Moral choices were a central part of BioWare's Mass Effect trilogy, but the binary system used in those games won't be returning in 2017's Mass Effect Andromeda. Instead, the famed RPG developer has revealed that a new system will be introduced which focuses more on moral 'shades of grey'.
Speaking to GamesRadar, Mass Effect creative director Mac Walters described the old system – which cast player choices as purely good or bad, with no middle ground – as "a core part of who [protagonist] Shepard was," but with Andromeda the team is "moving away from that".
"I think in general, with all this sophistication of games or engaging in any kind of entertainment right now, [gamers are] looking for more of those shades of grey," he added. "We've been looking for other ways to engage more of those shades of grey; less about it being obviously being right or wrong and more about giving people a sense of choice."
Mass Effect's system was always a prime example of how limiting such a binary mechanic can be in terms of really exploring the potential ramifications of player choices in a gaming world. It certainly provided some great/memorable moments – including punching journalists – but it felt arbitrary, pushing players to pursue one extreme or the other, and in turn removing a lot of the choice.
A system that focuses more on grey areas can reap better rewards, and create genuinely tough decisions for the player. Life Is Strange for example, offered a lot of choices that came down to two options, but posed difficult questions that rarely had right or wrong answers. Good and bad consequences were born out of whatever the player chose to do, and that influenced the story.
Mass Effect Andromeda was delayed until 2017 earlier this year, meaning it will launch five years on from the release of Mass Effect 3. The game starts a new trilogy, telling a new story as humanity explores the Andromeda Galaxy. It will star a new protagonist, who, it was revealed last week, will be called Ryder.