Mass Effect Andromeda Details Slip Out

BioWare have been keeping a tight lid on Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s [official site] plot, but it seems some details have appeared in the form of a customer survey. Not the world’s most reliable format, as these tend to be, “How would you feel about a game that featured a race of evil melons as the main antagonists?” before asking you about your mobile phone usage, but likely indicative of the direction in which the game is heading. So if you want all your news about the game to be carefully spoon-fed to you via the appropriate PR departments, look away now.

NeoGaf is the source of the information, where a naughty pickle has ignored the box he ticked promising not to share the contents of the survey and posted them for all to see. The key info is as follows:

“Mass Effect: Andromeda takes players to the Andromeda galaxy, far beyond the Milky Way, where players will lead the fight for a new home in hostile territory – where WE are the aliens – opposed by a deadly indigenous race bent on stopping us.

Experience the freedom to traverse and explore a planet-dense but seamless open-world galaxy, rich with discovery. Play as the leader of a squad of military-trained explorers in an intense third-person shooter, with deep progression and customization systems.

This is the story of humanity’s next chapter, and player choices throughout the game will ultimately determine our survival in the Andromeda Galaxy.”

It later asks about a “possible future version of Mass Effect”.

“There is a major battle brewing, and it awaits you. It is unfolding across a galaxy of planets, with creatures and species entirely unknown. Draw your weapon, because the fight is bigger than you thought. It’s not just for your own life, it’s for all of humanity – the ultimate battle for a place we can all call home.”

The nature of such surveys is they’re primarily used to determine marketing, rather than game content. This is about seeing how people would respond to the fluff, whether such advertising copy would woo them into handing over their sixty bucks, so they can refine the tone of how they promote the game later on. The game isn’t due out for at least another year, with the big official announcements likely to emerge at this Summer’s E3, but with a game of this size you have to imagine they’re a fair way committed to what they already have.

The “humanity is the aliens” plot was of course the premise behind the original Mass Effect trilogy, although this time out it seems to be a little earlier in the process, with humans having more recently shown up. It’d be nice to see BioWare perhaps explore the subject from another angle rather than the disturbingly ignorant one suggested in the copy above, perhaps looking more realistically at colonialism and human beings’ propensity for assuming that wherever they lay their hats on top of other people’s previously laid hats is their home. Rather than something as simplistic as a plucky race looking to make good while mean nasty local aliens want to steal their eyeballs. Small-pox infected body armour, anyone?

It’s also noteworthy how explicitly the description doesn’t mention “RPG”. Obviously the previous trilogy shifted that tone quite dramatically from the first to the third, the emphasis landing squarely on action over stats, and this perhaps suggests even more of that. And what exactly will this seamless open world really offer – more than the ability to “mine” random planets, or drive sixteen feet across a patch of rock, hopefully. Who knows?! We’re speculating on the thinnest of sources here.

So take it all with a pinch of your favourite seasoning, as this is far more likely written by the dollar-eyed advertising department, rather than anyone involved in actually making the game. But it’s fun to wonder, eh? We’ll be wondering for a good while longer, as the game’s not due until Spring 2017, which means likely slippage to the Autumn. However, this is EA BioWare, so expect the first of 900,000 trailers to appear this Summer, followed by a spin-off mobile hat-making game, TV cartoon prequel series, and pre-order deals coming with actual spaceships.


  1. magogjack says:

    North America simulator 2016 !

    I wonder if you get to put the aliens in reserves and disintegrate their culture and history.

    • Cinek says:

      Well, you are playing as aliens, so there surely must be someone a building wall there, and you in a protest will run a quest to build a 6-meter tall effigy of a certain human just to blow it up bit by bit with fireworks.

    • Don Reba says:

      Now that we have genetic engineering, we won’t have to depend on one of our natural diseases to wipe out swathes of native population.

  2. Maxheadroom says:

    “this is far more likely written by the dollar-eyed advertising department, rather than anyone involved in actually making the game”

    I do hope so, because it sounds like The Division in Space from the spiel which makes me sad

    • Blackcompany says:

      That’s funny. This is EXACTLY what I thought when I first read that. Which was depressing, yeah…

  3. yogibbear says:

    As long as there is more awkward dancing & purgatory link to

  4. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    On one hand I want to spit gall and bile through my eyeballs at all the posibilities for a soulless failure and EA and all that.

    But on the other hand Mass Effect is one of my most favorite expressions of my personal desire to explore the Universe.
    While I might sound like a dupe for admitting this, Mass Effect 1 through 3 frequently made tiny little tears of joy form in the corners of my eyes just by letting me spaceship (that is a verb now) through the vast emptiness of space.

  5. gwathdring says:

    Wow, that copy makes it sound like Everything Wrong With Colonialism: The Space (military-trained)Exploration Game.

    Hopefully it doesn’t end up even half as clueless as it sounds here.

    I’m a bit skeptical about “seamless open world” in the context of … galaxy spanning space exploration. I liked the divide in previous Mass Effect games between the galaxy-scale stuff and the not-galaxy-scale stuff. Having more open environments, too, without the game become horrifyingly expensive and requiring a million cut corners would necessarily mean the areas are less interesting. This isn’t The Witcher 3 or ARMA II/III or similar where you can have everything flow with a meaningful sense of place–this is a game where you have big empty space and then entire planets. There are games that pull this off but they either go for cartoon proportions (Super Mario Galaxy) or they present nearly barren wastelands (Elite: Dangerous). I’m struggle to see an alternative that isn’t prohibitively expensive to produce.

    Maybe the space part is it’s own seamless open world but you land at discrete areas on each planet? Or maybe none of this really reflects the final product. Hopefully the latter.

    • gwathdring says:

      I liked being able to imagine the galaxy made some semblance of sense. That was a lot easier when I wasn’t flying a fully realized ship through a seamless open world but rather reading flavor text about planets in a click-to-travel map or a stripped down move-the-ship-proxy-and-don’t-lose-all-your-fuel map depending on which game in the series we’re talking.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I’m a bit skeptical about “seamless open world”

      Yes. Sounds like some idiot grabbed a cool-sounding buzzword without actually understanding what it means. There’s just no way you can do something like Mass Effect without many many seams.

      • ShadyGuy says:

        Maybe they mean there won’t be any loading screens? Ofcourse that means we’ll be standing in elevators again for minutes on end. :P

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I’ll keep dreaming of even heavier Star Control influenced galaxy spaceshiping than previous. With discrete landings on planets of (un)interest. I liked driving around in a Mako that didn’t believe in physics but I guess I’m in the minority.

      • gwathdring says:

        I’m there with you. I recognize that the Mako was a bit crap … but I had so much fun driving it and flipping it off of mountains and imagining conversations between the people onboard it. I realize that a lot of that can’t be credited to the wonky design and barren landscapes … but whether or not it worked by force of design prowess or by lucking out in pushing all my buttons isn’t the point. It worked for me and felt so much more Mass Effect than the darn scanning mini-game.

        I definitely agree that continuing to take the top-down ship controls from ME2 and ME3 toward their natural conclusion would be lovely.

  6. Lakshmi says:

    players will lead the fight for a new home in hostile territory – where WE are the aliens – opposed by a deadly indigenous race bent on stopping us.

    Did anyone actually think about what they were writing here? It’s so clueless.

    • mike2R says:

      Sounds pretty reflective of realistic human attitudes to me, for example one of the grievances against the tyranny and oppression of the King of the United Kingdom listed in the US declaration of independence is:

      “He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.”

      We’re not the most self-aware of species…

      Does sound remarkably edgy for such a mainstream computer game to actually tackle, but I’d love to see some of these issues tackled.

  7. FreshHands says:

    I just realized that despite my recent weariness with the Bioware formula I will probably buy this on day one no matter what. Even if they told me I was playing as some kind of spaceinvader/colonist or maybe a prototype Cyber-Falmingo.

    Apparently I am that desperate for some AAA Science Fiction.

  8. Kefren says:

    I’m playing Mass Effect 1 at the moment. It took three attempts over 5 years to get into it, but I am now enjoying it. Disappointed that I can’t find a subplot to create a genophage for “plucky” humanity.

  9. Barberetti says:

    “How would you feel about a game that featured a race of evil melons as the main antagonists?”

    Do it, BioWare!

  10. Zallgrin says:

    Even if this written by clueless PR people, I still struggle to imagine how the writers of the game could make it any less gross than it looks right now. No wonder the project is losing more and more staff as development progresses.

    • Snowyflaker says:

      You just have to go in with the Warhammer 40K state of mind. You know, never trust the Xeno, burn his worlds before you and so on.

      • vorador says:

        Now that you mention it, i suddenly really really want a Mass Effect style game in the W40k universe where you play an Inquisitor or something and go investigating heresy and fighting chaos and/or aliens.

    • ZippyLemon says:

      Got any more info on the staff desertions? Not that I need more proof that corporations of this size lose more in cohesion than they gain in power, but it’s an interesting topic to me.

  11. gpown says:

    So Mass Effect: Inquisition it is. 6 planets, 4 zones on each, and you need to close 5 portals in each zone to stop the superevil indigenous race from, uh, reinvading it.

    Other than that, you’ll feel like a space cowboy by spending 2 hours on a space cow questline. There will be lots of space to explore because they just made each zone a single fucking Mako level.

    • yogibbear says:

      You also have to drive the mako to the highest point on the planet, at which point an eagle screech will be heard and the camera will slowly rotate 360 degrees while icons of all the collectibles pop up on your map.

      • FreshHands says:

        Whenever someone types the evil word my mind produces horrible images of me being stuck in some kind of blood red polygon gorge desperately trying to rocket boost out of it.

        Would be nice if they did it better this time around. Am afraid you’re right on the collectibles, however.

      • gpown says:

        “My name is Commander Herald of Andraste, and I suppose this is my highest spot on this planet”

      • gpown says:

        Also, no popups, you drive around with a proximity scanner (you have to hold the right mouse button and Mako is slowed by half during the process) to find deposits of Progressgatium. You use it to upgrade your forward base, which is required to unlock the final questline.

        Multiplayer mode: invade other players’ bases and steal all their Progressgatium while they’re sleeping. We were going to add kidnappable alien crews but the last (read: current) gen’s technical capacity is holding us back.

  12. Allenomura says:

    “It’d be nice to see BioWare perhaps explore the subject from another angle rather than the disturbingly ignorant one suggested in the copy above, perhaps looking more realistically at colonialism and human beings…”

    I couldn’t agree more. That would be both worthwhile and interesting. (and also not restrict the means of delivery, third-person shooter, or otherwise) This is no place for a sledgehammer, but it seems the surgeon’s tied up somewhere else.

  13. Monggerel says:

    I remember when in Moss Affect 1 you were the distinctly nonhuman Galactic Council’s secret agent sent first to stop a terrorist and later save the galaxy (most of which is not humans) from the omnicidal machine deities.

    • Snowyflaker says:

      To be fair, Spectres weren’t exactly a covert organization but what set them apart from the usual rank and file was the fact that you basically had a blank check in raising whatever hell needed in order to achieve your goal.

  14. Eightball says:

    Wow, it’s disgusting at how anti-refugee the comments are here. Bioware is simply placing humanity (IE underprivileged white gamers) in the skin of people trying to make it to the EU to escape war and persecution. They don’t have a home! And instead of welcoming them, the Andromedan species (apparently with Walker’s full support!) are going to turn them away with force.

    It’s 2016, people!

    • jonahcutter says:

      That actually could be an interesting take on it. Do an XCOM 2 alternative storyline where the Milky Wayians lost and the remnants were driven out of their galaxy by the Reapers. Only to meet with the stewards of that new galaxy who are intent on “protecting their way of life”.

    • Arkayjiya says:

      I hope we’re the Syrians to their Trump but I’m afraid we’re going to be the conquistadors to their Mayas.

  15. Distec says:

    Serious question: Do most Mass Effect fans actually give a shit about humanity in these games? I certainly don’t and I can’t recall ever speaking to somebody who did. The increasingly human-centric focus in the ME series after the first game felt safe, dull, and well-worn. I had more of an emotional connection to Tuchanka than Earth by the end of ME3 and really couldn’t care have cared less what happened to our planet.

    I can only assume that the wider masses dig the whole “FIGHT FOR EARTH. TAKE IT BACK. HUMANITY IN UR HANDS” schtick more than nerdy alien bullshit. But I wonder if I’m just taking that as a given and Bioware is beating that narrative drum for stupid, misguided reasons.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s hard to give a shit about humanity in the ME series, because the significant aliens (except for the Big Bad) are all anthropomorphic Star Trek bipedal types that are easy to relate to. And also written better than the humans, for the most part.

      To REALLY care about humanity, we need a story where all the aliens we meet are truly alien and not just the Big Bad. Aliens that are really weird and different, something we can’t relate to at all, so we feel a stronger need to protect and preserve our human species.

      But I’ll bet we get more bipedal Star Trek aliens in the new game. Gotta have something for romancing, after all.

      • gwathdring says:

        I don’t think there exists anything weird and inhuman enough that someone will not be capable of and interested in imagining fictional sex with it.

      • Premium User Badge

        alison says:

        I’m surprised by this comment, because to me the two most memorable aliens from Mass Effect were the Reapers, who from your first encounter with the weird transmitter were a proper hard sci-fi “you will never understand our intentions, much less our language” alien, and the giant plant thing. I guess there were also a few standard Star Trek bipedals, but those blue wizard aliens and red warrior aliens just all blur into funny-looking humans in my memory. Meanwhile their take on the Borg was pretty good, as were those eminently creepy grasshopper garbage men, and the ultimately-sentient megastructure they maintained. I actually think Mass Effect was one of the better attempts at hard sci-fi in gaming. Admittedly it lost something once the Reapers got depowered, but it both started out and ended up feeling like something really big and mysterious, which is exactly what space opera should be, imo. I hope the new one goes back in that direction and doesn’t just turn out to be Colonization: The Third-Person Shooter, which is what this article makes it sound like.

        • Zenicetus says:

          True, the Reapers started out well, but that only lasted through the first ME1 game. After that, it felt like the writers just didn’t know where to go with them. The multiple ending in ME3 confirmed it.

          Anyway, my main problem with the series is that a few more interesting aliens aside, you still spend 90% of your time recruiting and solving the problems of your crew, who are all Star Trek bipedals. Basically people in funny costumes. Most of the companion quests could be re-written in a Western or Medieval setting and the stories would still work, which makes it bad sci-fi.

          I want less Star Trek and more Alastair Reynolds in games. Aliens that are really weird and dangerous. Or inscrutable and dangerous, like the Ariekei aliens in China Miéville’s Embassytown novel that have a communication method so weird and non-human that they’re almost impossible to understand.

          • Premium User Badge

            alison says:

            I would really love for a sci-fi computer game to go this “hard”. Unfortunately i don’t think it will happen, because proper hard sci-fi is already a tough sell in other media unless it is very near-future/cyberpunk. (Of course you could argue the hardest far-future sci-fi has no aliens at all because interstellar travel is entirely unrealistic to start with, but that sort of ruins the fun.)

            There were a couple of adventure games i feel sort of went there, albeit in the near-future/biopunk way. I think Beneath a Steel Sky succeeded quite well. That whole AI-experiment-becomes-techno-organic-intelligence thing has been successfully re-told several times since then, most recently in Technobabylon. I believe The Dig was thought to have a great hard sci-fi story at the time, but i played it recently and found that the horrible puzzles and interface blocked any enjoyment i might’ve gotten from the story. Similarly i think JULIA: Among the Stars, which is quite a recent game, had a passably good hard sci-fi concept, but the dialog is so atrocious and the gameplay so contrived that i couldn’t enjoy it either. And then what? Does Gemini Rue count?

            All in all it’s pretty slim pickings in the computer game world if you want both hard sci-fi and non-punk space opera. So, Mass Effect. Eh. I’ll take it.

          • kament says:

            It started as “hyper advanced sentient machines bent on destroying lesser races”. Not exactly something I can in good conscience call “started out well” – it’s run-of-the-mill ancient evil, nothing alien about it.

            On the other hand, the bizarre Sheckleyan rationale offered in the series conclusion does have some degree of alienness to it. It certainly did alienate quite a few fans.

  16. sweenish says:

    If it’s an open world the way DA:I’s world is open, I may very well be done with Bioware.

    I liked DA:O enough, came to hate 2 by the end, and looked forward to DA:I since it had more time to develop. I don’t want a single player MMO.

    But I love ME. I should just start playing the Witcher games and stop fretting over this. CD Projekt Red and Obsidian seem to have taken the reigns.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Given the themes of the series I seriously doubt they are going with a tone deaf “colonization of inhabited lands is SUPER COOL, you guys!” angle….

    • brucethemoose says:

      You underestimate EA.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Spare me the reflexive EA hate. They do a plenty of dumb shit like most giant corporations but they also continue to fund interesting games, so just a big *whatever* to that, frankly.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          … “that” being your comment.

        • brucethemoose says:

          I’m not on the EA hate train. I was rather fond of Origin and ME3 when hating them was the popular thing, actually…

          But AAA devs like EA have a history of messing up the themes of sequels. If they think it’ll boost sales, they’ll happily pursue the pro-human angle.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            They would have to completely miss the point of everything that makes Mass Effect Mass Effect, which seems unlikely. I’ve yet to see any evidence to suggest the series is not in good hands. A leaked somewhat clumsily worded focus test thing doesn’t exactly register on the “cause for concern” radar.

          • Don Reba says:

            They would have to completely miss the point of everything that makes Mass Effect Mass Effect.

            They did exactly that with ME2, so it wouldn’t be without precedent even within this series.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            @Don Reba: Can’t say that I agree, though I can’t tell if you’re referring to Shepard working for Cerberus, which is debatable (unless you miss that sidequest on your first playthrough and don’t even know who Cerberus is till ME2, like me), or dropping the item micro-management and grinding for equipment, and streamlining the combat (both improvements in my opinion).

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            alison says:

            I can’t speak for Don, but i feel the same way. Although i enjoyed the series overall, i was extremely unhappy with the forced plot development of Mass Effect 2 where i was forced to work for a bunch of racist fucks my Shepherd not only would never have dreamed of affiliating with but actively fought against as hands-down the most diabolical enemies from the first instalment. Meanwhile the gameplay turned into something i had never experienced before as a PC gamer but i now know to be a console genre called “cover shooter”. In the first game i tried to play a stealthy sniper like i do in most games, and i kind of succeeded. In the second game there were never any enough bullets to snipe and i ended up crouching behind walls of implausible height shooting magical heat-seeking fireballs which made the battles feel neither science-fiction-y nor tense, in direct opposition to the first game. But i played through anyway in spite of the role i was forced to play and in spite of the woefully tedious combat mechanics because i was so starved for a sci-fi story – any sci-fi story. Fortunately both the plot and the mechanics improved in the third instalment, though neither hit the heights they did in the first in my opinion. Of course other people’s mileage quite obviously varies. But there’s no question the move from 1 to 2 was a substantial change, both in tone and in mechanics.

          • Don Reba says:

            I don’t want to give the impression that I hate ME2, I have 186 hours of playtime for it in Steam. But it just doesn’t work as a sequel to the first Mass Effect. Whether intentionally or not, it fails to keep continuity of the plot, the lore, the characters, and even the kind of storytelling established in the first game.

            In the first Mass Effect, you discover the Reapers and struggle to get the Council to believe you until finally one directly attacks the Citadel. You prevail and set out to find out more about the looming threat. The game ends, then in ME2:
            – the Council gets amnesia and stops believing in Reapers once again,
            – you join a manifestly evil and incompetent (except sometimes inexplicably super-competent) terrorist organization,
            – abandon your search for information about Reapers in favour of defending some settlers you never actually meet or get to know and about who no one else cares,
            – and start gathering a group of specialists for a completely unknown purpose.

            Joker, who worked all his adult life to advance as a pilot, abandons his career and joins a terrorist organization, apparently without giving it a second thought. Liara goes from being a shy archaeologist to a cutthroat information broker with no explanation given (if there could possibly be one).

            The first Mass Effect builds up a world and a story, carefully setting up the lore for everything that happens, but then the second hamfistedly borrows parts of the lore retcons major parts with cause and without, changes the characters, and after all that doesn’t actually advance the story.

    • Distec says:

      I’m quite with you there.

      On the face of it, it’s a bit dumb and *erk* tone deaf. And I agree with some of the detractors that ME2 and 3 very much missed the point of ME1 IMO. But it’s a bit too early to start wringing our hands over this right now.

      We can start bitching about imperialist colonialism if it looks like they’re completely fucking it up in their incoming preview media. But badly-worded focus test questionnaires likely made by people who don’t work at Bioware? Nah.

  18. brucethemoose says:

    “It’s also noteworthy how explicitly the description doesn’t mention “RPG”. ”

    Makes me think of Fallout 4.

    Come to think of it, that’s the direction lots most devs are going, isn’t it? Part of me thinks that this is the AAA industry’s attempt to get a piece of the Minecraft open-world pie, but I’m sure it’s more complicated than that.

  19. GWOP says:

    “It’s also noteworthy how explicitly the description doesn’t mention “RPG”. ”

    Everything is now an RPG-lite, John.

  20. Universal Quitter says:

    “Experience the freedom to traverse and explore a planet-dense but seamless open-world galaxy, rich with discovery.”

    See, the problem with this is it evokes thoughts of Elite: Dangerous with Mass Effect elements (or vice versa), and no game is going to be delivering that. Not this decade, anyway, and not with platform cross compatibility.

    Exploring a few dozen star systems, spread out on a shiny 3d model of M31, is not the same thing as exploring an open world galaxy.

  21. Gordon Shock says:

    well, here goes all my expectations and enthusiasm…on the other hand it is actually nice to be free of the former, it is only entertainment after all.

  22. Ur-Quan says:

    So Bioware is still sticking to their tried and true formula of gathering allies for the big battle at the end of the game/trilogy…
    Seriously this is getting really old.

    • gwathdring says:

      But this time it’s in an entirely new galaxy! And we’re the aliens!

      • Ur-Quan says:

        Maybe they should rename it to Mass Effect IN SPACE!

        • gwathdring says:

          I now desperately want someone–no matter how seriously they take their product–to name the sequel to a space game [Original Game Name]: IN SPACE.

    • Enso says:

      Cept its not bioware, its EA wearing their skin. That’s what they do, buy a studio, trade off the name until people realise the games are shit.

      They have the craft of Zach snyder

  23. totem42 says:

    Well, that was an amusing comment thread. Hopefully EA’s marketing studies DON’T tell it that a “play out humanity’s manifest destiny across space, complete with savage natives!” game will sell. although maybe it would be good to know this.

    also, every ME dev should be forced to play through star control 2 before they start writing/coding/arting.

    • Duke Flipside says:

      *The United States’ manifest destiny

      • sicanshu says:

        Because only the US ever crushed its way across whole continents and cultures in the hunt for wealth and power.

  24. Duke Flipside says:


  25. shadow9d9 says:

    Bioware doesn’t exist outside of the name, which could be applied to any and every studio inside EA. This should read “EA has been keeping.” EA can give a studio to a cat and call it Bioware.

  26. sicanshu says:

    Call me a starry-eyed optimist, but I actually like the idea of Andromeda as a meditation on colonialism, assuming it’s handled intelligently. Living in the states, there are basically two narratives we hear about westward expansion: 1) the heroic story of noble white settlers defeating savage people and bringing civilization to a brave new world, and 2) the nightmarish genocidal conquest of peaceful native peoples by degenerate Europeans bent on nothing but theft and rape. Both are largely bullshit, of course, with the truth being infinitely more complex (one man’s paragon is another’s renegade, so to speak). If Andromeda can manage to walk the tightrope between these extremes, especially insofar as player choice and consequence is concerned, well, I think it would be something to see.

    • gwathdring says:

      Even from native peoples, I don’t tend to hear #2 as a historical narrative so much as an expression of frustration at oppression that continues to this day.

      I don’t know who taught you history, but if those are the only two narratives you hear you have been very much let down. At the same time … if you don’t think one of them is at least slightly more accurate than the other, I don’t think you quite understand the scale of what European colonists did here or the consistency with which explicit attitudes about superiority, hatred and genocide have been openly championed by major officials in high office throughout American history.

      You seem to be implying that because not all Native Americans were nice, friendly people that somehow changes that a nightmarish genocide was perpetuated by people form a distant land with no claim to this one–a genocide that was frequently knowing and programmatic, not merely the happenstance of innocent people thrust into colonialism who genuinely believed they were under attack from violent savages.

      Surely you can think more than two things at once? That is, accept that the history of the United States with respect to indigenous people is largely a one-sided story of broken treaties, stolen land, and blood … and also accept that not everyone meant badly, not every single interaction was in bad faith and sure Native Peoples had their own conquerors, warlords, cruelties and crimes both before and after the arrival of the United States?

      You give cynical lip service to the “not everything is black and white” concept, but what you’re doing, to me, sounds like saying “everything is the exact shade of grey that comes from taking the two most easily presented extremes and sitting between them.”

      Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s the vibe I get from you calling 2 “bullshit” in exactly the same way as 1. They’re both worded badly, but they aren’t equal levels of bullshit.

      • sicanshu says:

        I actually grew up on the Rosebud Rez in South Dakota, barely a half hour from Wounded Knee. And, in law school, my emphasis was tribal law, meaning the relationship between recognized tribes (“quasi-sovereign domestic dependent nations”), and state and federal governments. So maybe spare me the condescension about my grasp of colonial history in North America. But you’re right, I did simplify a complex history into its two most prominent and recognizable extremes. And, while the view that the tribes were consistently fucked over by vicious foreign powers is more accurate (or at least more palatable when retroactively applying our values to a wholly different era), they ARE both bullshit. And the story that tribes were helpless victims in the struggle is frankly the more insulting of the two. Not because it ignores bad things the First Nations did, but because it ignores the bravery and resourcefulness they showed in fighting a war they could never have hoped to win, not to mention their increasing political savvy in treating with the invaders. Furthermore, those narratives speak to the two stereotypes native people today encounter most in dealing with white people: that they’re either a degenerate race of lazy, mean drunks living off the government, or that they’re all saintly medicine men who cry when they see litter and want to teach you how to paint with all the colors of the wind. Not that they’re just people, some good, some bad, most somewhere in between. My point is, if Andromeda is going to address themes of colonialism, I’d be equally disappointed if it veered to either extreme. What I’d like to see is a main character facing pressures from both his own people (some desperate for survival, just trying to make a life for their families; others with darker motives entirely) and indigenous species with nearly unrecognizable moral codes, as well as their own internal networks of enmity, commerce, and alliance predating our arrival by generations. Now THAT’s a game I want to play.

  27. Allenomura says:

    The alien species I most liked from Mass Effect were the Hanar. I thought things got off to a great start after I was asked to sort out the dispute between the preacher and the Citadel bureaucrat. I thought that would stand as an early, example of the sort of encounters and relations there would have been (and at times, to be fair could be found) in the unexplored new frontier.

    • Allenomura says:

      As I think on it all the more, the conclusion I’m drawing is that Mass Effect’s building blocks are its strongest suit, and the first game assembled them really well. The combat-heavy tilt it adopted upsets the balance away from a game I’m as interested in following.

      I also really liked the more retro-scifi design in the first game, which got exchanged out early in the second, thanks to “welcome to interchangeable spaceport with suspicious looking coffee shop #9” The asset re-use hurt the series.

  28. KastaRules says:

    I can’t wait for 2019 to play this game !!!

  29. ChipDipson says:

    am i supposed to be Capitalizing the Names of Seasons?