Mass Effect: Andromeda is so close you can taste it. Okay so not really — we still have to wait a good half-a-year to play it — but EA and Bioware have done well by diehard fans who have been clamouring for something — anything — related to the next chapter in the epic sci-fi series. N7 Day brought that, with a new trailer, not to mention Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 on Xbox One backwards compatibility (and EA Access).
It’s safe to say that Mass Effect: Andromeda is the most anticipated game of 2017: Bioware has a history of making great games — the Mass Effect series fits firmly in that portfolio — and the original trilogy was a defining aspect of last generation (at least it was for me).
EA first revealed it way back at E3 2015: I was lucky enough to be in attendance for that reveal trailer at the press briefing, and let me tell you that it was among the biggest cheers I’ve ever heard from a game, and I’ve been to a lot of press conferences.
Now that we have a full length — albeit cinematic — trailer, what else is new in the world of Mass Effect: Andromeda? Let’s take a look.
Who Are These New Characters?
If there’s one thing people want to know about Mass Effect: Andromeda — outside of dialogue options, exploration, enemies, alien races, etc. etc…okay so just about everything else — it’s the main characters. Shepard is an iconic video game character, and while we may never see him/her again, he/she will stand the test of time.
Interestingly, what’s different here is that, unlike the original Mass Effect trilogy, our new protagonist — Ryder — is actually a two-pronged narrative element: simply put, they’re siblings. Players can choose one of Scott or Sarah Ryder. Fryda Wolff, who has voiced characters in Fallout 4 and Civilization: Beyond Earth, will voice Sarah, while Tom Taylorson, of Octodad fame, will voice Scott.
You’ll take control of one of these players and assume the role of the Pathfinder.
Okay…What The Hell Is A ‘Pathfinder’?
A Pathfinder is an explorer: you’ll be tasked with setting out to explore the galaxy, a place where humans have never been. Will there be other humans? Other civilizations? Has the galaxy been colonised at all? It’s your job to find out.
While the role of the Pathfinder seems pacifistic and subtle, the trailer paints a picture anything but: Andromeda seems like a hostile place.
The “Andromeda Initiative”, which Bioware is using to virally market informative tidbits about the game, describes the Pathfinder as a “blend of elite solider, scientist, and guide who will be tasked with finding a new home.” Going by that, you’ll be taking on the role of a similarly powerful capitàn as Shepard was in the original trilogy.
What’s Happened Since Mass Effect 3?
A lot. About as much as you can cram into 600 years. The Andromeda Initiative tells us what’s happened leading into the events of Mass Effect Andromeda. Founder of the Initiative, Jan Garson, tells us that your character along with thousands of others were selected and placed into cryogenic sleep aboard massive space arks. This happened 600 years ago.
Why this happened is anyone’s guess but … it seems to tie into The Ark Theory, which has been a long-held fan theory that explains how the series could possibly continue after the events of Mass Effect 3.
Try And Make Me Understand The Ark Theory, Please
The trailer didn’t tell us much, but it told us enough. We know that the journey to Andromeda took 600 years, and that on board these “arks” were humans and select alien races. We also know that the two arks were called Hyperion and Nexus. Three other arks have been created, shipping unknown beings to the same location.
For a number of years now, fans have been hypothesising that humans used arks to be a “step ahead” of the Reaper threat from the original trilogy, should Shepard’s mission fail. We know from the videos and new trailer that, in essence, that is exactly what happened. Especially considering the first reveal trailer showed someone wearing N7 armor.
What Else Is New In Mass Effect Andromeda?
Well, we can expect some sort of evolved experience. Obviously there’s going to be a heavy focus on colonisation, diplomacy, combat and exploration, as has always been the case in Mass Effect games. However, it seems as though the world will be far more hostile than we’re used to, seeing as though humans are now considered the aliens.
Will it have destructible environments? All EA games now utilise the Frostbite engine, and Bioware has said in the past that the game “pushed the boundaries” of what’s capable with the engine. That’s pretty exciting.
Okay Stop Talking: When Is It Released?
It’s scheduled for a “Spring 2017” release on consoles and PC, meaning it’ll hit Australia in Winter. 2017.