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Bioware considered letting players manually pilot the Tempest in Mass Effect Andromeda, but ‘it wasn’t compelling enough’

The Mass Effect trilogy’s Normandy was as iconic as Shepard. It served as the “home” of your character, crew and experience, setting the scene for a majority of the trilogy’s most memorable moments, interactions and decisions.

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the Normandy equivalent is called the Tempest, and we have fresh new details about the ship by way of Game Informer.

Tempest acts essentially in the same way as the Normandy did: as the “bridge” between your adventure and what surrounds you in the galaxy. You’ll use it to reach points of interest, discuss mission objectives, customise your character, and so on.

There are a few subtle differences between the Tempest and Normandy, however, according to GI. For one, the bridge of the ship will be a “more regular destination”, in that navigation is the primary task undertaken in that area.

One of the more fascinating and memorable parts of the original Mass Effect experience was that of exploring the galaxy map, but in Andromeda, you’ll stand on the bridge and investigate stars in the distance before choosing a destination.

Some other interesting changes to the Tempest:

  • The galley offers a holographic interface, with which Ryder can modify skill-point distribution.
  • The Mako-equivalent Nomad will be parked in the garage beyond the galley, and it’s there that you’ll have to make any intended customisations.
  • There is a “personal space” for Ryder, and you’ll have some limited control over the decor.
  • There will be no loading screens, meaning you’ll be able to move through the ship without having to access certain areas via a long bridge, or lengthy elevator ride.
  • You’ll be able to look out the ship’s window and see an accurate reflection of the location you’re in, unlike in the original Mass Effect trilogy, which simply offered randomised static backdrops.
  • Bioware hopes that players will be able to see a planet outside a window, select it, navigate there, land, and explore it with minimal interruptions.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit out of the preview was that the studio discussed the prospect of allowing players to manually fly the Tempest, but discovered that it “was compelling, but not compelling enough”.

“Part of what made it hard is, we had debates about whether you should be able to manually fly the Tempest all the way around,” said creative director Mac Walters. “Ultimately, we had to say ‘Not in this game.’ If you try to do too many things, everything starts to suffer. But we had working prototypes of that, and it was compelling, but it wasn’t compelling enough.”

Mass Effect: Andromeda is set for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC in March 2017.

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