Mass Effect: Andromeda is set to release in North America on March 21st, while Europe is set for March 23rd arrival. With fewer than three weeks before release, BioWare/EA and nVidia have released more information about the graphics settings and options for PC, 4K screenshots using Ansel, and HDR in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

BioWare/EA recently put out the minimum and recommended system requirements for the PC version of Mass Effect: Andromeda, and nVidia followed-up with a preview of the graphical options menu. Users will be able to change and customize 16 graphical settings, including:

Mass Effect: Andromeda is making waves today following the leak of a gif from one their developers. While short, the gif depicts the player character leap-frogging buildings using a jetpack -- not a past feature of the series. This is certainly new for the franchise; in previous titles, Mass Effect’s level design was largely linear and lacked vertical elements.

We can’t be sure about the veracity of the gifs, but leaks are hardly surprising when considering that Bioware is using roughly 200 developers to work on the game. For reference, this is up from around 50 that helped make Dragon Age: Inquisition. Andromeda’s expected release date has also been pushed back somewhat, from the holiday season of this year to the first quarter of 2017.

The annual East Coast Game Conference -- a 1500-attendee attempt at GDC-style development gatherings -- welcomed Mike Laidlaw of Bioware for its keynote today. The Bioware Creative Director has been tasked with oversight of the company's Dragon Age product line, drawing from his experience to discuss world design and storytelling at the conference.

Laidlaw's presentation spanned behind-the-scenes aspects of the development process, including unique considerations taken into account when producing a more open-world title. Throughout the keynote, Laidlaw made playful jabs at Bioware's own shortcomings with Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, often referencing the Hinterlands and player defiance for migration.

As exciting as 2015 will be for video game releases, it will be equally as exciting for news and developments emerging from post-2015 titles. We’ve known the next Mass Effect game has been in development for at least several months, and probably longer than that, but the game is far from release. Bioware GM Aaron Flynn posted on Neogaf about his team’s outlook on expanding the Mass Effect universe and supporting that through the gameplay.

The next Mass Effect -- which has not been named “Mass Effect 4” -- will mark the series’ debut on the new consoles, assuming we don’t get a remastering of a series collection (we’ve seen enough of those). Dragon Age may be Bioware’s next-biggest existing IP, but even so, Flynn is adamant that Mass Effect’s core experience, or gameplay “template,” will not be the same; in other words, it won’t be as closely linked as From Software titles (Dark Souls and Bloodborne) or Ubisoft’s heavy-hitters Assassin’s Creed & Watch Dogs.

Below, we examine Flynn’s insight and discuss some of the ways Bioware can take its IP and construct a stronger core gameplay offering. This article does not explore storyline continuity or love interests among quarians and volus, as much as I’d love to get into that, so prepare yourself for some Mass Effect meat & potatoes.

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