BioWare’s planning to take a different design direction for Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s side-quests. In an interview with PC Gamer, producer Fabrice Condominas describes how the company has learned a great deal in regards to what does and doesn’t work in regards to the staple feature of almost all RPGs. Dragon Age: Inquisition, in particular, is another BioWare title that Condominas says the development team learned “a lot from” when exploring the creation of such content.
Inquisition was a great RPG, but it did suffer from its fair share of side-quest fluff, forcing the player to indulge in collecting arbitrary items in order to ‘complete’ an area. Most of these offered nothing besides contributing to an overall completion percentage, although I do fondly remember the Tomb of Fairel – which required players to seek out various key fragments in order to gain entry to a vault full of loot.
“We’ve also observed what other games have been doing, like The Witcher,” continues Condominas, suggesting that BioWare could well be taking a leaf out of CD Projekt RED’s book in its approach to how players will experience the wider galaxy of Andromeda. Often considered to be one of the best RPG’s of this console generation, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s side-missions had very little padding, instead offering tangible benefits and expansions to the narrative, not to mention each one felt unique. Hunting bills, for example, required Geralt to scout a location for a notorious monster and then prepare for the battle ahead of time, each one of which played out in a considerably different way to the last.
We’ll have to wait until March 21 to see if BioWare has nailed the concept, but Condominas’ comments are certainly reassuring. Side missions aren’t the only feature receiving an overhaul either – the series’ Paragon/Renegade system is being removed entirely in favor of something different. Read more about that here.