In a blog post today on MassEffect.com, Bioware General Manager Aaryn Flynn announced the next game in the Mass Effect series has a new release date: early 2017. First teased at E3 in 2014 with a short video and then given a more formal reveal and an official name at last year’s E3, Mass Effect: Andromeda was tentatively targeted at a late 2016 release.
Last month, Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen appeared to indicate in a financial presentation that Andromeda would arrive during EA’s fourth fiscal quarter, which aligns with the first calendar quarter of 2017. Today’s announcement by Bioware dovetails nicely with that rumor.
We’ve reached out to Bioware with some requests for additional information and a couple of questions, and we’ll update this story if they’re able to reply.
We had the opportunity to sit down and talk a bit with Flynn and Bioware Creative Director Mac Walters at E3 last year about the upcoming title. They were understandably cagey with the information, but we learned that the game would follow a new group of characters down some familiar Bioware paths. Andromeda will focus around giving the player an interesting bunch of companions to go on adventures with, and building relationships with those characters will be a core component.
“I think it’s fair to say that’s a hallmark of Bioware,” said Flynn. “It’s a hallmark certainly of the Mass Effect franchise and something we’d never stray away from. I think one of the most interesting things for us when we started looking at what we were going to do with Andromeda was knowing this was going to be a whole new set of characters and a new adventure and all the great stories we were going to be able to tell because of that and what their journey is going to be like.”
The new game should in many ways resemble what has come before, just with a new shine on it (literally, since the game will be using EA’s Frostbite engine). Combat should at least in part feel like past Mass Effect games, for example: “I think it would be fair to say that Mass Effect 3 represents a starting point from where we want to go with this combat experience,” Flynn told us.
Flynn and Walters also confirmed that the adventure does take place in a far-away galaxy—presumably the eponymous Andromeda galaxy—and that the player’s character and crew will all be new, fresh faces. Even the bad guys will be different. Don’t even expect previous Mass Effect big bads, the Reapers, to make an appearance. “Again,” explained Flynn, “the real idea here is that because it’s a… a real big new adventure and it’s very far away.”
The real deal?
Bioware has otherwise been extremely tight-lipped about the upcoming game, though small trickles of information have made it out. The E3 trailer showed a few short images of the new player character’s crew, which appears to have at least one Krogan in the mix. The company released a video for last year’s “N7 Day” (November 7) that seemed to show off a pair of dog tags labeled with the name “RYDER,” possibly indicating the player character’s name.
The video ended with a glimpse of a massive, unnamed ship gliding away from one galaxy and toward another—presumably the player’s ship en route to the Andromeda galaxy.
However, there have been a number of details—correct or not—allegedly revealed through leaks. In 2014, at least one redditor put up a lengthy spoiler-filled post detailing an audience focus survey about the next Mass Effect game (beware: there may or may not be plot and gameplay spoilers in that post—assuming it’s accurate). A short VFX test video leaked last month with some gameplay details, though much of the art and assets are clearly placeholders. Still, the video shows off what is rumored to be a major gameplay element: the player’s character is equipped with a jetpack, which he or she uses to bound up on top of obstacles.
The next bit of useful Mass Effect: Andromeda information ought to appear on June 12 at the EA Play press event. We don’t have any insight yet as to the specific details, but Bioware and EA have been teasing the game for two full years. We’re hungry for those real details.
Keep your eyes on the skies, folks. The hype spaceship is about to blast off.