Although developer BioWare has made a name for itself on the back of class-based RPG experiences, its latest title, Mass Effect: Andromeda, will be doing away with that structured setup. Instead, Andromeda players will have the freedom to choose any abilities or loadouts they wish, and there will be no classes in the new Mass Effect.
News of the flexible skill system comes by way of Game Informer’s cover story, which is highlighting tons of features in Mass Effect: Andromeda. Thus far Mass Effect fans have seen a brief glimpse of the biotic abilities, taken a closer look at the new Mako vehicle called the Nomad, and watched a cinematic trailer filled with clues about the next entry in the popular sci-fi series. However, BioWare has shied away from addressing gameplay changes and improvements, choosing only to speak in vague details rather than concrete specifics.
The same is true for this skill system, which BioWare says will feature multiple progression trees. But unlike past games, according to the Mass Effect: Andromeda developers, players will have the freedom to choose skills from any of those trees, customizing their version of Ryder how they see fit.
In prior Mass Effect games players were locked to specific classes, meaning if they wanted Commander Shepard to have an ability (or sometimes even a weapon) then they needed to choose that class. Unfortunately, going down one pathway meant closing that version of Shepard off from other abilities.
On the surface, the idea of picking a class does encourage multiple playthroughs, but it is also very limiting. And for a game series that is all about freedom of choice and flexibility in those choices, the idea of eliminating the class system should resonate with fans. It also means that one player’s version of the Ryder sibling can be distinctly different from another player’s version.
What’s unclear, though, is whether the progression tree will be structured in a way that players will eventually follow a specific path if they are fans of specific skills. Many games tout flexibility with their skill progression, but typically those games have set pathways most players follow. There are abilities that become must-haves and so players choose to go after those skills first and foremost.
Of course, without much of a clue as to what the abilities and loadouts players will have to choose from in Mass Effect: Andromeda it’s hard to say just how structured or freeform the progression really will be. Nonetheless, BioWare has set the table for a game that expands on its predecessors in some smart ways.
Mass Effect: Andromeda releases spring 2017 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Game Informer