Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer visits brand new worlds

I’m not going to pretend that I understand the setting of the Mass Effect games all that well, but even though I’ve only played bits of the first, you can’t work in this job for long without learning all about the adventures of FemShep. That’s how I know that Andromeda [official site] is about a new crew searching a new galaxy for a new home, because somebody left the taps running on Earth during the events of the original trilogy, and now the whole place smells of mildew.

A new, hefty trailer shows some adventuring, some chatting, some fighting and some gorgeous hub world wandering. Mass Effect may not be my thing, but good grief, this looks very much like it might be my main squeeze of Spring 2017.

In an odd coincidence, there’s a new Prey trailer out today, which we’ll be posting shortly. The section of Andromeda in the settlement looks a lot like the Prey 2 game that never was though, with the Pathfinder hunting someone on an alien planet, using magi-science and detective skills, and eventually shooting an Anarchist in the face (I read the name tag as Antichrist originally and was pretty excited to find out what I’d missed in the mythology of the original trilogy).

I’d rather see a little more conversation and a little less action, but Andromeda looks absolutely gorgeous. The alien-ness of the worlds reminds me a little of No Man’s Sky, in that everything is bright and attractive and strange, like a pulp sci-fi book cover. Quite why the search for a new home planet seems to involve going to the home planet of other people and sticking your face into their business, I don’t know, but if the game essentially involves flying around the galaxy shouting at people until they let my entire race sleep in the spare room, I’m OK with that. I’d even take a sofa bed.


  1. Sandepande says:

    Ooh nice.

  2. Shiloh says:

    Ooh shiny… time for that new PC I’ve been promising myself?

    • TormDK says:

      Yup, it’s released end of March 2017, so there should be plenty of time to pick up an I7-7700K, and some NVMe storage by then :D

      Thats what I plan on doing anyhow.

  3. DarkLiberator says:

    Looking good, but that lip syncing might need some work…
    Also is it just me or did Ryder’s face look very weird whenever she talked. Kind of creepy.

    If they manage to make planets not boring to explore, I’ll be very happy.

    • Chalky says:

      Yeah, the game is looking amazing but the facial animations seem a bit behind the times.

    • Vandelay says:

      Definitely some weird uncanny valley stuff going on. She looked like she has some strange permanent Mona Lisa-esque smile on her, even when she was meant to be threatening. There was a lot of gorgeous things there, but characters and the facial tech was not one of them.

      The game itself looks… fine. Nothing shown there looks particularly new from a gameplay perspective. I feel the quality of this will entirely rely on whether the big open galaxy is actually interesting or if it is a whole bunch of placeholder planets, with 5 or 6 story related planets.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Could be wrong but it looks to me like automated lip-sync that needs a hand animation pass… Hopefully they can tweak it to something more natural while steering clear of the curse of underbaked performance capture where the face barely moves at all.

      While by no means perfect I always felt the facial animation in Mass Effect was pretty effective.

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      phuzz says:

      I found in ME2 and 3, that Shepard had worse lip-syncing than other characters, which I put down to her being customised by the player, whereas the other characters can be tweaked by the developers and their faces don’t change.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        My Shepard worked pretty well in motion. I reckon it really depends what you do with the customization. (I stayed fairly close to the defaults)

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          phuzz says:

          I spammed the randomise button until I got someone who looked utterly unlike anyone else in the game (or arguably, a person at all).

    • Stevostin says:

      Yeah surprised too. I remember ME as good at facial expressions. Did our standards evolved or did they screw up the main character ?

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Neither. Standards have risen, but Mass Effect 1-3 had pretty good facial animation working within the limitations they had and putting their energy where it counted and hitting the right emotional beats. It’s more art than tech so it’s all about how you use it (eg Vampire Bloodlines still has better facial animation than many modern games). In fact sometimes new tech gives worse results because people are still figuring out how to use it. I think the lacking lip-sync in some of these shots can safely be regarded as work-in-progress. Would be surprised if it’s not improved in the final game.

  4. Zorgulon says:

    Well that looks a lot more like it compared with what we’ve seen previously.

    I like it!

  5. Unsheep says:

    Simply being pretty is not enough to impress me. If graphics is the only factor to consider when buying games, that’s your prerogative. Personally, I prioritize content and gameplay.

    In any case I don’t want to support this studio, I still carry too much grudge from the disappointment that was Mass Effect 2.

    • ZedClampet says:

      lol unsheep. ME2 was the best game in the series.

      • Stevostin says:

        Certainly not to me. ME 1 had that sci fi scale vertigo to really stands out. IMY by far the most enjoyable. ME 3 at least had the pretty grim outcome to deliver some punch. ME 3 is just filling with fights and nothing memorable for me. Didn’t hate it but meh.

        • LexW1 says:

          It had the best writing in any of the series in terms of characters, and the most engaging and diverse set of actual missions, too. If you don’t like either of those things much, well…

          • malkav11 says:

            The actual missions boiled down to a lot of rote and repetitive waist-high-cover arenas fighting the same fights. For the few bits when you were doing something else, like investigating or whatever, yeah, those bits were pretty cool but they were in a minority. You’re right that it has the best character writing in the series but that happens in a bunch of largely disconnected short story like vignettes. The overall plot is kind of underwhelming and contradictory to things that have gone before, and if you ask me it’s not -so- much better on the character front than the other games that that compensates for the plot deficiencies. Or the horrible mechanics changes. It’s just reason enough to play it in the first place.

      • typographie says:

        I finished ME1 once and I found it to be an enormous slog to get through. I’m glad I played it, and I’m glad I don’t have to do it again. I understand that some may prefer ME1, but I genuinely feel ME2 was an improvement across the board.

  6. Kefren says:

    It took me three attempts to get into Mass Effect. I hated it the first two times. Then it clicked a year or so later and I had fun, partly due to the relationships. I completed the second but it was disappointing in that it turns out there were people you couldn’t have a relationship with, or ones where a no option appeared if you had or hadn’t done a specific thing you didn’t know about. I would be talking to a character and just want to ask “Hey, you interested in me or am I wasting my time?” but the option never appeared, never though it would have saved a shitload of time and frustration continually repeating the same conversations. So the second game, despite better action, was left feeling hollow and unsatisfying and more “gamey” to me. The flaws seemed to be more obvious (maybe I was just lucky in the first game in that the character my Shep liked was one of the romance options, and I’ve have felt the same frustration if she’d liked someone else.) So thanks to the disappointment of ME2 compared to my expectations, and the fact that ME3 required another piece of useless software installing and an account creating on it, I never bothered after that. I kind of wish I’d stopped after the first game.

    • Halk says:

      I would be talking to a character and just want to ask “Hey, you interested in me or am I wasting my time?” but the option never appeared, never though it would have saved a shitload of time and frustration continually repeating the same conversations.

      That’s a feature, allowing you to simulate a range of real life relationship.

      • Kefren says:

        Ha ha. Except my Shep wasn’t normal, she was an all-out toughcase with no inhibitions, no shit taken, and a curt no-nonsense approach to all issues even relationships. The fact that the game specifically prevented the straightforward approach really created a dissonance for me. So much is around the illusion of the character as your avatar that when there’s a glaring oversight in the developers it breaks the illusion.

        • Asurmen says:

          Hardly a glaring oversight. Not only can they not adjust for your internal RP, but simply put, people for the most part just don’t bluntly say things like you wanted to when it comes to starting relationships.

  7. Stevostin says:

    This really cry for a first person view. TPV’s only reason to exist is for squad fighting. Not that much tactical positioning in the franchise before and even less in that video. Seems like TPV is missing out on enjoyable shooting for next to no reason at all.

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      Qazinsky says:

      I’m with you on that, third person also brings its own problems when shooting in a game, like bullets hitting an edge your crosshair is clear off, just because the character stands to the side of the view, rather than in the middle.

      I played Watch Dogs 2 yesterday and due to my character being to the left of the screen and the enemy being close, I managed to shoot “around” the enemy when my crosshair was on it.

    • Halk says:

      It seems you have no idea of what’s good about third person view. As is incredibly evident in the trailer, it allows for much more kinematic and impactful action. Mass Effect is not a shooter.

    • LexW1 says:

      Er, no.

      The abilities Shepard can have would make far less sense and be significantly less usable from a first-person view. You’d have to redesign the entire game, and re-concept some of the most iconic abilities to make it viable.

      They actually started building a first-person ME shooter in-between 2 & 3, but it didn’t really work, so they stopped and took what they’d learned to third-person.

    • CriticalMammal says:

      I don’t think it needs to switch to first person but based on the trailer I do think the over the shoulder view is way too claustrophobic and stiff considering all the new movement abilities they have.

      It’s like you’re stuck in a permanent aim mode. I get that the previous games had a similar style but it seems unwieldy here, especially when you “blink” towards an enemy and need to quickly assess where the enemies are relative to your new location.

  8. Halk says:

    I wonder when the crafting diarrhea that has been affecting the industry for years will be over.

    Apart from that, looking good Mass Effect.

  9. Spuzzell says:

    I thought it looked rather worrying.

    The character models are bad. Flat out bad, worse than I remember from Mass Effect, let alone the sequels.

    The dialogue and voice acting in the stand off was terrible. That wizard came from the moon terrible. And the spunky antogonist was LITERALLY LOUNGING ON A THRONE to show how out there she was. It was pure cringe.

    Then the shooting mechanics looked incredibly similar to XCOM: The Bureau, which is in no way a good thing.

    Then the crafting showed up. Who doesn’t want to stop and pick flowers during a gun fight.

    Then there’s the exact same Krogan/Turian/Human mix as previously. What happened to a whole new galaxy?

    I’m more than slightly worried. I love Mass Effect and this was my most anticipated, but my God does it smell a lot of Dragon Age: Inquisition to me right now.

    Please let this be a very early build and deliberately hiding stuff, please let this be a very early build and deliberately hiding stuff..

    • Rizlar says:

      Yeah it does look very Drinquisition. Faces are terrifying blobby nightmares. Animations and environment looked pretty stilted.

      However the combat looks like it’s taking all it’s cues from the ME3 multiplayer, which was great. So hopeful there.

      Anyways I played Inquisition and enjoyed it, will probably play this at some point and enjoy it too.

    • Faults says:

      You’re saying Dragon Age: Inquisition like it’s a bad thing ;)

    • Sandepande says:

      DAI with guns means EA gets my money.

    • LexW1 says:

      Saying the shooting looked similar to The Bureau is completely bizarre.

      Did you play ME2 or 3? That’s what the shooting looks like – ME3’s MP specifically. So I suspect you may be a bit off on your feelings here generally. The only character model element that looked “bad” was the facial animation on Shepa… I mean the Pathfinder.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      The faces in particular struck me, and textures (even in the previously released screens etc.). Not helped by the facial animation/rigs & lip-syncing.. ME2 & 3 look sharper.

      The outpost with Krogan & Turian muscle felt very deja vu, for a moment I wondered whether this was some preface part of the game back in the ‘ole Milky Way.

      I’m hopeful with the gameplay shown, taking cues from ME3 Co-op. And hey, the Pathfinder’s effectively got Biotic Dodge free with that jump pack.
      I gotta say, I long for mouse look in these gameplay videos though.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yeah, that outpost with humans and krogan was jarring. I thought they were new arrivals at Andromeda? Doesn’t look like a preface unless it’s a really long one. Also, looks like a lot of re-use of architectural assets like halls and doorways… way too human-style to be something new on an alien planet.

        I was hoping for more of an undiscovered, truly alien feel for this game and I’m not seeing it here. Looks it could be set in the original ME locations.

      • Frosty_2.0 says:

        Well it’s an new Andromeda outpost seemingly built by the more renegade/unsavoury types being kicked off of Nexus Station.
        Not exactly the best candidates to seed a brave new galaxy it appears – a bit too deja vu of all the merc/gang douches in Shep’s saga, I guess it wouldn’t ME without them!
        The Milky Way architecture/pre-fabs make enough sense there though.

        I just watched the ‘Nexus Station Briefing’ vid today which gives a bit more perspective – If you want to go in completely fresh maybe avoid watching it (but then you’ll probably get spammed with some media/info eventually anyway, whether you want to know or not).

  10. Ghoul Monkey says:

    Let’s recap:

    Bullet sponges, convoluted gathering of resources, incessant combat, all which ultimately serve to obfuscate what seems like a truly engaging narrative and lore..

    In other words, “Dragon Age Inquisition: With Guns”

    (Pre-Ordered four months ago)

    • Jerkzilla says:

      That’s kind of my outlook too, maybe a bit less pessimistic.

      The combat specifically doesn’t do anything for me. It looks lacking in feedback and… I guess “heft” would be a good word, which is odd, since ME2 and 3 had some pretty satisfying headshots. In fact, it kinda looks inspired by MOBAs, so I guess some people are going to like it, I likely won’t though :(

  11. dystome says:

    I think things like this are going to realise the lasting value of No Man’s Sky. The indie took the risk on something new so now an established franchise can go, “Yes, that was a good idea – let’s spend money on it until it’s fun.”

    Which isn’t quite so frustrating in this case since NMS sold a boatload in its own right.

  12. Faults says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I absolutely adored Dragon Age: Inquisition’s pointless busywork. Sometimes if I’m playing a game, I don’t want another quest of grave importance in regards to saving the world, I’m quite happy to go pick 20 flowers and get into some minor mishaps along the way.
    Oftentimes for me, it makes the ‘big’ plot-points seem that much more impactful and tense when I actually take the time to explore and appreciate all the small, throwaway details in the world-building. DA:I was great for that – venturing out into the world and establishing your claim piece by piece.

    All that is to say, I’m really looking forward to picking tons of space-flowers in ME:A, screw the haters :P

    • Antongranis says:

      Buy do you want that for near-enough every sidequest? That was dragon age inqusition. Singleplayer MMO indeed. A real step down from dragon age origins.

      • Faults says:

        I adored and continue to adore Inquisition. Some of the sidequests were IMO pretty engaging, and the main quest was absolutely fantastic. Some of them were also collecting flowers or killing mobs, and that’s still absolutely fine with me.

        • Antongranis says:

          I mean, its not bad. There are just many things that let me down. I can go into detail if you wish.

          Agree to disagre then:)

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I’m pretty OCD, though, which meant that DA:I got pretty tedious after a while. I couldn’t stop myself from closing all 20 rifts on every level nearly because their icon showed up. It’s not a bad game (I think the main quests are the same quality as any Bioware RPG has ever been, good or bad), but it’s a game with tons and tons of inconsequential padding.

      I did love the crafting system, though, as it had SO MUCH variety that actually significantly changed how you play. I hope ME:A has something similar.

  13. Laurentius says:

    I’m old man and grumpy but it looks like DA:I in space, which is not good sign at all. Apart from that general impression,this scanning will be annoying. My excitment is down almost to zero at this point.

    • waltC says:

      Yes, uninspiring, I agree. The pathfinder is nearly homely and the animation looks like something ten years old, at least…;) Everything EA does is like some ham-fisted hamming it up adventure–trying to compress as much as possible into as small a space as possible. Subtlety is completely lost on them! Ugh. Someday, someone will do something with Starflight to bring it into the modern era and that company is going to make a fortune…!

  14. saberopus says:

    Obviously we don’t know much yet about the story details, but… why are there so many humans? I was sort of hoping that, at least in part, this game would feel truly alien, being set an entire galaxy away. Obviously there was still going to be a majority of humanoid aliens, particularly in combat, but… so many humans in that outpost??

  15. gwop_the_derailer says:


    By the way, have you noticed just how little cowering behind chest high walls is displayed during combat?

    • Zenicetus says:

      Too-obvious cover scattered everywhere was a problem sometimes in the first series. On the other hand, I’m not sure constant run-‘n-gun is an improvement.

      I’d rather see at least some semblance of cover when I want it. Also, more tactical use of the squad for things like flanking, which requires at least some degree of cover. I hope what we’re seeing is cherry-picked for “excitement” in the trailer and not what all combat is like.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      There’s a procedural/dynamic cover system now which is supposed to work fluidly and coming in from different angles against suitable geometry.

      Read in an IGN article I think:
      link to
      “[…] One of the other big things that is really key is we’ve developed a procedural cover system. It’s super fluid, you don’t even notice it in there, and it’s not modal, so you can just take cover behind anything,” said Walters. “It’s really interesting how organic it is and how organic the experience is. It just feels like, of course, you take cover when you need it, but we’re not going to force you or design fights necessarily where you have to take cover. […]”

  16. FreshHands says:

    Yay, let’s face it. I’ve grown jaded.

    BlackFlag, Witcher3, Dishonored2, now MassEffectXY. Nothing impresses me any more. It’s all crap. Somewhere along the path, the magic left.

    Also please end the world now.

  17. Gordon Shock says:

    So a brand new galaxy and yet it seems populated by Milky Way species?

    So a brand new galaxy and yet people remain as cocky and brashy as they do here for what seems to be trivial reasons?

    Ingredients gathering and top navigation bar à la Bethesda.

    Batman style detective vision.

    I don’t usually care a whole lot about visuals but this looks almost outdated, six months before release.

    Well, I guess my expectations have planted their feet on the ground again.

  18. mpk says:

    That was not very impressive. Instead it looks awfully derivative of the last couple of years worth of gaming trends.

    I know that Mass Effect has historically been greater than the sum of its parts, so I hope that the same can be said for ME:A but… they’re not doing much to raise my expectations.

  19. mercyRPG says:

    Why does an ME-illiterate write an ME article?

  20. Coming Second says:

    Use your Witcher s- I mean, your scanner to find the clues.

  21. mercyRPG says:

    Clear that all the amazing Mass Effect 1-2-3 animators left “Bioware” and the new hires completely botched the amazing animations quality of ME123 we are used to. Popping limbs and ugly lagging took the stage. The facial mimicry is completely wrong. Body pose changes lag and the proportions of the 3D body models are wrong & lame.

    Only the level designers deserve praise here: Outdoors look very much like Star Wars.

    Indoors are lame and contain almost no shaders, everything looks like bland plastic.

    Looks like the amazing particle effect artist from ME123 has left this new “Bioware” too. PFX is lame.

    Weapon models are bad and they have no amazing texturing & shaderwork like ME123 had.

    Combat is repulsive with all that lame content.

    Ah.. I see original veteran Bioware devs grinning during analyzing the missing expert graphics content for they are the ones – thanks to whom – ME123 was so great and looked so good.

    This Andromeda failure is abhorrent.

  22. dancindan2589 says:

    Wow. People are really shitting all over this, and a lot of the shitting appears to be ignorant shitting. I’m feeling a massive case of the nitpicks might have struck the comments section here. Personally, I can’t wait for this game. People are way too goddamned hard on BioWare; I mean, sure, there are legitimate complaints to be made, but so many of the complaints sound like they’re coming from the mouths of #sobored Edgelords that it’s hard to take much of the noise seriously.

    • Penguinho says:

      I’m just worried that the emotional conclusion of the game, the most important character and the most important plot revelations are going to be hidden behind DLC, as they were in Citadel, From Ashes and Leviathan respectively.

      • Sandepande says:

        Were they hidden? I suppose they could be. I didn’t see it that way, myself, but then I didn’t feel being ripped off when I bought them DLCs.

        Which I’ll do with Andromeda, as well. Unless it’s crap.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Just going to chime in that while I will totally nitpick some lacking facial animation here and there, I really like basically everything else. Combat looks great, taking cues from the (excellent) ME3 multiplayer, stunning environments, intriguing hints of story and gameplay… Sign me up!

  23. Raoul Duke says:

    So basically, this is Mass Effect: Al Qaeda/ISIS Sleeper Cell.

    I mean, in Daily Mail terms, these foreigners come to our galaxy in their rickety space boat looking for a new home, but then instead of assimilating they commit horrendous acts of violence against the locals and take our precious resources without giving anything back to the community.

    The only reasonable solution is to ban all immigration from the Milky Way. Andromeda is for the Andromadese, damn it.

  24. Benratha says:

    Just some strange stuff thrown in there. We have Witcher/ Batman vision at 2:10, the word ‘Combo’ at 3:20 (??), and then the (seemingly everpresent) crafting at 3:32. And the Andromeda Galaxy seems awfully well populated….