As Bioware’s latest installment in the Mass Effect franchise edges closer to its release date on March 21, both dedicated fans and newcomers have raised their concern about how successful the installment will be in the long run. With a fresh release of new trailers in 2017, Bioware may be looking for a way to ease RPG fans off all backgrounds.
Since the project began development following the release of Mass Effect 3 in 2012, there has been much in the means of controversy surrounding the project. Once it was announced that Commander Shepard, the main protagonist from the original trilogy, would not return for the fourth installment into the series, an aura of worry began to surround Mass Effect: Andromeda. Many fans were worried that it would be little more than a short, cash-cow of a spin-off game.
In the latest gameplay trailer showing off the game’s multiplayer, it is revealed that players with be able to choose from both new and familiar races when creating characters. The video spends a fair amount of time endorsing this diversity.
It then goes on to display the various planning that the player will have to partake in in order to succeed. Back in November 2016, GameInformer reported that, “Because of Andromeda’s flexible skill system, Ryder can learn any ability, and isn’t locked into a single progression tree.”, leaving many fans were worried that the game might not be as enjoyable, as the main protagonist will not be limited to one class and the gameplay will be all over the place. With this multiplayer trailer, it seems that Bioware is looking to calm any worries that fans might have about the game, promoting Andromeda’s selectability. If a player wants to create a character that focuses on a certain aspect of combat, they no longer have to make a separate character, but rather they can simply change loadouts.
Whether replacing classes with loadouts is a positive or negative change to a core aspect of the series’ gameplay is entirely up to the player. However it should be asked if this change will prevent or hinder Andromeda’s success while contending with other big name titles to be released later this year.
However, it is expected that Mass Effect: Andromeda will live up to its expectations and more. In a recent interview with PC Gamer, creative director Mac Walters and producer Michael Gamble explained that there is to be over 1,200 unique conversations. This is nearly double the 670 pieces of dialogue in Mass Effect 3, and it is reported that this does not include passing NPC’s and shopkeepers or the like.
Now, it must be acknowledged that just because a game has more dialogue, that it will necessarily be a better game. While it does keep hope alive that the Andromeda will flourish in the market, the dialogue could very well be tedious and repetitive.
Back in 2014, Bioware’s well known RPG series Dragon Age released its third title, Dragon Age Inquisition. What made Inquisition such a memorable game was the way in which the dialogue seemed to come alive depending on the character the player chose to create. Choosing to play as a dwarf warrior would surface different dialogue options than if the player chose to create a human mage. This added replayability and a layer of depth to the Dragon Age series making them formidable games in the market.
However Mass Effect: Andromeda does not have this luxury of guaranteed replayability. With Andromeda, character can only choose the gender of their character, and the race is limited to only human. Now, without even being able to choose the main character’s class, the question must be asked whether or not the game will survive its release, let alone become a main staple in the franchise.
Perhaps fans of the series should not have low hopes for Andromeda. Bioware has stated that they do not intend for the game to be a some sort of spin-off game or the start of an entire new trilogy. Rather, it will be its own stand-alone title in the series, and very well may be the last Mass Effect game we see on the market. Fans might have had more of a reason to worry had Bioware themselves not been working on the game themselves. Ian Frazier is acting as the game’s lead designer, and he has promised that Mass Effect: Andromeda will live up to the “promise of Mass Effect 1”.
From what we have seen so far, Andromeda is returning to the exploratory roots of the franchise: visiting foreign planets, driving a rover named The Nomad through alien landscapes, and collecting minerals while attempting to survive dangerous weather conditions.
We really will not know what will come of Mass Effect: Andromeda until March 21. While the game looks promising, we cannot be sure that the little tweaks in gameplay will not shatter the overall experience. Bioware has been promoting the game well-enough, and fans can only pray that the title will survive launch without having many of the familiar faces that the series has come to know and love. If one thing is for certain, it is that Mass Effect: Andromeda will be a hit-or-miss moment in Bioware’s lifetime, and fans will be eager to see, given the potential success or failure of Andromeda, what the company’s plans for the future will be.