How Mass Effect: Andromeda (opens in new tab) plays has long been a mystery. So far, we've seen a few short cinematic trailers (including a new one today (opens in new tab)), some tiny snippets of shooting, and a bit of platforming in a pretty (empty) space (opens in new tab) during Sony's PS4 Pro reveal. But the folks at Game Informer have started to drip feed details of the overall quest structure (opens in new tab) in the lead-up to their cover story.
The biggest reveal is how companion loyalty missions work. Whereas in Mass Effect 2, they were a necessary part of the overall plot and impacted the ending, they're "much more optional" in Mass Effect: Andromeda—and the kicker? You can complete them after the critical path is done.
Creative Director Mac Walters reinforced the idea of detaching the companion narratives from the main story, saying, "As a writer, one of the things I loved was the freedom to say ‘I know this character is coming along,’ so they can carry a lot of the narrative. That made my job easier, but it also made it more fun, because I could tell a more specific story in one of those missions.”
Personally, I'm into the idea of playing a series of far space vignettes as opposed to character episodes that are obligated to tie into whatever space opera lies at the center of Mass Effect this time around. As the folks at Game Informer say, the philosophy allows for more experimentation in terms of writing and gameplay. The more variety, the merrier, if you ask me.
A few more details are touched on in the story, citing a "a wide array of side content that players can choose to pursue—including various exploration activities and a mystery surrounding the Ryder family," but that side content could be anything. Let's hope it doesn't do as Dragon Age: Inquisition did and pepper the world with empty collectibles.
More details are sure to spill out in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back in for more on Mass Effect: Andromeda.