Bioware Shares More on Mass Effect: Andromeda’s Ship, Romance & Side Activities
Bioware is slowly but steadily sharing more information on Mass Effect: Andromeda, their next big role-playing game due to release in Spring 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The official gameplay reveal will occur at Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards 2016 event on December 1st but in the meantime, Game Informer is regularly posting new coverage.
To begin with, the new Tempest ship will feel and look more alive than the Normandy in the old trilogy, mostly due to the improved behavior of NPCs. Space Lead Jessica Hara Campbell said:
There are some limitations to what they can do; they won’t be running around the whole ship as you are. But they’ll be doing things and interacting with the ship, because it’s a small crew and everybody has a job. So they need to be looking like they’re active. They may be doing things that draw you toward them, or they may be calibrating.
On the overall role of the Tempest, Creative Director Mac Walters added:
Mass Effect 1 did a good job of using the Normandy for those pinch points in the critical path, and Mass Effect 3 did a good job making it feel alive with the way the characters moved around the ship. The Tempest is a combination of those two things. Much more of those ‘Hey, we’re a team, let’s figure this out and have a chat’ after a mission, but also lots of interactions.
Bioware games have featured extensive romance options for quite some time and Mass Effect: Andromeda will be no exception. On this topic, Walters said:
Our games are often about characters, about drama, and romance just seems to fit in that realm. Even aside from what Mass Effect has become, I think it just makes sense. You put people in these stressful situations. There should be tension. There should be love. There should be all of those ranges of emotions with the characters.
By my count, if you include squad, crew, and light romances, we have more romances than we've ever had before. And like I said, the relationships are more in depth than we've had before.
That doesn't mean every character will be romanceable and Walters said that even those who won't be will have interesting and deep character arcs.
Just because someone has a romance doesn't mean they have a longer relationship arc with you. Think of the relationship moment with Garrus in Mass Effect 3 where you [shoot bottles off the Citadel]. Does it always have to be, 'Get someone into the bed?' or can it be, 'Let's go have a bros' moment or a friends' moment.' I think once [our writers] started to think in those terms, it expanded what those scenes could be like. But if you want to get down to the sex scene stuff, we got aliens, alien environments...we keep coming up with unique places to have some interspecies relationships.
The [characters] that aren't romanceable should have just as interesting and in-depth an arc as the ones who do. That's one thing we did to make it feel more natural. We have to check ourselves because we know the fans want romances, so the obvious thing is to make [everyone] romanceable, but that's not real. We're trying to find the balance between 'yes, it's a game,' but we want to make these characters as believable as possible and the situations as believable as possible.
Finally, we also learned about the nature of side activities Bioware prepared for Mass Effect: Andromeda. These are loyalty missions, navigating with the Nomad vehicle, tracking down drop zones, scanning, taking out enemy bases and epic optional fights. The latter two activities had not been mentioned before by the studio, so they're worth expanding upon.
Producer Mike Gamble said about them:
On most planets there is some level of hostile force, and usually that will be represented by enemy bases or hideouts or whatever you want to call them specific to that planet. These bases are pretty lengthy to take out, so if you approach one, you want to be prepared before you into it. It’s fun, because there’s a combination of systemic and scripted stuff in there. If you tip off too many enemies, the alarms start going off and you have to shut them off. And there’s usually narrative tied around it. As a Pathfinder the whole idea is exploring and creating viability in this cluster, eliminating those hideouts is a part of that.
You’ll find creatures and encounters that are so far overleveled to where you’re at naturally on these areas and you can tell right away. We have a lot of other things like that, where you’ll know that you’re not ready for this, but you’ll know you want to come back.
Check back here on December 1st to find the first official gameplay trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda.