Guerrilla Games and BioWare both have had busy schedules since the spring. Both companies released new, highly-anticipated RPGs, and both garnered a serious reaction from fans. Horizon Zero Dawn debuted this past February, while Mass Effect Andromeda stepped into the light in March.
Both games are massive, expansive experiences that deliver hours and hours of gameplay. However, Horizon Zero Dawn is an example of putting the sum of a game’s parts together in a brilliant way, while Mass Effect Andromeda fell victim to thin characters and disruptive technical challenges.
One element that makes these two games stand apart is the way in which they end. For Horizon Zero Dawn, its ending provides closure for the journey endured, and a neat peek into what may come. In an interview with We Write Things, Michael Goodman, who is the director of digital media strategies at Strategy Analytics, talked about why the ending of Horizon Zero Dawn was so well done.
“[Guerrilla Games] executed on all cylinders with that game. It did really well and rightfully so, it deserved to do well. I loved it. I liked a couple things about the ending. One is they finished the story, but then they give you that little easter egg at the end there that the story is yet to be continued.
“There more coming down the pike. Even though you knew that, you still felt satisfied that you finished the story. But there’s still more to come. I thought that was really well done. I didn’t feel like there was anything unanswered with the first game. It felt finished and complete, but then they created that opportunity [for more],” Goodman said.
Going through a lengthy journey and experiencing so much means a satisfying ending is essential. Guerrilla Games certainly delivers that with the conclusion of Horizon Zero Dawn. However, Goodman believes Mass Effect Andromeda failed to tell an effective conclusion to end its story.
“Basically, [BioWare] didn’t close out any of the major arks in the story. They left a ton of hanging threads there. If you think about the original Mass Effect, when you finished it, it had a definitive ending. It felt complete and that was one of the things with Andromeda is it didn’t feel complete. Nothing was finished,” Goodman said.
Leaving threads open is always a great tool for a writer to write more. However, when true closure or insight on what already happened doesn’t come, it creates a problem. Many of us thought DLC or a new installment would mean further closure into the game, but that might not happen.
Planning to far ahead can mean the now is forgotten. I believe this happened with Andromeda, and it is unfortunate when you think about its potential. Given the performance of Mass Effect Andromeda, the future of Mass Effect is up in the air and that’s an unfortunate reality for what has been such a wonderful series.
Gamers who wish to pick up Mass Effect Andromeda can do so on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Sony’s Horizon Zero Dawn is available now on PS4. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Horizon Zero Dawn.