What do we know about the next Mass Effect game? Well, for one, it’s taken Bioware roughly 3 to 4 years to build it. Even before the Citadel DLC was released for Mass Effect 3 back in March 2013, work was already being done for the next game.
For those who are impatient (like myself), that’s a long time to wait for a new Mass Effect game. Why has it been so long?
I think there are a number of reasons: To start, the game is being built on a game engine (Frostbite 3) completely different than the Unreal Engine used on the trilogy. Learning new tools always takes time.
Second, Dragon Age: Inquisition was the main focus for Bioware heading into late 2014, so Mass Effect was likely being worked on by a team much smaller than normal for the first two years. It takes a lot of talented employees to complete projects as massive and grand as a Mass Effect game.
Third, the original game director, Casey Hudson, left the company in August 2014, with Mac Walters taking over leadership responsibilities afterwards. Whenever there’s a turnover in company management, no matter the business, it takes time to adjust.
Fourth, Mass Effect: Andromeda (MEA for short), by all accounts, has a more open world set of environments. Whenever games have a large area of exploration that’s set up like a sandbox, it always results in bugs everywhere. See Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, The Witcher 3, etc.
Fifth, Andromeda includes an entirely new story with brand new characters, new ships… basically, new everything. Creating anything meaningful from scratch is a lengthy process.
If you add all of this up, it means development time is much longer than normal. But what else do we know? What else adds to the development process?
MEA takes place in the Andromeda galaxy, a completely foreign part of space. Unlike with the ME trilogy, which built up its various known regions of space and reused them in subsequent games (like the Citadel space station), there will be nothing familiar with Andromeda. There won’t even be a Sol System, with its familiar Earth and Moon. While I am sad there won’t be an Omega, Illium or Citadel in MEA, it makes me wonder what there will be. World building is hard enough, but galaxy building, good god…
Here’s the most important question of all: Will Andromeda have a place to dance? One of my favorite parts of the Mass Effect trilogy was Commander Shepard busting a move on the dance floor. Maybe the new spaceship will have a dance floor built in it? Now that would be sweet.
The official release date for Andromeda is still Holiday 2016. The wait is (hopefully) almost over.