The Andromeda Initiative is an elaborate marketing campaign for Mass Effect: Andromeda. By signing up for this Andromeda Initiative, you're placed on a mailing list and linked to so-called training videos. There are six videos in the pipeline. I'd say there's no need to sign up for this marketing campaign, but this first Andromeda Initiative video, at least for now, isn't available on Mass Effect, BioWare, or EA YouTube channels; they're embedded into the official Mass Effect website.
The first video is a welcome/orientation briefing. It's a topical outline of what the next five videos presumably cover. The storyline concept is that you are the "Pathfinder," a soldier, scientist, and guide for the massive spaceship arks traveling 600 years, from the Milky Way to the Andromeda Galaxy. The videos will cover weapons, biotics, and survival training. They'll cover ground vehicles (the Nomad is the new Mako), air vehicles (the Tempest is the new Normandy?), and outpost establishment.
See, now, outpost establishment is where things could get interesting. I don't know if this is something that'll become part of the gameplay, or if it's relegated to this email campaign. But, if it becomes a part of the gameplay, then Mass Effect: Andromeda is going to start resembling a 4X strategy game. I mean, look at it this way: eXplore "golden worlds" in the Andromeda Galaxy; eXpand by placing colonial outposts; eXploit by, well, we already scanned and mined the guts out of Mass Effect 2, so who knows if Element Zero makes a comeback that way; and eXterminate. This video talks about "first contact protocols," should you meet another sapient lifeform, but other Andromeda videos already make it clear you're meeting new species, new species with scary voices, new species that are probably going to make first contact an unpleasant experience. Perhaps eXterminate will be your only option with some of these extra terrestrials.
Hey, if Andromeda plays up the survival aspect of life in a harsh environment, then we might just have a role-playing real-time-strategy action-adventure survival-sci-fi game on our hands. Which, I mean, I hope you have some big hands. To hold all that.
Despite my personal, underwhelmed response to leaked videos of jetpack gameplay and just-okay cinematic cutscenes, I'm still onboard to learn more about where Mass Effect is going.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is looking at an early 2017 launch, meaning anytime between January and June of next year.