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Full disclosure, I like the Mass Effect series.

I guess that is not much of a surprise, since I more or less defended the Mass Effect trilogy for its cultural contributions to the gaming industry. It will always hold the spot of being the best game series from generation seven for me, and like it or not, a lot of people in the gaming community more or less agree with that sentiment. Regardless of opinions on BioWare or even the quality of the games, Mass Effect has made an impact, for better or for worse.

This article is not about showering Mass Effect with accolades, but rather questioning what the future holds for the series. Of course, we’re talking about Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game that is at least promised for release by the end of 2016. Sadly, I am 0-1 when it comes to most anticipated games for the year, but I am a bit more confident that Andromeda will meet this promise, despite some curious speedbumps in route to going gold.

The biggest of which is simply the fact that we know so little about the game. BioWare has been playing Andromeda close to the chest, possibly in relation to fan backlash from Mass Effect 3 and the pre-hype machine that surrounded the game. It could also be part of a new strategy to play it low key, simply to keep expectations, which reached impossibly lofty levels for the series, down this time around to a more manageable goal. 

Another problem as of late is the recent departures of some key figures in BioWare, which has led to negative speculation regarding the well-being of the game and the studio. Sadly, there is no real way to confirm anything regarding the exits of former lead writer Chris Schlerf or ex-development director Chris Wynn, and speculation at this point can boil down to internal disagreements, burnout from work, pay cuts or, in the case of Schlerf specifically, his contract has been fulfilled.

Regardless of the reasons for the exodus of employees, BioWare itself has been tight-lipped regarding Andromeda. Most information known about the game has been gleaned by fans through alternative sources. Survey leaks, online posts, scant art photosMass Effect fans have been sifting through information for nearly a year now, sharing their thoughts and speculation on forums, YouTube videos and fanmade podcasts. Topics range from gameplay features, possible squad mates, online multiplayer, and the most prevalent of all discussions at this time, how or when players will arrive at the Andromeda Galaxy in relation to the Mass Effect timeline.

For Mass Effect fans, these are the burning questions in replace of corporate hype—the desire to know more about Andromeda before playing the title. It’s the kind of fandom we seldom see, one based on speculation over seething anger over perceived slights. Make no mistake, though, some are still upset over the change of scenery to Andromeda, with the most persistent rumor being it’s the only way to effectively avoid the definitive endings to the Mass Effect trilogy.

As far as theories go, it is probably the most pragmatic, even though it will take some impressive rewrites to pull it off. Compounding this is the popular “Ark” theory, which states that thousands of people will leave during the Reaper war in Mass Effect 3 before the endings can take place, and would travel to Andromeda in a massive Ark ship. Many fans speculate that the ship shown at the end of the N7 Day Teaser last year is the Ark, although nothing has of course been confirmed.

These are just some of the theories floating around Andromeda, and for Mass Effect fans, it’s basically all to really talk about. Much like No Man’s Sky, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a mystery still under wraps, a mystery that will slowly unravel as the year progresses. It is very likely that EA is going to pull back the curtain during their EA Play Event this June. Another possibility is to give Andromeda to the fans at the event to play, a live demo to showcase where the game is and what to expect from BioWare come this winter.

In the end, it is impossible to know what the future of the Mass Effect series will hold. Despite having amazing highs and crushing lows regarding our perceptions of the series, the cynics and sycophants continue their cosmic ballet across the Internet. Andromeda is a very important game for a lot of reasons in this regard. For some, it’s a litmus test on BioWare’s well-being as a company, for others, it’s a chance to return to a world they fell in love with. Myself, I am cautiously optimistic, but as I said at the top, I am a fan of Mass Effect, so I might be a little biased in the end.

Make no mistake, though, this slow burn of news has made Mass Effect: Andromeda a hotly anticipated title for many gaming fans. The question now is will it deliver with the burden of our own perceptions?

More About This Game

Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.

  • Tizlor

    3 was terrible. The foul taste that game left me with is colouring my expectations for this game. As in I have none, so they’ll more likely meet them.

  • Wisdomcube2000

    BioWare has burned me one too many times now for me to even consider their games hype worthy. I’m sorry but I just don’t care anymore 🙁

  • fnd

    Honestly the 3 wasn’t worse than 2, but then again, i didn’t care that much for the story.

  • Robert Grosso

    To be honest that’s how I feel about most fandoms in general at this point. So much negativity going around it’s very disheartening in the gaming community it makes me want to step away as I get older.

    In truth the fan-generated hype for Andromeda and No Man’s Sky, the two games I am more or less looking forward to this year, have been the only bright spots because of the conversations about it by fans. It’s rare for me to get excited about anything nowadays, so there is that.

    I hope the game is good, but I know how people are a bit more reserved now a days.

  • Robert Grosso

    Players always had a love/hate relationship with the story it seems. A lot of people criticize the reapers and the pacing and all that, love the characters though and the high moments…

    Nothing is ever perfect I guess. For me I enjoyed the core narrative, but not the overarching plot which is a bit weaker. Character interaction was fantastic though.

  • webkilla

    loved the ME games – 2 was best, 3 was really good right up until… the last leg – but this?

    I am not touching it until a few weeks after it comes out so any shitty story ending has been discovered.

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    I’m curious as to what that game will be like, but I have zero hype for it. If it turns out to be great, then it will be a nice surprise, but I’m not expecting much out of this. And I write this as a guy who was a big fan of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect was a truly great game with an interesting plot and a great antagonist. Mass Effect 2 had a weaker plot, lacked a strong antagonist, had watered down the RPG elements, but I was able to overlook this because the game made the gunplay much better, made each class feel and play differently (whereas in ME1 all the classes felt essentially the same to me with very minor differences in play style), and the final suicide mission was truly compelling, at least until the stupid final fight. ME3, though, jumped the shark, in my opinion. First, the game’s pacing was completely counterproductive to the sense of urgency the game was trying (and completely failing) to create. The whole Kai Leng thing was hilariously bad. Then it culminated in the utter train wreck that was the game’s finale with the ridiculous Starchild God.

    Honestly, I’ve been down on BioWare as a whole for a while now. Mass Effect 2 was the last Bio game I enjoyed. DA2 is straight up the worst game that company has produced in its history, IMHO, ME3 was a dull slog that ended in a train wreck, and DAI is a glorified MMO without any of the social/multiplayer elements that make MMOs what they are. I want Mass Effect Andromeda to be a success and a return to form for the company, but I have a lot of doubt that it will be.

  • Robert Grosso

    You ever played MDK2, believe me it’s worse than Dragon Age II.

    I don’t necessarily agree overall, although I got to ask what you mean by “return to form” in this context.

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    Actually, I did play MDK2 and I loved that game. I’m weird like that. Granted, that was a loooooooong time ago and I had rather peculiar tastes back then. I never played Shattered Steel, though, so I can’t compare against that game.

    As for what I mean by “return to form”, I mean a return to what I saw as BioWare’s general overall quality level previous to DA2, which I considered to be rather high, as compared to what I see as their general quality level now, which I consider to be mediocre at best.

  • Robert Grosso

    Nice! I did not like MDK 2 as much. The weirdness was part of that, but gameplay wise I found it real boring.

    Shattered Steel…never played either honestly.

    I think the gameplay found in Mass Effect 3 is more or less the jumping off point for Andromeda in terms of gameplay. At least I hope so because it really was the refined peak of the series, finally struck a good balance between role-playing and action-combat.

    Story is always going to be a tough one, it will be hard to tell a compelling narrative regardless of the game its in,and I have a feeling Andromeda is not going to take risks in terms of that narrative and pacing. From all the leaks it sounds like a “rise to power” style storyline.

    I don’t know, I guess we shall see. I still quite like Inquisition overall, so their quality is pretty much above par with even their weaker games overall in presentation, like Dragon Age II.

  • Ricardo Lima

    I was a big Bioware fan in some ways still am. But the way of the SJWs is strong in that place.

    EA does not help. The bad gj and bloggers who decided to defend their sellout too hard at the ME3 ending debacle made the matters a lot worse. It created resentment that endures to this day.

    They are in big need of a big hit, DA Inquisition was a decent but flawed game overhyped by marketing press and that got way too many game of the year awards that it did not quite deserve due to very dirty marketing and politics.

    The terrible launch of SWTOR (a buggy mess), the ME3 ending fiasco and the well earned bad reputation of EA for being anti consumer all loom over them,

    That way too many of their developers want to prioritize ideological preaching over quality hurts them even further.

  • Ricardo Lima

    Hopefully it won’t be the same ending in three diferent colors.

  • webkilla

    Same colors different endings? I can live with that

  • Ricardo Lima

    It would be a improvement over the last one for sure.

  • Ricardo Lima

    The third had everything going to be the best of the series but the ending and backlash from it left me more than a bit sour over the whole thing.

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    I’ll admit that BioWare could probably win me back over right quick if they made Jade Empire 2. The first game had plenty of flaws but I still love the heck out of that game, in no small part because of my deep love of Wuxia. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be Bio and Jade Empire, I just need somebody, anybody, to make another Wuxia RPG. I’m so sick of high fantasy and am even starting to get sick of space opera. Somebody, please, I beg you, make a Wuxia RPG.

  • Hobo-Tobo

    The third had absolutely nothing to be the best of the series.

  • Hobo-Tobo

    Will it have Drew Karpyshyn? No? Then I’m not interested.

  • Kev Lew

    As long as they don’t tease the community for 2.99 games then deus ex machina the ending (again) then it should be a decent game sequence.
    Playing the mass effect games (TBH only finished 1 half way into 2, bought 3 for the multiplayer co-op with friend.)

  • MosesZD

    First, you were only 2/3rd right with ME the Series.

    As for this game… Well, BioWare has been burning me a lot for some time now. And while DA:I gives me some hope they may have turned the corner, I’m not terribly interested in this game because I’ve experienced the EA/BioWare franchise-cash-cow thing a bit too much.

  • MosesZD

    I played that game. It was a great story, but super short. In the 18 hours it took to finish the game from start to finish doing everything, you spent 9-to-10 hours running around in circles in those goofy canyons they used to pad the game’s run length.

    A+ for story. D for game play.

  • Robert Grosso

    In a weird way sums up BioWare in a nutshell for their career :P.

  • Ricardo Lima

    Tthe mechanics and engine. While not perfect were better than ME2. The Multiplayer was fun co-op. The setup of the story was very good It was the epic all or nothing against the Reapers.. The effects of the three games can be seen if you got those old saves still.

    It went down hill in the finishing off Cerberus forward to the baffling idiotic end.

  • Robert Grosso

    Nothing is ever right or wrong when it comes to opinions :P. To be honest I was never fundamentally bothered by the ending, even before the extended cut. I felt indifference to it because it felt abrupt and lacked closure at the time, but the extended cut rectified it and brought the catharsis I was looking for.

    To each their own though.

  • m-p{3}

    I was among the lucky ones who played the trilogy a while after the third one was released, so I never had to face the original ending. I am eager to play Andromeda!

  • Azure

    I wonder how many key characters will be preorder DLC in this game? But of course they all offer nothing to the story or are 100% not essential for the full experience…

    isn’t that right…Mass Effect 3

    No Prothean hidden behind paywalls this time… Nope.

    Edit: Oh and the damning fact that this has EA as the Publisher, now at 0% interest.

  • Iconoclast

    “Full disclosure, I like the Mass Effect series.”

    Me too man, even that ending couldn’t ruin it for me. I just hope (and if I would be religious I would be praying) that the recent SJWs hired by BioWare won’t fuck this thing up.

  • MosesZD

    That, the (essentially) throwing away the original story, and the ending were all just too much for me.

  • Azure

    More like Icing on the cake. Which I am 100% sure was the publishers fault for rushing the Dev team and making these shitty deals.

  • Robert Grosso

    well, if that’s referring to Manveer Heir, he effectively has no power since he is only a gameplay designer, not a writer.

    Heir is a weird case because he has good points, it’s only mired in his own bigotry.

    Otherwise, I honestly feel the “SJW” stuff is a bit overblown regarding BioWare.

  • Mitchell

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Chris Anderson

    I think there’s a flaw in your reasoning. What makes you think that Bioware is an SJW company (if there even is such a thing outside of some select few)?

    Inquisition did fine, both critically and financially, so why can’t that be considered a hit? SWTOR had a rough start due to bad optimization and flawed design, but somehow managed to become stable due to the choices made after the game’s release. The Mass Effect ending is…debatable. Could it be handled better? Definitely. Was it the worst thing to ever happen? Not by a long shot.

    I really wonder why you think Bioware is more concerned with pushing an ideology than they are with making games people enjoy?

  • Ricardo Lima

    It means Social Justice Warrior.A cultish nut who thinks his/her ideology is more important than anything.

  • Mitchell
  • Ricardo Lima

    I don’t care one inch for Sterling’s pretentious arrogance.

  • Ricardo Lima

    The “flaw” is a difference of opinion.

    I did discuss the matter extensively with one their former lead designers. And seen more than one ( all white) preach about The urgent need “diversity”. Most recently by their new lead producer of Mass effect.

    As for DA Inquisition. I stand by what I stated decent but flawed and showing signs of SJWish standards specially on the female characters front. Plus too many mareti mating press reviews and awards I believe are not based on the merit of the title.

    As for Swtor it took years to become stable and still bleeds players. I still play it for love of my characters and love of the personality and storyline of each.

  • Chris Anderson

    You say that like diversity is a bad thing. Nothing wrong with inclusivity.

    And..Jewish standards? What?

    You may be right about SWTOR, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to say anything about that with any form of certainty. I do remember that my recent playthrough had loads of people in it and I remember a press release recently that that new expansion has brought in a ton of new people as well.

  • Ricardo Lima

    My former server Is so empty I had to tranfer. It is still empty.

    Diversity as they preach is not what I would call good diversity. There should be no mandory racial nor gender “quotas”, nor tokenism. Most new companions were less interesting than the previous ones more than in partly because of it.

    What do you call inclusivity exacly?

    Badly spelled SJWish missed it and already fixed.


  • Chris Anderson

    Agree to disagree it is! Thanks for responding though, appreciate the perspective. 🙂

  • Robert Grosso

    Well, I am 0-2…