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Jun 19 17 10:24 PM
By the end of 2015, Mass Effect: Andromeda’s leads realized that the procedural system wasn’t working out. Flying through space and landing on randomly generated planets still seemed like a cool concept—and by then, many people at BioWare were looking with great interest at No Man’s Sky—but they couldn’t make it work. So they decided to rescope.
“What you see [in the final game] is writing that has been done in the past two years rather than the full five years of writing,” said a developer on the game. “The writing team—writing the characters and everything—was unleashed too late, just because of too many discussions about the high-level direction.”
It wasn’t just the writing. Almost every Andromeda developer who spoke to me for this story said the bulk of the game was developed during that final stretch, from the end of 2015 to March 2017. Most of Mass Effect: Andromeda was made in just a year and a half, by those accounts. “It really wasn’t until Mac Walters came on board—and that was very much a reaction to the state of the critical path—he was really brought on board to give it direction and get it into shape,” said one person who worked on the game. “Before that it was quite rudderless.” Some at Montreal saw the directorial shift as Edmonton trying to take over their game, while some at Edmonton saw it as them needing to come in and rescue it.
One developer close to the project disputed the characterization that most of the game was developed in the final 18 months, saying that most of the ideas in the final game closely resembled those early visions.
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