It's been eight years since the original Mass Effect was released, and fans of the video game franchise are celebrating with a global event known as "N7 Day." Even publisher Electronic Arts and developer BioWare are getting in on the fun with coordinated N7 Day events, contests and announcements.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of N7 Day has been the release of a teaser trailer for a new game in the series, Mass Effect Andromeda. The teaser gives fans a brief glimpse of the game that was announced earlier this year at E3.
Narrated by the female version of Commander Shepard (usually referred to as FemShep by fans) and addressing the as-yet-unnamed protagonist of the new game, the teaser is largely made up of clips showcasing the history of space travel. The visuals then shift to a rapidly retreating cockpit view of Earth and our solar system, until eventually a full galaxy is visible in the distance. A quick shot is given of what is presumably the player's ship in the new game, and then the video cuts to the game title.
Set "long after the events of Mass Effect 3," Andromeda shifts the action away from Earth and the Milky Way galaxy. It is set up as a separate story instead of a continuation of the previous trilogy's storyline, to the point that a former BioWare community manager stated that fans shouldn't refer to it as Mass Effect 4. Some items and equipment from the previous games will make appearances since the games all share the same universe, including the Mako vehicle originally seen in the first Mass Effect. As with other Mass Effect games, players will be able to create either a male or female version of the main character and customize its looks and attitude.
Fan reaction to the teaser is largely positive, even if there is little game footage included. Some fans are latching on to potential Easter eggs, such as a brief glimpse of dog tags in the ship's cockpit that appear to bear the name "Ryder." It's even been suggested that the use of Johnny Cash's "Ghost Riders in the Sky" during the reveal trailer at E3 is a clue that this could very well be the name of the protagonist in the new game.
Given that the game is slated for release late next year, it's unlikely that we'll see much more from the game until 2016. This leaves plenty of time for speculation, analysis and trying to determine what can be gleaned from the bits that have been revealed so far. A major showing for Andromeda is all but guaranteed at next year's E3, meaning that fans might have several months to wait before some of the mysteries surrounding the game are revealed.
Mass Effect Andromeda is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2016.