Mass Effect: Andromeda, the very next game in the Mass Effect universe, is said to be released in the 2016 holiday season. There has been little to none official information about the setting. Let's take a look at what we know so far and then take on the Andromeda galaxy itself.
Mass Effect: Andromeda, the fourth instalment in the genre, will take place a 'long time' after Commander Shepard's trilogy. The playable character will therefore have a brand new identity, either of a male or female human.
As for the companions and other characters, it is improbable we would see most of them return. Remember, ME: Andromeda takes place a 'long time' after the initial series. We could however (and probably will) see many references, and some characters may actually very well survive it into the game. Yes, I'm talking about EDI. Also, there are the possibilities of a person being put in some stasis (happened with Javik) or travelling through time, and yes, they are probably not happening. But hey, you never really know.
What we do actually know is that Bioware assured us they want the game to feel 'Mass Effect.' With that, they've revealed the return of Mako and some other classic Mass Effect elements, like the omni-tool, and the N7 armour.
It has also been implied that there won't be a competitive multiplayer. Co-op, however, is pretty much confirmed.
The game will be set in the Andromeda galaxy. There have been rumours about the protagonist being there to establish a foothold for the Alliance. With this, the system we've seen in Dragon Age: Inquisition pretty much comes to my mind. Be it a true or not, we'll get to meet both new and old alien races, as well as to explore vast regions of different planets. And also, as always, the game should bring an unforgettable interactive storytelling.
Now, while anxiously waiting to explore Mass Effect: Andromeda, let's soak up some real world knowledge about the galaxy to know what we're getting into!
The Andromeda Galaxy, or Messier 31, is named after the Andromeda constellation. The name comes from the Greek mythology.
It is part of the so-called Local Group. The Local Group is a group of galaxies rotating around the same gravitational centre. The gravitational centre can be found somewhere between the Andromeda Galaxy (the largest galaxy in the Local Group) and the Milky Way Galaxy (the second largest galaxy in the group). The group also consists of some of the smaller galaxies, which behave like satellites to the bigger galaxies. Other large galaxy in the group, yet significantly smaller than Milky Way, is the Triangulum Galaxy (yeah, somehow felt the need to mention this one too).
Mass Effect Technology Challenge
One of the most anticipated answers is how will the designers explain travel between galaxies. The galaxy has more than twice the stars the Milky Way has and is about 2.5 million light years away, a light year being a distance the light travels in vacuum in one year. Also, that being said, when we see the galaxy, we see the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago (because that's how long it takes the light to get into our galaxy). And like Milky Way, it too has spiral arms extending from its core.
Andromeda is approaching our galaxy. In some very distant future, those two galaxies will collide and probably merge into one. Also, the galaxy can be seen with a naked eye in the night sky.
All in all, let's hope Bioware can keep their promise about the release date, and that it won't take 2.5 million years for Andromeda to get here :-)