Mass Effect: Andromeda Was Made At The Wrong Time, Says Its Creative Director

According to Mac Walters, it was a strange time in the gaming industry when many claimed that quantity was quality.


Eurogamer interviewed Walters, who wrote the Mass Effect trilogy and was promoted to the creative director on Andromeda. As project lead for Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, he oversaw the facelift for the three games left on Unreal Engine 3. Walter joined the development of Mass Effect: Andromeda late. The game was worked on by BioWare Montréal, a team that had previously worked on the N7 missions of Mass Effect 2, the multiplayer of the third installment, the Omega DLC. So they didn’t have any significant assignments, but after Casey Hudson left BioWare in 2014, Walters was given a new role.

Initially, the game was planned to have a procedurally (randomly) generated galaxy, similar to No Man’s Sky: “Ultimately, that was too much at odds with a lot of the way that we tell stories and the way that we create our content, which tends to be very bespoke—a lot of big set-pieces and things like that. It’s hard to translate into a procedural world,” says Walters, who joined the team when they realized it would have been an impossible concept for franchise fans who wanted to see the narrative a certain way. They had to relearn a lot of things, presumably because of the switch to the Frostbite engine.

“We probably should have—in hindsight—just reduced scope more and executed on what we could to [ensure] quality. But, we were also in a weird phase in the industry where many people were saying quantity was quality, so we were deluding ourselves internally a little bit that if it’s maybe not as polished as [Mass Effect 3], it’s fine—it’s bigger. There’s more here, and there’s more to do,” Walters added.

Mass Effect: Andromeda came out when Electronic Arts pushed open-world games because they were easier to monetize. Walters has learned from that lesson and wishes he could have made a sequel because then there could have been the leap in the quality we saw between the first two Mass Effects. Except that BioWare Montréal was demoted to a support studio and then fell into Motive. The new Mass Effect might be done with Unreal Engine 5 by BioWare Edmonton.

Who knows, maybe this game wouldn’t be looked down upon if they hadn’t rushed it.

Source: PCGamer

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