Five hours with Mass Effect Andromeda

It’s been five years since BioWare released the final part to their Mass Effect trilogy. Five years of very little information dispersed between huge fan anticipation and speculation. The ending to the trilogy meant a sequel was unlikely, and a prequel was rumoured for a while, but instead Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] has shaken off the shackles of the trilogy’s narrative by setting itself 634 years in the future and in the new galaxy of Andromeda.

After five hours of playing both the first mission and the fourth mission (which takes place roughly 3 hours into the game) of a preview build of Andromeda I’m able to share my experience.

Sometime between the second and third Mass Effect games a group of “powerful people” put forward the Andromeda Project. The Andromeda galaxy was identified as having the most habitable planets for the four races involved with the project (humans, turians, asari and salarians), and four arcs were sent out, each with 20,000 individuals onboard and kept in stasis. As you might expect not everything goes to plan upon arrival as you’re faced with a strange dark energy known as “The Scourge” as well alien politics, power plays, wars and mutinies.

From what I played there was a couple of references for fans of the original trilogy (I won’t mention them directly as they’re best discovered on their own) but because of the isolation of the setting, there were no direct narrative links. However, when creating your character it does ask you to select the gender of the “legendary Commander Shepard” (the protagonist from the original trilogy). It is likely then that Shepard will be referenced, but probably not a huge amount as there is no way of inputting decisions made in the previous games.

Andromeda is all about exploration. You play as the Pathfinder, whose job it is to find a new place for humanity. Your ship, the Tempest, is therefore not equipped with weapons, as you’re charged with gathering information and pushing the boundaries of knowledge. The environments you visit on your journey can be vast. One planet can have a map larger than the entirety of the Dragon Age: Inquisition map, which immediately rang alarm bells for me as my patience for huge, open but ultimately empty worlds is wearing thin. However, we were told that this Andromeda is definitely not a sandbox game. That because you have the Nomad (the vehicle you use to explore planets) and will usually have a specific goal, mindless travelling is never necessary.

I spoke to Fabrice Condominas, a producer at BioWare, he talked about the difficulties of dealing with huge environments and retaining player interest. “We tried a lot of things and failed in a lot of different ways in development! So at the end the decision we made for this game was to say, we have those huge spaces but we’re not going to randomly generate anything. Everything we’re going to make will be memorable, hand-crafted and placed, and have a narrative impact even if it’s a very small thing. Can you drive 50 minutes without encountering anything? We’re trying to avoid that, but because of the nature of what we’re doing, I can’t promise it won’t happen. That being said, if it does happen as a player you will know it, because it means as a player you’re going to a part where we don’t promise you anything. Our hope is that you never have to hit an invisible wall because you keep finding something interesting.”

As well as geographical exploration there is a lot of focus being put on cultural and linguistic exploration. Condominas was keen to reinforce the point that this cultural side was “part of every aspect of development.” The environments are apparently designed with the cultural and biological needs of their inhabitants in mind. “For example the shape of a room and the material used will change depending on how we talk and communicate,” he continued. “So you have to take that into account. Do they have voices? If they have voices how do they work? I could go on for hours!”

These ideas of anthropology and cultural examination are hugely important to the developers. When I enquired as to why the players will be experiencing the universe through the eyes of a human again he gave an interesting and well considered response. “Very simple. First, one of the main themes of the Mass Effect franchise is the place of humanity. And that has always been central. The second part is, is that there is one thing we’re totally sure of, our players are humans. Which means if we put them in the type of game we’re building, based on emotional bonding and relationships, if we ask them to make a decision for another race, we’re building anthropomorphism, and we’re not interested in that. We don’t want anybody to pretend that they know what a krogan thinks. That’s based on anthropology, we don’t know that the other people think.”

Now that all sounds fascinating on paper. BioWare seem keen to show that in Andromeda we are very much the weaker newcomers trying to find a place in an existing order. During the preview they made it clear that this was not meant to be a metaphor for colonisation (although it is inevitable, and possibly rightly so, that comparisons will be drawn). They stress that this is a galaxy that evolved separate to our own so not only are we the new arrivals, we are entirely alien to them, as they are to us. The two new races shown to us in the preview and in trailers are the kett and the angara. Both are bipedal and fairly humanoid in the grand scheme of things. This is where some of my initial worries lie. We’ve only seen these two races so it is still possible that BioWare have a few more slightly unexpected intelligent lifeforms up their sleeves. However, it would be disappointing if this new galaxy is populated by aliens with two arms, two legs and two eyes. The jellyfish-like hanar and slow four-legged elcor from the trilogy prove that an alien does not need to be humanoid for players to form a connection.

We’ve learnt a little bit about the kett and angara. I will be keeping this vague – don’t want to spoil the initial knowledge building for players. The kett are destructive, angry and not particularly friendly – expect to be shooting at them a lot. The angara seem to have a little bit more to them, living in large close-knit familial groups with spirituality being passed on by parents to their offspring.

Despite having some concerns as to the variety of races what I did see was all very well realised. It is apparent that a lot of time, effort and research has gone into making a credible world. Condominas stressed this, “The key point is that with Mass Effect as a franchise, we’ve never wanted to be realistic, but we have always wanted to be credible, and this is a very important notion and to achieve that it does absolutely require real scientific input. For example we were at the European Space Agency 2 years ago, and so there’s a scene where Ryder [Andromeda’s protagonist] breaks their helmet and repairs it with the omni-tool and when I showed that scene someone in the room said ‘Oh I’m working on that!’ and it took me several seconds to realise he wasn’t joking.”

Of course BioWare are aware of the main reason their games are so popular: the characters. Despite having relatively little time with them in the preview, I am interested and want to spend more time with the cast of Andromeda. Not only do your party members (those who join you on missions and can handle a weapon) feel well written and fleshed out, the rest of your crew have received the same attention. While your non-combat crew mates (the pilots, scientists, engineers and doctors) were very much secondary characters in previous games this time it feels like just as much attention has been lavished upon them by BioWare’s writers. Your crew interact with each other over the intercom, and have a real sense of presence in the world rather than being a thing that appears only when you’re nearby.

Dialogue options are not displayed by what you will say but by the tone. It feels natural to use and eliminates those moments of “oh no, I didn’t know they would say it like that” after choosing an unexpected dialogue choices like in the older games. Your options now include emotional, logical, casual and professional. As well as the dialogue being a smoother experience, the relationships between the characters and Ryder are a lot more nuanced. The simplistic moral gauge of paragon and renegade used in the previous games has been thrown away. It seems that this time it’s just the case that not everyone on your team will like everything you do. It’s going to be impossible or incredibly difficult to make everyone respect you, because no matter how charismatic you are, your decisions will inevitably alienate some people.

Condominas spoke about how romance and relationships in Andromeda will involve more variety and shades of grey. “We know what type of character and personalities we want and we want you to interact with and we want you to have the choice to become, and we build from there. Whatever the nature of the relationship it has to be a natural conclusion of what the character is.” There is a whole section of the menu dedicated to your crew and detailing your relationship with each one, allowing you to keep track of where you stand. To demand a section of the menu means that relationships are a huge focus in Andromeda.

While the characters and story have been kept relatively secret by BioWare, they have shown a lot of combat in the gameplay trailers. The combat is based off the system in Mass Effect 3, with a few little tweaks to keep things slicker and more malleable. You aren’t stuck to a class this time around, instead you can choose to develop whatever skills you fancy and map them to be used in combat. You can save your favourite combinations of skills and abilities so you can switch between different set ups mid-battle. One addition that actually makes a big difference is the ability to jump and hover using a jetpack. This adds a different dimension to firefights as you can spring upwards out of cover, throw some grenades and quickly pop back down again. You cannot control your two teammates as you can in the Dragon Age series, but you can tell them where to go using the D-pad much like the original trilogy. I enjoyed my time with the combat, much as I did in Mass Effect 3, and the added extras mean there looks to be more flexibility than before.

The environments look gorgeous but the preview build suffered from something that haunts many BioWare games: the character models and animations were awkward and could often be jarring. After a few natural and engaging conversations with my crew they would spin around a bit and then quickly sprint a few steps in order to get back into their previous position. With the huge amount of dialogue and variables, some of this is to be expected but excellent writing and characterisation was let down by the awkward faces and movements.

I went into the Andromeda preview feeling trepidatious. I came out excited and anxious to play more. Most important is that it feels like Mass Effect, and it looks like it’s building on the best aspects of the previous games. Speaking with Condominas, it’s clear this is their aim. “The trilogy had a narrative constraint, but when we start from scratch, when we don’t have that story anymore, our first reflex was to say ‘what are the best elements of all three games that we can bring and put together’. So obviously the exploration, the Nomad, all those notions are from Mass Effect 1; the loyalty missions from Mass Effect 2 and the character bonding; and the more action based gameplay of Mass Effect 3. We tried to bring all that together. But they were three different games, suddenly having to balance that into a single game… It takes five years.”

Mass Effect Andromeda is due for release on March 21st 2017.

From this site

112 Comments

  1. Treners says:

    Hmm. Sounds good. I didn’t play ME3 though (I was very late to the ME party), but it sounds like that shouldn’t affect my experience of this from what’s been said here?

    • welverin says:

      Nope, there is no real narrative connection between this and the previous games.

      It’s building on the gameplay of the previous games and is set in the same universe, that should be about it though.

      • Treners says:

        Neat. Looks like one for me to pick up on the PlayBoxStation since my doddering old PC would explode at the sight of it.

    • rommel102 says:

      Honestly, you should play Mass Effect 3. Despite the controversy over the ending, it is a fantastic game, and a worthy conclusion to the first trilogy.

      • Treners says:

        Oh yeah, I’ve nothing against it, I just didn’t rush out to get it when it came out and haven’t really thought about it since. I’ll get it in the inevitable Mass Effect franchise sale when this one comes out.

      • aepervius says:

        It depends if you favor drama over immersion. As a few weeks ago it was pointed out in a serie of 20+ article, ME1 was immersion (detail oriented) first, whereas ME2 and ME3 are drama first. That does not make it bad, but if you expect one ,having played ME1, and get served the second, then you get disappointed. It is worth mentioning, because I think a lot of people like me were disappointed and thus found ME2 and ME3 to be overrated compared to ME1.

        • noodlecake says:

          I definitely preferred 2 and 3 to 1. I was more immersed in them because they were dramatic. Plus the combat gameplay felt much more responsive in 2 and even more so in 3.

          I did really enjoy 1 though. It felt much more like it was a spiritual sequel to KOTOR, and then they moved further away with the sequels.

  2. icarussc says:

    I wonder if their approach to relationships will be as unrepresentative of humanity as DA:I was. Chaste romantic relationships? Uh, that’d be weird. Marriage? We might allude to that at some point. For one of the relationships. In the DLC. Children and families? Haha, no. Except Morrigan’s demon-child, of course. Apparently Bioware’s idea of normal human romantic relationships extends no farther than upscale urban university residence halls … if that far.

    • Ejia says:

      Well considering what happened to Khalid and… and… whatshisface, Aribeth’s husband, Fenugreek or something, I don’t think having Bioware’s characters marry is a good idea.

    • Wulfram says:

      Josephine’s romance is pretty much chaste, bar anything the player chooses to head canon in. Solas’s romance could be read that way too.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Marrying and raising children in ongoing wars. Hm, maybe.
      But the main focus is on killing monsters/aliens anyway.
      The relationships are tacked on for the most part.
      Jaheira relationship was pretty fleshed out back in BG2.

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      Their reason for not letting us play an alien in a Mass Effect game is so that our character can form emotional bonding and relationships … with aliens.

      Ooooooookay.

      • thetruegentleman says:

        Playing an alien would almost certainly force the players to do things they don’t want to do: a human might react uncomfortably to a caste system, or might see its value, or may simple choose not to care about the moral implications at all. A Turian, by contrast, would be limited to remarking on the similarities or the differences to Turian society, which would prevent the players from voicing any concerns about morality or practicality, because a Turian is very unlikely to have such concerns, or voice them if they do.

        The Witcher is the only game series I can think of that got away with a similar system, and one of that series’ most common complaints was how little control the players have over Geralt’s personality. That lack of control made sense given the context there, but similar restrictions here would be incredibly alienating for people expecting typical Bioware style.

        • April March says:

          Then, if you want to be able to compare things to human society, don’t play as a Turian. There, problem solved.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          ” a human might react uncomfortably to a caste system”

          Cause humans never have caste systems?

    • LexW1 says:

      That is hardly fair or rational criticism.

      Chaste romantic relationships are not exactly common IRL (outside of one-sided relationships in the heads of various people), and tend to feel super-duper-fake in fiction (as virtually everything ever written by Brandon Sanderson demonstrates, for example). That said, the relationship with Josphine in DA:I can be at least relatively chaste if you want it to be.

      Marriage and kids? In a game set over less than a year, as DA:O, DA:I, ME1, ME2, and ME3 are? You’re saying that would be MORE realistic or more deep or whatever? Because it sounds utterly ridiculous. In the expansion, set two years later, they don’t “allude to it”, I mean, do you even know what allude means? Apparently not, because your character can literally get married. And it’s not “for one of the relationships”, either, there are two characters who will marry you pretty much on the spot (because they’re both idiots of very different kinds), and others can have marriage discussed with them but don’t leap into it. I guess you’d think it was more “mature” if they did? Really?

      I mean, it really seems like if you’re going to critique DA:I of all games for this, you might want to have a better grasp on the facts of the matter.

      The only Bioware game where your criticisms re: marriage/kids could really be legitimate is DA2, which is set over a ten year period, including lengthy periods of peace, but I note you don’t single that out – probably because it does a bit more interesting stuff with the relationships (as you don’t only have positive relationships or no relationship in that game, unlike the others).

      I’m really vexed as to when Shepard would be supposed to get married and have kids, given she’s a spec ops soldier in a very dangerous setting for a year, then dead for a couple of years, then what, around for another year before being jailed before a year and then the world ends.

  3. vorador says:

    I promised to myself i wouldn’t do this.

    *preorders*

    Daaaaamnnn yooooouuuuu.

    • welverin says:

      I promised myself no such thing.

    • Ben Damage says:

      I honestly believe pre-orders are a waste of money. I’m not promising any of mine to companies this big when inevitably most games come out in dire need of hotfixes, patches and optimisations.

      And the fact that everything has an Increased Attempt to Convince You To Buy Edition on top of every standard release makes me stand further away from the concept.

      Which flavour is right for me?

      Mostly it’s digital crapbooks or this season pass bullshit that won’t go away.

      What if I don’t like any of it?

      Well fuck, there’s £80+ gone forever.

      Could be just me.

      • TormDK says:

        Well, there is the option of making a month’s subscription of Origin Access on PC (EA Access on Xbox One) and play the game for 10 hours for the Price of a coffee.

        Plus 10% discount for your purchase if you decide to pick it up from Origin afterwards. Note that the Price of the standard edition is bonkers compared with what the keyshops sell it for, but you do end up with a small rebate if you go with the Super duper edition. (Which I did as I will be playing the multiplayer quite a bit I imagine)

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      The awkward conversations glitch described in the article is enough to keep me from buying this game for a few months while they work out the bugs.

      • dragonfliet says:

        Bad news: that isn’t really a glitch. It’s an unfortunate side effect of these kinds of games. More work could certainly fix it, as it’s a byproduct of the instance (the conversation) interacting awkwardly with the default state (where a person should stand), and each and every one would need to be tweaked by hand. It’s just a seam that is created in larger games, and is unfortunately visible when it is of high fidelity.

        • Frosty_2.0 says:

          Err, most games have their characters walk normally back to/from default position if even necessary (and frankly I don’t recall this being an issue in previous games as most dialogues would occur from where the char already stood).
          And then there’s the other mentioned issue of odd/uncanny facial animations/rigging/meshes which would need more individual attention & polish.

    • thetruegentleman says:

      You’re a brave person: better prepare for the legion of gamers who whine about the evils of pre-orders.

      • Kolbex says:

        Speech I don’t agree with = whining.

        • Josh W says:

          Speech=Writing

          Or, alternatively, we could say that each is a subset of the other, writing as a subset of generalised speech, and whining as a subset of writing they do not agree with.

          Unless it’s possible for someone to say something that they agree with in a way that they would still characterise as whining, in which case not only are we talking about two steps of generalisation, but incorrect ones too.

  4. Ejia says:

    This tells me nothing about whether I can finally get to romance a Krogan.

  5. amateurviking says:

    Very much looking forward to this. Still holding out hope that EA might do us a deal on the ME3 story DLC so I can justify another jaunt through it without shipping $40-odd bucks

    It’s a vain hope, but still…

    • adamsorkin says:

      I’ve given up hope of any re-release or bundled versions that include ME3 DLC – but very occassionally, Origin will have a store-wide voucher that can be used to buy Bioware points. I was able to get DLC for 50% off (minus a nominal “Bioware Tax” due to points being sold in quantities that don’t correspond to cost of DLC). It’s not great, but it was a way to play Citadel DLC and pay less than the what the N7 Trilogy bundle currently sells for.

      • malkav11 says:

        It happened once and was apparently not supposed to apply to Bioware points because they stopped it working on them later in that deal and then never worked at all the subsequent time they did a storewide coupon.

  6. Troubletcat says:

    Sounds good. I’m concerned by “Dialogue options are not displayed by what you will say but by the tone … Your options now include emotional, logical, casual and professional.”

    This is the exact opposite of what I want. It sounds like it’d make the problem of not knowing what your character will say even worse since “I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise you felt that way.” and “Slag off you wanker!” can both be an ’emotional’ response to the same stimuli.

    I still don’t get why RPG devs moved away from showing the entire line that the character will say with “[sarcastic]” or what have you in front of it if necessary. It makes things more confusing and if you don’t want to read you shouldn’t be playing RPGs, damnit.

    I would also accept a menu option to show either the full line or a short descriptor as is common practice now, since more options is never bad.

    • iucounu says:

      Yes, this. In the past ME had a set of ‘gist of it’ dialogue options, right? That seems a lot better.

    • ElementalAlchemist says:

      I still don’t get why RPG devs moved away from showing the entire line that the character will say

      Because their target market is put off by reading.

      I too don’t know why they can’t just make it a toggleable option. They already have the full text there and the provision to display it built in for subtitles anyway, just allow it to show up ahead of time when mousing over the options.

      • Archonsod says:

        “Because their target market is put off by reading.”

        I think it’s more likely they assume there’s people out there with actual social skills who are fairly good at predicting a character’s response when informed of said character’s mood.

        Could be a niche market.

        • Muppetizer says:

          You’d need a digital telepath to guess at half of Shepard’s lines, I think that’s the biggest issue. They’re one of the most inconsistent characters I’ve ever had to play, where their anger could mean anything from a pithy and reserved one liner to an explosive two sentence long tirade and the player has no way to distinguish between the two until after the fact.

          The whole mood-board system could be used well, but Bioware haven’t really done it yet as far as I’ve seen. Maybe Andromeda will make it work, if this article is anything to go by.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          As someone who was very soured by Cole Phelps shouting at a girl who was recently raped, and accusing her of all sort, when I selected the ‘Doubt’ option, I am tired to trying to guess the mind set of the writer and what they had in mind at any given moment.

          Turns out that no amount of empathy could prepare me for what ‘Doubt’ meant.

          Also Phelps is a fucking asshole.

          I suppose I just don’t trust Bioware to be consistent in this area and I’d prefer to know what I was about to say before saying it. Certainly I felt sometimes in DA2 that my lady said some stuff I didn’t mean to say.

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      cpt_freakout says:

      It’s strange because it’s very clear that the problem most people have with the Bioware dialogue wheels is a lack of definition. By adding even more terms to the wheel they’re just making it worse. I don’t think it’s a good system, simply because it’s not that we don’t know what ’emotional’ or ‘professional’ mean in general – we don’t know what they mean in each specific case, and it’s impossible to know because everyone can interpret them differently.

      OTOH, doing away with the morality system is probably the best they could do because they’ve proven over many, many games that they can’t conceive of or handle complex morality all that well. Still, that they took like decades to realize this could mean that they’re going to stubbornly stick to that damn dialogue wheel for a very long time.

      • LexW1 says:

        It’s not at all clear that “most people” have that problem. In fact, all evidence suggests with the ME games, it’s a tiny cadre of vocal whiners who have that problem. It is not at all a “common complaint”, except from the same few people, over and over.

        Most people are fine with what happens, I would suggest.

        Further, if you haven’t played Alpha Protocol, which basically uses this system (just with Professional, Suave and Aggressive – basically Bourne, Bond and Bauer), you probably should do that before criticising further. Because whatever game it is where you like the “full dialogue” it shows, Alpha Protocol’s dialogue probably works better.

        • Josh W says:

          Alpha protocol works within a more limited emotional space than mass effect attempts to cover, with much less tendency towards having the main character occasionally make Picard speeches.

          Comparing this to dragon age inquisition, with it’s separately tags for anger, sadness and surprise dialog options, should make it obvious the differences even within the paradigm of “mood”/tone based dialog systems.

    • MarcoSnow says:

      While I agree with your concerns, from what they’ve shown in trailers, it seems dialogue options will still display brief summaries of each line (similar to the original Mass Effect trilogy). Based on available evidence, the only difference will be the inclusion of DA2 and DAI-style tone icons, which–while far from a perfect–are far less offensive than the completely opaque tone system this article describes.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Must be compatible with gamepads and should appeal to kids (these days adults also) with a short attention span.

    • Longestsprout says:

      I feel that writers limiting themselves like this (in the case of DA2 to humour, aggressive and diplomatic) is part of the problem. Neither do I think that the fact they’re compelled to fill a certain quota is conductive to better writing, quite the opposite. The best experience I’ve had with dialogue options was when the whole text was visible and the writer was able to put down whatever craziness he could come up with without shoving it into some arbitrary category.

      • LexW1 says:

        What game was that, and was it voiced?

        If it wasn’t voiced, then it has to be disregarded in the context.

        My personal best experience with dialogue in a voiced game was with Alpha Protocol, followed by DA2, and AP used a system very like this, and DA2 a little like this (DA:I it was less like this). It worked amazingly well. This might or might not, we’ll see.

        I’d also point out that, in the history of art, limitations and necessity have spawn a lot more great art (including writing) than being allowed to maunder on forever about whatever shit you want (not that that doesn’t sometimes work out – I mean, it’s pretty much all Russian literature prior to 1900 is).

        • Longestsprout says:

          I have to admit that the games I’m speaking of had mute protagonists to go along with, so maybe you’re right and what they’re going for is the best option. I guess this is just part of the territory that comes with the attempts for a more cinematic storytelling. I just feel my best experiences were with the former. (Hey look at that; a guy complaining about DA’s departure from what made DAO great!) *Blah*.

    • LexW1 says:

      Given that Alpha Protocol did pretty much exactly this (one example of dialogue choices being: Action, Thrills, Duty, Silence), and it worked SUPERBLY, far, far better than any other voiced CRPG in terms of actually seeming to have conversations and so on (the time-limit helped), I don’t think you’re being at all reasonable. You’re just objecting to it without having tried it (or Alpha Protocol, I suspect – the game as a whole started appallingly, but the dialogue system was just off the hook).

      • Troubletcat says:

        I’ve actually played AP to completion twice – great game in spite of its own terrible mechanics.

        I also don’t think it’s really comparable to a BioWare RPG in terms of openness of characterization. “Short version of the dialogue” works pretty well in The Witcher 3 because you get to know the character of Geralt after a couple of hours so you rarely have a problem understanding what the short text will translate to. Ditto with AP – after a couple of hours you have an idea of what the different shorthands mean because it’s one fixed character portrayed relatively consistently.

        Maybe this is what BioWare plans to do with Andromeda, as well, but in the past Shephard was not characterized consistently in the same way and it made a lot of dialogue choices a bit of a crapshoot. I.e, if I pick this terse sounding response am I going to get “sarcastic shephard” or “terse jerk shephard” or “psychotic murderer shephard”. Changing the label to “angry” instead of a line snippet seems like it would make that even more vague.

        But perhaps they’re planning to make the PC in Andromeda more predictable/limited, and then it might work okay.

        Honestly I don’t think BioWare has put out a good game since DA:O and I probably won’t buy this either so I guess I don’t exactly have a horse in this race. I didn’t hate ME2/3 but the quality of writing, story and atmosphere really nosedived after ME1 (the reasons are obvious if you look at the writing credits across the 3 games) and that was what I cared about more than the gameplay, so the improvements there from “pretty bad” to “mediocre” didn’t save the sequels for me. The DA franchise nosedived even harder and urgh… Okay, enough ranting.

  7. warkwark says:

    I like the idea of less guessing about what your character will actually say. However, the system (it sounds like) he’s describing sounds like a lot of guessing. *Mostly* guessing, in fact.

    As in: I click a button that says “emotional” for my character’s response. That… covers a lot of territory. Am I angrily refuting, coldly acknowledging, warmly agreeing? It sounds like a complete crapshoot. If I can preview the line my character will deliver, I may not know exactly how he’s going to deliver it, but at least I know the substance. This way…? Dunno.

    Maybe it won’t be that opaque. Based on Bioware’s long history of questionable dialogue implementation, though, it’s a very distinct possibility.

    Edit: you beat me to it, Troublet!

  8. Cerulean Shaman says:

    Thank for for commenting about the large open areas that are ultimately empty. This seems to be slowly becoming my greatest fear… all these once story and gameplay lush games becoming mindless MMORPG-wannabes where all you do is finish shallow quest hub loops.

    Dragon Age Inquisition was guilty of that to the max and pretty much the line between core and side was black and white in terms of quality and countless sidequests could have be torn straight out of a low budget mmorpg.

    No, I don’t want to spend hours running around your pretty but shallow world collecting feathers. And yes, it’s optional, but all that manpower and money you spent on those 10 simple fetch quests could have been one clever/funny/amusing/interesting story-rich quest that’s much less a waste of my time.

    So, here we go. A lot of my friends aren’t even giving Andromeda a chance. Most of them didn’t even know it was releasing next month. But I’ll play it… not expecting anything from Bioware anymore but narrative/plot focused sci games set in space are few and far these days.

    • Crafty_Banana says:

      As an unrepentant fan of Bioware games, I’m replaying Inquisition at the moment, and there are some really great side quests tucked away in there, things that take you to lost Elven temples or time-locked Tevinter summoning rituals with demons frozen in mid-rampage. The problem, I think, is less that there aren’t cool sidequests, but those interesting, content-rich activities are tucked away in remote parts of a sprawling map, easy to miss. Meanwhile, as soon as you enter a new area, you’ll have a giant exclamation mark on your minimap offering you a ‘collect 10 ingots of iron’ quest. It should really have been the other way round, with the interesting stuff up front and the collection quests the last things the pop up for those who just can’t bring themselves to stop playing.

      • Rizlar says:

        This.

      • Longestsprout says:

        That’s what’s so fricking infuriating about that game. There’s some decent quest design tucked in there yes, but only if wade through all of the other crap to find it. I’m completely in agreement with the op that whatever resources were used to pad out the game like this would’ve been much better utilized to make a certain number of high quality quests. Padding in principle is fine, I liked how they did it in DAO, but this is just too excessive.

      • LexW1 says:

        Very true.

        DA:I is one of the few games I can think of that would have benefited strongly from an editor going “Cut this, and this and this and…” (for a very long time!). Less content would have made a drastically superior game. Hinterlands should be 1/3rd the length at most. If they wanted you to go back they should just have locked off an area until later.

      • Voqar says:

        I was replaying DAI recently too and don’t see how anybody can complain about that game or the content. Great game, great content.

        My only complaint (that applies to many games these days) is any relation to console design since I don’t care about controllers or consoles and get sick of crappy UIs and/or crappy anything else that results from having to make games work on inferior devices. It’s to the point where it’s rare and refreshing when a dev goes “pc first” or pc exclusive to make the highest quality game vs chasing the extra console dollars and numbers.

        Anyways, there is way more content in DAI than you NEED to do, which gives you options, like the option to skip content you don’t like. Options are good and make for better games. For ex, if you think Hinterlands is too big, than simply don’t do it all since you don’t have to.

        In my replay I was doing every quest and area I could do and by mid game my characters were several levels above most of the available content – so there’s plenty you can skip if you want to. I think this is a GOOD thing since it gives you a choice and you aren’t forced to do quests or quest types you don’t like.

        I’m interested in Andromeda but will likely wait for real revies when the embargo lifts, even though I expect all the big sites to be gushing over it by default.

        I never could get into the trilogy so a “reset” on the series could be just what I need.

  9. aircool says:

    One big question… is there a FoV slider? I’ve tried on many occasions to get into the Mass Effect games, but the FoV makes me feel sick (I suppose, now I think about it, I could stream it to my big TV). I know there’s a FoV fix around, but it involves messing with the Win registry or something…

    • TormDK says:

      The engine ME-A is built on (Frostbite) has FOV options available, so it remains to be seen if Bioware has opted to use that feature in their game.

    • adamsorkin says:

      Yes (on the PC version, anyway), according to this article: link to vg247.com

    • Cronstintein says:

      Wanted to let you know you can play those old Mass Effect games with a wider FOV. I use a free program called Flawless Widescreen that does the job with minimal fuss, just start it before you open ME.

  10. ZippyLemon says:

    The fact that they are struggling to fill the game spaces they feel they need to include begs the question:

    What’s forcing them?

    Certainly nothing intrinsic to the narrative or gameplay, from the sounds of it…

    • Premium User Badge

      Der Zeitgeist says:

      It’s the tyranny of open world games. A lot of developers think they need to have the open world checkbox ticked on their feature list, without even understanding why some open world games work and some don’t.

      It’s the same with crafting mechanics. You will just love all the titanium and stuff you have to mine from these open worlds to upgrade your guns.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        Yes! Game design is about 90% cargo cult. Nobody understands why they’re doing anything, just that something worked in the past and customers allegedly like it.

        The ubiquitous ‘crafting’ stuff really is the worst. A fun idea perverted into the exact same kind of mindless drudgery in every game, because no designer even bothers to think about why it was an exciting concept in the first place.

        • Premium User Badge

          Der Zeitgeist says:

          Cargo Cult, that’s the word I was looking for! :-)

          The sad thing is, I really like open world games. But after countless Assassin Watch Ghost Doge Cries, the industry has reduced the whole concept into building a really big map (has to be bigger than Skyrim, at least!), and fill it up with quest markers that are nothing more than braindead busywork “content”.

          • April March says:

            I’d play Assassin Watch: Ghost Doge Cries.

            The cover would show a bunch of burly man standing atop a fortress, with a moonlit sky in the background, and Doge’s face appearing in the clouds, a single doggy tear rolling from its eye.

    • Vandelay says:

      This is the bit that is mainly putting me still on the fence with this. Seeing that this preview was just of the missions immediately made me think it would not give much info on what you will spend 70%+ of your time doing.

      I do hope this desire to make bigger and bigger game areas ends soon, as it is becoming quite tedious. Even The Witcher 3, with its stunningly crafted world can be a slog at times.

      • Zenicetus says:

        True about Witcher 3, but it’s still the best balance I’ve seen with the open world idea.

        What worries me about ME:A and that comment about struggling to fill game spaces, is that they might use the easiest and most boring solution — just filling the planet surfaces with materials you need to mine for crafting. Like that awful planet scanning mini-game in ME2. No need to actually write any content for that approach.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          I dunno, I worry about the reintroduction of the ground vehicle a little bit more. ME1’s single worst part(s) were the “drive around in an inconsistent-physics vehicle on random planets looking for nothing while using a terrible radar ping.” On the dozen or so explorable planets in the base game, maybe half a dozen actually had a structure or two on them, and those were just painted on the map from a pre-build palette. A handful of them were actually part of some sidequest, none of which had any actual story content, they were just ways to get more credits or random guns and armor. Another commenter further below notes about games wasting people’s time – this is exactly what the Mako sections of ME1 did.

          The resource scanning of ME2 was annoying and definitely felt contrived, no argument there, but it was hugely preferable to the empty planet vehicle exploration of ME1.

          I’m hopeful that Bioware learned from both games, and that the non-mission driving-exploration sections are neither hugely empty nor include resource scanning as their primary feature. I’m not opposed to discovering resources and base locations, but I’d rather be driving around looking for alien ruins/bases (lore) or artifacts (lore or gear) or random fights to pick, because my ME characters seem to consistently be supercharged biotic arseholes.

          • ZippyLemon says:

            This would make much more sense wouldn’t it? A colony ship equipped with no guns and full of people who are nominally explorers. Hopefully exploring and discovering is actually their consistent driving motivation.

            It sounds, though, like they might end up in one of those binds where they have to shoot a lot of mans (extraterrestrial, bipedal, English-speaking mans) and save the entire universe instead of doing anything interesting.

            They took their sweet time putting this game together, so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until a post-release consensus emerges. Certainly won’t be buying it at launch from what I have seen, though.

          • Sir_Brizz says:

            The difference is, collecting materials in ME1 was entirely, 100% optional to the game. It was as someone mentioned above only for the people who couldn’t stand to stop playing the game.

            Meanwhile, collecting materials in ME2 was the only way to get a good outcome. You basically HAVE TO do it. A menial task that has to be done is MUCH worse than an optional task that you can do if you want to.

  11. vanhisa says:

    Humanity first, without allowing to chose main character Race.

    Does EA and Bioware turn into Cerberus all of sudden, or does it look like they have been secretly funding cerberus seeemingly unlimited money and resource since ME 2?

  12. ElementalAlchemist says:

    if we ask them to make a decision for another race, we’re building anthropomorphism, and we’re not interested in that. We don’t want anybody to pretend that they know what a krogan thinks

    Uh-huh. And have you had that conversation with the Dragon Age team? Seems like they didn’t have any particular emotional crisis over the concept (aside from budgetary constraints). What a bullshit excuse.

    • LexW1 says:

      So someone takes a different approach to the entirely different people working on a different game, and thus it’s a “bullshit excuse”, not a different approach?

      Wow.

      Further, in DA they all at least live on the same planet and have done for thousands of years (and may well all be essentially fairly closely related, genetically – well, maybe not the Qunari but even they can’t be ruled out). Whereas aliens are supposed to… alien. But apparently that’s terrible?

      I think he actually just chose the wrong word – it’s not so much anthropomorphism that he’s describing as humanocentrism. I much like the “White guy saves the dumb natives” stories of I dunno, half the books and TV from about 1900 to 1960. They’re trying to avoid “Human arrives, makes decisions for you and fixes things”. You may well fix things, but not by sitting on a metaphorical throne and telling them what to do.

  13. muther22 says:

    “one of the main themes of the Mass Effect franchise is the place of humanity. And that has always been central”

    Mass Effect devs confirmed for Cerberus sympathizers.

  14. Rane2k says:

    “The trilogy had a narrative constraint, but when we start from scratch, when we don’t have that story anymore”

    Now, I may be taking this out of context, but that sounds a bit strange. A narrative constraint? The trilogy started on a blank slate, they could have done anything they wanted.

    This sounds a bit like they are somewhat acknowledging the theory that the writers of ME2&3 clearly wanted something different than the writers of ME1 (for example the Illusive Man as the bad guy instead of the reapers.).

    Anyway, quote out of context, so I shouldn´t read too much into this, but it sure rubs me the wrong way.

    I am cautiously excited about ME:A, it´s good to hear that they built upon the better combat of ME2 and 3, I quite enjoyed that.
    Still, no preorder from me, waiting for the reviews this time.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      That’s a possibility, but I think it’s more likely that he’s alluding to the fact that the ending of ME3 basically broke the Milky Way galaxy narratively. They would either have the somehow account for all three major ending choices (all AI are dead, all AI are enslaved, all AI and biological life forms are melded somehow) or cannonize one ending as the true ending. One of those is impractical, the other unpalatable.

      • Rane2k says:

        Yeah I guess it makes sense that he would mean that.

        It will be interesting how they will address this while continuing the universe.
        They only sidestepped the issue, unless they want all future entries in the series to awkwardly step around “that time ~680 years ago when the reapers were defeated and the mass effect relays [here be dragons]”

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      I believe it’s also a reference (mentioned in a QA/article earlier) to the Reapers being an immovable threat that cannot be reasoned or negotiated with – and a narrative ticking time-bomb that “should” be dealt with urgently & the Trilogy’s ending.

      IIRC the article also spoke about how that freed up the exploration side (no imminent Reaper Armegeddon looming) and political side with the other Kett faction(s) who are not hostile toward the Milky Way arrivals (who could be reasoned with potentially).

  15. Zenicetus says:

    So these new bipedal Andromedans, the Kett and Angara, are basically stand-ins for the two sides of Native Americans as represented in pop culture: the hostile warriors and the nature-loving hippies. And we’re the US Army. Got it.

    Okay, so it’s not that bad… I hope. I’m just disappointed to see us shooting (and no doubt romancing) humanoids again, when we’re in a whole friggin’ new Galaxy. I don’t care how they rationalize it, I want to see alien-looking aliens dammit. Can’t a Hanar hold a laser rifle?

    I will buy this anyway of course, because I’m a fool for sci-fi action/RPGs and it doesn’t look terrible so far. Just a disappointing lack of imagination in some areas.

    • LexW1 says:

      That’s an impressive “hot take”, there, buddy.

      Given the Kett are ancient, powerful, far more advanced and civilized than humanity, and so on, claiming they’re the equivalent of the Sioux sounds, well, completely fucking bananas, if you don’t mind my saying so.

      The Angarans are apparently resisting them, too, so claiming they’re Native American seems fairly off-beam.

      Nor can the humans be “the US Army”, because they’re not a vastly more powerful conquering force dedicated to victory and then wholesale slaughter.

      Totally agree re: alien-aliens though. I mean come on, just a few. You already have quadrupedal animations, I see them right there in the game! That big bastard could be scaled down to be an Elcor! Where’s my Elcor squaddie…?

      • Zenicetus says:

        It was tongue in cheek, based on the description above, and some annoyance about gunfights with humanoid bipeds.

        Speaking of which, if the kett are so much more advanced than humans, why are we having evenly matched gunfights with them in the trailers?

      • Frosty_2.0 says:

        Also there are other factions within the Kett, however we’ve only seen the hostile one lead by Mr. Angry Archon (IIRC) guy.

        I think they’re opening up on the politicking front as well as with exploration in Andromeda.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      We’ve only seen snippets of two Andromeda races/factions (I’m guessing all in the Helius Cluster), three if you count the Remnant bots and Vault. They’re holding back on the marketing compared to the over-hype ahead of ME3, so I’m sure there will be more to discover and hopefully first encounters with some more exotic races in-game (and unspoilt by marketing).

      If that’s really all there is to see from the extra-galactic community then sure, I will be bitterly disappointed. We’ll see soon enough from either reviewers or the hype machine now that we’re one month out.

  16. shagen454 says:

    Definitely excited, I feel like there hasn’t been a really good game released since Witcher 3’s last expansion which was 8 months ago!!

    • stringerdell says:

      I really need to finish that DLC before ME3 comes out. What a fantastic game it is!

      • Zenicetus says:

        That’s what I did recently, I had played through Hearts of Stone but hadn’t started Blood and Wine yet, and I wanted to clear the decks before ME:A comes out.

        And yes, it’s brilliant… the whole thing, the main game and both expansions. I wasn’t sure I’d like Blood and Wine due to the colorful Arthurian setting, but it was great. A fitting end to the series. I sure hope Bioware has been paying attention to this series and everything it does right.

  17. Rizlar says:

    It’s going to be impossible or incredibly difficult to make everyone respect you, because no matter how charismatic you are, your decisions will inevitably alienate some people.

    Hahaha, as if that has ever been the case in the past. These games tend to be very generous, if you piss someone off you can make it up to them and more later on.

    (with the exception of those two characters at the end of Dragon Age: Origins I guess)

    • Rane2k says:

      Yeah, I´m curious how far they went with that.

      BioWare has done this in the past, with Edwin (wants to murder Dynheir) and Minsc (wants to save Dynaheir).

      In Mass Effect 2 they were too timid, with the 2 arguments breaking out (Tali vs. Legion and Jack vs. Miranda), where there was of course a “perfect” solution for each encounter: Finish all loyalty quests before progressing the main quest ;-)

      • Frosty_2.0 says:

        Heh, Keldorn & Viconia!

        • Rinox says:

          I remember chunking that self-righteous prick Keldorn in the sewers under the Amn temple district for this reason. Good memories. :-)

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Try going down the genophage route in Mass Effect 3 with Wrex and Mordin still alive.

      • Rane2k says:

        True, didn´t think about that one. Probably because I consider Mordin nobly sacrificing himself to be a worthy ending for the character.

        Edit: Conundrums like that would actually be very nice to have in the new one. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  18. Maxheadroom says:

    I loved the original trilogy and for a while would bang on about them to anyone who would listen.

    I thought I would be all over this but for some reason im struggling to work up any excitement. No idea why, ive not seen enough of it to form any sort of opinion. But when I thought id be queueing up at midnight like an excited teenager, im thinking maybe ill pick it up a couple of weeks after launch, if it gets good reviews, and ive got nothing else to do.

    Am i getting old?

    • Tritagonist says:

      There’s probably more to it than just age. This is a very different BioWare, different people, different writers, etc. It perhaps doesn’t help that this is Mass Effect in setting only. They’ve even cut the entirety of ME3 our of their fictional universe, making this group of characters leave the galaxy before the events of ME3.

      They’ve also been very cautious on showing people gameplay of ME:A. Back with ME3 they even released a demo! Now they’re keeping a lot of it under wraps. That’s not inspiring a lot of confidence.

  19. sonson says:

    “Can you drive 50 minutes without encountering anything? We’re trying to avoid that, but because of the nature of what we’re doing, I can’t promise it won’t happen.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a better example of how mainstream game designs are content to waste people’s time.

  20. SaintAn says:

    Can’t decide if I want to get this or not. Love ME1, it’s a masterpiece and one of the best games ever made, but the sequel was lowest common denominator trash I haven’t been able to force myself through a second time, and the 3rd I didn’t even bother with because of how much I hate the second. I heard the ending was just different colors so it was probably a good decision not to bother with it. Going to try to replay all 3 next month and if I can make it through the 2nd and 3rd I’ll definitely be buying this third fanfic game.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Your options now include emotional, logical, casual and professional.

    Glad they adopted the Alpha Protocol approach. Hope the decisions will be at least as consequential in Andromeda, too.

    • ravenshrike says:

      The problem with adopting the AP approach is that your character was VERY focused and the game contained relatively few paths when all was said and done. It was very tight in scope. Not so for the Bioware RPGs.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        The way I see it, a game’s designers have a finite amount of time and have to choose between giving the player many choices and making those choices count. Obsidian invested in adding lots of references to your choices as the story progresses, but it had to come at expense of breadth.

        But this is all separate from the way reactions are chosen. I thought Alpha Protocol’s implementation was the best of all worlds, and I am happy Andromeda is like it in this aspect.

      • Cronstintein says:

        Not sure that’s an entirely fair description. AP did the system well, but I think that’s just a matter of proper execution. The problem with Sheppard (and hopefully not Ryder) is that the character had very little ‘base’. The emotional range in your responses was very inconsistent. It could be a little snarky,which I’m fine with, or maliciously cruel, which didn’t fit the narrative very well.

        I think they just had a better idea of the character they were aiming for in AP, using the Bond/Bauer/Bourne templates for their reactions. They never tried to add the needlessly evil options to the dialogue wheel.

  22. HoboDragon says:

    “….if we ask them to make a decision for another race, we’re building anthropomorphism, and we’re not interested in that. We don’t want anybody to pretend that they know what a krogan thinks. That’s based on anthropology, we don’t know that the other people think…”
    While that might be true it is still a R*effing*P*G !
    So all the elves, dwarves, etc in other games (not to mention Bioware’s own) are just bullocks? I don’t buy that. Why not admit “it takes too much resources and time….” – it’s not that we are completely stupid as consumers. Or are we?

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      The other races think at least enough like humans that we can get them in bed and are similar enough physically that it doesn’t turn out to be a lapse in judgment.

  23. that_guy_strife says:

    I’m curious as to what is the interest in the Mass Effect trilogy. Back when the first came out, I was really into RPG’s and shooters, yet I uninstalled quickly. All I remember is endlessly running around an empty city for whole minutes between stores and quest markers.

    My PC recently went on the fritz and I was gifted a PS3 with a copy of ME3. Fired it up. Dialogue seemed ok, questing seemed to be going somewhere, but dear Lord, the combat system. You can equip up to 5 weapons, but can only use 2. AI companions were completely retarded, dying in the middle of rooms while I’ve been frantically hitting ”to me” and ”go there”. They have multiple powers, yet you can only make them use the one. It completely put me off the game.

    So what do you like about Mass Effect ? The characters ?

    • Zenicetus says:

      What do I like about Mass Effect? Look, I grew up as a kid reading sci-fi, I’ve read it all my life (and I’m an old guy now).

      Mass Effect is a deeply flawed space opera action/RPG. But it’s the only one we’ve had in recent years that threw a big budget at the genre, and was “good enough” to last over three full AAA games. As a fan of role-playing space opera, I’ll take what I can get.

      If you’re not a fan of sci-fi, and are approaching this series as a generic shooter, then I can understand not getting into the series.

      • that_guy_strife says:

        I’m a huge fan of scifi. I read Asimov and Herbert for the first time when I was 9-11, it’s basically how I learned english, and I’ve reread multiple times in the 15 years since. That’s one argument I didn’t make – if it’s for the story, then I might as well read a book. Like I said, I liked where things were headed, even if it was a bit gamey. The actual game put me off. Thank you for your explanation – I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, or that the games picked up eventually. But I won’t bother through a bad game for a good story.

        • poliovaccine says:

          I feel absolutely the same. I love scifi, and I love a good story – and as such I love a good book, or a good game, and the two media dont have interchangeable traits.

          A big part of why I dont like seeing games sacrifice ____ (read: anything) for their story is that, frankly, the best stories in games are only about as good as the best books you find for sale in an airport newsvendor. A big part of that is the very necessary lack of nuance. Games with the closest thing to literary quality narrative are also very often the ones w the most linear design, i.e. ones designed like a graphic novel. But I really dont care for sacrifices to player choice/abilities/anything just cus the devs and writers think their story is too good to mess with. Mainly because, so far, that’s never been true.

          There may be a time when games tell stories at the level of Camus, Dickens, the great Russians, etc, and then I’ll take em however they come. But thus far the best games have been great for being *games,* not for their stories. From Half Life to Hitman to GTA to Morrowind, I see that holding true. And that’s really what I’m looking for when I pick up a game.

          As such, a game with a story at Stephen King caliber is great – he’s one of my favorite living writers, and I grew up on the guy. But if your game deals me enough restrictions or compromises in service of a Stephen King caliber story, well, that isnt a high enough caliber to keep me in your game. Story is incredibly important to a game, but the second it becomes the *most* important element, you cease to have a really effective *game* anymore.

    • Tritagonist says:

      What other games would you recommend that mix a bit of RPG, a bit of action shooter gameplay, and a lot of conversations and some choice&consequence storylines?

      Point being: Mass Effect doesn’t have a lot of competition in its specific genre-mix. And while all the games in the trilogy have their problems, they do quite a lot of different things decently well.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    No staring eyes tag :(

    To be honest, post Witcher 3, the Bioware Formula is less appealing than ever. And from what I’m reading, this is by-the-numbers.

    • Premium User Badge

      Waltorious says:

      I was going to comment on the staring eyes. For some reason, this face is creeping me out. I think it’s the mouth. It looks like it’s been taken from a larger face and seamlessly transplanted onto this smaller one.

      I am probably crazy.

      Edit: or maybe it’s that the distance between the mouth and eyes is too big?

  25. poliovaccine says:

    I feel a little guilty joining in with the skepticism-to-cynicism surrounding this, or any ambitious new title at that, but I just cant help but get a real Bioshock Infinite/excitable Ken Levine vibe from this reading.

    In particular, it sounds like the reviewer here had this Condominas fellow basically hovering over their shoulder whispering sweet nothings, which I think are quite honest in where they come from, but which all the same just come off like inflating the content with tertiary concepts. A lot of these narrative and design decisions which sound so great on paper dont sound like they have much analogue in actual gameplay.

    I came late to the Mass Effect party, so I havent even played ME3 yet – just the first two – and while those first two have consistently bowled me over, in and of themselves giving me no reason to doubt this new project, it’s purely from reading the stuff attributed to this Condominas fellow that makes me feel wary. It’s not even like it’s hype or anything – it’s more like he thinks theyre writing a novel here, or making a movie.

    Nvm stuff like.. I donno, I really dont like hearing of solutions such as, “Oh yeah, our open world spaces will be too huge to ever fill with properly hand crafted content, but we expect to bore you into remaining within our target zones by explicitly making clear there’s nothing else out there.” Sounds like you just want to make a more linear game..? There’d be nothing wrong with that either. But the resistance to having invisible walls is arbitrary when you accomplish the same thing via large, deliberately empty areas to hem in the zones with content… and then have invisible walls at the end of em. It’s like they prioritized “no invisible walls!” without having a clue what annoys people about em to begin with.

    Like I say, going off prior experience, I should be nothing but excited. It’s purely the talk in this preview that makes me start to feel iffy… and it’s the exact same kind of iffy you feel reading Bioshock Infinite pre-release interviews today.

  26. KastaRules says:

    “Your options now include emotional, logical, casual and professional.”

    This might finally work quite well actually. I am interested in finding out now.

  27. Tritagonist says:

    This seems quite a bit more positive than what Gamespot, PC Gaming UK and the German PC Games expressed in their respective podcasts. They all seemed rather downcast and not too thrilled. It’s good to see there’s some promise, at least.

    I’ll be taking a long wait-and-see approach to this. Mass Effect 3 was such a disappointment, and while DA:I was somewhat enjoyable it didn’t make any lasting impact. For a story that took about 35+ hours to complete that’s rather bad. Also, BioWare moving two very important and universe-expanding storylines into DLC for ME3 makes me even more likely to wait and see how they develop their story post-launch.

  28. Ivory Samoan says:

    Pretty crazy how much this differs from John’s opinion piece: polar opposites on the same site…rad!