Posted by Ken McDonnell @Ken
Now Loading's sentimental Irishman. I can't stop playing Overwatch, please send help.
Ken McDonnell

The Andromeda galaxy is a little further off than we'd like it to be — in the real world too; space is too damn big, people — and we've yet to catch a glimpse of actual gameplay from BioWare's continuation of the Mass Effect franchise. But that's not to say that E3 hasn't delivered.

With the trailer EA had on display at their EA Play event (which we sincerely hope was showing off in-game footage), we caught a brief glimpse of what the future of this IP looks like. But aside from this cinematic trailer, BioWare devs and representatives have been chatting about Mass Effect: Andromeda off stage, and some beautiful details have emerged! Let's check them out.

All The Deets On BioWare's Mass Effect: Andromeda

So Long Shepard, Hello Ryder

Mass Effect producer Michael Gamble confirmed the name of our would-be-hero via Twitter, along with an image of the female human character seen at the end of the trailer above.

Ryder, just like Shepard, will be the second name of our character, and the option to play as a male or female adventurer is still present in Mass Effect: Andromeda. Furthermore the name "Ryder" is likely a reference to the first American woman in space, Sally Ride. In the original trilogy the name Commander Shepard was taken from the first American man in space, Alan Shepard. Nice touch, BioWare.

Ryder Is Very Different From Shepard

When we meet Shepard in Mass Effect, they're already an established hero. They're respected by many and have a firm grasp of their surroundings and their place in the galaxy. That's not the case with Ryder in Andromeda:

“Commander Shepard, the way I put it was, a hero (when we met them — him or her) who became a legend,” Creative Director Mac Walters told IGN. “For me, the people in Andromeda’s story are people who haven’t yet achieved hero status.

We're going to be playing a character that appears to have been in hyper-sleep aboard the Tempest for a long time. We'll emerge in the Andromeda galaxy, surrounded by foreign races, planets and societal structures. All that we know about life in space will be left behind as we adapt to this new region.

“This is much more of a hero’s journey. What that entails is a slightly more intimate story that you want to tell. Seeing the lens through someone who is learning and growing and actually has an arc throughout the course of the story. I mean, Shepard had an arc but it was established.
In order for someone to become a hero they need to be presented with a lot of challenges and trials and tribulations,” Walters said. “It is a darker start, and you progress for that hopeful future as you go through it."

Excitement? Check.

Your Save Files Won't Have An Impact

The controversial choices that were presented to players at the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 were attacked by a mass (lol) of fans; so much so that BioWare actually altered the ending of the game. However, it's been confirmed that these choices will not impact on the narrative of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

"We had a lot of different ideas when we started on early concepts for what we wanted to do with the next Mass Effect game," BioWare Creative Director Mac Walters told IGN. "I think, aside from the fact that we said the Mass Effect trilogy was a trilogy for Shepard’s story, which we have concluded, we were very careful to make sure that big choices like that [the Mass Effect 3 finale] wouldn’t impact your decisions.

BioWare wants Andromeda to feel like a fresh experience for everyone who plays it, regardless of your interaction with the original trilogy.

"So if you haven't played, you don't have to worry about whether you missed out on some key choice or something like that."

Hundreds of Years Have Passed Since Mass Effect 3

We don't have specific numbers in terms of how far the trilogy and Andromeda are from one another in terms of time, but Walter did say the game will take place "hundreds of years" after Mass Effect 3. "From that, you can probably infer the timing of when they [the Andromeda explorers] left, to a certain degree."

They're really trying to separate us from what came before, huh?

Romance Will Be A Lot More "Natural"

The options for romance in the Mass Effect trilogy were one of the defining aspects of the games, and BioWare have assured us they ain't going anywhere. But this time around, BioWare Creative Director Mac Walters wanted romance to be far more realistic.

We all remember how it works in the trilogy, right? Flirt with people at the right times throughout the games and you'll eventually be rewarded with a cinematic of two characters getting down and dirty. It's pretty formulaic. But Andromeda is all about that player freedom, baby:

"In the past we’ve been very, eh, I’d say somewhat formulaic in the way we presented them. We’re trying to look at more organic ways to have those relationships evolve,” Walters told IGN. “Aaryn [Flynn] talked on stage today about offering more freedom to players than ever before, and that includes areas like this as well -- how you engage in those types of relationships and the gating around them throughout the timeline of the story.”

They know what expectations fans have for romance in BioWare games and thankfully it's something they're taking very seriously. 2017 can't come fast enough!

Are you excited for Mass Effect: Andromeda?