Cosplay Played a Role in the Lack of New Aliens in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Bioware wanted aliens people could dress up as.

Comparatively speaking, Mass Effect: Andromeda doesn’t add as much to the larger Mass Effect lore than the original game did when it launched ten years prior. The spin-off debuted only two new alien species: the Kett and the Angara. This made a kind of sense considering the game took place in a very focused area of the Andromeda Galaxy: the Heleus Cluster.

But according to a new report from The GamerMass Effect: Andromeda was going to have “five or six” new alien species at one point, but they were cut for various reasons during development. Some of this was due to budgetary restraints, which writer Neil Pollner said resulted in the game’s demonstrably smaller narrative scale.

“I think it was a project that couldn’t have possibly lived up to expectations,” Pollner said. “Not just the high bar of the original trilogy, but the logical expectations anyone would have of Mass Effect going to a whole new galaxy. Because the scope of [the first] Mass Effect was so incredibly massive, there was an inherent promise that you’d be getting a massive new experience with a ton of new things in [what was supposed to be the first] Mass Effect Andromeda – new species, new lore, an entire new galaxy at your fingertips, etc.

“But we were only given the budget for two new species, plus the Remnant. Not to mention that we couldn’t even include all the Milky Way species. And we weren’t going to be able to let you travel throughout the galaxy. This meant that we had to develop the story around some pretty glaring inorganic limitations. So, not only did you get something that felt (and was) much smaller than what you got before, almost everyone playing the game probably had something that they really liked about Mass Effect that just wasn’t there.”

A male (left) and female (right) Angara in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

While budget and narrative influenced what alien concepts would see the light of day, apparently cosplay was a factor as well. Dorian Kieken, a franchise design director, explained to The Gamer that some of the more out there alien designs were tossed out during the making of Andromeda in favor of things like the Angara, which are relatively humanoid and could be made into cosplay. This meant there wouldn’t be a Hanar-esque “jellyfish” alien species once Pathfinder Ryder and their crew arrived in the new galaxy.

“One of the strengths of the original Mass Effect trilogy is that you can actually cosplay most of the alien characters – except the Hanar, although I wouldn’t underestimate the creativity of some cosplayers,” Kiekan said. “The intention in Mass Effect Andromeda was to introduce new races that would still be in the realm of cosplay, which is probably why more crazy concepts were abandoned.”

More Mass Effect:

Perhaps some of these abandoned concepts will show up in the next Mass Effect, which Bioware is hinting will feature both the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy, but it’s not exactly clear in what way just yet. In the meantime, people will get a chance to replay the original trilogy with Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, a remaster of all three games coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 14.


Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Staff Writer at Fanbyte. He still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.

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