Mass Effect: Andromeda

One of the things that BioWare really spearheaded during seventh gen is in-game relationships between characters. It was something that was prominent in the original Mass Effect trilogy. However, BioWare has recognized the flaws and they're going for something more realistic in Mass Effect: Andromeda by offering more relationship types and more variety for players.

In a recent report by Polygon, creative director Mac Walters talked about how they were changing up what they had originally built in the first three Mass Effect games, an advancement on the original romance paradigm they introduced in the Baldur's Gate series years prior. According to Walters, they wanted to remove the formulaic process and integrate something more organic, saying...

For me, typically in the trilogy it was a bit formulaic. You'd talk to them and then get to that one point in the game where there was no going and back and romance was going to happen. That's not real life. There should be some people who just want to hop in the sack immediately. There should people who are interested in a long-term relationship. There are people who aren't interested in romance at all.

This was literally one of the core criticisms that most fans had of Mass Effect. Even in my own games you could almost see it coming with the way the choices were going with some characters. It was a little like "Wait, no! Don't have space sex...yet!"

The other problem was that staving off those romances meant dampening the overall relationship with the character. Nuance and variance wasn't really the order of the day, so you had the choice of either romancing someone or rejecting them altogether, which sometimes had dire consequences for crew mates in the first two Mass Effect games.

Things were a little bit different with Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and Jade Empire. The former didn't really force players into the romance/rejection route and it was a lot more subtle even though the romance option(s) were present. In the case of Jade Empire you didn't have quite as many party members so there was more of a build-up over the course of the entire journey, so the romance was handled slower and more methodical through the choices that players were presented with.

Given the multiple romance options in Mass Effect, it meant that things had to move a bit quicker and basically any time you said nice things to the person it instantly moved you closer to romance. For Mass Effect: Andromeda they want different characters to have different responses, allowing players to hop into the space sack early or engage in more foreplay leading up to the big moment later on. According to Walters, some characters may not even be interested in romance. Options is the name of the game.

They also wanted to focus more on friendships as well... so not every relationship you establish has to be about romance and bed-mating. They cite Garrus from Mass Effect 3, saying that some moments were just about establishing a friendly bond and they do want that sort of element to be present with some of the characters in Mass Effect: Andromeda. This way you don't have to worry about always saying nice things and then eventually you choose one last nice thing to say and mistakenly end up having inter-species relations with someone you only wanted to be friends with.

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