Mass Effect Andromeda: Bioware Dev Teasing Natural Connection of Environments

Good level design is harder than you’d think, Bioware is discovering.

Posted By | On 11th, Oct. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

Mass Effect Andromeda

You can say a lot of good things about Bioware’s Mass Effect games, but praising the level design doesn’t usually make that list. Mass Effect games have had trivialized and banal level design in each entry, and the issue has only gotten worse with each subsequent entry in the franchise. This is something that Bioware is looking to change in the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda, at least if Bioware’s level & tech designer Jos Hendriks is to be believed.

“I have found that it’s actually pretty handy to try and draw out a mission in top-down rough layout sketch to break down story beats,” Hendricks said on his Twitter, tagging this, and all subsequent tweets with the hashtag #space, possibly to indicate the space setting of Mass Effect Andromeda- or to indicate the growing awareness of natural space and how it organically and spatially flows together in Andromeda, perhaps?

“Not only does it help me actively visualize what spaces the player will be going through, but also everyone working with me,” he continued. “What if you need to be in a type A environment for scene 1 to work, but scene 2 requires a different kind of space? How do you connect them? What kind of location is it? Does that dictate the general shape of how layouts work? (yes it does) Does the space connect naturally? The connective tissue of a mission or level is almost just as important as the “setpiece” moments and scenes. It needs to be convincing.

“That is also to say, I spent my day today poring over mission notes, and constructing a layout on a whiteboard to put it together,” Hendricks continued. “And now that layout is a picture in an email shared with all the people working on the mission, and we can use it as a point of reference. Because my artist needs to get a cool moment to really make something awesome, and the writing needs to be supported, and cinematics.”

Mass Effect: Andromeda is due out on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC some time next year. We don’t yet know a lot about the game, and apart from one pre-rendered concept trailer last E3, we haven’t seen a lot of it yet either.

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  • Liam Argent

    “Mass Effect games have had trivialized and banal level design in each entry, and the issue has only gotten worse with each subsequent entry in the franchise.”
    Please stop editorialising your news, that is an opinion, not fact. Myself and others would believe the opposite!

  • Rui

    Aside from the excellent Feros/Noveria/Virmire/Ilos/Citadel levels in Mass Effect 1…the rest of the game just falls flat. Each sidequest features the EXACT underground bases and 2 story building and EXACT MINE in explorable planets and the SAME ship in space all over again in the same repetetive side missions. The planet exploration was great(I have no problems with the Mako) and did feature different (but barren) environments though the recycled indoor spaces and exploration missions were a turn off and could have been executed better.

    Turian Insignas, Matriarch’s Teachings, League of One Medallion, and Metals Survey mining had no immediate benefit/reward except for Xp or Credits(Overflowing at the end) whatsoever or impact to the game at all…just a check. Heck the Metal Survey thing should at least garner some special reward in form of equipment from the Alliance and should have had impact on War Assets in ME3 but you don’t even get a thank you from Hackett for securing future resources for the damn Fleet.


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