Procedural generation is a game mechanic used in No Man’s Sky to build its many planets. The same game mechanic was discussed early on in Mass Effect Andromeda’s development.
The lead designer for Mass Effect Andromeda, Ian Frazier, talked more about the early discussions of the game during an interview with International Business Times UK.
He said: “We were looking at a game that used a lot more procedural tools to have a vast swathe of planets and places to go. We spent a lot of time developing down that road, and tailoring the story towards it and so forth, and we quickly found it wasn’t yielding the results we wanted.”.
In the end though, BioWare found out that making a giant procedural game wasn’t going to work from a narrative standpoint. They wanted the narrative to be focused so they ditched the procedural generation.
It was a good call in the end. Procedural generation in No Man’s Sky wasn’t all that diverse. It just recycled the same assets over and over again that every planet ended up looking similar to one another. Maybe in the near future, the technology will improve so that diverse worlds can be created via procedural generation.