Mass Effect: Andromeda is the highly anticipated next installment in the Mass Effect franchise which first debuted ten years ago. The original Mass Effect games did allow players to customize their character’s looks, personality, and gender, but for marketing purposes, BioWare went with a male lead character for the first game.
We saw more of Mass Effect: Andromeda in action at E3 and were shown the main character in the form of a woman. In an interview with EuroGamer, BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn explained this decision, saying:
“When we debuted male Shepard back in 2006 [for Mass Effect], 10 years ago, it was a time when we drew inspiration from traditional entertainment marketing. So: ‘We need a iconic main character. We need an iconic everything else.'”
“But I think the whole industry, us included, have moved beyond that,” he added. “Our games let you choose your main character, I think everyone gets that nowadays. You don’t need to see a character to identify with, in the same way you might on a movie poster. People want to create their own characters, customize them, and we’re embracing that.”
When asked if the female lead will appear on the game’s box art, Flynn stated that a gender neutral box art similar to Dragon Age: Inquisition will most likely be used. The decision to show off a female hero at E3 was made in order to balance out the heavy focus on a male lead in the last three games.
“We thought, ‘Actually, with the first trilogy we had male as default, we should balance that out as best we can,'” said Flynn.
Mass Effect: Andromeda was originally due to be released this year but has since been moved to a 2017 release window. It will be available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.