Mass Effect 4 Leak Suggests Game is Ditching Andromeda Feature


  • According to a new rumor, Mass Effect 4 will ditch the open-world elements of Mass Effect: Andromeda, potentially returning to the franchise’s classic format.
  • The decision to move away from open-world gameplay may help BioWare handle the massive scope of the upcoming RPG, which may involve a dual-galaxy approach.

Mass Effect 4 will ditch the open-world elements of Mass Effect: Andromeda, according to a newly emerged leak. Even though the last installment in the franchise wasn’t an entirely free-roaming experience, many fans still criticized Mass Effect: Andromeda as an example of semi-open-world games that would have been better if they were more linear.

While Andromeda marked the lowest point of the series in terms of critical and fan reception, BioWare still pledged to start developing its fifth entry, tentatively dubbed Mass Effect 4, in 2020. The company shared quite a bit of Mass Effect 4 teasers since then, but the upcoming RPG has yet to be treated to a gameplay reveal, so it is still unclear how far along its development actually progressed.

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Whatever the current state of the project is, the game itself might not double down on the open-world elements from Andromeda, according to Windows Central’s Jez Corden. Speaking during the latest episode of The Xbox Two Podcast, Corden relayed a rumor that the next Mass Effect title will ditch the polarizing Andromeda feature in favor of returning to the franchise’s “classic format.”

As a reminder, the original Mass Effect trilogy mostly consisted of hub areas connected to linear corridors, allowing players to choose the order in which to undertake missions. The action segments themselves were largely linear, but with a healthy dose of hidden areas that still rewarded exploration, with the end result being a handcrafted universe full of memorable set pieces that appeared larger than it actually is. In contrast, Andromeda adopted the semi-open-world design of Dragon Age: Inquisition, which released three years earlier. The game hence spanned a handful of fairly vast regions filled with quests and points of interest, which received a lukewarm response from the fandom.

Ditching that design philosophy in favor of the classic format would plausibly help BioWare tackle the seemingly massive scope of the next entry in the franchise. Namely, while the past four titles each took place in a single star system, the developer previously teased that Mass Effect 4 will have a dual-galaxy approach.

Making an open-world space-faring RPG spanning dozens of galaxies and thousands of planets is nowadays very much within the realm of possibility with procedural generation, as demonstrated by the recently released Starfield. However, the Mass Effect series largely owes its cult following to the exact opposite of that approach, as do most of BioWare’s other greatest hits. Open-world titles also tend to be among the most demanding types of AAA games to develop, which currently makes such projects a challenging fit for the Canadian studio, not least because BioWare was just hit with some significant layoffs.

Mass Effect 4 is in development.

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