"I definitely wouldn't call Andromeda an open-world game," Gamble said, as relayed by GamesRadar. "We like to use the term 'exploration-based game.' You still have the concept of tight story deliverance and all the great things you come to expect with Mass Effect."
From the sound of it, Andromeda will follow in the footsteps of the past Mass Effect games as it relates to structure.
"The layer on top of that is a layer of exploration," Gamble said. "Sometimes that happens in open spaces, but not always. You can cruise around some of these planets in the Nomad, but it's not the traditional sandbox-type game."
Perhaps they will design levels more like Uncharted 4. While 1-3 funneled you down a straight path, 4 opened up each level more. Maybe alternating linear story missions; inter-spliced with large, explorable planets. I am just about done with my Mass Effect replay marathon; and it just goes to show you that endings matter (see also TV series LOST and Battlestar Galactica). That's all anyone seems to remember about ME3; but besides the ending, the game is fucking epic. The mother of all Thresher Maws fighting a Reaper. Cool af.