Following the announcement of a new Mass Effect game, and an invitation to contribute ideas to it, Bioware are now passing the baton for the franchise’s future development from its Edmonton crew to the company’s Montreal studio. And that’s not the only change for the series: the new game will set aside Unreal in favour of Battlefield’s Frostbite engine and there are hints of significant changes to the game’s formula, too. Fingers-crossed for that rhythm-action Krogan-boffing minigame we’ve all been waiting for!
A blog post by Yanick Roy, Bioware’s studio director over in Montreal, detailed the switch: “This is the goal we have been working toward for years now, and every member of our team is proud, excited, and humbled to take on the responsibility for the next game. 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 [Hudson] remains the Executive Producer.”
Details of the game remain scant, but those details are tantalising indeed! “It will be built with the amazing technology of Frostbite as its foundation,” says Yanick, “enhanced by many of the systems that the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building.”
And he continues: “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.”
The use of Frostbite’s the most exciting part – sure, the switch is probably just because they don’t fancy shelling out for Unreal when they can have the EA-owned Frostbite for less, but then there’s also the vast landscapes and destruction for which the Battlefield engine is well known. It’d be a shame not to make use of that, right?