that many people had the same reaction to Matt Fraction's Iron Man. All because Tony Stark had began to modify his own body. Apparently superior sight, a boosted immune system, and power armour living inside of one's self that one can call out at any time is undesirable??? Humans confuse me. And I'm supposed to be one of them.

I think.

I worry that this is going to turn BioWare back to their usual "Humans are so great, unlike aliens/fantasy rces, and don't need nuffink!" rot that pervaded so many of their other games so that their primary demographic will be happy. Same was true with Fallout 4. Let's make the Brotherhood of Steel racist to appeal to gamers! That's so very in character for them. Except that it isn't.

Grump. Grump. Grump.

Sorry.

I just get irritated by this bizarre Aryan xenophobia sometimes. As I'd mentioned elsewhere, though, I had a burst of catharsis recently from Xenoblade Chronicles X. For those who've not seen what I wrote about that, I'll mention it again. Though caveat lector since spoilers will be littered through the next paragraph.

The humans were mimeosones, human-like robots. Synths, basically. It was brave enough to do that when Fallout 4 wasn't. And on top of that, the leader of my character's little platoon always tries diplomacy first with hostile aliens and this gives me all sorts of good feels. Possibly even that ASMR stuff the Internet is so obsessed with these days. And then there's Tatsu and L, whom I adore with all my heart for their eccentricities. There's even a quest involving a human and a Ma-Non (an odd lizard-dog thing that's friendly and adorable), which is there only to point out why xenophobia is horrible and wrong. That is its purpose.

It's weird that Japan is so insular and yet in some ways so entirely progressive versus the rest of the world. If they could just get over their attitudes regarding social inequality (women and certain instances of classism), then we could present them to any alien races we might actually meet in the future as the very best examples of us we have to offer.

Anyway, on topic! I loved Mass Effect 3. I enjoyed the Synthesis ending because basically everyone is now the Liir. Who're the Liir? Look it up! But basically, super-empathetic, telepathic space dolphins. They'd never dream of hurting someone because they're able to feel the hurt they cause themselves.

Catalyst: Well, people can be dickbags. Machines can be too. You could fix this by granting Universal empathy so that everyone would choose to stop hurting everyone else of their own free will. In doing so, you'd close gaps and solve the apex race problem that always leads to slavery, war, and death.

This Sorry Sod: Cool, let's do that. That's a great plan!

Seemingly Everyone Else: Screw that! DESTROY THE MACHINES!!! >:C

Not to mention that by destroying all the machines, they remove any defence they had from the Leviathans. So... the machines are destroyed, people rebuild, and then the leviathans step in to enslave everyone. Yaaaay.

The backlash is just going to turn them all conservative again is my fear. I have no hopes whatsoever for it. I can't let myself down like that. I'd be crushed. Mass Effect 3 was special for me, but I know I'll never see anything like that from BioWare again.

I doubt this will make it onto my list.

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