The three pieces of DLC that would have saved Mass Effect: Andromeda

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Mass Effect: Andromeda came to a rather unfulfilling close. Sure, an antagonist was defeated, but in a franchise that’s always reveled in the larger unknown, it felt like Andromeda should have had more to say. There were questions that were left not only unanswered, but barely even asked.

What did you think of Mass Effect: Andromeda? We lay it all out in our review.

However, Andromeda established some solid storylines - some that deserved more time to shine. As the chances of any more single-player content for Andromeda look grim, I’ve mapped out the three DLCs that Mass Effect fans should have got to play, and described how they could’ve moved Andromeda’s narrative into the future. Oh, and in the process, I’ve tied together those loose ends that shouldn’t be left dangling.

(I guess it should be said - spoilers abound.)

DLC 1 - 'Ark in Crisis'

Mass Effect Andromeda

I would imagine that at least some single player DLC was planned for Andromeda, and there’s no bigger clue to that than the far-off distress call the Pathfinder receives after the main story’s ending. While the words are garbled, any Mass Effect fan will recognise the dialect. It’s from the Keelah Si’yah, the Quarian Ark. Just the mention of Quarians is enough to prick up the ears of most players, but this Ark was also said to house many other familiar races. A nostalgia-filled time capsule careening towards Andromeda.

Of course, it doesn’t look like we’re ever going to see the Quarians and their pals, at least not in this game. It is what it is, but imagine the great storyline that could have unfolded from a DLC based around rescuing the Keelah Si’yah, the final lost Ark.

With the Kett on their last leg, the Keelah Si’yah’s distress wouldn’t have come at the hands of the Primus and her dwindling numbers. Instead, take a look at the potential found here, within the otherwise out-of-context addition of a Batarian combatant to the Andromeda multiplayer.

Batarians, already well-known for not playing nice, could have easily (I use that term loosely) stowed themselves away within the depths of the Quarian Ark in their own hibernation systems. When they come around, it’s time for the same old shenanigans, only in a new galaxy. In a scene that might echo the Somali pirate takeover of the ship in Captain Phillips, the Batarians take control.

It’s up to the Pathfinder to search out the Ark and not only bring an end to the insurrection, but find a way that this new galaxy can co-exist with the addition of the biggest assholes from back home. Hey, if anyone can do it, it’s probably Ryder.

The salvation of the Quarian Ark is priority number one, but this could also serve as a great way to flesh out the Initiative and provide answers to the shortcomings that many fans felt the operation had. From weaknesses in the leadership to even baseline motivations, this DLC could be stock full of effective movers and shakers who become real leaders of the Initiative. Give Tann a cardboard box and show him the door.

'Ark in Crisis' would also work perfectly as a segue into the second DLC. With a new cast of characters who are looking to restore the Initiative to its original purpose, this would be the perfect opportunity to shed light on Andromeda’s biggest enigma. I am, of course, talking about the Benefactor.

Mass Effect Andromeda

DLC 2 - 'The Mysterious Benefactor'

BioWare have made it clear that they intended to reveal the Benefactor in the sequels that were to follow Andromeda. They didn’t establish the mystery particularly well, though.

The revelation that the Benefactor even exists is only discovered through an optional, time-consuming quest. For a lot of players who were just trying to get to the end of a cumbersome game, they may have never even encountered the Benefactor’s wake.

By now, almost everyone should know that a shadow organisation funded the Initiative’s journey, and got a heap of their own people to Andromeda in the process. They’re a pretty nefarious bunch, especially given the fact that they, you know, assassinated the leader of the Initiative when they arrived.

Regardless of who they are, BioWare needed to show us why the Benefactor did what they did.

The impending doom of the Reaper invasion is a surefire way to get people looking for an escape, but it doesn’t stop there. DLC that reveals that motive is a great way to solidify the Benefactor as the looming cloud of mystery they’re supposed to be.

Mass Effect Andromeda

This second DLC could also wrap things up with the Pathfinder’s comatose mother, who was hidden away aboard the Ark Hyperion. As the Pathfinder discovers the motives of the Benefactor, they may be bribed with a cure to their mother’s illness, or have her identity held over them like blackmail.

But the most important thing 'The Mysterious Benefactor' DLC can do is help to establish the final piece of the puzzle. That is: who the hell are the Jardaan and where the hell did they go?

Mass Effect Andromeda

DLC 3 - 'Remnants of the Jardaan'

The Jardaan are the Protheans of Andromeda, the group who made awesome, ancient stuff before disappearing forever. This Remnant tech can do some amazing things, but it’s also a link back to their creators. The Initiative just needs to work out how to follow the clues.

The Jardaan’s legacy shows us that they pulled off some remarkable achievements, and that knowledge may be something that the shadow organisation wants for their own.

Sure, there’s no way that anybody from home would have known about it, but there are hundreds of ways to explain that away. Perhaps BioWare could start with the Geth FTL telescope that’s capable of capturing contemporary images.

Whatever this ancient species has, the Benefactor knows what it can do. Hell, the imposing structure of Meridian alone is worth doing some pretty nasty things to obtain, but that’s just the beginning. When you’re dealing with a race of aliens that can literally make other aliens, the writers would have no trouble creating some kind of Golden Egg that the Benefactor will do anything to get.

Mass Effect Andromeda

My hope for this Golden Egg? A waypoint, a station, a Remnant something that’ll launch those who find it further into the core of Andromeda’s galaxy - closer to the Kett homeworld, as well as any Jardaan that remain.

Oh yeah, and while we’re on the subject, let’s have a mission involving the Abyssal, the giant Remnant sandworm on Elaaden that had all of us drooling the first time we saw it. The big guy deserved to be so much more than to a sideshow.

'Remnants of the Jardaan' would’ve been the final piece of content for Andromeda - the bow on top. It would have sent the story into a new part of the galaxy, wiping the slate in the process. With a journey to another unknown, then a fade to black, a lot of fans would breathe easy knowing that the worst was behind them and that it’s time to look forward to what’s ahead for the series.

Mass Effect Andromeda

Alas, we’re probably not getting any single-player DLC for Mass Effect: Andromeda. And a sequel? Shelved, according to reports. The above may just be musings on what could have been, but I’m not ready to believe it’s all over just yet.

Announced only days ago, it turns out Casey Hudson is returning to BioWare as GM for all future projects. If that name is familiar to you, it’s because he’s the guy who helped make the original Mass Effect trilogy happen in his role as creative director. It won’t happen anytime soon, but I’d say Andromeda’s future may be brighter than fans originally thought.

Anthem is BioWare’s current focus, of course, and it looks full of potential. But I hope someone at the studio is at least thinking about what can be done to give a sense of closure to Andromeda’s saga. The ideas above are fueled by my love of the series, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying there’s much more to be written. In the best of scenarios, we’ll return to Andromeda again and it’ll be well worth the wait. Until then, look to the stars, Pathfinder, and remember the adventures you’ve had so far.

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QDP2 avatarhfm avatarkuhie avatarJac Atax avatarTydeus avatarJTP1 avatar+2
kuhie Avatar
3 Months ago

Really enjoyed the article. Regardless of what Bioware does with the ME:A franchise, I wish they would go back to tie up the loose ends you mentioned and close the loop on the original story.

QDP2 Avatar
3 Months ago

That *COULD* save ME:A. I refuse to give up hope yet.

BioWare's shareholders may be against the release of a new game, but the multiplayer team is still getting plenty of support. I don't see why they'd cancel any single player DLC whilst still investing into the multiplayer aspect.

hfm Avatar
3 Months ago

I must be in the minority of people that just don't care at all about multiplayer in these types of BioWare games (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, e.g.). If they are dumping resources into it, I suppose it must be popular.

I was holding out to play Andromeda until rounds of patches shored up the overwhelming amount of complaints. The character animations, especially facial expressions of emotion, are critical to the immersion in these types of games. DA:I did pretty well at this (I just finished all of it except for trespasser with zero outstanding quests except for one buggy quest that's blocked). I don't think I'd enjoy myself if they botched the emotion in the character animations badly. Not to mention the complaints about the story.

Though DA;I received complaints as well and I really enjoyed my time with it so far. I'm on the verge of starting Trespasser just want to clean up the war board of small things first, which is a little painful save.. wait till tomorrow.. use war board.. save.. wait till tomorrow.

I have the same complaint about Doom 2016. I don't care at all about MP I just want some more official campaign content. Though some of the SnapMap stuff was pretty good. Doom seems to fit MP better though and SP campaign stuff is expensive to create (voiceovers, writing, pacing.etc..) . So it kind of makes sense.

Jac Atax Avatar
3 Months ago

The people I played ME3 multiplayer with, did so to experience being a Quarian, Krogan, Asari or any other of the great species invented. I loved rocking a Volus with a shotgun or Batarian gauntlet. MP was a place you could chat with fans about their favourite characters and moments.

Bioware made a mistake in thinking that it was the combat that pulled people in and gave it longevity. On that false assumption they built the mechanics of Andromeda to the detriment of story, diverse alien cultures and a team which would mimic all previous Bioware teams, a Lawful good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good and so on.

Instead we got a game which has big areas yet feels small, few planets, few races and characters that can be irritating instead of enjoyable. I wouldn't buy DLC for this shipwreck as Bioware have lost the ability to tell compelling stories. You can see they are trying to go down the shoot and loot path with Anthem, they might as well since storytelling is no longer their strength.

JTP1 Avatar
3 Months ago

I couldn't agree more. I love the OT because of story, characters, and good dialog. It was the core of the OT that brought people in and made it the pinnacle of RPG's. With Andromeda, that concept was thrown out the window in favor of open world, world building, and a more multiplayer type combat system. None of which I remember people begging Bioware for.

They decided they are going another direction and the core of the OT isn't what is important anymore and it shows. Weak story, forgettable characters, and dialog that is aimed at the nickelodeon crowd. Bring back what made the OT great and I'm in, otherwise I'm done with ME series.

QDP2 Avatar
3 Months ago

I'm not a fan of multiplayer either, most RPG players aren't fans of multiplayer, but it was introduced and has since became necessary for AAA games to have at-least some form of multiplayer.

ME:A did a good job of avoiding this by making their MP features into a story-abiding setting: APEX Strike teams. In short, you can hire and send NPCs off on missions during your game, taking varying lengths of real-world time to complete (usually between 1 and 6 hours). It's all very similar to AC Brotherhoods mechanisms, with the loot, leveling and so on you gain from it.

Multiplayer gets involved if you want to play the missions (PvE) yourself rather than wait for the counter to complete. A non-intrusive form that allows people that don't want to play the missions to still be able to reap the benefits of the multiplayer mode.

Anyway, I've gone on long enough over multiplayer features. The main reason I'm commenting is because whilst the games animations, graphics and bug fixes are still underway and endlessly improving, there is no time better than now to jump into the game. If you leave it too long, you will get put off when you compare it to other RPGs that have released since. If you enjoyed the original series, then you will get over the facial animations fairly quickly. They really aren't all that distracting (and note: they have already improved notably since all the bad press). The gameplay is fun, the story is satisfyingly deep and the crew progression and development is exactly where I wanted it to be (the crew always made the game for me, and IMO this is one thing they nailed!).

I've managed to recommend 2 friends to try it out already and both ended up buying and enjoying it. Sure, it may not be the Mass Effect your nostalgia dreamed off, it may not even be your favourite Mass Effect on completing it, but it is still undeniably Mass Effect. All the charm and fun is waiting for you to ignore the bad press and give it a go. Hell, you can play for 10 hours free before you even need to buy it, give it a go!

Tydeus Avatar
3 Months ago

Calls it a cumbersome game, asks for 3 more stories to make it even longer.

A lot of people I've talked to loved the game, people who hated the ME3 ending or EA in general seem to be the people who hated MEA. And they likely didnt even play it, they probably just watched reviews of people who hated it :D

3 Months ago

i may be in the minority as well but i also don't really feel it to be necessary for there to be multiplayer in Mass effect ....even though i thoroughly enjoyed ME-3's multiplayer it just feels really disproportionate to add a some what to be expected competitive mode to a already complex story driven RPG experience matter what way i look at it i can't seem to justify that kind of a decision it just seems like either one or the other will suffer or worse both if they wanted to devote their time and resources independently into either of those versions of the game and sell them as separate products then yeah i could support that but together it wouldn't feel right to me.


skywardshadow Avatar
1 Week ago

You forgot the DLC to fix the shoddy writing that exists throughout the game. Shoddy compared to the previous games.