Never mind Star Trek’s iconic opening line; the “final frontier”, of greatest interest to fans of the Mass Effect series is Andromeda, the divisive latest instalment of BioWare Montreal’s sci-fi RPG franchise which some critics believe might have represented its last-chance saloon.
The project’s developers are predictably remaining silent regarding recent reports of their staff having been shipped off to work on Mass Effect publisher EA’s other AAA releases for 2017 like Battlefront II and Battlefield I DLC, but we do now know for certain to expect further downloadable content for Andromeda in the near future.
- The DLC in question will take the form of an additional difficulty mode and playable alien species for the third-person-shooter’s APEX multiplayer component. The former goes by the name Platinum Difficulty, and while that title’s as much as the Mass Effect Twitter account seems willing to disclose right now, one would have to assume it’s bound to test even the most hardcore series veterans’ skills to their very limits…or need some serious technical overhauling if it doesn’t live up to that objective.
- As for the new characters, fans of the first Mass Effect’s “Bring Down the Sky” DLC or their subsequent appearances in the other two chapters of the original trilogy can rejoice at the news that the Batarians are making a comeback, bringing all four of their intimidating jet-black eyes along to the stare contest to boot.
- Just as one would expect of the franchise’s ever-devoted followers, some are already questioning how the fan-favourite extra-terrestrial soldiers managed to reach Andromeda’s titular star system given that they – to our knowledge based on the events of the campaign, anyway – weren’t present on the star-ships carrying colonists from an array of Milky Way races to a supposed new home.
- The canon reason? Producer Fernando Melo wouldn’t spill the beans on Twitter, only teasing “[l]ore secrets (until the update)”. Let the countdown to the still-to-be confirmed update’s launch window begin, in other words…
Whilst this probably seems quite the opposite of closure or clarity which many fans were hoping for with regards to one of BioWare’s most successful IPs to date, if nothing else the studio appear to have at least offered their disciples a kernel of hope, confirming Andromeda’s planned DLC campaign hasn’t stopped dead in its tracks as some had suspected.
Could Mass Effect still delay facing its “final frontier” for now, then? Perhaps, or perhaps EA simply hope fans will end up too busy ploughing their way through Platinum Difficulty mode as Batarians to care for the time being. Only time – or indeed the wallets of anyone who for whatever reason couldn’t justifying picking up this one until Batarians entered the fray – will tell.
Until we hear more on the new multiplayer DLC pack’s release date, be sure to check out our 4/5 review of Andromeda here, courtesy of D-pad Joy’s Chris Wheatley.