Heading into 2017, Mass Effect Andromeda was being touted as a potential game of the year candidate. It had the name. It had the development studio. It even had the hype. In the end though, Andromeda didn’t have what it took to be the game we wanted. Now at the bitter end, it’s disappointing us all over again.
In case you missed the news, Bioware has officially washed their hands of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Almost six months to the day since fans rushed out to pay full price for the latest Mass Effect adventure, that adventure is over. No more single player DLC. No more story content. The tone of the message put on the Mass Effect website suggests that those fans hoping to see more from the Andromeda adventure in the future will have to find closure in the wider lore.
To most it’s not a huge surprise. Games have had shorter periods of post-release support, and BioWare have their eyes on Anthem. Plus the development woes behind Mass Effect Andromeda are well documented. The game released with bugs, issues and a lack of finish befitting a series with the kind of expectations Mass Effect musters. The problem is that it was a bitter moment for those of us who had spent years waiting to dive into a new Mass Effect adventure upon release, and tonight’s announcement only brings that disappointment to head.
The sad thing is that even to this day, some of the games most passionate fans have held out hope that Bioware and EA would stick the course. The dream that they could turn the experience into something more remained, despite rumors to the contrary. Yet less than six months after release – the dream is officially over. Rather than going out with a bang like Mass Effect 3 (and it’s excellent Citadel DLC), Andromeda’s demise came via a text dump.
Everyone accepts that Mass Effect 3’s ending was a horror show, but everyone behind the game doubled down and worked to fix the game. They did it as a labor of love for audiences – because they knew the original trilogy was worth that much to gamers. They had no choice but to fix it. The fact that Andromeda isn’t even worth the same consideration just showcases how little hope there really was of turning that ship around. Back in March, there were all kinds of promises being made. Now the only support being offered comes in the form of multiplayer – which says all its needs to about why they even said those things in the first place. The spin-off is dead. The franchise probably not far behind.
That’s the most annoying thing to come from all this. Bioware and EA have simply waved their hands in the air and said the party’s over. Rather than giving those fans who held out something to celebrate – the game has become a monument to bad decisions. At every stage, the game is a missed opportunity and at no point since the game released has it felt like BioWare had any intention of finding that potential. It’s a showcase of how bad the game’s reception damaged the series. Unlike before, when saving face was the order of the day – now EA just wants the game out of gamers minds.
What’s more shocking the game isn’t even in a solid state right now. I returned to Andromeda only this last week – expecting to see progress in the stability department. Several crashes later, I couldn’t help but wish the game had been delayed for several months. That EA had taken a proper look at the mess they were unleashing and realize the true damage they were causing. If they cared about the prestige or respect that the Mass Effect franchise has amassed with gamers – they’d have held back a game that was so desperately in need of six more months. This all could have been avoided.ies.
The worst part is that no one helming the game stopped to think. What was once the jewel in the RPG gaming crown is now a laughing stock. As Reddit, Twitter and more filled with GIF’s and videos of the game’s lack of polish, BioWare seemed paralyzed by fear, the reaction coming as something of a shock. Yet as leaks emerged in the weeks after – it became clear that this was just a mirage. A false face. Reportedly those working on the game knew well ahead of time that the game was going to be a disaster. Why give fans who’ve been waiting so long such a botched job?
That poor decision could ultimately have led to the death of the franchise. How can it possibly recover from this? There’s no appetite for a sequel, while Mass Effect 4 would only be seen as an appeasement measure. An attempt to get the series back in gamers good graces. If it wasn’t the first choice post-Mass Effect 3, going there now would only raise eyebrows more. All major avenues are closed right now for the series.
It just bothers me all these months later. It’s diehard fans I feel most sorry for. These are the fans who stuck by the franchise during the long silence. They waited three years for solid information about the upcoming game – waited for almost five to get their hands on the title. This should have been the first brave step into a wider universe, a universe that literally could have gone anyway they wanted. But instead, there are legitimate fears that Mass Effect may be done as a AAA-entity. EA and BioWare have Anthem to worry about – their new prodigal son. Much like Knights of the Old Republic before it, fans will be left waiting for a game that’s overshadowed by the next big thing.
The only people today’s announcement really hurts are those who genuinely care for the franchise. Those who wanted this to be something more. It robs them of a series that could have easily been more. Yet it seems that poor decisions, corporate greed and a general lack of care have killed a franchise that once sat at the top of gaming. To those fans, it’ll hard to get excited about anything the series has to offer again. Hard to buy into the promise of more.
The franchise is sadly done for now, in my opinion. It’s a terrible shame because there were so many things that could have been done. So much expectation and hype that ultimately led to this. A game that should have been so much more, bowing out to the quietest of exits. The games biggest legacy, the amount of disappointment it left in its wake.
Maybe it’s best this way. At least this final disappointment will bring to a close one of the sadder tales from 2017. It just sucks that this is how it had to end.