Bioware’s upcoming expansion to one of its flagship series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, will drop the classic Renegade/Paragon conversation options so crucial to the development of characters in previous Mass Effect games.
It is a reasonable decision. The binary choice system lent itself to players having extremely limited options when it came to character development over the story of the game. Players basically had the option to be a complete jerk to everyone and everything they came across to be as much of a Renegade as possible (including killing monkeys) or else being a shining bastion of virtue in every situation, even when you really want to shoot someone for their despicable crimes.
Bioware intends for Mass Effect: Andromeda to be its own game, rather than following in the footsteps of its predecessors. Mac Walters, the creative director for Andromeda, told GamesRadar the do-away was “because they felt very Shepard–they were very tied to the Shepard character, so they didn’t really make sense if we weren’t going to have Shepard as our main protagonist…. What we have now is based more around agreeing and disagreeing. The reason I like that is because in the trilogy it’s like, ‘I’m gonna play Paragon,’ and then you know which way you’re moving the stick on every conversation. You don’t have to think about it, because you’re just going to hit Paragon every time.”
The new system sounds intriguing. Instead of a purely binary choice system, the basis of the role-play elements focuses around agreeing/disagreeing with interactions. Walters explained more about the new Mass Effect interaction system. “With agree and disagree it changes by the circumstance and it changes by the character you’re talking to, so you have to actually be more engaged in what’s going on, to know if you’re going to do that,” reports GamesRadar.
No doubt many players will appreciate the more in-depth options. Instead of knowing exactly what option to choose, reading through the options will have a much more impactful sense as to what the player’s character would actually do in the situation. In previous Mass Effect games, many players have commented that they had no need to read the actual dialogue many times because they simply knew which option was going to be best for their Paragon/Renegade alignment intent. Of course, not everyone necessarily played that way, but if there was ever any confusion over which option was morally correct (based on your character), it was fairly simple to figure out the choice benefiting the chosen alignment.
The new system will have a few binary choices (as not all interactions can feature subtlety), but Bioware has indicated the majority of speech interactions will have four interactions based on an agree/disagree system. The goal is to get back to more of a traditional role-playing experience, giving Andromeda players a better chance to nuance their characters rather than go all out heroic villain or heroic hero.
The trailers for Mass Effect: Andromeda have primarily focused on the exploration and combat of the new galaxy, which should surprise nobody as these are the things that make for the best short videos. The background, history, and little details the Mass Effect games contain may be great for fans of the series, but blazing guns and awe-inspiring landscapes tend to bring in new players much faster than a detailed history of race relations, war records, and all the other tiny little details that have endeared the Mass Effect series to its players.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is expected to release on March 21 in North America and March 23 in Europe.
So what are your thoughts on the new dialogue system for Bioware’s upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Mass Effect: Andromeda/Bioware]