BioWare said last year that Mass Effect: Andromeda will not make use of the Paragon/Renegade morality system that underpinned Commander Shepard's galaxy-saving chit chat in the original trilogy. In fact, that connection to Shepard, as creative director Mac Walters told Official Xbox Magazine (via GamesRadar) is why the old system was removed.
"The reason [Paragon/Renegade] are gone is 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 protagonist," Walters said. "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."
"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," he added.
Andromeda players will be able to select one of four "tones" in conversations with characters, Walters explained, which "basically allow other types of characters to express them[selves] in one of four different ways, and sometimes one of two different ways," he said. "And I think that gets back to that more traditional role-playing sort of feeling which is less about, 'Do I want to be good or bad,' and more about, 'How do I want to express myself?'"
I'm not sure I agree with Walters' assessment of the Renegade/Paragon dichotomy—I played the original trilogy almost perfectly straight Paragon, but I definitely thought about it, and simply decided that there was no need to be a dick just because the galaxy was on fire—but the promise of more nuanced role-playing is certainly appealing. And if you want to hold on to your Renegade ways, you can always just shoot first and ask questions later.
Mass Effect: Andromeda comes out on March 21 in North America, and March 23 in Europe.