‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ Ditches Linear Maps In Favor Of More Open World Areas

While fans have been promised to get their first in-depth look at Mass Effect Andromeda this November, developer BioWare has already started sharing a few details about the next upcoming installment of the highly anticipated science fiction series. Major information about Andromeda is still being closely guarded, but the team has opened up about the challenges of the game’s new design direction after revealing that the new Mass Effect title plans to introduce open world gameplay to the franchise.

During an interview with VG/247, BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn confirmed that Mass Effect Andromeda will present users with more freedom of exploration than what they have seen in the series’ past entries. The developer is now working to break away from the linear experience that was presented in the first three Mass Effect titles’ track-based environments in order to create larger, open-world maps in Andromeda.

“To bring Mass Effect to more of an open world play style where players are not just moving down a very linear narrative, albeit a very highly polished linear narrative… But also giving players the chance to move in the direction they want to go much more openly, explore where they want to go too, and then the narrative keeps up… that’s been a real big learning point for us.”

Flynn pointed to the introduction of the jet pack in Mass Effect Andromeda as one of the many new gameplay elements that fans can expect as a result of the game’s larger maps. The jetpack, as well as the return of the Mako ground vehicle, are intended to help players navigate through these new open world areas.

Beyond the move to open world design, BioWare doesn’t plan to completely change everything about the Mass Effect series with Andromeda. In addition to gameplay, most of BioWare takes great pride as they also strive to deliver powerful storytelling experiences in gaming. According to Flynn, this will still be the case in Mass Effect Andromeda, but admits that the team is facing new obstacles as the franchise evolves.

The linear maps of the earlier Mass Effect games allowed the developer to help control the narrative, but the new focus on exploration means that plot points could unfold in different orders as fans discover them at different points in the game. Flynn revealed that trying to achieve a balance between storytelling and providing users with more gameplay freedom has definitely been a new challenge for the team behind Mass Effect Andromeda.

“I think one of the great things for us is that we’re learning how to still provide a really special narrative experience – one that is beautiful, and polished, and full of choice and consequence all at the same time as having this experience that is still more self-directed and lets you feel like you’re really in the environment and in the space and truly in control of things.”

Mass Effect Andromeda will have lots of new locations to explore [Image by BioWare]

The push to add open world gameplay to Mass Effect doesn’t come as a complete surprise. The developer had already stated that Andromeda will place a bigger emphasis on exploration than the original Mass Effect titles. In order to give players a sense of exploring, it simply makes sense for the game to feature more open environments. After all, players will be charting an entirely new galaxy in Mass Effect Andromeda while the previous titles mostly took fans to established settlements. As such, exploration simply wasn’t a necessary component of the series until now.

Little is currently known about Mass Effect Andromeda at this time other than that it will introduce an all-new protagonist for the series. As the Inquisitr reported earlier this year while trying to uncover as much information on the game as possible, there are also hints that multiplayer might also once again return with Andromeda. However, BioWare has yet to make an official announcement at this time regarding multiplayer.

Mass Effect Andromeda begins a brand-new story in early 2017 [Image by BioWare]

After a long silence, are you anxious for BioWare to share more details on Mass Effect Andromeda later this year?

[Featured Image by the BioWare Blog]

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