The Mass Effect franchise has always been known for having a branching and twisting story line, directly impacted by player decisions including a very controversial, player deciding ending to the trilogy. Similar to how BioWare altered the familiar Paragon/Renegade dialogue system, the studio also revealed in a recent interview that Mass Effect Andromeda does not cater to fans looking for a perfect or ideal path through the game.
To better fit with the new theme of exploration and freedom, Mass Effect Andromeda features more impactful decisions that are less about being good or bad. Fabrice Condominas, producer on the upcoming space epic, confirmed that the studio focused on getting rid of traditional binary decisions and adopting a more freeform experience shaped by the players actions. Instead of featuring situations where one choice is clearly better than the other, BioWare sought to get away from that more judgmental position, remove all obvious cues, and instead have all options be more nuanced. In turn, this helps the player define their story based around how they choose to play rather than sticking to a choice based on a certain playstyle.
Fans worried that this major change also extends to those large game changing story choices, Condominas confirms that Andromeda will continue to feature major narrative situations that will have far reaching, if not obvious right away, consequences. Throughout all five years of development time, BioWare spent a lot of time creating branching story content, ensuring that players would have plenty to see and strive for. Unfortunately for completionists, this also means that there’s the real possibility of players not seeing everything the game has to offer in one playthrough.
For the first time in my career – I’ve been doing games for 15 years – this is the first time in my career I haven’t played myself through all the possibilities in a game I’m going to release. Just because it’s too much – it’s too time consuming.
Decision making in Mass Effect Andromeda isn’t the only sweeping change BioWare has been making to the upcoming title. Combat is another area where the game has received a make over with the biggest change being the removal of the power wheel. In response to the faster and more dynamic combat thanks to the addition of a jump pack, BioWare felt the power wheel was now interrupting and even slowing down combat. Thankfully, not everything is removed as the weapon wheel is still in place and players can still pause combat to issue commands to squad mates if they want.
What do you think of this new approach? Are you going to miss the more obvious and less binary decision making? Let us know in the comments.
Mass Effect Andromeda arrives on March 21, 2017 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.