If you like to go into a video game fresh, then it's time to start thinking about a Mass Effect: Andromeda blackout. BioWare just released the first trailer for its latest game, but spoilers and leaks are already spreading like wildfire online.
Following yesterday's reveal of the first cinematic trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda, substantive details about the game are finally breaking. In large part, that's thanks to Game Informer's December cover story.
Mass Effect: Andromeda plot gets spoiled
The NeoGAF gaming community has been rounding up the information from Game Informer's December cover story on Mass Effect: Andromeda. It is a veritable flood of data.
We now know for sure that the story for Mass Effect: Andromeda begins after the original Mass Effect, but before Mass Effect 2 and 3. We know our heroes are on a 600-year voyage to the Andromeda galaxy. This confirms that the heroes of Mass Effect: Andromeda will have no idea that the Reapers — the villains of the original Mass Effect trilogy — have declared war on the Milky Way.
The Andromeda initiative is an attempt to colonize another galaxy. You will play as the son or daughter of Alec Ryder, the Pathfinder in charge of the human colony ship called the Hyperion. The role of the Pathfinder is passed down to you from your father, presumably after something bad happens to Ryder.
The Hyperion is not the ship in which you'll be traveling around the Andromeda galaxy. You will instead fly a smaller spacecraft called the Tempest, which looks an awful lot like the Normandy from the original Mass Effect series.
According to Game Informer, there will be more relationships between the player and characters in the game than in any other game that BioWare has released to date. Sex will also no longer be limited to the end result of a prolonged courtship. Sometimes your crew members will just want to clear the pipes, apparently.
We now know that Turians, one of the major alien species of the Milky Way galaxy in the Mass Effect universe, will be in Mass Effect: Andromeda. We hadn't seen any Turians in any of the trailers or teasers before this reveal.
You'll be fighting an alien race called the Kett. According to Game Informer, the Kett are not going to be maniacally evil villains. In fact, BioWare wants players to empathize with the Kett, which could potentially make for some interesting narrative content.
Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay: say goodbye to the morality system
BioWare is famous for its role-playing games that essentially cast players as the main character in epic, well-told stories. In particular, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series have developed huge, dedicated followings of players who become very invested in their characters.
One of the chief ways you create and portray a role in a BioWare game is by making good, neutral or evil choices as part of a morality system. As your character becomes progressively more "good" or darkly "evil," your behavior has ramifications that can change the way other characters relate to you and what content you see in the game.
In Mass Effect, this morality system is called the Paragon/Renegade system. It was a central facet of the original trilogy — and it's entirely absent from Mass Effect: Andromeda.
This is a massive change for the series. Instead, according to Game Informer, BioWare wants morality choices in Mass Effect: Andromeda to be more subtle. The developer also does not want to trap players in unintended consequences when they make choices.
Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay: Character class are gone, too
An even more surprising change in store for longtime series fans in Mass Effect: Andromeda, however, is the absence of character classes — a mainstay not only in Mass Effect games, but in RPGs, period.
Rather than powers and abilities being split up between different character classes, players in Mass Effect: Andromeda will have access to a much wider range of options from the get-go. You will also have the option to specialize in a particular combat style later on.
Make sure you check out the Game Informer story for further details on how combat and planetary exploration work in Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game is currently scheduled for a March 2017 release. It will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Mass Effect: Andromeda has also been touted by Sony as one of the earliest, new games to make use of the enhanced graphics made possible by the PlayStation 4 Pro. We bet it's also going to look great on Microsoft's Project Scorpio console once it launches.