Mass Effect: Andromeda

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BioWare reflects on a decade of Mass Effect

Tapestry tool to archive your choices now live.

BioWare has celebrated a decade of Mass Effect by releasing a new video featuring developers involved in the much-loved, now much-missed space franchise.

"I've seen people literally spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards"

Former BioWare dev speaks out against EA's monetisation of games.

Gameplay designer Manveer Heir spent a long time - seven years - working for Electronic Arts at BioWare Montreal, making Mass Effect 3 (mostly multiplayer) and then Mass Effect Andromeda, and he had some illuminating information about the company's mindset to share with Waypoint at the weekend.

Mass Effect: Andromeda won't receive any more single-player updates

Mass Effect: Andromeda won't receive any more single-player updates

Multiplayer missions, novels and comics will continue the story.

Mass Effect: Andromeda's single-player campaign has reached its final form as BioWare will no longer release any updates for this main mode.

"Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda," BioWare said in a statement about the game's fate. "There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content."

BioWare will, however, continue to add more multiplayer content.

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BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn quits, just months after Mass Effect Andromeda launch

BioWare's general manager Aaryn Flynn is leaving the acclaimed RPG studio after 17 years with the company.

His departure comes roughly four months after the launch of Mass Effect Andromeda, a game that debuted to lackluster sales and disappointing critical reception. Our Edwin Evans-Thirlwell called it "probably BioWare's worst RPG yet" in his review, and the tepid reaction to the game has put the sci-fi series "on ice".

Interestingly, Flynn's role will be replaced by the Mass Effect series' project director Casey Hudson, who left the company back in 2014 and accepted a position as project director at Microsoft Studios the following year, where he was to work on HoloLens projects.

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Four months on, BioWare still patching Mass Effect: Andromeda facial animations

Mass Effect: Andromeda launched back in March to fierce criticism of its facial animations. Four months later, BioWare is still issuing patches to fix them.

The worst animation bugs were fixed quickly - that gun being the wrong way round, for example, along with Foster Addison looking like a shop window dummy and some of the weirder Ryder gurns.

Now, patch after patch, BioWare is combing through the game to tweak more subtle differences.

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Mass Effect Andromeda patch makes Jaal bi

Mass Effect Andromeda patch makes Jaal bi

Adjusts trans character's dialogue, updates character creator.

BioWare's latest Mass Effect Andromeda patch improves the game's character creator and expands the male romance options for main character Scott Ryder by making squadmate Jaal available for him to romantically pursue.

The latest in a line of monthly updates, patch 1.08 includes some of the last major points of fan feedback BioWare previously pledged to address. It's set to roll out imminently.

Dialogue for trans character Hainly Abrams has now been "adjusted", BioWare noted in the patch's full notes, "to change the flow of personal information she discusses with Ryder".

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How to save Mass Effect Andromeda

"What's past is prologue."

The details of Mass Effect 3's ending controversy need not be recounted, as it remains one of gaming's most pervasive disappointments. The damage it did to BioWare's reputation is still, rightly or wrongly, part of the ongoing conversation about the developer.

Mass Effect Andromeda concept art shows early gameplay ideas

Mass Effect Andromeda concept art shows early gameplay ideas

Settlement types, Remnant power-ups and squadmate changes.

Another gallery of Mass Effect Andromeda concept art has revealed yet more of the game's early ideas.

This latest batch of imagery comes from Eric Bellefeuille, who worked at BioWare Montreal as a Lead UI Artist. Now at Eidos Montreal, Bellefeuille has posted some of his BioWare work to a portfolio on Artstation.

Andromeda had a mammoth five-year development - it is no surprise things changed a lot behind the scenes. This is a great look at some of those details which were tweaked.

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Mass Effect Andromeda begins as a fairly slow-paced story of colonisation, but its plot soon blossoms into something far larger - a backdrop of warring races, an invasion force on a galactic scale, a missing colonisation ark broadcasting a warning signal and a giant conspiracy behind the Milky Way races even being in Andromeda at all.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands bests Zelda in US sales for March

Ghost Recon: Wildlands bests Zelda in US sales for March

Mass Effect Andromeda sales are the second-best in the series.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands took the top spot in US sales for the month of March, according to analyst firm NPD Group.

The stat-tracking company noted that Ghost Recon: Wildlands had the best launch of any Ghost Recon title and the second-best launch of a Tom Clancy game, after The Division.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came in second, even though it shifted 1.3m units in its launch month, making it the fastest-selling Zelda title ever. Over 900k of these were on Nintendo Switch, a system that's seen stock shortages since its 3rd March launch.

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Mass Effect Andromeda pirates can't get updated faces

Mass Effect Andromeda pirates can't get updated faces

Patch updates Denuvo on the quiet.

Last week's big Mass Effect Andromeda patch made faces look better, fixed some shonky animations plus all sorts of other things. And, quietly, it also updated the game's Denuvo anti-piracy protection.

Andromeda made headlines for being pirated in just 10 days - an incredibly short amount of time for a game using Denuvo's famed anti-tamper tech, coupled with EA's own Origin protection.

How was Andromeda cracked so quickly? It now appears the vanilla version of Andromeda launched with an outdated version of Denuvo - one which had already been cracked (thanks, DSO Gaming). Oops.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda patch makes eyes less terrifying

Mass Effect: Andromeda patch makes eyes less terrifying

I'm looking through your eyeholes.

They say the trick to applying makeup is to make it look like you're not wearing makeup at all. By the same token, the trick to animating faces in a video game is to make them not look like horrifying ventriloquist dummies. Mass Effect: Andromeda's facial animations failed this test, with its eerie peepers offering a constant reminder that you're venturing through a simulated universe. Yet developer BioWare wasn't about to let this common criticism go unaddressed and in its latest patch it's added a new eye shader that goes a long ways towards humanising its humanoid cast.

As you can see in the following video by Push Square, the new shader makes eyes less glossy. They now look noticeably more natural.

The difference is arguably most pronounced with director of colonial affairs Foster Addison. You can see her around the 56 second mark in the video above, or here's a still image comparison by Redditor jizabo.

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Mass Effect Andromeda patches to improve lip-syncing, trans character dialogue

Mass Effect Andromeda has received a lot of criticism since its launch last month and BioWare has been listening. The studio just announced its plan to address the game's most damning flaws.

BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn noted on the Mass Effect blog that updates over the next two months will improve the lip-syncing, as the game's facial animations have left something to be desired.

Furthermore, BioWare will tweak the dialogue with Hainly Abrams, a trans character with a tone-deaf expository method of introducing themselves.

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Why PC is the best place to play Mass Effect Andromeda

Digital FoundryWhy PC is the best place to play Mass Effect Andromeda

Full multi-platform comparison, including a PS4 Pro vs PC 4K face-off.

We've lost count of the amount of PC comparisons we've done where the only tangible enhancements amount to arbitrary resolution support and higher frame-rates. Sure, higher quality effects - such as higher resolution shadows - also usually form part of the mix, but significant graphical improvements are few and far between. Mass Effect Andromeda is different: in common with several titles based on DICE's excellent Frostbite engine, the PC really is the natural home for this game.

Coming from the PS4 and Xbox One versions, the upgrade is immediately clear. Yes, of course, you can boost pixel-count and break the console-standard 30fps lock, but the upgrades throughout the experience are impressive: the core assets are embellished with increased geometry and higher resolution normal maps and textures, giving a richer-looking, smoother presentation. Environments are fleshed out using tessellation to add extra geometry detail to rocks and mountainous terrain, leading to an uneven surface that appears more rugged, while increased texture quality further brings out more intricate information across both character and landscape assets.

Additional plants and foliage better populate the landscape too, and when backed up with higher quality HBAO ambient occlusion, higher resolution shadows, and more refined post-process effects, the alien worlds on display appear more striking, boasting extra depth and detail beyond the console versions. Character modelling is also more refined with improved asset quality allowing for more fine details to resolve across clothing and facial features.

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It could totally have been them. Talk to game developers about the clips of Mass Effect Andromeda's dialogue scenes that have been circulating for the past couple of weeks and you'll get a thousand-yard stare. The kind you see from a soldier who's just been left unscathed by a shell that hit a platoon-mate right beside them. Many of Andromeda's dramatic issues are common to narrative-heavy games, and all developers know they could've equally been victim to the indefensible attacks that have been directed at BioWare and EA's staff.

Mass Effect Andromeda physical launch sales down on ME3

Mass Effect Andromeda sold fewer physical copies than Mass Effect 3 during its first week on sale in the UK.

That's despite an extra day to rack sales up, as well. Andromeda launched here in the UK last Thursday. Mass Effect 3 launched on a Friday, back in March 2012.

But, five years ago, the sales picture was very different. Physical PC copies (the only kind counted by UK numbers company Chart-Track) counted for 10 per cent of Mass Effect 3 launch sales. For Andromeda, physical PC copies counted for just four per cent. Many more will be digital - purchased through EA's Origin service.

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If you buy the collector's edition of Mass Effect: Andromeda (fair warning: it'll set you back 250), you'll get your hands on a remote-controlled Nomad. It's got a camera on the front, can be controlled using your phone and I think it's quite a cool toy. Am I allowed to say that? It's expensive and daft, but yeah, it's a good toy.

There's enjoyment to be gleaned from Mass Effect: Andromeda, but in order to discover it, you might need a guide. No, not SAM, your cranially implanted AI assistant. SAM is awful - a toneless bore who doubles as a cautionary tale about leaving work notifications active on your phone, forever bleating at you to mine things, scan things, check your email, take vidcalls and spend your Andromeda Viability Points. As the vehicle for much of Mass Effect: Andromeda's more tedious content, he makes a far more convincing nemesis than the story's actual villain, who at least puts you through a few decent firefights en route to some scenery-chewing monologues about racial supremacy.

Performance Analysis: Mass Effect Andromeda

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Mass Effect Andromeda

Digital Foundry's initial tests on PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game.

The latest episode of gaming's favourite space opera is mere days away from general release - and it's safe to say that the buzz surrounding Mass Effect Andromeda is mixed. As a game, acknowledging the issues its scope may bring, the response from Eurogamer has been positive. However, PC and Xbox One owners sampling the beginning missions via Origin/EA Access have encountered a number of glitches, bugs and issues that are receiving plenty of attention. For this article, our attention is on performance and scalability between PS4 and Xbox One, where BioWare has had to work a little harder to scale visuals between the two consoles' different levels of GPU power.

After the success of Dragon Age Inquisition, BioWare has chosen to continue development on EA's internal Frostbite engine, transitioning away from the Unreal Engine 3 powerhouse that formed the technical underpinnings of the last-gen Mass Effect trilogy. It's a good match: with Andromeda, there's a stronger emphasis on larger, more open worlds - bread and butter for Frostbite - while at the same time tapping into the engine's strong visual feature set. On top of that, BioWare is able to utilise the latest iteration of the engine. Of course, the brilliant physically-based lighting seen in Battlefield 1 and Star Wars Battlefront is implemented here, but new features - like Frostbite's full HDR support - are included in an EA title for the first time.

However, there is a curious sense that some aspects of the presentation are somewhat at odds with Frostbite's state-of-the-art feature set. Animation in particular looks very stilted, and almost last-gen in nature. Applying the very latest advances in motion capture (particularly facial) is going to be tough when you can define so many aspects of your character's appearance, but there's still a general sense that it's lacklustre across the game. The same can be said for character modelling as well.

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Mass Effect's best mission

Curing the genophage.

Ask a Mass Effect fan to pick their favourite mission from the trilogy and you'll probably hear a range of responses. There's the Virmire level in Mass Effect 1, for example, where BioWare unexpectedly forced players to choose between two squadmates' lives. Then there's the superlative Suicide Mission finale of Mass Effect 2, perhaps the most intricately-plotted episode of the whole series. There are whole flowcharts to explain that one.

Mass Effect Andromeda: the first five hours

What to expect from this week's EA/Origin Access trial.

Mass Effect Andromeda is an enormous game, and while we're not yet ready to share our final opinions, we can now get talking about its opening missions. Starting this Thursday, these will be playable to anyone with an EA or Origin Access subscription on PC or Xbox One.

Mass Effect: the story so far

Get up to speed for the trip to Andromeda.

On the eve of Mass Effect Andromeda's EA/Origin Access trial and just a week out from the game's launch, we decided it was time to refresh our memories of gaming's greatest sci-fi trilogy.

BioWare apologises for Mass Effect Andromeda multiplayer beta cancellation

BioWare apologises for Mass Effect Andromeda multiplayer beta cancellation

"Long story, but right decision for how close we are."

BioWare has abandoned plans for a Mass Effect Andromeda multiplayer beta.

Players were invited to sign up for the test last year, which was expected to take place around a month before the game's 23rd March arrival.

Now, with just weeks to go before the upcoming EA Access trial comes out, BioWare has called the beta off.

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Cards Against Humanity gets official Mass Effect expansion

Cards Against Humanity will get an official Mass Effect expansion pack made up of 14 new cards, co-written by BioWare.

The 18-rated card game, if you're not familiar, tasks players with offending/amusing their pals by creating question and answer combinations.

With the Mass Effect pack, you can now ask the question "What ended my last relationship?" and answer "Totally fuckable aliens" or "Space racism", the pursuit of ME squadmate Ashley.

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Four hours with Mass Effect Andromeda

Far more than just Dragon Age Inquisition in space.

Mass Effect Andromeda has been in development almost five years but it's not until now, one month before release, that BioWare has let us play it. To say some fans are cautious is an understatement. Conspiracy theories abound as to Andromeda's shortened marketing cycle, or the reason why its release date was only set in stone last month. A product of BioWare's untested Montreal studio (albeit with help from the Edmonton mothership), Andromeda has been the subject of concerns over its lengthy development - not to mention the narrative leaps needed to continue the series after its original trilogy was so definitively tied off. And, while Dragon Age: Inquisition was generally well-received, Mass Effect fans want a proper Mass Effect game - not just a Frostbite-powered Hinterlands in space. Recently, fan suspicion bubbled over when a gameplay trailer included a small animation bug. BioWare's fans are some of the most loyal - but also some of the most critical.

Who's who in Mass Effect Andromeda

Ryder! Six squadmates! One mystery mother!

Mass Effect Andromeda takes the bold step of leaving behind an entire galaxy of characters in favour of a fresh start and all-new faces. So, who are your new space friends and enemies?

Mass Effect Andromeda trailer showcases new aliens, another squadmate

Mass Effect Andromeda's new angara race are shown in detail within the game's new cinematic trailer.

The video does a good job of bringing together all the elements of Mass Effect Andromeda we know so far: you're on a mission to a fresh galaxy to find a new home for humanity, there's an antagonistic race (the kett) lead by a chap named the Archon, and you will of course be able to romance (and snog) your crewmates.

Sounds like Mass Effect to us.

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10-hour trial of Mass Effect Andromeda out five days before launch

EA plans to release a 10-hour trial of Mass Effect: Andromeda for Access subscribers.

The hefty trial of BioWare's sci-fi action RPG comes out on 16th March - five days before the full game comes out on 21st March in the US (it's 23rd in the UK). It'll surely let you make a decent dent in the game before it launches proper.

Access is EA's subscription. You get early access trials such as this one as well as a number of games to download from the Vault (EA recently added Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 to the Vault). Origin Access is available on PC via Origin, and EA Access is available on Xbox One only.

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Mass Effect Andromeda release date finally confirmed for March

Mass Effect Andromeda release date finally confirmed for March

UPDATE: Fresh gameplay details class customisation.

UPDATE 5/1/17 8.30am: Last night's CES opening keynote brought two minutes of brand new Mass Effect Andromeda gameplay footage.

This trailer is perhaps our most detailed look yet at the game's combat customisation - you can see how you'll be able to customise the skills loadout of main character Ryder in battle, and switch between skills previously locked into individual classes.

It's also another chance to gawp at the Tempest, your sleek new Normandy.

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Some cracking games came out in 2016 - this year we've spent hours screaming about onions in Overcooked, contesting the payload in Overwatch and, of course, going on overwatch in XCOM 2.

BioWare talks Mass Effect Andromeda squadmates, cut content and that missing release date

Just a few months from release, and despite a round of recent reveals we still know surprisingly little about Mass Effect Andromeda - despite it sounding like the biggest and most ambitious game in BioWare's beloved series to date.

We still don't know a firm release date, other than Mass Effect Andromeda's vague "spring 2017" launch window - why is that? Should fans be worried the game might slip?

How much has changed? What has happened to the Milky Way races not included in the game (quarians! geth!) and could they still appear? Then there's your squad members - essentially your family in Andromeda. How many will there be, and what's that we hear that one was cut?

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Watch us analyse Mass Effect Andromeda's gameplay trailer

VideoWatch us analyse Mass Effect Andromeda's gameplay trailer

Everything you missed, including a new alien race...

You may have seen Mass Effect Andromeda turn up at The Game Awards with new gameplay footage, but BioWare hid plenty within the trailer you might have missed.

There's a new alien race, the angara, for example. They are neutral, unlike the antagonistic kett race, and look a bit like Lilo & Stitch's Captain Gantu.

In the video below we take a detailed look at Andromeda's combat system and dialogue options, delve into some of the history of Andromeda, and take a better look at your latest squadmates to be revealed: male krogan Drack and female turian Vetra.

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Mass Effect Andromeda developers reassure fans after trailer sparks animation concerns

Mass Effect Andromeda developers reassure fans after trailer sparks animation concerns

"We'll be polishing the game until they take it from our cold, dead hands."

Three top Mass Effect developers have moved to reassure fans concerned by the quality of animation and lip-syncing shown in last night's new Andromeda trailer.

Response to last night's gameplay reveal was mostly positive. Fans loved its reveal of two new alien squadmates: female turian Vetra and krogan badass Drack.

But it was the animations for human characters, and in particular Andromeda's female Ryder main character, which caused some to question whether the trailer was showing final-quality gameplay.

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Five minutes of Mass Effect Andromeda gameplay reveals krogan, turian squadmates

The Game Awards has brought us nearly five full minutes of Mass Effect Andromeda footage, featuring our first extended look at proper gameplay - and some new squadmates.

Footage shows our heroine Ryder exploring one of the game's planets - Kadara - with a female turian and krogan buddy. The two aren't named, but previous leaks put the krogan as being called Drack.

(If you're counting, we now know of at least five squadmates - asari Peebee, humans Liam and Cora, plus these two new guys. There's also been word of a squadmate from the Andromeda races).

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Mass Effect Andromeda trailer reveals new alien baddie

Mass Effect Andromeda trailer reveals new alien baddie

UPDATED: Loyalty missions return, Ryder siblings and asari named.

BioWare has kicked off this year's Mass Effect N7 Day celebrations with a new Andromeda cinematic trailer, and detail on the game's two sibling stars.

There's actually little new in the trailer we haven't seen before - alien worlds, a big space worm, a slightly clearer look at your salarian crew member.

Perhaps the biggest reveal is a look at Andromeda's new baddie race - from previous leaks, these would be named the Khet, or Kett.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda 4K PS4 Pro mission gameplay

BioWare has showcased a section of Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay running on the newly-announced PlayStation 4 Pro, and a huge information blowout for November.

The clip stars male Ryder for the first time, as he explores a vault left by the mysterious Remnant alien race, who look like advanced floating squids.

Previous leaks have pegged the Remnant as the more peaceful of the main two Andromeda races, and with an ancient history to uncover - (a little like the Protheans of our own galaxy, although not dead).

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Sounds like we won't get a Mass Effect trilogy remaster

EA appears to have decided against releasing a Mass Effect trilogy remaster.

That's according to EA exec Peter Moore, who has poured cold water on the prospect in a new interview.

"Could we make an easy buck on remastering Mass Effect? Yes," he told IGN (around the 1hr 16 mark). Have a thousand people asked me that? Yes they have. Do we have... No."

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Mass Effect: Andromeda's protagonist name finally confirmed

Mass Effect: Andromeda's protagonist finally has a name: Ryder.

Like Commander Shepard, Ryder is a surname which will fit for either male or female versions of the character. And you'll be able to customise your first name, too.

Mass Effect producer Michael Gamble confirmed the name via Twitter, along with an image of the female human character seen at the end of yesterday's EA E3 press conference video.

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Mass Effect Andromeda trailer teases new human character

EA has again teased Mass Effect: Andromeda with a new teaser trailer, although firm fresh details are sparse.

It was however our first look at the game's new Normandy-esque ship, rumoured to be named the Tempest.

The game is designed around the question of how far humanity will go in its ambitious expedition to find a new home, beyond the Milky Way, in the Andromeda galaxy.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda early gameplay footage leaks

Mass Effect: Andromeda early gameplay footage leaks

Krogans! Jetpacks! Explosive barrels!

Early footage of Mass Effect: Andromeda has appeared online.

The brief snippets of gameplay are taken from a build of the game which dates back to 2014, All Games Delta reported. The footage popped up online as part of a BioWare artist's showreel.

Despite the age of the footage, it illustrates several concepts we know will be present in the upcoming sci-fi sequel - such as open world traversal on foot, aided by a jetpack.

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No Mass Effect: Andromeda this year. EA has said in an investor call that the fourth main Mass Effect game will be released during the first quarter of 2017, which spans January to end of March.

There's a new Mass Effect Andromeda teaser trailer and it's voiced by Shepard

UPDATE 2.45pm: BioWare Montreal boss Yanick Roy has now confirmed to Eurogamer that Shepard's unexpected appearance in today's trailer is just the Commander signing off - plans have not changed regarding the character's lack of involvement in Mass Effect's future.

ORIGINAL STORY 1.30pm: Mass Effect Andromeda's new teaser trailer includes, rather surprisingly, a voice over from Commander Shepard.

It's an odd thing for Mass Effect maker BioWare to do because it has so far made clear that Andromeda, due autumn 2016, will move the franchise on past its Shepard-focused era.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer scanned and analysed

Last week, EA finally revealed the full name and release window for Mass Effect 4 - which we'll now have to remember is actually named Mass Effect: Andromeda.

It's due out "holiday 2016" for unnamed platforms, but we'll take a guess and say that means November next year on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

EA opened its E3 2015 press conference with this in-engine look at Andromeda, which showcases some of the locations, characters, aliens and gameplay mechanics that you'll be exploring/meeting/shooting in just less than 18 months time. Take a look:

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BioWare turns 20 today

BioWare have the years gone?

Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare has turned 20 today, but it doesn't look a day older than 19.

Probing the latest Mass Effect 4 leak

Filled with constellation?

A new marketing survey for Mass Effect 4 has leaked online and claims to reveal detailed descriptions of the game's setting, story, missions, online multiplayer and more.

BioWare surveys fans for Mass Effect 4 input

More details coming this month at San Diego Comic-Con.

Mass Effect developer BioWare has issued a new survey for fans of the series, which asks for your input on what elements the next Mass Effect game should highlight.

BioWare reveals Mass Effect 4 details, early footage

BioWare reveals Mass Effect 4 details, early footage

Set in "a whole new region of space".

BioWare has just shown off a sneak peek at Mass Effect 4, currently in development at its Montreal studio.

The title will be set in "a whole new region of space", but looking at concept art and in-engine visuals, familiar elements remain.

A helmeted human character in an N7 uniform was shown, as was a krogan warrior.

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BioWare "discussed" Mass Effect PS4/Xbox One remasters

BioWare "discussed" Mass Effect PS4/Xbox One remasters

"If we can put solid plans together we'll share."

BioWare has discussed internally the idea of remastering the Mass Effect series for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

A fan asked BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn on Twitter what he thought about a next-gen, 1080p, high-resolution texture, 60 frames-per-second version for PS4 and Xbox One.

Flynn's response: "We have discussed that internally. If we can put solid plans together we'll share."

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Should Mass Effect 4 be a prequel or sequel?

Should Mass Effect 4 be a prequel or sequel?

BioWare wants your help deciding.

BioWare has asked fans whether Mass Effect 4 should be a sequel to the existing trilogy or take place before, Phantom Menace-style.

Mass Effect overlord Casey Hudson canvassed fans via his Twitter account last night.

"Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game. Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after?", he wrote.

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