No more updates are coming for Mass Effect: Andromeda, and that’s a shame
BioWare announced on Saturday that Mass Effect: Andromeda will not be receiving any further single-player content updates, and that no further story updates are planned. All plans for upcoming downloadable content have been cancelled. The developer confirmed that it will continue to support the game’s multiplayer modes, including adding new multiplayer missions and character kits. The most recent patch focused on multiplayer, fixing some issues with the game’s cooperative mode.
How EA and Star Wars (may have) killed Mass Effect
Mass Effect: Andromeda released in late March, and the prevailing theory is that EA, which owns BioWare, pressured the developer to release the game before it was ready in order to shore up EA’s second-quarter profit projections. At launch it was plain to see Andromeda could have used some more time in the oven, and players were annoyed by crashes and quick to point out the flaws in the game’s facial animations. While patches helped to smooth these issues out, the damage had been done. It’s become clear EA doesn’t seem especially interested in maintaining the Mass Effect brand as the flagship, AAA franchise it once was.
Another theory states that EA became less interested in maintaining Mass Effect’s popularity after the publisher secured exclusive rights to make games set in the Star Wars universe in 2013. Even though Mass Effect and Star Wars don’t have much in common, it’s easy to see how the populist, flashy space battles in Star Wars are easier to sell than the dialogue-heavy gameplay of Mass Effect. Andromeda was announced in 2015, but most likely started development just after the original Mass Effect trilogy concluded in 2012.
It also seems as though EA and BioWare have been putting more resources towards Anthem, the upcoming multiplayer shooter that takes a page from Activision’s Destiny. The E3 demo we saw featured impressively rendered terrain, fast, exciting firefights, and notably more realistic facial animations than Andromeda launched with. It’s a big departure from the slower-paced role-playing games BioWare is known for and, with no disrespect meant to the developers of Andromeda, it’s reasonable to speculate that the studio’s top talent may have been assigned to this new property rather than attempting to repair the damage done to an older franchise.
Last generation’s Mass Effect trilogy told a complete story, following Commander Shepard as he or she became a SPECTRE agent, ultimately saving the galaxy from the Reaper threat. Andromeda was intended to kick off a new trilogy, but EA appears to be cutting its (self-inflicted) losses and shelving Mass Effect for the time being. It seems the hanging threads of Andromeda’s stories will have to be told through alternate media, and BioWare’s post says “we will continue to tell stories in the Andromeda Galaxy through our upcoming comics and novels, including the fate of the Quarian ark.” It’s disappointing to hear, but better than nothing.
For more on the lack of updates for Andromeda, read our take on how more single-player content could have saved the game.