A key change in the classes of Mass Effect: Andromeda will alter the the accessibility of biotics, while explaining more about the Pathfinders.
In the original Mass Effect trilogy, biotic abilities are tough to come by. Asari are the only race that innately possess these abilities that bend dark matter. Other races in the universe must be exposed to Element Zero in utero for a mere chance at wielding biotics in life with the help of artificial implants. The newest Mass Effect: Andromeda demo, shown at CES 2017, cast that rule into doubt as it showcased the game’s new class system. You’ll be able to switch classes fluidly throughout the game, from biotics-heavy classes like the Adept, to more weapons-focused roles like Soldier, simply by accessing the class menu. What does that all mean for Mass Effect lore?
Watching the video from CES, you’ll note that Ryder swaps Soldier to Engineer to operate a gate. The menus also show that Ryder has access to both Biotics and Tech abilities, should he choose to equip them.
This ability to switch from roles focusing on Biotic powers to those that are more Tech-focused implies that various characters in the universe now possess the same ability. Does that mean, somehow, that everyone now has access to biotics? Somewhere in those 600 years of travel, did those in cryo-slumber on the Arks gain biotic abilities? Sure, that could be one explanation, but we think Bioware has a more elegant answer to this plothole in their new class system. It lies in the few hints about Andromeda we’ve received already.
Think back to that Andromeda Initiative briefing we all received in November. Jian Garson, founder of the Initiative, explains the different people that are traveling to the Andromeda galaxy. While the “Arks” carrying the Sol System’s unique races are occupied by some of the most skilled people in the galaxy, only a select few assume the role of Pathfinder. Each Ark is led by one, and each is a combination of soldier, guide, and scientist. That explains the class switching, but it seems like this will be a unique trait for Pathfinders only.
Garson continues later in the briefing, “Those accepted onto the Pathfinder team will all receive weapons, biotics, and survival training…” which pretty much seals the deal. While significant changes to how biotics work within the universe — or even within species in the Andromeda galaxy — would be interesting, it seems that these powers still require a good deal of work to attain and wield unless you’re an Asari.
Still, playing as the Pathfinder, the newfound flexibility in the class system could open up some exciting possibilities when it comes to customizing your version of Ryder. Whatever the case, we’ll be able to find out for ourselves soon enough when Mass Effect: Andromeda launches on March 21, 2017.