The game was released worldwide in March 2017. It is the fourth entry overall in the Mass Effect series and the first since 2012 Mass Effect 3. The game begins within the Milky Way Galaxy during the 22nd century where humanity is planning to populate new home worlds in the Andromeda Galaxy as part of a strategy called the Andromeda Initiative. The player assumes the role of either Scott or Sara Ryder an inexperienced military recruit who joins the Initiative and wakes up in Andromeda following a 600-year journey.
A lighter tone than previous installments in the series, with open world elements and an emphasis on exploration. Many of the series traditional gameplay elements remain, while others have been modified such as combat which is less cover based and more mobile.
The game received generally mixed reviews from critics. Praise was directed at the game improved combat and visuals while it was criticized for its animations dialogue story characters and technical issues
The game is an action role-playing game in which the player takes control of either Scott or Sara Ryder from a third-person perspective. Both Ryders appearances and first names can be determined by the player. The appearance of their father Alec is automatically adjusted based on the appearance of the Ryder twins. Upon beating the game, a New Game is unlocked which allows the player to restart the game with certain bonuses and switch to playing as the other Ryder, if desired Players can also choose to continue playing with their existing character and complete unfinished missions.
Unlike previous installments in the Mass Effect series, where players begin each new game by choosing from six different character classes that each have their own unique set of skills, players instead have free rein to assign any skills that they want and build towards a specialty over the course of the game. For example, if the player chooses to invest solely in biotic skills, Ryder will unlock the Adept profile which results in bonuses related to that play style. Experience points for spending on skills are earned by completing missions and there is no cap on the number of points that can be earned. Points assigned to each skill can be constantly reallocated so that players can experiment with multiple gameplay approaches without having to restart their games and build up their skills from scratch again.
Similar to its predecessors, the player can interact with characters in Mass Effect using a radial command menu where the players dialogue options depend on wheel direction. Around the wheel are four types of responses that shape each conversation heart head professional and casual.In general conversations are based on agreeing or disagreeing with participants. During some conversations, the player is prompted with an Impulse Action that offers an additional choice to what is available on the dialogue wheel. For example, an onscreen prompt to shoot might appear and be momentarily selectable. By conversing with nonplayer characters Ryder can develop friendships and in some cases romantic relationships with them over time. During both dialogue and quest sequences the player is sometimes tasked with making moral decisions that do not have a clear good or bad distinction but are intended to be more nuanced marking a departure from the Paragon or Renegade morality system of prior titles in the series.
the game was developed by BioWare, the same company that also produced the original Mass Effect trilogy. It was directed by Mac Walters who previously served as lead writer for the series. Casey Hudson who directed the original trilogy was promoted to the role of executive producer before leaving BioWare in 2014.
The game required a team of over 200 developers. In contrast to the original trilogy, which was spearheaded by the Edmonton team, Mass Effect was handled by a new team out of Montreal. This was done in order to allow the Edmonton team to begin working on a new intellectual property. BioWare’s general manager, Aaryn Flynn, noted that many of the developers working on the project were fans of the original trilogy who came to BioWare specifically to work on a Mass Effect game.