Originally Posted Aug 21, 2015

Mass Effect has taken its players from the core of the Milky Way to its furthest edges and back, all in the name of fending off the worst of the galaxy’s foes. From human-centric terrorists, to hive-minded AI, to ancient architects of destruction, Commander Shepard and compatriots have interposed themselves between all comers to save the galaxy time and time again. At the (admittedly controversial) ending of the previous entry, despite whichever reasoning you chose, we closed the chapter on our ragtag team and looked to a new future.

Yet the universe holds many secrets, and Mass Effect Andromeda will take us beyond the Milky Way to our nearest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, to explore new worlds and settle the wilds of this strange frontier.

So what do we know about Andromeda? So far, details are slim on the title, set to release during the Holiday season of 2016. Befitting of a game set in the unknown wilds of space, gamers will have to brave the new tides without familiar faces. Set in an as yet undisclosed time in the future, and in a galaxy far from home, there will be no returning characters. No Garrus to calibrate our weapons, no Joker to fly us out of tight scrapes, not even a cameo from Liara, despite her species’ life spans of over a millennium.

If you aren’t feeling alone yet, the game is stated to be massive, with a galaxy almost double the size of previous Mass Effect titles. Story wise, details are slim, understandably. Our only clues are in the E3 trailer’s song, a Johnny Cash tune entitled ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’. The song speaks of a cowboy that meets ghostly riders that warn him against following him, lest he become like them. Speculation surrounds this hint as to the nature of what these riders could be, friend or foe, alien or actual spirits. Time will tell.

Gosh, that looks purdy

On the technical end, the game is set to be powered by the Frostbite 3 engine. Previous titles ran on Unreal 3, but the force behind Dragon Age: Inquisition is staged to bring a powerful new experience for players. An experience that will be enjoyed by multiple people, in the games co-op multiplayer. Yes, multiplayer is back, yet Bioware has said that it will not effect the narrative as it did in ME3 and will be a separate entity. Details have yet to be released on the nature of this beast. Combat in the game will follow the system of ME3, but with “…new elements to make it more dynamic.”, says Chris Wynn, Senior Development Director at Bioware on his Twitter account.

So, where does this leave us? MEA seems like it is shaping up to be a new but familiar experience for fans. The combat in the previous game was a strong deviation from the first game, with a stronger FPS feeling than its more RPG roots, and it sounds like that train isn’t stopping. If that ‘dynamic’ difference includes the jump and ground pound from the trailer, i’m game. The flavor of the setting appears to draw heavy influence from the American West in the 1800s, when cowboys pushed westward to explore new lands, and i’m all kinds of excited. The visual of a duster wearing, blaster slinging space cowboy just tingles me in all the right places.

So what do you all think? Are you excited to explore and all new galaxy, or are you still jaded from ME3’s less than stellar ending? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay Kultured, everyone!