Mass Effect Andromeda – Not Linked to Original Trilogy

BioWare confirm what most had suspected. But for those yet to play or hear about the Mass Effect 3 endings, then an obligatory SPOILER ALERT is probably warranted...

Today, Eurogamer published a little chat that they had with BioWare studio boss Aaryon Flynn, and Mass Effect Creative Director Mac Walters to discuss how the ending to the Mass Effect Original Trilogy (the hope in my heart is that Andromeda will be the start of another epic trilogy) would affect their newest instalment in the Mass Effect franchise.

It is a question that I’ve seen bandied about online since news of a new Mass Effect game was released a couple of years ago, but then this was also before the Andromeda Galaxy was confirmed as the setting. Still, the question remained as it’s still not entirely clear as to when the new game is set, even if we know where.

So the answer? If you skipped the title of this article and went straight for the main body, I’d be surprised and slightly confused, but the answer is, no. The original trilogy will have no bearing on this new game. As Aaryon Flynn says,

“We acknowledged it in the endings of Mass Effect 3 and I think that’s where we want to leave it for now,

“We want this to be a new story and it would be very hard to say it’s a new story but also that you need to understand how [the past trilogy] ended.”

Now, even though it’s been an enormous 4+ years since Mass Effect 3’s controversial endings hit the mainstream – just take a moment to let that sink in. Oh and it’s also almost 3 years since GTA V was released on PS3 and Xbox 360! They do say time flies when you’re having fun… Where was I…?

So yeah, it’s been over 4 years since Mass Effect 3 was released, along with the absolute storm of faecal matter that came along with the endings, but just in case (you never know) here is another SPOILER ALERT for you.

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Now that we’re ready to continue I will. So clearly, the endings to Mass Effect 3 were galaxy spanning and like them or hate them, whatever you chose would undoubtedly have a “mass effect” on any future game – set in the Milky Way, and set post-Reaper War. Either the Reapers and all inorganics (Geth, EDI, AI’s etc) are all dead, or Shepard controls the Reapers and uses them for good/bullying or Shepard infuses him/herself on every living and sentient thing in the galaxy.

So this would always be a tricky, if not near impossible thing to work into a new game or games. The permutations would be incredibly complex and you may as well have an entirely separate game for each ending. So this “reveal” from BioWare was pretty much a confirmation of what we already new, that there is no “canon” ending, and that whatever you did in the original 3 games will not effect Andromeda, but the fact that they are designing the game in such a way as to not require prior knowledge of Mass Effect is a good idea – from my point of view.

SPOILER ALERT OVER. Now I’m as big a Mass Effect fan as you’re ever likely to see, so it could be easy for me to be like so many other people and be defensive of a franchise or piece of lore that I’ve spent so much time and effort being in. You know the kind of people I mean. “Oh you didn’t even play the original? How can you possibly play this?” those types…

Well the more the merrier, and if this game is going to be set in another galaxy, and will not be linked to the events of the original trilogy, why not open it up to new fans. I’m sure (as BioWare usually do) there will be more than enough to sate fans of the original trilogy in the game, as Mac Walters says,

“It’s important for us to have elements from the Trilogy for fans to have in the background… Ultimately this is intended to be a fresh story, but we want to have things for people to find and go ‘oh, I remember that character’.

“There’s a coalition [of Milky Way races]… We needed to find a way to make sure certain species you’re familiar with come along with you on your journey to meet new ones. As in the tradition of Mass Effect, there will be certain people working together happily, and certain people working together less happily.”

So that’s all good news for me! But I’ll end on a note from Mass Effect 1 + 2 lead artist, Jonathan Cooper who, after the Mass Effect Andromeda trailer tweeted,

Which, to me, just sounds like sour grapes, anything to take a dig at your former employer – amirite? But Aaryon Flynn refuted this,

“There’s definitely more stuff we could have shown or talked about… But now we’re shipping next spring, the time to really blast all that out there is after the other games come out. We’ll be there then to have a great big reveal and release all the details.

“[Development] is healthy… Dragon Age: Origins was six years. Star Wars: The Old Republic was six years. The original Mass Effect was four. Maybe we’re just not the fastest at this!”

I know I’d much rather a games company took their time to make a good game, than rush out a new incarnation on a tight schedule, that’s when mistakes happen, and you get game-fatigue (where you’re sick of seeing the same game re-released year in, year out – sports games seem to be the exception that proves the rule!), and if BioWare didn’t want to show gameplay, then that’s up to them – but don’t expect to see anything else now until November 7th, or N7 Day, so says BioWare.

I’ll leave you on this cheeky little screenshot that grabbed my attention during the trailer, and may well have done yours. Is this the Original Citadel, or a new one being constructed in the Andromeda galaxy? Or is it an uncanny lookalike that is something else entirely? Is this evidence of Reaper involvement? As they were the Citadel’s creators…

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Let us know what you think about this and the latest Mass Effect revelation in the comments below or in the RGM Forums.