BioWare confirmed today that it is working on the next installment in the Mass Effect series. Development of the game is being headed up by BioWare Montreal, rather than the Edmonton studio that served as lead on the first three games.
"We're in early stages of designing a completely new Mass Effect game. What would you want to see in it?" tweeted Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series, to his 30,000 followers on Twitter.
The Montreal location of BioWare was founded back in 2009. They were responsible for half of Mass Effect 2's cinematics and the majority of the N7 missions. In addition to contributing to ME3's campaign, they also headed up the co-op side of the game. For both titles, Montreal did extensive work on DLC. Their latest creation is Omega, the ME3 single-player add-on arriving on November 27th.
Yanick Roy, studio director for BioWare Montreal, said on the company blog that BioWare Edmonton will play a supporting role in the next Mass Effect to "ensure a proper and effect transition." Casey Hudson will remain the executive producer of the series . However, a new project director at Montreal will lead the day-to-day development.
Roy added that the next Mass Effect will be powered by the Frostbite 2. This engine, first used in Battlefield 3, will be appearing in many upcoming EA projects. Fellow BioWare RPG Dragon Age III will use it as well. Roy says that their game will use "many of the systems" that the DA3 team has built.
In spite of the new engine and developer, Roy says that the fourth Mass Effect will be "respectful of the heritage" of the original trilogy. While the game will be "exploring new directions" for gameplay and story, it will still be true to the series roots.
"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."
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Speaking to VG247, BioWare Montreal producer Fabrice Condominas confirmed that while the series will continue beyond the current trilogy, it will be a completely separate experience.
He explained, "There is one thing we are absolutely sure of – there will be no more Shepard, and the trilogy is over.
"This is really our starting point. Now the Mass Effect universe is vast, and very, very rich. So at this point in time, we don’t even know what kind of time frame we’re going to be in. All we’re doing is more gathering ideas from the teams, gathering feedback to see several things.
"So first, we don’t want to make ‘Shepard 2′, or Mass Effect 4 with like, ‘oh there’s no more Shepard but you’re a soldier in the universe’. So this will be a very, very different context for sure, and nothing has been decided on the rest."