In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, you’d have heard many an interesting tidbit about Mass Effect Andromeda. Bioware’s fourth entry in the famed sci-fi space opera is going to be quite different compared to what we’re used to from the franchise.
For one, the game looks to be a standalone entry, as opposed to a single entry in a trilogy. The Paragon-Renegade system is essentially getting the chop, and the new cinematic trailer raises more questions than it answers (which is probably a good thing).
There are also big changes coming to the romance system, which, depending on who you ask, is the bread and butter of any large-scale RPG, especially in Bioware games. Guiding Shepard down a path of romance and lust in the original trilogy was kind of part of what defined the franchise (at least for me), because it separated the game’s confronting and violent base narrative from its lighthearted, free-flowing and personable character creation.
In Mass Effect Andromeda, however, the system is looking to be a little different.
Joe Juba, senior reviews editor at Game Informer, managed to visit Bioware HQ and check out Mass Effect Andromeda in all its beauty. Most of the tidbits and details you’ve heard about the game outside of the trailer have probably come from his coverage.
He was kind enough to host an AmA on Reddit, and revealed plenty of juicy new pieces of information about Andromeda. When asked about the romance system, Juba said that Bioware was “committed to offering a broader range of interactions.”
“It won’t just be ‘pursue a love interest, make the right dialogue options, then have sex before the final dungeon,'” Juba explained. “Some characters might be up for a longer term thing, some might just be flings. Some might completely unromance-able, but even in those cases, the dev team wants to make the culminations of those relationships interesting – even if they aren’t sexy.”
He also revealed that the number of romances a character can be in “depends on the character”.
“There may be some — like Iron Bull in Dragon Age Inquisition — who are cool with you pursuing other romances,” he said.
I personally think that some refinement of the romance options is a step in the right direction. Recent games like Fallout 4 I felt simplified the process, making it so if you tried long and hard enough, the character would eventually cave and you’d end up romancing them. Some of the options were ridiculous — like romancing a Ghoul, but each to their own — but at least there was diversity and same-sex relationships. These options existed in Mass Effect already, anyway, but a broader range of relationship would be interesting. A fling that might compromise other professional relationships, or perhaps personal conflicts that directly (or indirectly) hurt other people.
I can’t wait to see what Bioware comes up with in this regard.
Mass Effect Andromeda is set for release on Xbox One, PS4 and PC in Spring 2017.