Calling Bullshit on BioWare’s Claims Mass Effect Andromeda Wasn’t Built to Support DLC
Hello there. I’m PlayStation LifeStyle’s resident Mass Effect fangirl, and I would like to throw out a bullshit flag on a recent news story regarding Mass Effect Andromeda DLC.
At PAX West 2018, Anthem Lead Producer Mike Gamble said that “when it comes to Andromeda, the [post-launch] plans were never in place the way that they are for Anthem. The systems and tools weren’t in place to support the long-term plans.” Granted, he is talking about Anthem functioning as a live-service game, like Destiny or The Division, and obviously, Mass Effect Andromeda never had that in mind, nor should it have.
However, claiming that Andromeda “never had a good, solid foundation to start from,” in regards to post-launch DLC, cannot be correct. You don’t even have to finish Mass Effect Andromeda to realize that BioWare always had a plan for post-launch DLC. Maybe the developers never created a foundation for DLC, but the game’s writers most certainly did.
I discussed in my review of Mass Effect Andromeda that the game’s story was its weakest link. Part of the reason why the story was so weak is the fact it had so many unanswered questions. You can run through every single sidequest, clear every marker on your map, and you still won’t find answers.
The Quarian Ark
Mass Effect Andromeda never specifically says how many Arks were a part of the Andromeda Initiative, but there are quite a few mentions of the missing Quarian Ark. Rumors flitted about that the Quarian Ark would be the subject of DLC, and why wouldn’t it be? Why would BioWare have characters in-game mention the Ark at all, if the quarians weren’t going to make an appearance?
The answer is BioWare wouldn’t, unless this was some bad planning on the studio’s part. Bad planning as in, the narrative writers aren’t communicating with anyone else on the team. Ryder finds logs of the last time the Quarian Ark checked in, some of the turians mention the missing ark, etc. The quarians are supposed to be there, plain and simple. There was obviously a plan in place for them, regardless of what the “foundation” was.
Who the **** Killed Jien Garsson?
There is an entire string of sidequests pointing to the fact that the leader of the Andromeda Initiative, Jien Garsson, was killed when the Nexus reached the Andromeda Galaxy. The first extended lore novel, Nexus Uprising, began with the discovery of her murder. They weren’t able to investigate it at the time, because they had so many other problems going on. If Sloan Kelly hadn’t accidentally found herself on the side of the rebels when the krogan were unleashed, which thus led to her exile, she most likely would have pursued solving the case. None of the other higher ups seemed all that interested in doing so.
One would think that, upon discovering the crime scene on the Nexus, Ryder would have wanted to push for an investigation. Maybe not right away, with the kett threat going on, but surely he/she would want to find out who killed the person who helped recruit their father to the Initiative? The fact that the Initiative founder was murdered before they could properly settle Andromeda should be a MAJOR plot point. At the very least, Ryder should have been able to solve the case with sidequests.
The only reasonable explanation (other than poor planning) is that it was going to be explored in either DLC or extended lore. Otherwise, it makes as much sense as the Chewbacca defense to have it exist at all.
Who Is the Mysterious Benefactor?
Now here is a mystery that stares at the player directly in the face without sidequest and codex detours. One of the main quests unlocks Alec Ryder’s computer system, which includes a recorded video chat he had with the main benefactor for the Initiative. You have no idea who it is, however, because the benefactor alters his/her voice and switches out holograms of various people and races. The books and comics both suggest that not even Jien Garsson knows who it is.
There are plenty of theories on the interwebs about the Illusive Man (from Mass Effect 2 and 3) funding the Initiative, possibly as a failsafe if the Reapers succeed in destroying the galaxy. It’s a plausible theory, but it’s still nothing concrete. The novels tap into both Alec and Jien trying to learn who it is, but that is as far as it goes. Once again, why introduce a mysterious benefactor without planning on revealing who it is.
Most importantly, is the benefactor part of the reason why Jien was killed?
These are just three of the largest unsolved mysteries Mass Effect Andromeda left behind. This isn’t mentioning what the Scourge is, how it got there, where the kett came from, and what was the civilization that created the terraforming temples on the Golden Worlds. You can’t tell me BioWare never had a foundation or a plan for post-launch DLC. If the studio truly did not, then BioWare never planned on answering these questions. If that’s the case, which is awful by the way, then I withdraw my bullshit flag. I’ll replace it with a piss-poor planning flag instead.