As a huge fan of the first three Mass Effect games, I had an irk in my stomach when word got out that the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda would be taking a few pages from Dragon Age: Inquisition. However, those at BioWare seem aware of the setbacks they took with their fantasy series and are instead looking at a game that ultimately did open-world RPGs a bit more properly: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Mass Effect Andromeda Producer Fabrice Condominas talked with PC Gamer about how BioWare decided to look towards CD Projekt Red instead of its own game for ideas. Condominas says that the company essentially wants its sidequests to start mattering again.
We are approaching the completionist aspect very differently, because we’ve done and learned a lot from Inquisition. But we’ve also observed what other games have been doing, like The Witcher.
And it was very important for us that the quantity of scope doesn’t downgrade the quality of whatever your are doing there.
Mass Effect’s side missions were generally better than the main stories
Maybe not so much in the first game, but in Mass Effect 2, the crew members’ loyalty missions often eclipsed the main story. Without these, as well as a few missions which helped flesh out the universe’s lore, the overall experience would be much more shallow. These side missions dove into characters’ motivations, back stories, and, of course, their general personalities.
They were about as tied into the main game as they possibly could be.
On the flip side, I still feel like Dragon Age: Inquisition was like diet-BioWare. I am not a fan of the direction the fantasy franchise took because it ultimately submitted to a more Borderlands-esque formula, grinding away at pointless and tedious quests for nothing more than experience points. That seemed a bit light from the company who brought you likes of Baldur’s Gate or even Dragon Age: Origins barely a decade earlier.
Knowing that BioWare acknowledges these criticisms and is turning to a game that did modern day RPGs more properly is a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m hoping that the difference pays off when Mass Effect Andromeda launches on March 21 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.