A New Shepard: Mass Effect sequel development moves to BioWare Montreal, “new directions” to be explored

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Whatever your feelings on the end of Mass Effect 3, there’s no denying the impact that BioWare’s trilogy of space opera RPGs has had on the videogame world, and it would certainly be difficult to argue against the series’ importance in the industry.

The characters, worlds and lore crafted for the franchise is epic beyond compare, while the games’ continual move towards an action-oriented RPG with streamlined sets of gameplay systems have been aped by many games since – but that’s the past. What’s the future of Mass Effect?

A new Shepherd for Shepard Banner

Now that the first Mass Effect trilogy has been wrapped up by developer BioWare Edmonton under the keen eye of producer Casey Hudson, is there a need for the franchise to move out of BioWare headquarters and into the hands of another studio?

It seems as though the answer is ‘yes.’

As Hudson and the team at Edmonton continue work on an all-new BioWare franchise, it has fallen to BioWare Montreal to continue work on the Mass Effect series and to create ‘the next’ Mass Effect game.

Mass Effect Concept Art Image 1

No official announcement regarding a potential ‘Mass Effect 4’ has been made, but in an official post by BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy, there’s reason to believe that a shift in development team might be a very good thing for the franchise as the developer seeks to explore “new directions” for the series, “both on the gameplay and story fronts.”

BioWare Montreal (and Roy in particular) is no stranger to the Mass Effect franchise, having worked on the the multiplayer of Mass Effect 3, and made “significant contributions” to that game’s campaign. Before then, the team had created “about half the cinematics” for Mass Effect 2, while working on DLC and the N7 missions for this title, too.

Mass Effect Concept Art Image 2

Importantly, however, a number of developers from BioWare Edmonton were used to ‘seed’ the Montreal studio when it was being formed so that key areas of experience and expertise were covered and accounted for. With that knowledge, the team is currently working on the upcoming ‘Omega’ DLC for Mass Effect 3, while working directly with Casey Hudson and BioWare Edmonton.

Would you trust this studio with the future of one of your favourite videogame franchises? Regardless, it seems as though BioWare Montreal will be taking the series’ reigns and is actively working on the next Mass Effect game, using Frostbite technology (already seen in games like Battlefield, Medal of Honor and Need For Speed) to do so, using modifications and extra technology created by the Dragon Age III development team at BioWare.

Mass Effect Concept Art Image 3

While “it’s probably going to be quite a while” before we hear more from the team, Yanick Roy did have these parting words to share with Mass Effect fans around the world:

“… while [the next Mass Effect] 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,” said Roy. “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.”

“We know you have high expectations for the franchise and we want to make sure whatever we show you lives up to those expectations.”

Are you worried about the future of the Mass Effect series, out of the hands of Edmonton and into the offices of Montreal? Or do you think the team has enough skill and experience to pull off a potential ‘Mass Effect 4?’

Let us know what you think about the future of Mass Effect.

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