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Mass Effect Andromeda: Everything you need to know

Mass Effect is a trilogy of games created by Bioware, with humanity being on the brink of taken seriously as a galactic race. In 2148, a team of explorers discovered evidence of an ancient civilization on Mars. The technological progress humanity made since its discovery allowed humans to travel to the furthest reaches of space. The original Mass Effect story follows Shepard, who's navigating the SSV. Normandy around the galaxies, becoming the first Human Spectre, and the discovery of the Reapers — a synthetic-organic race of starships. The Reapers were responsible for the creation of The Citadel and the Mass Relays (used to jump across the galaxy) but will come to wipe out all civilizations that have developed intelligence enough to discover them, making for an otherwise sick cycle of space genocide and space-race purging that occurs every hundred thousand years. Yikes!

This over-the-shoulder action RPG is highly regarded among gamers and critics for its characters, choice-directed narrative, and the universe it is set within. There were different playable classes, making it very replayable, and its depth left an open hole once it was finished.

Mass Effect Andromeda is Bioware's return to the Mass Effect universe, set 600 years after the events of Shepard and the Reapers in the original trilogy, and it takes on an entirely new threat. Mass Effect Andromeda is a fresh start for the series and one that is not necessarily the start of a brand new trilogy, either.

Who, what, why, where, and when? We'll tell you everything we know. And don't forget to check out the newest cinematic trailer below!

We are about to drop on you all the information we have Mass Effect Andromeda. If you don't want to know, back out now!

When will Mass Effect Andromeda be released? What platforms will it be on?

It will be released in the US on March 21, 2017, and March 23, 2017, in Europe. It'll be on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. If you're an EA Access Member, you will be able to play the first 10 hours of Mass Effect Andromeda before anyone else starting March 16.

What happened since the last Mass Effect? What is the rough story now?

Given the Reapers obliterated almost all life in the galaxies and destroyed the habitable planets the intelligent life dwelled on, it's safe to say the human race is in bad shape. Where Mass Effect was driven by an already established race with its own intergalactic weight and colonies across vast expanses of space, Mass Effect Andromeda sees a more gentle yet desperate approach to space exploration. 600 years after the events of the first three games, where Shepard is regarded as some kind of legendary hero (how exactly will likely remain unknown until release), Pathfinders are sent into space to find new planets to colonize. Humans are the alien life forms now. The new threat is called "the Kett."

Who is the main character in Mass Effect Andromeda?

The main protagonists are Sara and Scott Ryder, human Pathfinder siblings, one of whom you will play as. Both characters exist within the story, so if you choose to play as Scott (who can be renamed during customization), Sara will join you later in the game.

Who are the squad members in Mass Effect Andromeda?

If you scrutinized the above cinematic trailer, you'd have caught glimpses of some familiar looking characters. There are definitely humans, since Ryder is of the skinned bipedal persuasion of Earth, and another teammate, Liam, is also human. Cora is a Biotic teammate. Previously seen with her helmet on in past trailers, Cora is seen in the trailer above with the shaved head and white jumpsuit. We also see Asari characters, such as Peebee and Krogan, who is used as a one-man army. We also know that we won't be faced with character-killing decisions again, such as the Kaiden/Ashley decision of Mass Effect 1, or the end of Mass Effect 2.

How will it play?

With much more dynamic cover-based shooting and hot-key abilities, as opposed to a radial wheel selection, the action gets ramped up further with the inclusion of a jetpack for a quick evade or the ability to obtain a higher vantage point. The Paragon/Renegade alignments are now replaced with more emotive reactions pertaining to the heart, head, professionalism and so on.

Exploration will play a huge part in your game, with entire planets and their own biomes ripe for you to find. Each planet may have its own hostile enemy species, and there may even be leveled 'mini-bosses' that you may have to come back to when you're ready.

Will there be romance in Mass Effect Andromeda?

If you didn't see the sneaky split-second cut of Ryder locking lips with who looks to be Cora in the trailer above, it's pretty safe to assume Ryder is going to get as up close and personal with the crew as Shepard did. Just keep away from the engine bay, right? Some characters will be up for casual encounters, and others will be after a more long-term commitment. The developers wanted more one-on-one interaction between the Pathfinder and their crew, like we saw with Shepard and Garrus shooting bottles in Mass Effect 3.

How will classes work?

There will still be the three main classes (Biotic, Tech and Combat), but they are now part of a skill tree, enabling you to mix-and-match skills. When enough points have been banked into a certain skill, enhanced profile bonuses will be unlocked.

What are the vehicles in Mass Effect Andromeda?

The Tempest is the spaceship of choice, boasting a lavish interior set with med bays and galleys and all the accouterment we'd expect to find in a long term space-faring vessel. The Tempest is built for speed and stealth, lacking armor or heavy weapons. The Tempest will also be able to scan planets.

The Nomad, the Mako's successor, will be the ATV. It will still have rocket thrusters and boosters, but let's hope she handles less like a suitcase on wheels. The main thing we can look forward to in handling is that the Nomad was created with help from the Need for Speed developers, which should drastically aid with the maneuvering. Unlike the Mako, the Nomad doesn't have weapons.

Will Mass Effect Andromeda have a season pass?

Actually, no. Arryn Flynn confirmed in a tweet that there are no plans for a season pass, making this a rare and interesting deviation from Bioware's previous attempts at locking story-specific characters and events behind downloadable content (DLC). It is also interesting to note that while there are no plans to make a trilogy from the Andromeda world, it may not only be a standalone game ...

Does it have multiplayer?

Mass Effect Andromeda will have a multiplayer mode, which you'll be able to almost seamlessly switch to when playing the game. Multiplayer will use a card-based system to earn credits and XP, and there can also be modifiers to increase or decrease the challenge in relation to the reward.

Mass Effect Andromeda on Project Scorpio?

OK, it's a long shot. But Mac Walters, Mass Effect Andromeda's creative director recently gave an interview with Official Xbox Magazine, during which he suggested there may be a possibility for a Project Scorpio release.

"Given our Spring release date, I'm not sure exactly what we're going to be able to support at that time, but we have a strong service plan for ME that will continue past our release date," Walters said. "[I]f we do a Game of the Year edition, or a future edition or something like that, that's something we'd definitely consider looking at."

Did we miss anything? Are you really excited for the new Mass Effect? Let us know in the comments.

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Lauren Relph is a games writer, focusing on Xbox. She doesn't like piña coladas but loves getting caught in the rain. Follow her on Twitter!

28 Comments
  • All I need to know: I didn't like Mass Effect ​before, not goign to start magically liking it now. I'm prety disappointed in 2017's third-party lineup as a whole, actually. The only things that have my attention now are published by Sony (Horizon, MLB) and Square Enix (Kingdom Hearts​ remasters). In fact, I can't remember the last time EA got me excited for anything...maybe NFS Carbon. I'm really hoping we have some unexpected releases at the end of the year announced at E3 (like F4 did a couple of years back).
  • Honestly, what's the point of even commenting then? You didn't like the game, so move a long. 
  • You didn't like my comment, yet you bothered commenting. I pointed out a dearth in games I hope gets better. You just said "shut up and go away." If anyone needs a "what's the point of even commenting?" it's you.
  • Actually if you want to get down to it, you're comment was nothing but opinion, one that really was off topic as it was about games that aren't part of the article. Mine made a valid point, though a short and blunt one.
  • To be fair - @Axmantim he did just read an entire article on a game he has zero interest in. Pretty sure he did himself an injustice there.  
  • My god this trilogy is the best trilogy I've ever played. You really get to love those charaters and develop feelings for then. This is hands down the best trilogy
  • I don't know what I'd call the best "trilogy" I've played. This wont' even be a true trilogy in another few months. Not a lot of franchises lasted exactly 3 games. That said, I couldn't get into the characters or story when the game controlled so badly. After playing Gears of War​, it was like playing with an incredibly loose joystick, controlling a character drunkenly stumbling through mud.
  • Sorry, the Mass Effect trilogy will always be a trilogy. This game lies separate. Your ignorance demonstrates quite clearly why it was pointless for you to comment here. In contrast to your beliefs, the internet is not crying out for your input on every passing article.
  • Nor was I calling for the Internet's opinion for me to post. So, might as well not be civil anymore, if civil disagreement gets useless trolls like you. ​Mass Effect​ has horrendous controls and played so badly I couldn't get through one game. I have made it through terrible CoD campaigns just fine, but ME played just so badly I couldn't do it. The only other games to drive me off so quickly were ​Oblivion and the first Dark Souls.
  • I wouldn 't compare it to gears... It's more like star wars kotor... Really more fun to play it as turned based live action RPG if you expected a shooter i can understand your disappointment since it really never was meant to be a pure shooter anyway
  • I didn't like Mass Effect ​before
    You must burn on all the levels of the Hell... How didn't you like THIS GAME? Ok, you're the first person I met who doesn't like ME... 
  • This is actually only the second game that I've been excited enough to preorder.
  • What was the first one? No Mans Sky?
  • i like it when they dont allow you to mix skills, gives the classes their own uniqueness and makes it more strategic in picking your team. but all and all freaking game looks amazing!!  
  • I agree, though I hate if they pair it with class-specific Achievements. Forcing multiple playthroughs is lame.
  • I'm a little confused First of all - thank you author for this write up. I haven't been following ME:Andromeda to understand the plot. I did however finish all 3 mass effect games. Fond memories of summer college nights tackling this game in the living room, when my roommate wasn't in town.   Now my confusion... you mention that the state of the world is as if the Reapers destroyed all life. If I remember correctly, we were given 3 endings. I chose the utilitarian ending of merging Reaper and organics. So you're saying the canon ending is the destruction ending? That sucks haha Also you state that they destroyed life across all galaxies. Really? i thought the setting of the game and target of the Reapers' destruction was the Milky Way... not ALL galaxies (aka the universe). is that in error or did I misunderstand that plot point from the games?     thanks!
  • The Andromeda mission leaves the Milky Way before ME3. Your choice won't affect Andromeda.
  • Wasnt the whole point of the reapers to 'cleanse' the environments with the current established lifeforms allowing other species to grow/evolve and establish themselves as a dominant species?? Alsmost a reset button once species were too advanced.  
  • Easily my favorite trilogy of all time - if not one of the best of all time.  There aren't a lot of games where I can safely say that 1-3 were amazing.  I'm keeping my hype levels down for this, although I'm definitely looking forward to playing it. 
  • Thanks for the heads up. Now I'll just wait for the "Scorpio Edition".😉
  • Looks solid game
  • Wait not a trilogy.... A one shot game like ME from EA??? Either It's gonna suck with a short story which ME can't be good with or it will be a trilogy (granted it does good selling number) cause I don't see EA doing a long game a la oblivion especially without season pass/DLC... I love ME hopefully they won't fick it up
  • Just not screaming pre order to me. I really liked the first trilogy. But this protagonist seems punkish to me. The voice is lame, (I hope that is not the final voice), and the persona is weak (dont need an army,I've got a Krogan). How passive aggressive! I hope humanity doesn't rely on this zit buster. Also, seems like Bioware is a scalling back consequences: play all skills during game and redistribute at will? No NPC life or death decisions? I'll wait for the reviews and maybe for all fix patches too.           
  • I loved 1 and 3. So far the trailers are showing twitch combat. I am hoping there is a way to play it more strategically. Looks beautiful, but I will wait for some reviews.
  • The ship looks like a gtx 1080
  • The reapers wiped out all life every 50 thousand years not 100 thousand years and I'm saying regarded as a hero for destroying the collecter and saran as it's set after the events of me2 and before me3 now that that's correct I'm going to move onto my view of andromeda. So I'm really liking the look of andromeda my only worry is because there's a new team on working on it from previous games will it turn out to be another case of dragon age 2 I hope not but we'll see as I'll still play it either way as I'm a really big fan of mass effect I'm just hoping it still is what mass effect has been all about with some added extras.
  • What Shepard did in ME2 isn't exactly public knowledge so Shepard is the hero who saved the Citadel from "a Geth attack".
  • The entire what happened since the last game section is wrong, it's also irrelevant...
    Given the Reapers obliterated almost all life in the galaxies and destroyed the habitable planets the intelligent life dwelled on, it's safe to say the human race is in bad shape.
    The obliderate, or "harvest", that have developed far enough technologically. They do not destroy habitable planets.
    Where Mass Effect was driven by an already established race with its own intergalactic weight and colonies across vast expanses of space
    We still focus on mankind and the core species that were around in the previous games, just in a new galaxy and with new species around as well.
    600 years after the events of the first three games, where Shepard is regarded as some kind of legendary hero (how exactly will likely remain unknown until release), Pathfinders are sent into space to find new planets to colonize.
    Nope... The trip to Andromdea start somwhere between Mass Effect 2 and 3, it takes them 600 years to get there and they speend it in cryosleep. Shepard is the hero who saved the citadel from the "geth attack" and thats about it. They left before the reaper invasion and should know nothing about it or how it ended. That's pretty much the point of Andromda, a new Mass Effect game without having to deal with all the past choices of players or setting a canon story