Why Mass Effect: Andromeda does away with Paragon and Renegade systems

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Mass Effect as a trilogy was somewhat defined by the actions you took as Commander Shepard, which often felt incredibly binary. As with many other BioWare developed titles, dialogue options often fell into one of two categories: incredibly soft, understanding and subtle, or “I’m going to punch your face in” responses. In Mass Effect that was defined by the blue and red of both Paragon and Renegade respectively – a system which Andromeda won’t feature.

Speaking about the imminent role-playing release, Creative Director Mac Walters detailed how the previous system was intrinsically tied to Shepard and how he (or she!) conducted themselves. With the Pathfinder, BioWare want to branch out to something different. Something far less predictable.

“What we have now is based more around agreeing and disagreeing. The reason I like that is because in the trilogy it’s like, ‘I’m gonna play Paragon,’ and then you know which way you’re moving the stick on every conversation. You don’t have to think about it, because you’re just going to hit Paragon every time.

“With agree and disagree it changes by the circumstance and it changes by the character you’re talking to, so you have to actually be more engaged in what’s going on, to know if you’re going to do that.”

Taking things a step further, Walters explained how players will have options to also set the tone of their response, to a certain degree. Often tone is lost in text-wheel responses (much like text-based social media), so giving players more control over how they present their answer enhances the type of role-playing Andromeda is aiming for.

“We’ve added in four tones and we’ll talk a little more in the future, but they basically allow other types of characters to express them[selves] in one of four different ways, and sometimes one of two different ways. And I think that gets back to that more traditional role-playing sort of feeling which is less about ‘Do I want to be good or bad,’ and more about ‘How do I want to express myself?’”

Mass Effect’s strength has always been in its characters and the relationships or feuds you choose to enact with them. So this rather large changes suggests Andromeda won’t just be following that trend, but attempting to reinvent it in some sense. We’ll see how it all plays out when Andromeda launches on March 21st.

Last Updated: February 9, 2017

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