Shamus Young - BioWare is Dead
In part 25 of a blog series on Mass Effect: Andromeda Shamus Young has declared BioWare dead.
Everything in Andromeda is constructed backwards. Instead of saying, “Here are the events of the past, what sorts of situations and stories would come from that?” the writer says, “I want the player to drive up this hill and shoot all the dudes at the top. What’s the simplest possible scenario I could use to justify that?”
The player choices are few, arbitrary, poorly depicted, and lacking in interesting options. Dialogs are rare, linear, and lacking in player expression. The few characters you meet in the open world are shallow and bland. The villain is a sophomoric one-note bore. The worlds are, by design, a mostly empty wasteland with no history, culture, or wonder. Exploration of these alien worlds consists of driving around on pre-existing dirt roads so you can gun down clusters of mooks.
The developer’s perception of what made the source material interesting is so wrongheaded that this project was in trouble before it ever left the dry-erase board. This team was not equipped to tell a space story on this scale. I don’t care if you’re talking about details-first or drama-first, this is not a storytelling team in any form. This storyteller might do an okay job if you want a linear shooter with fixed cutscenes and no player agency, but they’re completely unqualified to design a world to support dozens of hours of exploration, exposition, and player expression.
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