For a start, Commander Shepard is long gone and you’ll be playing as one of the Ryder twins, Sara or Scott, both of whom actually play a part in the story, regardless of which you pick to play. You’ll follow their story as you search for new Earth colonies in the Andromeda Galaxy, which just happens to be a 600-year drive away from our own Milky Way.
So before you get stuck into the game when it arrives in March, here’s a quick guide to the Mass Effect: Andromeda characters you’ll soon meet.
Who are all the Mass Effect: Andromeda characters?
Scott and Sara Ryder
As with Commander Shepard, you can play as either a female or male protagonist, but rather than changing the sex of the hero you can simply pick between two twins as the main Mass Effect: Andromeda characters.
Scott Ryder is the male option and he’s a former member of the Alliance military. Sara Ryder, on the other hand, has spent her time studying the Prothean race back in the Milky Way.
Despite these pre-determined backstories, you will be able to adjust their more recent histories for additional character customization options.
Alec Ryder is the father of the twin protagonists, Sara and Scott, and the original Pathfinder. That’s the chap responsible for finding Earth’s citizens a new home in the Andromeda Galaxy. But apparently something’s happened and he’s no longer the Pathfinder.
That position has now been handed down to his children.
Like the twins, you can apparently fully customize his appearance to make sure he’s the guy you want him to be.
If you played the original Mass Effect game, you’ll know that you started out with two human squad members to help you through the game. They were Kaiden Alenko and Ashley Williams.
In Mass Effect: Andromeda, this happens again, but your new human squad members are Liam Kosta and Cora Harper.
Liam arrived in Andromeda aboard the human ark ship, Hyperion, along with the Ryder twins. He’s a former cop, who was an engineer before that, but he’s now assisting the Pathfinder as part of the security detail.
Developer BioWare describes him as an “idealist, willing to take risks for the good of the [Pathfinder] initiative” and he’s from London, England.
Cora Harper is your second starting squad member and another human like Liam and the twins.
However, she’s also a biotic that trained with an elite asari unit before signing up for the Andromeda Pathfinder initiative. She uses her so-called “huntress tactics and biotic strength” to aid the Pathfinder team.
It’s obvious from the Mass Effect: Andromeda cinematic trailer that she will act as a potential love interest for the twins too, as you’ll spot her swapping some serious saliva with Scott.
If you’ve read the Mass Effect comics, you might also know that Cora shares a surname with the Illusive Man aka Jack Harper. Your guess is as good as ours as to whether there’s a connection there.
Pelessaria B’Sayle, aka Peebee
Pelessaria, better known as Peebee, has been a mainstay in the Andromeda trailers and is shaping up to be one of the game’s major characters.
She apparently joins your squad early in the game after crossing paths with Ryder in the Andromeda galaxy. She traveled from the Milky Way long before Ryder on an ark ship called the Nexus, which acts as the game’s new Citadel-esque central space station.
Peebee’s described as a “free spirit with a penchant for alien civilizations”, who’s been traveling alone after leaving the Nexus.
There’s a definite similarity between her character and Liara from the original games, but she is far more independent than our old friend.
Playing a similar role to Wrex from the first games, Drack is your Krogan tank. He’s an “aged and grizzled veteran, even by Krogan standards”, so expect zero banter from this squaddie.
We don't know yet how Drack joins the Pathfinder initiative, but he does have a loyalty mission that involves finding a lost ship of Krogans.
Jaal is one of the Mass Effect Andromeda characters who hasn’t actually been officially confirmed by EA or BioWare as yet.
However, the new face has been spotted in recent gameplay footage and was even shown off as one of the new Andromeda range of Funko Pop figurines.
Jaal is a member of one of the new races - the Angara race - who are natives of the Helius Cluster.
Joker, Seth Green’s character from the original trilogy, is gone and our pilot for Andromeda is a Salarian called Kallo Jath.
He’s been with the Tempest since the earliest days, but that’s all we know so far.
Lexi is apparently the doctor onboard your ship, the Tempest, playing a similar role to Dr. Karin Chakwas from the original games.
The Simulated Adaptive Matrix, or SAM, is an artificial intelligence (AI) that’s linked to the Pathfinder and their teammates.
It will no doubt be an advanced version of the ship AI known as EDI from The Normandy of the previous games and offer you plenty of helpful info on your journey.
We might still be waiting for a Garrus spin-off Mass Effect game, but that hasn’t stopped BioWare introducing a new Turian character into our lives.
Vetra is a female Turian, which is actually quite a rarity in the Mass Effect universe, as we didn't see one until Mass Effect 3’s Omega DLC.
There’s no word as yet on how or why Vetra joins the Pathfinder team, but she is already onboard the Nexus when Ryder arrives.
Apparently, family ties kept her from exploring the galaxy further, so there’s a tiny hint at her storyline.
Not much as yet is known about the new species for the various Mass Effect: Andromeda characters, but it seems that the most common foe in the game will be the Kett.
And for every protagonist, you need an antagonist too, which in Mass Effect: Andromeda is taken up by the Kett leader, The Archon.
Just take a look at that creepy face invading your ship, the Tempest:
Who are your Mass Effect: Andromeda squadmates?
Like with the previous Mass Effect games, your character will be helped by a series of squadmates and it’s looking like you’ll have six to choose from.
It’s not clear how many you’ll be able to take with you on each mission as yet, but here who has been confirmed so far:
- Liam Kosta
- Cora Harper
Who are the Tempest crew members in Mass Effect: Andromeda?
Unlike the squadmates, the Tempest crew members are Mass Effect: Andromeda characters that will most likely remain on the ship, with interactions available while you’re on board.
Crew members so far include:
- Alec Ryder
- Kallo Jath
What about Commander Shepard?
Although the idea of leaving Commander Shepard behind might be a tough pill to swallow for some, you’re going to have to get used to it because this game is set 600 years after the events of Mass Effect 2.
So by the point at which our Andromeda story starts, Mass Effect 3 has happened and regardless of the ending you chose, Shepard is long dead and a fresh set of Mass Effect: Andromeda characters are taking center stage.
It’s important to remember that EA Games has already confirmed that the story you weaved through in the original Mass Effect trilogy won’t have any bearing on Mass Effect: Andromeda or its characters. This may be grounded in the events of the original games, potentially with a reference or two to Shepard, but unfortunately for long-term fans, you’ll be playing an entirely fresh story.
Commander Shepard vs the Ryder twins
Although you won't be playing as our old pal Shepard, it seems you'll still have plenty of control over how the story plays out with the Ryder twins.
Not only are the conversation wheels of old making a comeback, the loyalty missions from Mass Effect 2 will be a key feature of the storyline too. However, it seems that these won't affect the game's overall ending as it did in the original games.
Interestingly, the game seems to have ditched Mass Effect's paragon/renegade (good/evil) choices and morality spectrum, replacing it with something much wider and offering no overall gauge of how you're perceived.
You also don't have to pick a starting class. Instead, you'll assign skill talents you fancy for your Ryder and then hone them towards a specialty as you progress through the game.
Don't worry though because you can also re-assign skills if you want to equip your character with different abilities for specific situations. It seems much more flexible than in the original trilogy.
Of course, you can also get your romance on between various Mass Effect: Andromeda characters, so prepare for some potential cross-species action.
What about the story of Scott and Sara Ryder?
As for the Ryders' storyline, it seems that BioWare is focused on this being a more traditional hero storyline.
"Commander Shepard, the way I put it was, a hero [when we met them – him or her] who became a legend," said BioWare Creative Director Mac Walters in an interview with IGN. "For me, the people in Andromeda's story are people who haven't yet achieved hero status."
"[Mass Effect: Andromeda] is much more of a hero's journey. What that entails is a slightly more intimate story that you want to tell. Seeing the lens through someone who is learning and growing and actually has an arc throughout the course of the story. I mean, Shepard had an arc, but it was more established."
"It is a darker start, and you progress for that hopeful future as you go through it."