Mass Effect Andromeda vid takes you inside the Tempest

Mass Effect Andromeda's Tempest

Did you see the video introducing Mass Effect Andromeda‘s [official site] Tempest? It’s the upcoming game’s version of the Normandy spaceship, plus you get a look at the Nomad which is the rover for pootling round on planets. I’ve been watching it and I wanted to a) share the basic video because I thought you might be interested and b) share an irritation about the marketing conceit they went with for said video.

So the thing I can’t quite shake off when watching is that they’ve tried to style this whole campaign like they’re teaching things and showing things to new Andromeda Initiative recruits who are joining the task force. The Twitter account refers to its followers as “recruit”, and the game’s official site is styled as a job advert where the game info teasers are styled as briefings.

I mean, fine. But then you watch this briefing and it’s so weirdly aware of the fact it’s a commercial game. You get an account of the quarters aboard the Tempest and it says “The pathfinder’s cabin is also located nearby but is off limits to the general crew… unless invited… of course.” I mean, I’ve never had a work video briefing where they tell me about the staff quarters and they add “Yes, this is the place where you can bang your crew if you want to bother with romance options.” It’s an HR disaster lawsuit waiting to happen, actively encouraging staff relationships in a training video. You want to stick with some good, old-fashioned ladder safety advice and COSHH training, mate. Safe AND useful. OR at least put the space HR department’s phone number in there, you know?

And then it goes on to reference paint jobs which… I mean I guess you could say they’re talking about camouflage or whatnot and that maybe army people get off on paint jobs as much as players but, again, it feels like they’re just not that invested in their own fiction.

I mean, this probably won’t matter to most people, but do you have any idea how many marketing campaigns I’ve watched over the years because of entertainment writing? You start to really notice stuff like this.

OTHER THINGS WHICH CAUGHT MY EYE:

1. The biolab has some plantlife I’m interested in looking at a bit closer. I assume it’s not interactable – it seems more about set decoration – but I still like seeing what people include in the way of greenery aboard space stations. There are also some decorative plants elsewhere in the ship which I will be screenshotting and discussing with Alice.

2. The Pathfinder’s cabin has enough room that you could not only do yoga and zumba unimpeded but you could probably host a big line-dancing party in there.

3. Also why does the Pathfinder need so many seating options? It’s like one of those fancy hotel rooms which is like “I know you’re only here for five minutes and I know it’s only you staying but here’s a queen-sized bed, a three-seater sofa and a reclining chair”. Maybe it’s so that the Pathfinder can practice pathfinding by going over and around all the furniture and walking for a hundred meters just to get from the bed to the desk.

4. I want to drive the shit out of the Nomad if the real actual gameplay is anything like that (there is no real actual gameplay in this trailer because of the aforementioned Andromeda Initiative recruitment idea).

5. IS THERE A NEW VERSION OF THE MINING MINIGAME?

6. For factual info, the Tempest is (currently) built for speed and stealth, so designed to outrun stuff and hide rather than blast it in the face until it dies. It’s also piloted by a Salarian.

From this site

41 Comments

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    I got Star Control 2 vibes from that Vehicle gameplay. Please be half as good!

  2. Premium User Badge

    Der Zeitgeist says:

    Well, first we had the gamification of real life things like sports, now we have the jobification of gaming, I guess it’s just logical to style the marketing like a sort of application process.

    Most people these days (especially younger people) tend to approach gaming like a kind of work, where they “invest” time and money to experience as much “content”as possible in the most efficient way.

  3. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I’m a little bit sad that the Tempest lands and the Nomad drives out. I rather like the Normandy doing a casual fly-by and unceremoniously dropping the Mako from ridiculously high up.

    • Von Uber says:

      Actual plot point in ME1 too, on Ilos.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I’m just glad the buggy is back at all. It was a little tough to drive in the first game, but canning it entirely was throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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        Don Reba says:

        I bet they did it just to get the “probing Uranus” joke in there.

      • Azhrarn says:

        To be fair, you got the Hammerhead in Mass Effect 2’s DLC.
        It was no Mako, I’ll give you that. But it was a fun little hovertank to fly around. It was mostly a shame that it was restricted to only a handful of worlds for missions.

  4. montorsi says:

    I actually managed to invite people to my cabin to get drunk, talk and play games. Utterly indifferent to the romance stuff myself but nice to know what your expectations are, I guess.

    • KillahMate says:

      The romance stuff is what any halfway experienced player of Bioware games would be expecting to be there, whether or not they care about it.

  5. DrollRemark says:

    I noticed the paintjob thing too. You’re trying to pretend that this is all a very strict military personnel job (that advertises for positions, natch), and yet you offer customisable paint jobs? Erm, ok.

    • JarinArenos says:

      It was badly framed, but I noted several of the images looked like “tactical camo for different environments” rather than just shiny paintjobs. They could have kept that one more immersive easily.

  6. Von Uber says:

    Not liking the focus on resources, mining, scanning etc. Seems like an awful lot of busywork.

    Also with no main gun how is Not!Garrus supposed to do any calibrating?

    • TormDK says:

      Doubtful you will enjoy where they take the series then.

      I very much appreciate that there will be crafting, wouldn’t be an RPG in my mind without it.

      • Von Uber says:

        They managed 3 games without it just fine. It’s pointless busy work used to create filler.

        • ooshp says:

          No resource gathering in the first 3 games eh? I can only assume your ME2 ending was a true suicide mission then.

          • Von Uber says:

            True, but it was fairly limited and a lot of resources you could just find without it actively being a big part of the game. ME2 planet scanning was the worst, but even that was fairly limited and quick.
            This looks like a really big focus of the game.

    • thedosbox says:

      Presumably Not!Garrus likes a more “hands on” approach to adjusting your “personal” weapons.

  7. Rizlar says:

    Is the pilot really called ‘Callow Jeff’?

  8. Cross says:

    Simple way of sidestepping one of the biggest plotholes in Me3: Why don’t we just nuke it from orbit? In this case: We’ve no guns, dollard.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Even if it had guns, it probably wouldn’t have nukes, or nuke-equivalent weaponry. It’s amazing how many sci-fi games manage to sidestep that mid 20th Century tech.

      There would be no reason to dogfight in Elite:D if you had a few standoff nuke missiles, but then you miss the fun of dogfighting. It’s still funny to think about how many plot problems would be solved with a few nukes. In most cases, the game doesn’t even bother explaining why you don’t have weapons like this available, like a Galactic Federation ban or something.

      • Cross says:

        They may not have nukes, but they do significantly better. It’s mentioned a lot of places in Mass Effect lore, that the Mass Accelerators used as main guns on most ships, are well capable of producing payloads in excess of a nuclear bomb.

        • Nauallis says:

          Only if you actually hit another object. Kinetic energy by itself isn’t dangerous. Zenicetus brings up a good point about using nukes as standoff or concealment weapons. And if the ME universe has the same proscription of nukes that most “ordered society” sci-fi universes do, then they could instead use element zero bombs or implosion bombs or something as anti-fighter/corvette weaponry. Maybe there’s an actual answer in the lore.

          It is weird that they don’t go in for KEW bombardment of targets though, since it’s basically impossible to track small objects moving at even a fraction of c, at least with contemporary tech like radar.

        • aepervius says:

          In fact in me2 there is a gunner a the citadel telling recruit that the titanium slug they are looking at is shot at a percentage of light speed every 30 seond and hit like 10 kt tnt , or something alike.

          • brucethemoose says:

            Typical nuclear weapons are 2 orders of magnitude more potent than that. And that’s with 60s/70s tech and mass production engineering.

        • brucethemoose says:

          The problem is the visuals don’t match up with a lore. A small projectile with the kinetic energy of a small nuke would do ALOT more fly through a (unshielded) ship or even cut it in half… Just look up videos of high altitude nuclear tests, or read this:

          link to what-if.xkcd.com

          But it doesn’t bother me… The fiction always breaks down at some point, and I’m perfectly content with where it breaks down in ME.

  9. LastBestHopeOfHamsterkind says:

    For me the pathfinder cabin part had a really creepy vibe, ‘This are the luxurious lodgings of our glorious leader, so you’re not allowed here, unless they need some… entertainment, wink, wink.’. If I was a prospective employee, is would run away fast upon seeing it.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      yeah, it felt to me like “It’s common knowledge that the boss abuses his position to sleep with the crew and these days that’s just a thing. If the boss invites you in, you say yes.”

  10. Zenicetus says:

    So once AGAIN, we’re presented with a nifty spaceship that apparently the player will never be able to directly pilot. We can drive the buggy, but not the ship. Bah!

    Yeah, I know the Captain doesn’t necessarily steer the ship, but it still seems like a hugely wasted opportunity. All the actual flying will be cut scenes, like the last series. Bah!

    The interior design of the ship looks like they took the art assets from the last series’ Normandy, and just stretched it out so it now looks like a deluxe hotel. Not impressed. I like my spaceships scruffy and cramped; more Nostromo than Trump hotel. But I know I’ll get this game anyway unless the reviews are terrible.

    • JarinArenos says:

      They actually had several prototypes for personally flying the ship, but it got cut to focus on other priorities. Way too much development time for not enough compelling gameplay.

  11. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I’d be glad if the series returned to the sense of wonder in the first entry. The “Babylon 5”-feeling of discovering interesting species, their politics, trade and war.
    Sequels felt like Michael Bay-Productions and were completely streamlined aside from a few cool levels

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    Don Reba says:

    So, what is the Rock Paper Shotgun work video briefing like? I suppose it is highly practical, like with ladder safety advice.

  13. Nauallis says:

    ‘Tempest’ is a horridly ominous name for a starship without any armament, especially for a scout ship, boldly going, etc *barfs*.

    I’m still sure that I’ll play it though, because Mass Effect.

  14. JarinArenos says:

    Okay, fine. I’ll actually pay attention to this game and consider buying it after full reviews are out. Still not buying any promises (or god forbid, pre-ordering), after the ME3 debacle.

    • brucethemoose says:

      They key to ME3 (like many games) was not playing it when it came out. It was fine after the free and paid DLC.

  15. mercyRPG says:

    They didn’t bother with textures. Wretched and ugly PBR is the thing now sheePle, suck it down! You LQ videogame-fastfood gobblers deserve it! Very noticeable that the old, veteran Über-Talented graphics team is left.
    Voice is insufferable, like of a gay bigot. Crappy Nautilus this gay Main-ME4-Shippy looks like a two person yacht for Rich Have’s. Particle effects are ridiculously rookie level.

    MASS EFFECT 1 2 3 was waay more beautiful than this ugly heap of bullcrap.

    I say fire the ME4 team and hire the old bunch, under the old leadership or one they accept and that I would dare to call a Real Game Developer Team. Not these genderless nameless chicken-cackling idiots.

  16. mpk says:

    Oh god no please no more mining minigames

  17. Stone_Crow says:

    “Not actual Gameplay”

  18. KastaRules says:

    Mining. Ugh.

  19. Booker says:

    Mining makes a lot more sense then the Inquisitor picking every single flower necessary for crafting by hand…