Did the controversial ending for Mass Effect 3 affect the development of Andromeda at all?
The ending of Mass Effect 3 holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most controversial endings to any story of all time, across any medium. It’s up there with Lost, The Matrix Revolutions, and How I Met Your Mother in terms of how much rage and frenzy it generated, and there was so much backlash against it that Bioware were forced to issue an amended, ‘Extended’ cut for the ending, which resolved dangling plot threads better.
So the studio is certainly aware of the immense pushback against the ending by the fans- was that something that factored into their development process for Mass Effect Andromeda at all? According t teir own admission, it appears as though it did. Speaking in an interview with Glixel, creative director Mac Walter confirmed that the ending’s reception in a way led to the kind of dramatic narrative departure that Andromeda represents over the original trilogy.
“We knew, and we’d been saying for a long time, that the Mass Effect trilogy was very much Commander Shepard’s story, and we wanted to end it after the trilogy was over,” Walters said. “So to a degree, that decision, which was made a long time before Mass Effect 3, certainly precipitated that. We had a lot of options for where we could go next without just doing Mass Effect 4, and Andromeda provided us with a lot of the elements that we really wanted to get back to.”
That certainly does make sense- for good or for bad, Bioware had finished telling the story that they had wanted to tell, and that necessitated a narrative departure with the next game in the series. Mass Effect Andromeda, which is due out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC by next March, seems to represent just that.