Over three years ago now, I was getting super pumped for the third and final installment of the Mass Effect trilogy. I’d managed to convince my mum to give me the day off school (as any self-respecting 17-year-old would’ve attempted in my position) and, after getting my hands on a shiny, glorious N7 edition Xbox 360 copy, I spent the next 16 hours dividing my time between playing and texting a friend of mine who sadly was not able to take time off to save the galaxy from the Reapers.
It went without saying that I absolutely loved it. It felt epic in scope, I made huge galaxy-changing decisions in terms of what to do about the Krogan genophage, and the long-lasting conflict between the Quarians and the Geth came to a close by my hand, for good or for ill. I continued my awkward-but-terribly-endearing romance with Garrus Vakarian from the second game. And, finally, the rivalry with the Illusive Man, the secondary antagonist of the series, came to a head, and was given a gruelling ending. But on the topic of endings, I’ll admit to being disappointed – and mildly confused – by ME3’s infamous ending.
Said confusion was alleviated somewhat by an Extended Cut DLC that explained the convoluted ending somewhat, but still, the damage was done. The controversy has since died down, but many fans have since abandoned Bioware, and with Mass Effect’s newest installment on the horizon (not a direct sequel, as the previous trilogy’s protagonist Commander Shepard will not be returning) it’s got me thinking about how Bioware could potentially win back some fans to the series who would, inevitably, be drawn back by the allure of another expanding, epic adventure in a revamped galaxy.
A more apt term would probably be “species selection”, but you get the idea. In addition to more customisation, it would be fun for the team who developed Mass Effect to implement a small selection of alien species you could potentially play, in addition to humans, for some variety and added replay-ability, and to separate itself further from Commander Shepard, to let the new protagonist stand on their own two feet.
Asari, Turian, Drell, Quarian, as well as any new additions Andromeda plans on making in its efforts to expand, would all be welcome options. Sadly, this idea is killed in the spaceship-shaped crib (say that ten times really fast) when Bioware confirmed that the protagonist for Andromeda would be a human, but it’s story-relevant, as we’re playing somebody who is scouting out new worlds for human settlements. Ah, well. The dream lives on. Maybe in multiplayer, or another sequel?
Paragon… Renegade… Paragade? Renegon?
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I would love for them to implement a less linear “alignment” system in Andromeda. As much as I loved rolling a Renegade basically every time I played, and some of the “interrupts” will forever go down as my favourite moments in video game history, I would love for them to take a leaf out of Dragon Age Inquisition’s book, and include additional potential personalities, or at least more varied dialogue options.
To me, people would take a look at “Paragon” and “Renegade”, note the blue and red colours to match these terms respectively, and automatically conclude that Paragon = good guy, Renegade = bad guy. Personally I would’ve referred to them as “Goody Two Shoes” and “Cool Han Solo-esque Anti-Hero,” but that might’ve seemed biased.
More dialogue options and more personalities, like race selection, would add a lot of replay-ability to the game, and that’s hardly a bad thing.
Time travel/alternate universes
This is another one that a few people in the fandom are a bit divided about. While the potential for time travel and paradoxes could get messy, I would love to see Bioware attempt at least a side quest with this as the main focus. There’s so much untapped potential in the universe, especially when you compare it to the likes of Star Trek, which has literally boldly gone where nobody has gone before (cough) in terms of this sort of stuff, it would be interesting to see how it’s included and how much impact it could potentially have.
There are rumours circulating various fan forums suggesting that the universe Andromeda takes place in is a separate timeline of some sort, so maybe this wish isn’t so farfetched after all?
A better Mako
Anyone who has played the first game understands all too well the struggles of trying to get that godawful machine to stay on course and turn properly and actually *shoot* the target you’re aiming at. And oh, the fragility of it. It’s nowhere near as “paper plane” tier as the Hammerhead in the DLC for ME2, but it was still pretty terrible.
If you haven’t played the first game, the Mako was essentially your player-controlled method of transportation while exploring worlds for loot and fulfilling side quests. And its implementation, while in theory a good, efficient idea, could only be described as stiff, clunky and awkward at best.
Thankfully, if Andromeda’s trailer is anything to go by, we’re getting a decent, overhauled version of the Mako, with customization to boot. Sign me up!
This was introduced to an extent in the original trilogy and was fleshed out more in the final installment, and RPGs that’ve come out since have expanded on this tremendously, spoiling players with various options in terms of crafting a unique style of weaponry or armour.
Taking a leaf from Fallout 4’s tattered book, it would be awesome to see Bioware give players an assortment of options to choose from in terms of these two super important aspects of a modern RPG experience.
Creating mods for weapons and upgrading your gear as you level would be a good way to feel like that armour you got in a certain difficult side quest wouldn’t become completely redundant after finding more loot.
While we’re at it, it’d be great to see companion customization return and be expanded upon as well. Perhaps that upgraded armour set can be given to another squad mate once you find new gear, and so on.
No red, blue or green endings this time