RPG maestros BioWare have revealed more about the new ship players will call home in Mass Effect Andromeda. The Temptest replaces the Mass Effect trilogy's Normandy, and will house the player and his or her crew during their exploration of the Andromeda galaxy.
Game Informer were given a brief tour of the new ship. The big news is that there will be no loading screens aboard the Tempest, meaning players will be able to explore the full extent of the ship freely and feel more encouraged to do so, without the lengthy load times and slow elevators of before.
The Tempest is smaller and sleeker than the Normandy, as it is intended as a scouting vehicle. "The whole look I wanted for the Tempest is that extremely cantilevered balance to the ship," art director Joel MacMillan told GI.
"So you have this very long, thin fuselage, but then the landing gear would be situated at the back. I love the image of that being parked on a cliff face – it's almost like it's on a perch, and you see the nose extending off the cliff face."
An unnamed Salarian character (previous Mass Effect character Mordin Solus was a Salarian) will pilot the ship, but the player will be required to select the target destination, as before. Unlike before however, there isn't a central map. Instead, the player character – as one of the two Ryder siblings – stands on the bridge and plots a course as they look out at the stars.
The Pathfinder's quarters is Ryder's personal room, which BioWare says will be customisable to a point and reflect the player's progress through the story and the choices they've made. In the back of the ship is the garage which houses the Nomad exploratory vehicle that players can customise.
A corridor links the bridge to a large gallery where players can assign skill points and change abilities between missions. Up some stairs is a seating area which, we assume, will be populated with the members of Ryder's crew.
The crew won't be static as they before – appearing to be waiting for the player to show up. They'll generally stick to the same areas, but in Andromeda they'll move around and do things.
"Mass Effect 1 did a good job of using the Normandy for those pinch points in the critical path, and Mass Effect 3 did a good job making it feel alive with the way the characters moved around the ship," said Walters. "The Tempest is a combination of those two things. Much more of those 'Hey, we're a team, let's figure this out and have a chat' after a mission, but also lots of interactions."
BioWare has changed things outside the ship as well, so in Andromeda players will be able to look out of the ship's windows and see where they are in space. "When you look out the window of the Tempest, you should see space out there," creative director Mac Walters said. "If you're parked in front of a planet, you actually see that planet everywhere you go on the Tempest."
Mass Effect Andromeda leaves behind the characters and choices of the first three games, to tell a new story in the Andromeda galaxy. Here, humanity and some familiar alien species hope to find somewhere to call home, but some of the natives may not exactly be accommodating.
Information had been drip-fed to fans prior to 7 November, when the first cinematic trailer was released ahead of the game's launch in Spring 2017 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.