One of the most popular features within the Mass Effect franchise is the chance to foster in-game romances with various squad members and non-playable characters, so it should come as no surprise that Mass Effect: Andromeda will further the gameplay element’s status as a mainstay in the series. Of course, when it comes to sequels of any kind, developers typically make tweaks or refinements in order to make certain aspects more polished, and BioWare has honed its sights on setting the ability to romance partners in the forthcoming installment apart from its predecessors.
Not too long ago, the developers at BioWare sat down for an interview with the gaming outlet Game Informer to discuss exactly how Mass Effect Andromeda will take a new approach to romance. Although the team isn’t prepared to reveal specific details as to how these matters of the heart will work, the game’s creative director Mac Walters has stated that he and the developer as a whole want to ensure that romances are more natural and realistic than ever before by featuring different, and more nuanced levels of intimacy.
“We’ve built on it [from the trilogy]. We had a strong foundation for how [romance] was working. For me, typically in the trilogy it was a bit formulaic. You’d talk to them and then get to that one point in the game where there was no going and back and romance was going to happen. That’s not real life. There should be some people who just want to hop in the sack immediately. There should people who are interested in a long-term relationship. There are people who aren’t interested in romance at all.”
In order to make romances more natural and life-like in Mass Effect Andromeda, Walters explained that different characters will want different things when it comes to a romantic relationship. Plus, whether a partner’s desires are physical or emotional, Walters stated that some romances can happen early in the game, but depending on the character, others may need more time to allow themselves to become vulnerable to love. Moreover, the creative director has definitively declared that in the course of its writing process, BioWare decided to get rid of what it calls “the hard line” wherein some characters can’t be romanced beyond a certain point in the game.
Interestingly enough, the romance feature in Mass Effect Andromeda won’t simply be about attempting to find a lover, but it will also include platonic relationships as well. As it happens, Walters uses the example of Commander Shepard shooting bottles off of the Citadel with Garrus in Mass Effect 3 as an opportunity to have a “bros’ moment” or “friends’ moment,” and such situations in Andromeda will lend themselves to the possibility of more intimate scenes between characters. Of course, Walters makes sure to note that sexuality will still be a key component of the forthcoming sequel’s romance feature, as there will be plenty of “unique places to have some interspecies relationships.”
Additionally, as has been the case with past entries in the Mass Effect series, characters with diverse and various sexual orientations will be featured throughout Andromeda, as well as same-sex romances. This time around, however, Walters has declared that he and his team have made sure that characters will express their sexual orientations in a less mechanical manner than in the previous games and have certain sexual preferences featured only if it’s “a part of who they are.”
Although BioWare hasn’t shared a specific number regarding how many characters within Mass Effect Andromeda are romanceable, Walters has said that there’s the possibility for players to romance multiple figures depending on the character type, where some will feel betrayed and others won’t care how many people the protagonist Ryder is seeing. Also, the creative director has said the chance for romance is bigger than ever, for there are “more romances than we’ve ever had before.” Taking all of this into consideration, it’s obvious that BioWare has made sure that the Mass Effect series hasn’t lost its loving feeling.
Mass Effect Andromeda is set for a for a Q1 2017 release for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.