Why Mass Effect: Andromeda Is Dropping Paragon And Renegade Conversation Options

The real question is how easy will it be to impulsively kick people out of windows?

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: 5 Ways to Make Mass Effect Andromeda's Multiplayer Great

Paragon and Renegade conversation choices have been a mainstay of the Mass Effect series since it launched, but that's all about to change.

In an interview with Official Xbox Magazine (via GamesRadar), Mass Effect: Andromeda creative director Mac Walters said Paragon and Renegade are gone, "because they felt very Shepard--they were very tied to the Shepard character, so they didn't really make sense if we weren't going to have Shepard as our main protagonist."

No Caption Provided

"What we have now is based more around agreeing and disagreeing," he continued. "The reason I like that is because in the trilogy it’s like, 'I'm gonna play Paragon,' and then you know which way you're moving the stick on every conversation. You don’t have to think about it, because you're just going to hit Paragon every time."

Players of previous Mass Effect games will know if you want to make the best version of your character stats-wise, you have to pick Paragon or Renegade and stick with it, nuance be damned. This new system is designed to get away from binary moral choices, to encourage players to actually pay attention to conversations, and choose dialog options that make sense for their character. "With agree and disagree it changes by the circumstance and it changes by the character you’re talking to," Walters said, "so you have to actually be more engaged in what's going on, to know if you're going to do that."

The new system also includes four different tones of voice, which "basically allow other types of characters to express them[selves] in one of four different ways, and sometimes one of two different ways," Walters confirmed. "And I think that gets back to that more traditional role-playing sort of feeling which is less about 'Do I want to be good or bad,' and more about 'How do I want to express myself?"

Speaking of expressing yourself, if you're interested in producing fan art or cosplay of Mass Effect: Andromeda characters you might want to check out the character kits BioWare released this week. The first multiplayer gameplay footage was included in the latest trailer for Andromeda, and the game will not allow for crossplay, but will have an uncapped frame rate on PC.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 183 comments about this story
183 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for viking_mana

Assuming that this system is going to have a little more depth than "Be an arrogant, reckless d*ck" and "Be a naive goody-goody tw*t" then I really don't mind the change. But let's be real here: It's not about the tone of conversations, or dialogue options. It's about how those choices are going to affect the world. If their only effect on the galaxy is going to be that some people might get a little huffy, then what's the point? On the other hand, if disagreeing with the wrong warlord is going to cause a colony-wide civil war, then that makes sense.

The conversations are only like.. 25% of what's going to make you feel immersed. The rest all comes down to consequence, and whether or not Bioware still has the guts to say: "Yeah, well.. You chose option B, so now some of this stuff is off-limits until your next playthrough."

Avatar image for vannacut

when the consequences are in binary , what do you mean you didnt want the conversation options in binary? this is not real life, i can say one thing in real and when i see the reactions i may adjust my opinion around it. i can decide one thing and later on totally change my mind as i start seeing the possible outcome, i cant do any of these in the game world. you click one thing and it triggers the unstoppable. reload and replay...as if everything else is perfectly in sync with real life cause and effect, they wanna change the conversation options.

Avatar image for drumfall

Very presumptuous to assume just because I play all paragon or renegade that I'm not really following the dialogue.

Avatar image for viking_mana

@drumfall: Indeed, it would be, if that was what they said. What they actually said was that many people were compelled to just pick red or blue, because they were going for a specific build, and that doing this might make it seem like paying attention to the conversation itself doesn't matter.

What they're saying is that you shouldn't be forced to do a "Paragon" or "Renegade" playthrough of the games, but that they want to allow room for nuance. Unlike in Mass Effect 2, you probably won't be judged by the game itself for wanting to do sensible, self-preserving things, instead of throwing everyone under the bus to save aliens all the time.

Whether that ends up being true we'll just have to wait and see. Personally I'm worried that they do a reverse Fallout 4, and make really interesting dialogue that doesn't affect the world in any meaningful way, instead of meaningless conversations that can have a huge impact.

Avatar image for drumfall

@viking_mana: I understand what you are saying but I think you need to look at the article again to understand my point. Broad generalizations are made about the players attitude towards the conversations. It did not "actually say" that players were merely "compelled" to pick red or blue. I understand that is the underlying issue for the conversation mechanic change, and I actually look forward to it, but again, suggesting that players are ignoring conversation just because they are going all red or all blue is the point that was trying to be conveyed.

For instance-

"...You don’t have to think about it, because you're just going to hit Paragon every time."

"This new system is designed to get away from binary moral choices, to encourage players to actually pay attention to conversations..."

Avatar image for Bond_Villain

I'm still bummed I can't romance Dr Chakwas from ME2

Hope they fix that :)

Avatar image for BigCat2K20

I'm playing Mass Effect Trilogy (mostly ME1) & having the system is 50/50. But, I guess that everybody (myself included) will find out if removing paragon/renegade system pan out or not when the game comes out next month.

Avatar image for rikkiwalker

Sounds similar to Dragon Age 2 where you could say things in a serious, humorous, aggressive manner.

Avatar image for htp_75

I agree that there should be a very well done PvP with a good Loot Box system.

So many gaming companies talk big about PvP being good/well done to blow us away for how amazingly done it is.

The biggest problem we all face playing games is the (loot drop) we get from the game. Its either not random enough with to much grinding or to much grinding with very limited loot. Other problem we all face with loot drops is, we see more of certain items then we see of items we really want/need.

Also, loot drops should not be level limited.

(Example: you get a weapon for lvl 20 from the loot box, thats cool we can take that and equip it on later. However, Idk how many of you are all sick of seeing loot box only open once you hit select level to unlock good loot.)

Avatar image for DarqStalker

Has any information been released about romancing options?

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl

@DarqStalker: yes, you go out and talk to real women

Avatar image for samrvdman

I actually like the fact that you'll have to pay more attention to the conversation and you can't just choose up and down based on the colors. I also like the idea because not all decisions in life are black and white (or in this case red and blue). That being said, i think some of the reasoning for getting rid of the paragon/renegade system is stupid. Like i said before, i think it's a good idea to move away from that type of chat system but at least give reasons that make sense. Mac Walters said, "because they felt very Shepard--they were very tied to the Shepard character". How do good and evil moral decisions feel like Shepard? From the guy's statements, it sounds like only Shepard had to make a moral decision. Instead he could've said, "we wanted to innovate, we wanted choices to be made without taking into consideration the dialogue's color, we wanted to get away from dealing in extremes and address moral ambiguity". Instead, we got, "this function in our game was tied to the character, it makes no sense, but that's the answer we're going with"!

Avatar image for sdzald

Although I agree the Paragon/Renegade system needed an upgrade the advantage was you never had to puzzle over which response did what. In so many RPG's the response choices are vague or un-clear as to exactly what your character is going to say and the type of stance he will take until after you make the choice.

Also will the choices only affect the current conversation/action or will your character build a 'personality' around your choices that affect all game play going forward?

I think most of us agree the system needed tweaking, but they could make it a lot worse instead of better.

Avatar image for Argle

I hope they keep some kind of interrupt action option though. Those renegade sequences were dope

Avatar image for samrvdman

@Argle: the interruption sequences are returning

Avatar image for gns

@samrvdman: niiiice

Avatar image for Reuwsaat

So it's the same thing, except red or blue colors. It's interesting as long as you can see the whole line the character will say after you press the button, it wasn't the case on previous Mass Effects, but you could know the intent by the color of the choice. Often on Fallout 4 I find my character saying things completely off of what I meant, because the text is simplified and you can hardly foresee intent through that. (Mods don't justify poor design).

Avatar image for isariamkia

@Reuwsaat: I was thinking about fallout 4, so many times I've been fooled by this system... I was sure to be saying one thing and then : f**k you, I'll say something else !

I had to install a mod to make things clear, that's lame.

Avatar image for Keaze_

Wow finally. I hate this trend of good/evil playthrough in the likes of mass effect and infamous. Especially in Mass Effect. It actually cripples the game. Why? Because the writing is strong and the dialogue choices are sometimes interesting and you would like to answer one thing just because you're really curious about the reply you will get but "oh well i can't because it'll mess up my paragon progression". That's just stupid in my opinion. Sometimes the circumstances dictate you should be nice, some other times there's people you want to be arrogant to. You should have that freedom without having to think about your build.

Avatar image for Ghosthunter54

Good. Tired of Renegade/Paragon. It's not Star Wars, don't need a coded version of light side/dark side.

Besides, ME3 totally ruined the system for me. You COULDN'T be renegade. I mean, sure, you could pick the Renegade option, but you wouldn't be a badass like in the previous games. You could never pick an option that said "I get Earth is on fire, but let's be smart about this and sacrifice Earth to stop the reapers if we have to". No, you had to be like OMG EARTH, GOTTA SAVE EARTH, WHO CARES ABOUT STOPPING REAPERS, WE GOTTA SAVE EARTH!!. Yeah. It was that lame.

Not to mention, you couldn't agree with the Illusive Man. You couldn't agree and try to control the reapers until the very end. ME3 was too scripted in what your character had to do or think. Renegade/Paragon worked well in ME1 and ME2 but it never worked well in ME3.

Avatar image for RS13

@Ghosthunter54: Exactly. The ending of ME3 was a clusterf*ck, but the game was a narrative mess long before Casey Hudson's spirit animal showed up to explain "He's space Jesus. Get it? Get it?"

Avatar image for schanze

Renegade for life bitch...

Avatar image for PSYCHOV3N0M

"because they felt very Shepard--they were very tied to the Shepard character, so they didn't really make sense if we weren't going to have Shepard as our main protagonist."

I'm sorry but in my opinion this is a cheap cop out.....

Avatar image for Myron117

@PSYCHOV3N0M: they just want to do it how the Witcher did it.

Avatar image for sdzald


Yea I guess Shepard was the only human allowed to have options :)

Although I understand, and agree if they do it right it will be better than a Paragon/Renegade system, his reasoning seemed like a cop out.

Avatar image for RS13

@sdzald: That might actually be Bioware's thinking. I mean at the end of ME3 he was allowed to decide the fate of every man, women and alien in the galaxy for no real reason at all. So

Avatar image for Bond_Villain

I hardly ever pick Renegade option. It just feels wrong

Also it feels like I'll be missing out on some cool rewards or weapons if I pick renegade every time

Like a karma thing the devs built into the game

Avatar image for RS13

"We're getting rid of the binary morality of past games in favor of a system that's just agree or disagree, but with 4 different ways of expressing yourself--but sometimes only two."

--Bethesda Internal Memo re: Fallout 4

Avatar image for Argle

@RS13: Really hoping that doesn't become Andromeda's dialogue tree......

Yes, agree

Yes, but agree sarcastically

No, disagree

No, but disagree sarcastically

Avatar image for sdzald


Not to mention you were never really sure how your character was going to answer because what came out never seemed to match the choice you made and many times I would think "I don't like any of theses choices!"

Avatar image for Caduceus89

I can understand wanting a different dialogue system to distinguish Ryder from Shepard but the paragon/renegade options weren't necessarily the problem; it was the uneven implementation of the options that was problematic. The renegade side was wildly erratic even within a single game and there were very few advantages to picking major renegade actions (like sacrificing the council or killing the rachni queen in ME 1 or ME 3). Plus, as someone mentioned below, you had to play mostly pure renegade or paragon to solve some major conflicts. Over fifty percent in one direction should have locked out all major dialogue options in the other direction (or at least decreased the amount of xp gained from using it). Kind of like how Hawke in DA 2 would take on the tone most often used in act 1 in act 3.

Avatar image for Sepewrath

Definitely the best choice, after ME1, they were stuck with the system. It is a wise idea to take this chance to make a clean break with it. Paragon/Renegade was limiting to potential dialogue options, they tried expand it in ME3, but generally it just led to confusion about the tone you were about to use.

Avatar image for isariamkia

@Sepewrath: Right, most of time if you picked renegade Shepard acted like a big douche asshole. Bad guys aren't necessarily assholes.

Avatar image for lfebaggins

My decision to get or pass on this game keeps going back and forth

Avatar image for RS13

@lfebaggins: Did you play DA:I and think "this would be really good if only it were dumbed down?"

Avatar image for gns

@RS13: no, but I thought, this would be really good, if it wasn't MMO type single player rpg game...

Avatar image for RS13

@gns: Well, ME:A is going open world, so I'd expect more of that.