Squad goals: Mass Effect: Andromeda intros teammates

Got the squad on speed dial

Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s [official site] trailers and pre-game bumf have thus far made me feel a bit like when you’re trying to get in the mood for Christmas but you never quite get anything to feel magical. This latest cinematic trailer has been like when someone shoves a mug of mulled wine into your hands and the cinnamony, red winey scent gives you a glimpse of… something in the right ballpark, you know?

As Graham pointed out in the Treehouse chatroom it’s packed to the brim with trailer clichés and the like, plus I’m still a bit “Oh, I’d forgotten about you” whenever the camera pans over to protagonist Johnny Normalman. Bu I also think that the sheer videogame trailer-ness of it all is what’s making me perk up a bit with regard to Andromeda. We’re in familiar territory at this point, and it’s closer to a pair of slippers I might put on again to see if they’re still comfy.

This post is brought to you by the Lacklustre Analogy Society, by the way.

Anyway, as per the blurb:

“The new cinematic character trailer offers a glimpse at Pathfinder Ryder’s squadmates and allies in their search for humanity’s new home. The explorers find a little more than they bargained for, however, the dangerous Kett Archon demonstrates that the uncharted Andromeda galaxy is also full of new perils and threats.”

There was also a video about the Pathfinder team. Mostly I just like the look of the galactic map in this one because I’m a bit “meh” on the whole briefing aspect of the marketing campaign for this one.

The game itself will be arriving 21 March in North America and 23 March in Europe. Someone in the comments on a previous story was asking about other regions so I’ll link to the official blog entry for those in case you’re based elsewhere.

60 Comments

  1. CAMN says:

    I’m finding it really hard to get excited about ME:A, no idea why. Might have to do with the fact that I went through all the original games about a month ago and I’m a bit burned out on anything to do with ME at the moment…

    Then again, I wasn’t really excited about ME when the first one came out, and then I got my hands on it and was pleasantly surprised.

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      Everything I’ve seen about Andromeda has a strong feeling of “been there, done that”. I bet I could guess at the backstories of all of those companion characters from seeing nothing more than this 90 second trailer and come very close to what’s actually in the game.

      There’s no question that they are playing it safe with this, which makes sense when you’re handling a AAA budget. I’m sure the game will be just fine, like an old shoe, comfortable and does its job but there’s nothing unique or innovative about it. It’s just a shoe.

      • Bluestormzion says:

        See, for me it’s a “Been there, done that, then no matter what I do, everyone everywhere dies and I betray all my morals and then I die too or maybe become the very thing I tried to destroy, but also kinda die too?”

        Nope, after the ME3 ending debacle, my stance of “Eff EA, never EVER giving them another penny, and also bringing this up whenever even remotely applicable for the rest of my life” goes strong.

        • Underwhelmed says:

          You must be great fun at parties.

          • unstuck says:

            A PLAY IN ONE SCENE
            The setting: A decent enough party
            The actors: Me, innocent partygoers, a host, Bluestormzion

            ME: God, I hope they’ve invited Bluestormzion to this party.
            [BLUESTORMZION enters from right, taking in his surroundings]
            BLUESTORMZION: A fine night for a party and hello to you all! Hold a moment, what’s this? Is that a custom-built PC atop yon desk?
            HOST: Yes! I just built it last week!
            BLUESTORMZION: Eff EA! I am never EVER giving them another penny!

            [EXEUNT]

      • CAMN says:

        Yeah, I’m still going to play it, eventually, but I don’t expect it to blow my socks off or anything of the sort.

        Hopefully it will have great character development, like the previous ones. Maybe that will be it’s saving grace.

    • Legion1183 says:

      Then again, I wasn’t really excited about ME when the first one came out, and then I got my hands on it and was pleasantly surprised.

      I was the same, I had no proper knowledge or interest in ME but at the time of the original release I didn’t have much else to play so decided to give it a try. I found it difficult to get into at first but after a few hours I was sucked in for the entire trilogy.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Same with me. I’m expecting a ME-3-like game with some technical improvements and gimmicks attached not a surprise Action/RPG-hybrid hit like ME-1 felt. Nice game but nothing really outstanding again, like ME2/3 and with horrible DLC policy and pricing. I expect this to get hyped to heaven by the press regardless of being more of the same.
      Getting it as GOTY with all add-ons included will suffice for me, should have done the same with DA:I.
      Might get it early if the story turns out somewhat decent unlike say the “reaper genocide logic fallacy”.

  2. Darth Gangrel says:

    They went to a different galaxy, but they didn’t leave everything behind, least of all 2010-ish hairstyles like on that blonde lady.

    • Turkey says:

      Maybe all the tv-signals from 2010 just hit Andromeda in ME times and they also started listening to dubstep and watching Key and Peele.

  3. int says:

    0:51 in the first trailer: first female turian? Is she a crewmember?

    • Ghostwise says:

      Not sure what you mean, but at least two Turian ladies have screen time in ME games.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Only in the Omega DLC for ME3, surely?

        • Ghostwise says:

          Nyreen, Aria T’Loak’s paladin-like ex, appears in the Omega DLC yep.

          There’s also the ambassadorial staff lady Garrus tries to hit on in a bar, resulting in a monumental faceplant (though of course a non-arsehole Shepard can put that back on tracks). I can’t quite remember whether that was in Citadel or the base game.

  4. Pich says:

    Nice to see that they brought a hairdresser to the new galaxy.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      “Yes, so anyway,” he resumed, “the idea was that into the first ship, the ‘A’ ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or ‘C’ ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B’ ship – that’s us – would go everyone else, the middlemen you see.”

      He smiled happily at them.

      “And we were sent off first,” he concluded, and hummed a little bathing tune.

  5. Ghostwise says:

    ME are my most favouritest games ever, and I inexplicably feel unassailably meh about it.

    It’s really odd. Like there’s a large part of me brain that feels that Bioware lacks the legitimacy to touch Mass Effect now. And it’s not even the ending thing, the patched version was adequate.

    So, yeah.

    • Penguinho says:

      I feel moderately the same, and for me it’s because of the Citadel DLC.

      Basically, I think the actual ending of the Mass Effect trilogy is the party in your apartment at the end of that DLC. What actually happens with the Reapers, what you choose to do at the end of the game, is a minor secondary concern compared to the payoff from having your team gathered in the kitchen cooking eggs. That moment was pretty priceless, and I’m willing to let that be the end of Mass Effect for me; it’s all downhill from there. (Also I have residual bad feelings from the real intro to ME3, which is the ME2 Arrival DLC, the most important story encounter, the most important companion and the actual ending all being DLC.)

    • Von Uber says:

      Me too. It’s decidedly odd.

    • ooshp says:

      I’m hoping it’s just the marketing all being rubbish. I’m pretty sure it’s an automated process these days, as was pointed out in the article it’s just a tangled mess of cliches.

      Kind of the same feeling as Dishonored 2 trailers that made it look like a silly god mode combat game – I was fairly sure it was going to be a good game, but the trailers certainly didn’t increase my confidence. Well, except for Stephen Russell’s voice, obviously.

      • Ghostwise says:

        I’m hoping it’s just the marketing all being rubbish.

        Ditto. My big hope is that the game is being tightly promoted at “the core demos” (a set in which I definitely don’t belong), but then the full, actual game will turn out to be a proper inheritor of the previous trilogy.

        Fingers crossed, buttocks clenched, rabbit’s foot and all that.

        • monstermagnet says:

          Yeah, at times like this I remember how awful the marketing for DA:O was and hope for the best. They used a Marilyn Manson song in one of those adverts.

  6. zontax says:

    There is something off about the character models or something. I feel like bioware is regressing on the modeling and animation department. In one of the previous gameplay trailers there is a moment where the female ‘ryder’ sybling (that name ugh) disarms an enemy by grabbing his gun (1:43). It looks really bad, and that is the part they purposefully showed off as the first gameplay reveal, which makes me really woried.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Eh. It’s work in progress. They’ve said specifically that was something they were still working on. I’m not worried, and I’m pretty particular about that stuff. Seems like partly an Uncanny Valley thing, some stuff is more detailed while other things are not quite there. ME1-3 had pretty effective expressive animation, but it was not perfect…

    • Zenicetus says:

      First thing I was going to post. Especially the faces. Did Bioware’s facial animation artists all resign recently and get replaced with newbies or something? Those faces look badly off kilter. Not just uncanny valley; it looks like they were going for distinctive appearance and just got weirdness instead.

      Together with some of the body animations, it looks like a student project, not a AAA game.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        @Zenicetus: Come on, that’s not even close to fair, or accurate. New/tech + work in progress = not perfect. It’s more different than better or worse, I think, a bit too rubbery in places, bit stiff in others. Yes, that bit in the previous trailer was definitively not good, but this one is much better already. The lip sync is still not 100% but I like the expressions.

        The animation in the original Mass Effects did the job – it sold the thought and emotion – at least on the major characters (some were not so successful, in fact most humans in ME1 as I recall)… but if you look at it closely it was really not all that detailed, they just knew where to put their energy. (which is eyes and key expressions)

        Look I don’t want to ruin your memories or anything, but this is not better: link to youtu.be

        (not that a game from ten years ago should be the point of comparison, but just saying)

        • Zenicetus says:

          Isn’t it precisely the point, that we should be seeing progress from a game made 10 years ago? I don’t think they get a pass for work-in-progress either, at this point. The game releases in just two months. That’s a bit late to be refining your basic animation tech.

          I thought that when Witcher 3 came out, it would inspire other studios with its facial animations. Instead, many recent releases have been disappointing, like the wooden faces and bad lip sync in DX Mankind Divided. I think Rise of the Tomb Raider was the only recent game I’ve played with decent facial animation, and it’s not a game that will depend as heavily on dialog as this new Bioware game.

          We’re going to be seeing a LOT of these faces, so I think it’s worth commenting when they look like something I might not want to be spending that much time with. If we’re complacent and uncritical about this as consumers, then the studios will keep feeding us lackluster designs instead of building on what games like Witcher 3 have accomplished.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            What I’m saying is this is progress. I’m seeing a lot more detail in these faces, not just in the models but in the movement. There are some instances where it feels off, certainly in that previous trailer but they specifically mentioned that bit later as being unfinished. This trailer looks a lot better.

            They’re not going to be changing their tech at this point but they’ll definitely be polishing animation till the end (until content lock anyway). Though you’re right the release is pretty close so maybe they’re not changing much at this point.

            I don’t know how similar or dissimilar to Witcher 3 their tools are but I agree that is a game that more studios should be emulating (link to gameanim.com).

  7. Laurentius says:

    I don’t know I’m a fun of Mass Effect games especially first one but Andromeda really dosn’t excite me one bit. Now these trailers are pretty dreadful, I don’t get space opera feeling I have of ME1, it’s just looks like J.J Abrams spin on it, lens flare and glistening, characters being so cool and hip, no I can’t stand it, I hate it in fact. Trailers for DA:Inquistion were not good but these are bad.

    Also characters models and faces looks really odd, uncanny valley odd nad quality seems not be there for some reason.

    • Pich says:

      Bioware improved the graphics of their games without upgrading their animation ability. Everytime my Inquisitor in DAI tries to display an emotion i feel shivers down my spine.

  8. Scelous says:

    It’s weird how across every forum, on every gaming website, whenever Bioware is mentioned, people bitch about how disappointed they are. And the thing is, it feels like it’s been that way since after Baldur’s Gate 2. I mean, people were bitching about Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2 (one of my most favorite games ever), and the Dragon Age series (including the first Dragon Age). And I’ll be the first to admit Bioware has had its failings, but they’ve also done some good things. But people will focus on and complain about anything and everything – the romances, the setting, the animation, the difficulty, the graphics. It feels like Bioware faces ten times the amount of scrutiny that other game companies do, almost like people are excited about Bioware tripping up and failing at something.

    It just feels very unfair and unappreciative to me when Bioware receives constant flak for anything and everything, and every other company I can think of receives less scrutiny and nitpicking. Honestly, if I worked at Bioware, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown by now.

    • Penguinho says:

      I don’t know that I’d agree. Bioware gets a lot of scrutiny, but does it get more than Obsidian? Or what about Valve, where Dota 2 and CSGO are reliably the #1 and #2 games on Steam but half the chatter is always about bugs and framerate drops and anti-cheat issues and region locking/lack of region locking? At Blizzard, the one constant through the lifespan of Starcraft 2 has been a steady stream of balance whining, starting in early beta when Terrans had a huge advantage over Zergs and continuing all the way through Legacy of the Void where Terrans have a huge advantage over Protoss. I think that level of scrutiny is a fact of life at any studio that has a group of dedicated fans and an expectation for a certain level of high quality. I know Paradox feels it and I know Sports Interactive feels it.

      • Scelous says:

        I’d say yes, Bioware does get more scrutiny. One way you can compare is if you go to an article for any game you’ve mentioned. Look at the comments. Oh, there’ll be complaints (this is the internet), but there will also be some people posting praise or more balanced opinions. Maybe people posting, “I like those changes” or “I didn’t think it was that bad.”

        Do a search of articles using the Bioware tag and look at the comments. Personally, I noticed a difference. Whether it’s Bioware’s pricing structure or melee weapons or whatever, just non-stop bitching. About everything. About how universally unimpressed and underwhelmed the commentor is with everything Bioware. And again, I’m no rabid fan of Bioware – the ending of ME3 killed the series for me. But for me, personally, the non-stop bitching about Bioware I see everywhere is just exhausting.

        I remember all the bitching about Dragon Age 2, how linear and small the areas were. Then, I remember upon Dragon Age Inquisition’s release, seeing all the complaints and bitching about how open DAI was, how much space they had to traverse. I was just like, “Holy shit, it doesn’t matter what Bioware does.”

        • Penguinho says:

          Yeah, but likewise go to the Global Offensive subreddit, or the Dota 2 subreddit. It’s a wall of flame directed at Valve with the occasional SICK NUTTY INSANE SHROUD SPRAY or Day9 doing something silly. These are the two most-played games on Steam by a street.

          Over at the Hearthstone subreddit, the sixth- and seventh-most upvoted threads are “This Game Deserves a Better Design Team” and a response to that (the other five are three comedy posts, one charity case and one inter-scene drama involving the biggest streamer).

          As to looking at articles, I can’t really say. The RPS crowd doesn’t necessarily overlap that much with the Global Offensive playerbase that much.

    • thetruegentleman says:

      I’ll second this, because it’s really quite frustrating to hear fans talking down every new Bioware game while conveniently forgetting the flaws of the older games. It’s like people expect Bioware to produce masterpiece after masterpiece, but can’t agree on what a masterpiece actually is.

      In Mass Effect’s case, the harshest thing I can really say is that the game didn’t earn something as pretentious as a literal star child at the end; compared to the hundred or so hours of fun I had with the trilogy as a whole though, that’s pretty damn minor complaint.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah it does seem to be a pattern. I think most of them are still indirectly whining about the ending of ME3. Whatever. For my part, I’m really looking forward to this game.

    • Zenicetus says:

      When a game has a YUUGE development budget behind it like this, it’s a fair critique to ask if they’re using that money in a creative way, or just coasting on their laurels to make a buck.

      I’m not seeing any real creativity in that trailer, but I’ll wait for the reviews and probably buy it anyway at some point, because I’m a fool for space-themed games. It’s just a question of whether I’ll buy it early, or later on sale.

  9. baseless_drivel says:

    “Captured in-engine. Representative of game experience.”

    Now there’s something you don’t see often. Nice to see a game studio actually put some confidence and integrity behind their promo material, especially after the distasteful debacle that was No Man’s Sky.

    On another note, I feel like Bioware’s PR team is keeping the hype levels manageable, rather than go the route many other game studios do with over-hyping, over-selling, and the inevitable disappointment that comes with realizing a game isn’t a digital orgasm.

    Especially considering how rabid Bioware’s fanbase (and gamers in general) can be, maybe that’s a good thing.

    The fact that Andromeda is nothing new and is more of an extra helping probably also plays a factor.

    Maybe it’s because I don’t follow official Bioware channels, but for the most part it seems fairly mundane: Let people know a product is coming, and showcase it (seemingly) honestly.

  10. mpk says:

    I find that I keep prefacing every comment I make about this game with “as much as I love Mass Effect”. I think it’s a reflection of the how bland and safe the game looks.

    So, as much as I love Mass Effect, I’m definitely waiting for the reviews for this one.

    • Czrly says:

      I loved ME1 and found ME2 to be “alright… kind of fun” and, in anticipation of Andromeda, I recently started playing ME3 and 3 is just killing my enjoyment. (And, no, I am not commenting on the ending because I am nowhere near it.)

      It just feels like a bland cover-shooter with an “open-world-ish” level-select malarchy. The worlds have ZERO character, now – not like 1 and even 2. The NPCs are tired and the lore is pretty predictable. But, ultimately, they seem to have turned Mass Effect into the most boring of cover-shooter games and I hate those. For some reason, 1 and 2 didn’t give me this feeling.

  11. rgronow says:

    Don’t know why everyone is moaning – it’s a new ME game for goodness sake! It’s going to be at worst good, at best awesome! Keep your expectations low and I’m sure we’ll all love it!

    I for one am excited about it!

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      Don Reba says:

      They are all good enough. It’s just that the last two games should have been branded a spin-off, like Andromeda, instead of claiming to continue the first and then failing at it completely.

  12. kud13 says:

    I really need to play the original one of these days, to see what all the fuss is about.

    Then again, I have a history of bouncing off Bioware’s games on first try…

    • Von Uber says:

      Nah, by chance they struck gold here.

    • Legion1183 says:

      I almost bounced off the original ME on first try but stuck with it and am so glad I did. While the game play was good I think what really drew me in was the character development; I really felt like I got to know the characters well and was on an epic journey with them all.

      ME1 was a really good game, ME2 is one of my all time favourites and ME3 was, unfortunately, just an alright game. I will however be replaying ME3 as I completed my first playthrough before the new endings patch was released and I’ve also got to then play the Citadel DLC which ties it all together apparently so that may change my opinion on ME3.

      • brucethemoose says:

        ME3 has the best gameplay by far, once you get the hang of it. Just try a gold or platinum MP game, and you’ll see how everything comes together when the difficulty ramps up.

      • Penguinho says:

        For what it’s worth, ME3 singleplayer to me is at its most fun on the highest difficulty with a Sentinel. Powers scale with enemy HP; bullet damage doesn’t. And I think it’s also a fairly accepted opinion that FemShep > DudeShep.

        • Ghostwise says:

          And I think it’s also a fairly accepted opinion that FemShep > DudeShep.

          More than 80% of players played broshep. I also happened to find Ms. Hale’s performance more charismatic and engaged, but with this number there’s little doubt that we’re a small, if highly vocal and enthusiastic, portion of the user base.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          I always played as a Soldier + biotic barrier as optional ability, but yeah definitely play on the higher difficulties. Much more interesting, forces you to think tactically and actively direct your squad.

          • Ghostwise says:

            Aye. I am *terrible* at shooters and play on Insanity difficulties. The game is endlessly pausable so it’s more a matter of tactics and understanding the encounters.

    • ainokmw says:

      The original ME is one of my absolute favorite games of all time. That being said, I would recommend trying it out sooner rather than later because it’s been a decade now and the gameplay from the original isn’t aging as gracefully as some games.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      I initially bounced off ME1 similar to Legion1183 – it has a bit of slow start and seems a bit cold and sterile at first glance – but I was convinced to give it another chance and it ended up growing on me, finished it thinking “ok this is interesting” and then completely hooked me when I got to ME2… now it’s one of my all time favourite series.

      Possible tip: Consider playing as Femshep. I found I preferred Hale’s take on the role and the idea of a badass female space marine seemed more immediately appealing than playing another space-dude.

  13. satan says:

    Still waiting for the third game to be available on Steam :(

    • welverin says:

      Good thing there are plenty of other things to do before you die.

  14. ainokmw says:

    As much as I love Mass Effect…

    Everything I’ve seen from ME:A looks incredibly stale. It all feels like it’s been designed by corporate committees rather than writers with vision.

    Basically ME:A looks like the video game equivalent of Poochie.

    • deiseach says:

      Yep. I’m afraid The Witcher III has set a bar past which Mass Effect: Andromeda can’t jump. Barring some truly atrocious reviews, I’ll get it for old times sake a few weeks after release. But I predict that I’ll spend more time in 2017 with Geralt and some increasingly isolated question marks than with Ryder, a name that is likely to remind me of the work of Lucifer that is the offspring pacification device called Paw Patrol every time I play ME:A. That is not A Good Thing.

  15. afklately says:

    There is something so hokey and cheesily nyuk-nyukish about how the protagonist sounds when he says “I don’t need an army, I’ve got a Krogan.” Like the audio equivalent of some eye rolling slapstick bit from a early TV Era on a variety show that ends in with “ba-dum-tsh” literally being played on a drum by an old guy who winks afterward. I dunno, but I don’t think this game is going to move me emotionally.

  16. afklately says:

    And another thing: Ryder and his expertly sculpted 5-o’clock shadow looks like that feckless twerp from corporate HQ whose got a body like a handful of assembled matchsticks, and who sits around all day sending emails to people on the front line of making company work happen, saying you are behind on this thing or that thing, but really what’s happening is no one cares enough about compliance boy to help him update his spreadsheet, and he doesn’t have an effing clue about what’s what about anything.