When BioWare announced a new Mass Effect game, fans were elated. Judging from the short trailers and a few other details gathered by fans, it appears that the upcoming game will take players back to the Milky Way galaxy, where Shepard’s war against the Reapers began and ended. Also, in the announcement of Mass Effect 5, fans saw Liara, one of the companions from the original trilogy, who looks significantly older than when players first met her.
Details such as Liara’s age and some of the teasers for ME5 have raised a lot of questions from fans of the franchise. Some hopeful people are wondering if there’s a possibility of a Shepard return, while others are wondering if BioWare will canonize a particular ME3 ending. Most, however, are excited about the return to the sci-fi setting, especially with a return to where the first games started.
However, even with the potential return of the Milky Way in ME5, it seems like the gameplay could reflect Mass Effect: Andromeda’s open-world style. After all, according to BioWare’s recent job listing for director of level design, the requirements for this position include experience in “non-linear, independent level design.”
While this doesn’t exactly mean the next ME will be open world, it does mean the game will have more of an Andromeda influence than the original trilogy. Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 used a more linear style of level design, guiding players along a predetermined path without having to choose from many different routes. This decision for a less linear style of levels may still limit the main story of ME5 to a selection of levels, each with multiple paths similar to the level design in Dishonored games.
If ME5 eschews old level design in favor of a Mass Effect: Andromeda-like approach, it’s possible that the new game could bring other features from the spin-off. However, it seems that ME5 will be heading in a new direction in many ways.