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Mass Effect Rumors Dropping Open-World: A Return to Roots?

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In a surprising revelation, a trusted gaming insider, Jez Corden, has hinted that the iconic Mass Effect series might be abandoning its open-world elements to revert to its classic gameplay format. Corden, the Managing Editor at Windows Central, shared the industry chatter during a recent episode of The Xbox Two Podcast. While not definitively confirmed, the rumor has stirred discussions about what fans and critics actually want from the sci-fi role-playing game series.

The Context of the Revelation

Interestingly, the topic of Mass Effect wasn't even on the podcast's agenda. Corden and his co-host, Rand al Thor, were discussing the recent release of Starfield by Bethesda, lauding it as a return to the gaming giant's glory days. Corden took the opportunity to draw a parallel with BioWare's upcoming titles, including Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and a new Mass Effect installment. According to Corden, the rumor aims to highlight that sticking to tried-and-tested formulas isn't necessarily a bad thing, a point made in defense of Starfield's traditional gameplay mechanics.

A Mixed Reception to Open-World Gameplay

The Mass Effect series initially gained its popularity through a strong focus on story, character development, and selected locations. The first three installments in the series opted for an expansive but not entirely open world, offering a set of smaller, meticulously designed locations for players to explore. The open-world format wasn't introduced until the much-debated 2017 release, Mass Effect: Andromeda. Despite offering a vast landscape, Andromeda received mixed reviews and failed to capture the same critical acclaim as its predecessors, which all scored above 90 on Metacritic.

Fans have had mixed feelings about the open-world aspect as well, with many expressing relief at the rumor of a return to the original format.  While we await official confirmation, the rumor does shine a light on a broader question in the gaming community: does an open world always make a game better, or can it sometimes dilute what makes a series special? As BioWare remains tight-lipped on the subject, the debate rages on.

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