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Mass Effect Andromeda: Let's talk alien sex, paint jobs and companions

Andromeda sex and romance.jpg

Sometimes you find real gems on the Internet. Take the recent Twitter conversation between some gamers and Mass Effect: Andromeda Producer, Michael Gamble. The conversation took an unexpected turn when Gamble tweeted if anyone had questions after EA released the new Andromeda Initiative briefing - which I will talk about later.

Gamble: So whaddaya think of them? Questions?

Gamer 1: WHO CAN I BANG?!

Gamble: so many. And the banging is pretty good

Gamer 2: "PG Rated EA good" or "Actual CD Projekt Red good"

Gamble: "we are an M rated game."

Gamer 2: "so was Mass Effect 3, but compared to TW3 it was Jane Austin level tame HOPE IM PROVED WRONG THO."

Well, that escalated quickly. Gamble, of course, didn't respond to The Witch 3 unicorn sex vs. Mass Effect 2 Jane Austin sex. Let's be fair; it's two very different game developers. I remember when Bioware talked about romance in Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Lead Writer David Gaider, explained that "there's more than insert coin, get sex, right?"

Let's discuss: Romance in gaming

While Bioware's approach to romance in games sounds 'more mature,' I've always struggled to invest in any relationship, be it in Mass Effect or Dragon Age. In  Mass Effect 2 I tried my damnedest to play it just right so I could get a roll in the hay with Thane; only to be told at the very end of the game that nothing will ever happen because aliens. On my second playthrough, I decided to throw all caution overboard and romance my whole crew. After sex with Jack, she couldn't stop crying, Samara just wanted to meditate, Tali wanted nothing to do with me and so on. Mind you, Miranda and Garrus at least had some fire in them. After my Thane dilemma I did turn to the "insert coin, get sex" approach, so perhaps I was much more invested in that first romance than I thought. I've also been playing Witcher 3, which has a very different energy when it comes to romance, and on the surface, it looks like CDPR treats sex very blaze.

There's a big difference between having the "M" stamp on your game, and making a mature video game. I find The Witcher to be a very mature game in how it treats the player, how it portrays Geralt and his place in the world. The Witcher and Mass Effect offer players different paths to sex - and I enjoy both. Both have its allure, its payoffs, and regrets. Romance in Mass Effect seems more mature, yet it mostly boils down to dialogue wheel choices, while in the Witcher sex forms part of an intricately woven world.

Bioware has, without a doubt, improved the romance in their games over the past few years. Remember in Dragon Age: Origins how you had to give the proper gifts to elicit a favourable reaction from a companion? It wasn't natural or immersive, but then Bioware changed it in Inquisition. What I love about Mass Effect relationships is how the player gets drawn into the story of each crew member.

It's almost like mini games within a game, and I love it. It adds a lot of value to the overall experience and I can't wait to see what Bioware dishes up on the romance platter in Andromeda. So far, we know Andromeda crew members will include an Asari (Peebee), Vetra (female Turion) and Drack (male Krogan). What's your take on romance in gaming? Do you care, find it silly, or perhaps you've yet to try romancing a virtual character.

Andromeda: The Tempest and the Nomad

I've complete my latest Andromeda: Initiative training video, so herewith a quick summary. If you've not yet enrolled, then sign up here.

  • The Tempest is built for speed, not combat
  • The Tempest has a lab where you test sample upgrade weapons & armour and research new tech.
  • The meeting room is where Pathfinders can issue instructions to their crew or hold a video conference with the Nexus
  • The lower deck holds the armoury, engineering, the med bay and the cargo bay for the Nomad.
  • R&R time is either in the crew quarters of the galley.
  • The Pathfinder's cabin is on the same floor as the R7R section but off limits to crew unless invited.
  • The bridge is where the Pathfinder navigates through the Helix cluster.
  • The Nomad offers four or six wheel drive.
  • It comes with a powerful fuel injection boost to get out of tight situations.
  • The Nomad comes with: thrusters, shields, shield blast, life support, radar, and paint jobs.
  • You can give customize the Nomad to fit better into the surroundings.
  • Paint it brown, orange, blue or any of the available colours.
  • Most important is the scanner and mine drones which the Pathfinder uses on planet surfaces.

Mass Effect Andromeda will release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on 21 March 2017 in the US, and 23 March in the UK and SA. Read more about what it means to be a Pathfinder, and what we learnt from the CES 2016 Andromeda gameplay reveal.

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"the player gets drawn into the story of each crew member"

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