- A former BioWare developer suggests that Mass Effect: Andromeda should have focused on its multiplayer element instead of being a single-player RPG, as the multiplayer from Mass Effect 3 was fairly popular with fans.
- The development of Mass Effect: Andromeda faced numerous challenges, including being developed by a different team and switching game engines, resulting in a launch with many bugs and glitches that disappointed fans.
- The developer believes that focusing on multiplayer for Andromeda could have made the game more successful, even though fans have mixed opinions on the series’ multiplayer component.
A former BioWare developer thinks 2017’s Mass Effect: Andromeda should have been a purely multiplayer title rather than another single-player RPG. While 2012’s Mass Effect 3 marked the final chapter of Commander Shepard’s quest to save the Milky Way from the Reapers, BioWare continued its successful sci-fi series with Andromeda, a sequel/spin-off taking place in another galaxy and starring a new assortment of playable characters and squadmates. Andromeda embraced a wider open-world format that put a further emphasis on exploration, even as it maintained the branching narratives and moral dialogue choices of the previous Mass Effect games.
Mass Effect: Andromeda suffered from many issues during its production, including being developed by a different BioWare team based in Montreal and switching from Unreal Engine 3 to Frostbite 3, which required all of the game’s assets to be rebuilt from scratch and led to it launching with countless bug, glitches, and questionable facial animations. While many of these problems were later corrected through update patches, the divisive first showing, coupled with a plot that fans felt was inferior to the original Mass Effect trilogy, resulted in disappointing sales that put the series in stasis for years until the announcement of Mass Effect 4 in late 2020.
Former BioWare General Manager Aaryn Flynn, who departed from the developer shortly after Mass Effect: Andromeda was released in 2017, recently sat down for an interview in the latest issue of EDGE magazine to reflect on his 17-year-long tenure, which spanned the development of several Mass Effect and Dragon Age titles. When discussing Mass Effect: Andromeda, he admitted that BioWare was trying to do too much with the game and said that it would have been better off focusing on the multiplayer element it inherited from Mass Effect 3.
According to him, Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer was popular enough with a subset of the game’s community and would have been ripe for a standalone gameplay experience. Flynn believes that if BioWare committed Mass Effect: Andromeda’s resources toward fleshing out its multiplayer instead of making another massive single-player RPG, the game would have been more successful. He adds that publisher EA was in a period of transition during Andromeda’s development, and BioWare’s commitment to the game strained the studio and negatively impacted Dragon Age: Inquisition, which was also in development at the time.
Whether fans would have embraced the standalone multiplayer game Aaryn Flynn thinks Mass Effect: Andromeda should have been isn’t certain, as Mass Effect 3’s online component was divisive among fans and was left out of Mass Effect Legendary Edition due to BioWare deciding that restoring it wasn’t worth the effort. Still, the co-op and survival-based gameplay modes have their own devoted following, and perhaps a game dedicated to them might have performed better than the Mass Effect: Andromeda players did get.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.