Mass Effect: Andromeda is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Released worldwide in March 2017, it is the fourth major entry in the Mass Effect series and the first since Mass Effect 3 (2012). The game begins within the Milky Way Galaxy during the 22nd century, where humanity is planning to populate new home worlds in the Andromeda Galaxy as part of a strategy called the Andromeda Initiative. The player assumes the role of either Scott or Sara Ryder, an inexperienced military recruit who joins the Initiative and wakes up in Andromeda following a 634-year journey. Events transpire that result in Ryder becoming humanity’s Pathfinder, tasked with finding a new home world for humanity while also dealing with an antagonistic alien race, the kett, and uncovering the secrets of a mysterious synthetic race, the Remnant.
For Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare incorporated a lighter tone than previous installments in the series, utilized open world elements, and placed an emphasis on exploration. Many of the series’ traditional gameplay elements remain, while others are modified, such as combat, which is less cover-based and more mobile. The game is the largest in the series, and offers the player the freedom to focus on either the main quest or side quests. Its score was composed by John Paesano and aims to match the game’s mood by capturing the adventure of space exploration.
In contrast to the original Mass Effect trilogy, which was spearheaded by BioWare’s Edmonton studio, Mass Effect: Andromeda was handled by a new team out of Montreal. The game experienced a troubled production cycle that saw many members of its leadership team depart mid-project and numerous changes in creative vision. It was built using the Frostbite 3 engine, which required that BioWare construct all systems, tools, and assets from scratch as the series was previously built on another engine. Following the game’s release, BioWare released several patches in response to critical feedback, but decided not to release further single-player downloadable content additions.
After its announcement in June 2015, Mass Effect: Andromeda became a highly-anticipated game. Upon release, it received generally mixed reviews from video game publications. Praise was directed at the game’s improved combat and visuals, while criticism was aimed at its character animations and technical issues. As of September 2017, the game has shipped over 2 million copies worldwide.