Mass Effect: Andromeda's long five year development period inevitably saw a number of major changes made to the game's story, characters, and art direction. Now that the sci-fi RPG is finally out, however, many of the people involved in Mass Effect: Andromeda's creation are beginning to share some of the early work that went into the game in its earliest stages. The latest of these insights into early Mass Effect: Andromeda design comes from Eric Bellefeuille, who worked at BioWare Montreal as the Lead UI Artist on the game, and his concepts show that Mass Effect: Andromeda could have looked quite different.
Bellefeuille - who now works at Eidos Montreal, and shared the art via his portfolio on Artstation - shared a lot of artwork, but some of the most interesting concepts are the ones that reveal big changes in the direction of Mass Effect: Andromeda. One piece suggests that scanning Remnant glyphs was intended to grant gameplay-enhancing bonuses once completed, such as summoning different pieces of Remnant tech or receiving permanent health or damage bonuses. The ability to summon a Remnant VI eventually became part of the character skill tree instead.
Other revelations include a different settlement named Texas that never appears over the course of Mass Effect: Andromeda, and the notion that each settlement was originally going to offer the choice between a military, scientific, or what appears to be a diplomatic focus. While players still choose between a military or scientific focus on Eos, they are never given the choice again for the rest of their settlements.
Perhaps the most fun concept Bellefeuille shed some light on, however, was the original design SAM, the AI implanted in Ryder's head throughout the game's narrative. It appears that SAM was originally intended to reside within a large glass tube, much like Zordon in Power Rangers, before the AI eventually found its more familiar home as a small paperweight on Ryder's desk.
While some of the concepts revealed by Bellefeuille are certainly interesting, it's hard to argue with the final product that EA and BioWare put on offer once Mass Effect: Andromeda finally launched. Despite complaints about glitches and poor facial animations, Mass Effect: Andromeda still sold well and with a few major patches scheduled in the near future, could remain a factor in gaming for a long time to come.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.