Just yesterday Bioware revealed via Twitter that the next Mass Effect game was already in the early planning stages. Now they’ve also revealed that the game is going to be handled by Bioware Montreal rather than Bioware Edmonton, and that, like Dragon Age III, it will use the Frostbite engine as its foundation.
The news comes via Bioware’s official blog where Yanick, the studio director at Bioware Montreal, made a lengthy and detailed post regarding the birth of his team and the Montreal studio for those that were unaware. Alright, so what does this actually mean for us gamers? Well, you see, Bioware aren’t just a few people in a little room, they’re a huge company with many, many workers. As such about halfway through Mass Effect 2 Bioware, now referred to as Bioware Edmonton, to avoid confusion, decided to create a new Montreal based studio, of which they placed Yanick, who have worked on the original Mass Effect, in charge. The Montreal branch was immediately seeded with a few people from the Edmonton studio and then proceeded to slowly take on new team members.
Alright, so that’s nice and everything, but how the hell are they connected with the Mass Effect franchise? “The Montreal studio has made significant contributions to the Mass Effect franchise. We started by building about half the cinematics for ME2, then most of its N7 missions, and finally we played an important role in the development of much of its post-release content. Then on ME3, we took charge of the multiplayer portion as well as making significant contributions to the single-player campaign. Most recently, we built a large piece of DLC that will be released on November 27 and that you know under the name of Omega,” stated Yanick in his post.
For the next Mass Effect game, though, Bioware Montreal have been given the massive responsibility of developing the entire game, although Yanick points out that, “To ensure a proper and effective transition, we’ll continue to be supported by the Edmonton studio through the game’s development, working with and learning from them on some critical initiatives. On top of that, Casey remains the Executive Producer, but he will have a Project Director under him, working in Montreal, leading our development team and making day-to-day decisions for the game. We all care very much about Mass Effect and make our decisions based on what’s best for the game.”
Following this Yanick said, “There is really not much I can tell you about the game right now, except that it will be built with the amazing technology of Frostbite as its foundation, enhanced by many of the systems that the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building.”.
He was also keen to stress that while this is a Mass Effect game, the original trilogy is finished and so this is a brand new game set in the universe, allowing them room to try new things: “The other thing I can tell you is that, while it will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts. You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling.”
Yanick ends his post by saying that while they’re all very excited to talk about the new game, it’ll probably be a long time before we hear from them again.
Exciting stuff. The Mass Effect universe is rich with possibilities, so it’ll be interesting to see what Bioware Montreal can create and what style of gameplay they choose to go with. Hopefully we’ll see something interesting and unique emerge, although the Internet is already awash with gamers demanding that it goes back to being an RPG, despite the fact that the original game was never truly an RPG, it was a hybrid. One more reason, perhaps , why we should put less emphasis on genre labels and be content with Mass Effect just being Mass Effect.