To say that expectations were high from 2017’s Mass Effect: Andromeda in the lead-up to its launch would be an understatement, but at the same time, it would be an understatement to say that it failed to live up to those expectations. The open world RPG was met with lukewarm reception from critics and players at best, with the game’s technical issues and bloated size being among several of its biggest issues to be on the end of widespread criticism.
Andromeda, unsurprisingly, failed to sell the way EA had hoped it would, and shortly after its release, it was announced that the series had been put on ice, and that plans for the game’s post-launch DLC had been cancelled. A sequel, which was very much being set up throughout Andromeda’s story, also never came to fruition- though former BioWare veteran Mac Walters, who directed the game game, still wishes the studio had got the chance to develop a direct sequel.
Speaking in a recent interview with Eurogamer, Walters – who left BioWare earlier this year – talked about how the development team was focused more on quantity of content than quality, and ended up compromising on polish as a result.
“There were just a lot of things that we had to relearn, re-figure out, and ultimately when you do that, it’s very, very challenging to come out and be as polished as your third iteration was, and we didn’t hit that,” he said. “And we probably should have – in hindsight – just reduced scope more and executed on what we could to [ensure] quality.
“But we were also in a weird phase in the industry where a lot of people were saying quantity was quality, so we were deluding ourselves internally a little bit that if it’s maybe not as polished as [Mass Effect 3], it’s fine – it’s bigger and there’s more here, and there’s more to do. And we hit a point where people were like, ‘No, that isn’t okay.’ But, at least, ‘It isn’t okay for your franchise’. And that’s fine, that’s a lesson learned.”
However, Walters believe that if BioWare had been able to make a direct sequel, the developer would have applied significantly greater levels of polish to the title, just as it did over the course of the original Mass Effect trilogy.
“I only wish we had been able to then do a second one, because then you would have really seen that polish just like we did from [ME1] to [ME2] on the original [trilogy],” Walters said.
Later, he added: “Certainly, had we shipped an Andromeda 2I am a hundred percent certain we would have improved on all the things that people called out and then also been about to lean into the innovative things that we were trying to do as well.”
Of course, BioWare is currently at work on a new Mass Effect games, which was first confirmed to be in the works in December 2020, and received a mysterious new teaser in November of last year. Very little is known about the game, but even though it’s unlikely to be a direct sequel to AndromedaBioWare has hinted a couple of times that it could still pick up unresolved narrative threads from the 2017’s RPG story and continue building on them.
A couple of years ago, former BioWare writers Chris Helper and Jo Berry also spoke about Mass Effect: Andromeda’s development, and how the studio had to severely cut down on the game’s scope due to budget restrictions. Read more on that through here.