Mass Effect: Andromeda represents some big departures from previous gameplay elements in the series, but perhaps none of them have been as large as the one that was discovered earlier this week – the beloved power wheel will be bowing out from the newest instalment in the Mass Effect franchise. Luckily, Eurogamer reached out to Mass Effect: Andromeda producer Fabrice Condominas to explain why BioWare felt the removal of the power wheel was the right call for the newest game:
“We decided to be way more dynamic and globally have much faster combat – you have the jump now, and the areas are more open…we felt like [the power wheel] was slowing down combat – it was an interruption.”
For those unaware, BioWare has decided to ditch the power wheel, which previously allowed gamers to pause combat during Mass Effect, assigning squadmates certain enemies in battle or setting up a chain of different Mass Effect skills to be executed at the same time. Gamers can still pause combat with the weapon wheel, and they can still point squadmates to different locations on the battlefield, but the change to how players can use Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s companions‘ powers is significant.
Condominas’ assertion that combat will be more dynamic and quicker, however, seems to underscore the general design philosophy that has been applied to battles in Mass Effect: Andromeda. He also suggested that, because of the much bigger areas and new ability to jump in combat, the AI has had to evolve as well – resulting in tougher enemies, of course, but also in companions who might not need to be micro-managed like they needed to be in previous Mass Effect titles.
While the removal of the power wheel is likely going to be hotly debated by series diehards, Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s innovations don’t seem to be coming at the price of what players expect from a BioWare game. Rumors that suggest Mass Effect: Andromeda could be longer than Mass Effect 3, coupled with a deep roster of companions and romance options, should be more than enough to win back any fans who might be put off by the sudden absence of a combat staple like the power wheel.
Mass Effect: Andromeda will release on March 21, 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.