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E3 2016: What the hell is happening with Mass Effect?


E3 has only just started, and the nerd rage is already boiling high.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, the forthcoming installment in the juggernaut Mass Effect franchise, has been a reality since its unofficial announcement in November of 2012. Ever since, fans have been hungry for every morsel of information about the game, which has been decidedly scarce in these last few years. The most recent and significant news came when Andromeda, originally slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2016, was pushed back to Q1 2017 during a March teleconference.

Despite the protracted release date, fans of the series became increasingly aware of the lack of information for the new game. With less than a year to go, we still don’t know even the most basic details of what will undoubtedly be a massively ambitious title.

That brings us to EA’s press conference at E3 2016, which promised new details about the Mass Effect series and Andromeda. Finally! A trailer? Screenshots? Gameplay? Whatever it is, it’s finally going to answer all those unanswered questions, right?

Well…

There you have it. A behind-the-scenes featurette that offered a sliver of gameplay footage, padded with more big promises from devs. What the eff?

A quick look at social communities will tell you that the fans have, understandably, had enough. Creative Director Mac Walters promised during the presentation that more information would be revealed in the fall, which raises eyebrows to say the least, since it falls so close to the game’s expected release date. By comparison, BioWare’s previous endeavour, Dragon Age: Inquisition, had a full announcement trailer prepared for E3 2013, a full year and a half before the game was released in November 2014.

It’s anyone’s guess why BioWare is playing things so close to the chest, but what’s certain is that this isn’t winning them any favours. On one hand, it’s possible BioWare is wary of revealing too much after the debacle that was Mass Effect 3. Even if that were the case, you’d think that they’d be eager to share more; offer something reassuring to tell people they’re eager to please their fans. It’s also possible that production simply isn’t where they’d like it to be, and the game needs another delay to meet standards. This would also be fine, except a delay was announced just over three months ago. If the game was that far off, wouldn’t that be reflected in a much later release?

Andromeda has a ton of potential. Exploration in the Mass Effect universe is something that I know every single fan has been dying for, and if nothing else, BioWare has staked their reputation on delivering that with the forthcoming installment. Given the scope of these games, there’s so much potential to reveal more: aliens, locations, gameplay, combat, and dialogue. BioWare still has a great opportunity to give the fans more than a taste of what’s coming, and ideally, make us all properly excited for the future.

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