BioWare Blathering: Mass Effect And Something Brand New

By Alice O'Connor on June 10th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Hey, you, get out of here! We're done with you.

BioWare have spoken openly about making another Mass Effect game for over a year now (not that it was ever in doubt). They’ve told us that Shepard’s story is over, that it’s time for someone new, and that it’s not called Mass Effect 4, but that’s about all. Surely, one might think, that by E3 2014 they’d be ready to say something solid about the game. Perhaps a cinematic teaser trailer. A few plot hints. A name, at the very least. They named it, didn’t they? Well, no. But BioWare have shown off a few seconds of “conceptual prototype” footage and some model renders.

They’ve also announced they’re working on something entirely new and no, they don’t have much to say about that either.

The new Mass Effect will return a bit to the first game’s planetary roaming, though they only mention walking–not pootling around in wonky moonbuggies. BioWare also say that it looks very pretty, which is nice. It’s in development at BioWare’s Montreal studio while the head office in Edmonton are working on their mystery new game.

Various BioWare heads call it “a completely new IP” and “a chance to have a clean-sheet design, start from the most fundamental principles you could have.” One says they “want to take on very contemporary stories and yet we want to build a world that is as big and as imaginative as everything we’ve done before. Perhaps the only solid details are that it’s in a fictional world and they’ve made tech for seasonal cycles. Great. Useful stuff. Top trailering, you guys.

So that’s the news: BioWare are making video games. See for yourself.

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75 Comments »

  1. shadybearfaced says:

    This isn’t what anybody asked for. We asked for ME3 to not be canon. Can ME3 not be canon please?

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Dont mention Mass Effect 3.

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      Bradamantium says:

      Speak for yourself. I can’t believe people still haven’t made their peace with ME3…

      • Niko says:

        I guess “canon” means “and they all lived happily ever after” now.

        • Acorino says:

          No it doesn’t.
          (not that I care much about the concept of canon anyway…)

        • Evil Pancakes says:

          All I can say is that for me this is not the case at all.
          I would have loved an ending with a heroic sacrifice of some sort by Shepard. Hell, out of all the endings available right now, I find the rejection ending the only one even remotely satisfying; rejecting the notions put forth by space kid and refusing to play by his bullshit rules.
          The whole ending was just completely ruined with the space kid/space magic bullshit. The whole thing came out of left field, no foreshadowing in any of the games at all. Very sloppy writing.
          Also, the whole synthetics vs organics was presented as much more of a subplot throughout the series with the whole geth v. quarians, a subplot very nicely closed in the third game.
          So yeah, no need for a happily ever after necessarily, just better writing.
          Regardless, from what I understand most of the real talent that made Bioware what they were have long since left, so I’m not holding my breath in anticipation for anything they make now.

          • drinniol says:

            It was foreshadowed all throughout the third game, so it was foreshadowed throughout 1/3 of the entire series. And what wasn’t heroic about Shephard sacrificing him/herself to become the controller of the Reapers and bring peace and justice to the galaxy forever? Because that’s the ending I got.

          • Asurmen says:

            Drinniol, it was foreshadowed all through ME3 about Star Child? Really? Where?

          • jalf says:

            It was foreshadowed that everything Shepard had actually *done* up until that point was irrelevant, because all she needed to do in the end was lie bleeding out in the Citadel, then she would practically be picked up by the manager, kindly asking her how he can change his million-year old plans to better suit her?

            I must have missed that part.

            When that is said, I actually do have very fond memories of ME3. I thought it was an excellent game, even if the ending was pure nonsense. For me, that doesn’t at all spoil the rest of the game.

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            @Drinnoil
            Not sure which game you played but nowhere was there any foreshadowing of space kid and his space magic.
            Also, the whole ending seems to conflict directly with the kind of character Shepard is.
            To me, the central theme throughout the games is overcoming impossible odds and achieving what others say cannot be done, either through cooperation or forcefulness, depending on you. But at the end Shepard just sits there with a stupid look on his/her face, accepting whatever space kid tells him/her.
            Shepard would have said “screw you and your rules” which is why I consider the rejection ending the only ending in line with Shepard’s character.

            @jalf
            There were certainly some parts of the game that were utterly brilliant. The Rannoch arch and the genophage story line were fantastic. Other than that, everything was very disappointing in both writing and actual RPG gameplay, too much automated dialogue and fetch quests. The combat was by far the best in the series though, I will give it that. Lots of fun had playing a biotic.

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            phuzz says:

            The foreshadowing was mainly in the Leviathan DLC, explaining what the reapers were, and how they came about, and why they keep coming back to destroy everything. Magic space kid was just the mouthpiece, a sort of ventriloquist’s dummy.
            It might have made slightly more sense if they’d used a hologram of a reaper instead (ala meeting Sovereign in ME1), I think they lost a lot of people with the space kid.

          • Korbie says:

            @phuzz

            Foreshadowing that is only in DLC is not foreshadowing.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            @Korbie: Except when it’s an essential part of the story (and one of the better missions for that matter) that really should’ve been part of the main game, like much of the ME DLC frankly (see also From Ashes, Shadow Broker).

        • Lanfranc says:

          One more time, then? Okay.

          If anything, the ME3 ending was too happy. You get the Destruction ending? Great. That means the destruction of the entire Geth culture, a genocide of trillions of individuals. It also means EDI dies. The Control ending? All synthetic lifeforms are now slaves, still including Geth and EDI. Or Synthesis? Well, congratulations, you just arbitrarily imposed a fundamental change on literally every living thing in the… I don’t even know, the galaxy? The universe? How does that even work? If we’re to believe EDI, this is a “wonderful future” where everyone apparently lives together in peace an harmony. Literally no one had a problem with this event? All cultural and political conflicts have ended just because everyone is now part machine?

          The problem with ME3 isn’t that it should have been a “happy ending”. The problem is that it involves some truly major, momentous events that aren’t being taken seriously at all, and that is such a huge waste. It could have been so much better.

          And don’t even get me started on introducing a major character in the last five minutes, who reduces the magnificent “We are each a nation” Reapers to mere staffage.

          (God, I’m still angry about this. >:-| )

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            Bookbuster says:

            ^This.

            I expected darkness. I certainly expected Shepard to die. Hell, I expected most of the squaddies and the crew to be slaughtered, and half-expected that the catalyst would blow every mass relay, wiping out most of the known universe.

            Instead, not only was the starkid a complete narrative arse-pull that destroyed any sense of player agency and ran counter to a phenomenal number of game themes, but the repercussions of the RGB choice were completely whitewashed. No matter which you picked, you ended up with a galactic golden age. The only differences were in the details. The revised ending fixed it, to a certain extent (particularly by adding the refuse ending, which, thematically, is the true ending, I feel), but the horrible implications of things like the green ending were ignored or outright dismissed.

      • Sarkhan Lol says:

        Someday, my sweet.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah whatever to that. ME3 was great.

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        Bluerps says:

        Yeah. Greatest game in a great trilogy. Ghost Kid and the ‘Synergy’-ending were very, very dumb, but apart from those I loved every minute of that game.

        • Volcanu says:

          Interesting. Ending aside, did it not feel a little unfinished to you? I enjoyed it a fair bit but it did feel like it could have done with another 6m-1y in development. The whole war assets thing felt like a half feature and the whole thing felt less rounded and deep than ME 2. I felt really quite ‘constrained’ in ME3 – it was by far the most linear, although perhaps that was necessary given the need to wrap up the story.

          Anyway, genuine question – why is it your favourite? Because it’s the conclusion of the story?

          • Shodex says:

            The assets ending up useless all ties into the ending. The ending’s sin isn’t just stupid alien ghost kids and space magic, it’s the detachment from the rest of the game. Nothing you did up that point changed anything. It was just a 3-way choice with no real difference between them. It didn’t even have a boss fight. We were told before that choices you made in the game would effect the ending, and it was pretty clear that war assets were supposed to tie into it. But EA rushed that shit right out the door.

            In many ways I think ME3 was the most polished game of the three. But a lot of things feel unfinished because the ending was gimped.

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          Rizlar says:

          I liked the synergy ending, it was very strong in terms of themes etc even if it was a bit out of left field diegetically. But then sci fi is great at presenting wierd and unexpected ideas, I love that aspect of far reaching sci fi.

          Agree that ghost kid was completely rubbish though.

      • Recurve says:

        Agreed. I was disappointed by everything from the star kid onwards but apart from that last 10 minutes I had a blast with the game. ME2 reamains my favourite but I thought 3 was actually a lot of fun.

        I even loved the multiplayer!

    • Shodex says:

      Oh, colour me surprised. I scroll down and see a ton of people moaning about Mass Effect 3.
      I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never been willing to piss all over a stellar 29.5 hour experience just because the last .5 hours was really dumb.

      Mass Effect 3 had the best action, it had the best story too. And I don’t even mean the Reapers. I mean the other things that came up. The genophage arc on Tuchanka with Mordin and Wrex (or Wreav, if you’re a terrible person) was absolutely fantastic. Tali and Legion’s arc was great. The interaction between the crew members, having them do more than just stand in one spot, was a vast improvement. Having them move around the ship, and chit chat made your crew feel alive. Walking in on Garrus and Tali hugging it out was really sweet.

      And that bro date with Garrus on the Citadel was the height of the franchise.

      Would I have liked a better ending? Yeah. Would I have liked more non-combat environments than just Normandy and the Citadel? Yeah, but everywhere else is getting raped by the reapers so it makes sense. But I’m not going to let some snot nosed alien ghost kid ruin the fact that the Mass Effect Trilogy is over 90 hours long, I had been invested in it for years and enjoyed every single minute of it right up until the moment when we all charged downhill.

      Even if the ending was shit, doesn’t mean this scene didn’t make me cry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCJBIK1RfAU or when the crew hung up the plaque. Great game. Great trilogy. Am eager for another entry, but weary because of how attached I am to the original crew.

      EDIT: Also, Shepshep PUNCHES A KATANA IN HALF. HE PUNCHES A KATANA IN HALF. http://youtu.be/HhNGehNXzdE

      How can you hate a game where you PUNCH A KATANA IN HALF.

      • Lanfranc says:

        I absolutely loved ME3. But it’s a bit like if you’re being treated to an elaborate 10-course dinner, and then have to eat a very small turd at the end. Regardless of how great the food was, the turd was still there. And that diminishes the rest of the experience to a certain extent.

        • Volcanu says:

          A coarse, albeit fitting analogy. All the more so as the metaphorical ‘turd’ is the last thing to pass your lips, that’s the taste that lingers in your mouth as you walk away.

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        mpk says:

        What Shodex said.

        Yes, the ending felt tacked on and very, very badly thought out. Yes, it almost ruined the whole experience of ME3 for me when I first played through it (before the changes). Ultimately, though, it can’t erase the memory and associated feelings of watching Mordin ascend that tower alone*, of saying a prayer for Thane, or of letting the Wookie Turian win.

        The series ended on a sour note, but the whole 90-hours or so is still up there as one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

        * and by the way, anyone who stopped him doing that… you’re a bad person and I hope your next jobbie is a hedgehog

        • Shodex says:

          I read somewhere that 8% of players didn’t stop the genophage.
          It’s not a high statistic, but that’s still about 8% too many. True evil.

      • shadybearfaced says:

        Oh don’t get me wrong, I loved ME3. I just wish the story was un-canonized so they could try again. You know, with the same gameplay and everything.

      • Hebrind says:

        Mordin. Just… that scene with Mordin and the genophage (if you’ve chummed with him fully from ME2). I choked up a lot. An awful, awful lot. Not even arsed, not one bit ashamed – that was the scene in the game that made me realise “Holy shit, this is the first game that’s made me properly *care* about the characters like this.”

        And you know what? I played through as a Renegade and I felt like an utter, utter bastard when I played that same section. I couldn’t forgive myself for hours.

        • Shodex says:

          This is why I can’t play Renegade. Renegade interrupts around bad guys are fun, sure. But man…
          … who would be a dick to their crew?

          I romanced Liara in ME1 and in ME2 when she wasn’t returning (DLC came later) as a proper crew mate I romanced Miranda more or less just because hey, that was some finely modeled lingerie. Then I felt like an utter dick in ME3 after getting back in with Liara and having to tell Miranda that we didn’t really mean anything was rough. I mean, this is two virtual characters in a not even very interesting love triangle and here I am feeling ashamed of my actions.

          So I just don’t understand how anyone could possibly do shit like [spoilers beyond this point, you're warned] kill Mordin, doom an entire species to slow extinction, and later confront and murder a member of that species you’re good friends with. Most sad part about it for me is when Garrus confronts you later about it, he still has your back. Anyone who can do that shit and call it entertainment should be sent to a psychiatrist.

          On a quick side note, Mordin is one of the most interesting and well written side characters in any game I ever played. I never expected to like him as much as I did.

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      welverin says:

      Please keep ME3 canon, Bioware.

      Thank you.

    • Deschain says:

      Regardless of whether ME3 was good or not (personally I loved it but yeah the ending could have certainly been better) I’m concerned about the “sequel” that they are making. Either it is..
      1) Forward in time. Somehow they have to reconcile the 3 choices, and people will be upset if the choice chosen isn’t one they personally chose.
      2) Current in time. How exactly are you going to tell a separate story that’s compelling and epic in a world where the reapers are around trashing everything? I suppose you could but how is it going to live up to shep?
      3) Back in time. I just won’t care because we already know how it all turns out.

      I’m fairly sure they are going to send us to another galaxy. Would let them play with a new story/world while still having it established in the ME3 world.

  2. Screamer says:

    Casey “Makes up stuff as he goes along” Hudson is still involved. Might be a good game, but this time we might actually be busting ghosts for realz

    • karthink says:

      Perhaps not in a direct capacity. He’s at Edmonton, where they’re working on their new IP. The Montreal studio is making the next Mass Effect.

  3. Hydraulic Meerkat says:

    The Bioware devs spoke about wanting to make an MMO of their own a few times. I’ll bet that’s one of them.

    After all these years of very few space games, space games are suddenly the new medieval fantasy. It will take me decades to have a problem with that.

  4. kevinspell says:

    Hey BioWare, how about making a RPG game? You were good at making those. Remmeber? Because TPS games you keep making suck ass…

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I guess it depends on what you look for from an RPG. For me, the series was pretty good – I got to role play through a story led adventure with plenty of opportunity for making character defining decisions. The setting was interesting and I feel like there need to be more Sci-Fi cRPGs in the world. I am less concerned about the combat mechanics in cRPGs. Whether it’s turn based, real time, Third person, first person, isometric or 4 dimensional existential I’m not too fussed. For me, combat is the least important aspect of RPGs and I am always a little sad when it is the focus of modern RPGs.

      They were deeply flawed games, don’t get me wrong – ME2 was the weakest entry in my opinion being rigidly formulaic whilst ME3 was incredibly solid with a much more organic feel to it until the final act but in general, the concepts in play were for me a worthwhile take on introducing a more PnP role playing experience into cRPGs, with a story that would have been way more interesting if it had remained consistent throughout the series.

      Anyway, I’d hope for further experimentation with Role playing in the new game. It seems unlikely though which is a shame for me.

    • Nibblet says:

      How are they supposed to do that? All the real talent left bEAware long ago, hell even their less talented people have started leaving.

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      Bradamantium says:

      Uh. Dragon Age?

      • Shodex says:

        It’s not an RPG! Have you ever played a real RPG? Because you should be able to figure out that Dragon Age is fun. Real RPGs are never fun.

        In all seriousness though, RPS commenters are so cynical about everything (maybe this is just all comments in general, but RPS has the only comments I bother to read) that it’s not worth questioning their logic.

    • MkMax says:

      were they good at that ? its not like they have much competition, difficult to compare, and be honest the little competition they have is often superior, Witcher 1 and specially 2 took the crown and ran far away with it, i can pretty much imagine Witcher 3 giving DA3 a beating and Cyberpunk kicking the crap out of mass effect 4, Spiders is getting better pretty quickly i say 2 more games and theyll be up there, Dark souls and others are definitely superior in the exploration and character development parts

      • Evil Pancakes says:

        I would just like to add Obsidian to this list. While many of their games are plagued by bugs and, in the case of Alpha Protocol, some dodgy design decisions, the writing and characters are almost always really good. Way above the level Bioware has ever produced.
        Also, inXile’s Wasteland 2 is coming along very nicely and I have enjoyed the early access immensely so far.
        Furthermore, Cyanide may be quite good in a few years if they keep going like this. I have enjoyed Aarklash legacy quite a bit. A very interesting setting where you play a group of fantasy loan sharks, with a solid and challenging RTWP combat system. A lot of the writing is a bit iffy, but I think they can make a promising RPG if given the time and resources.

        • MkMax says:

          i havent played wasteland 2 yet but yeah i forgot Alpha Protocol, that game did consequences so much better than anything Bioware has ever done

  5. Acorino says:

    Grim Fandango HD was announced and that’s the first post for today?
    Sure, it wasn’t announced for PC, but it was made for the PC originally and we can be sure that it will come out again for the PC eventually, too. [/whine]

  6. Bravado says:

    Who cares, they are under EA’s hat so I doubt something good will come out of this. They are milking the franchise, just like AC.

    • hjarg says:

      AC milking is done by Ubisoft though.

      • Bravado says:

        Yep. And Ubi’s press conference was an even bigger disappointment for me – only franchise sequels and some MMO-type of games. In fact the whole E3 is now reflecting the game industry, showing us everything but some solid single-player games.

        • hjarg says:

          True that. Unfortunately. But hey, in this light, Bioware saying we make games is actually pretty good news. Unless they plan to make co-op Mass Effect.

        • Frank says:

          Franchise sequels would be fine if that franchise was Beyond Good & Evil. Your comment got my hopes up briefly there.

    • Grygus says:

      Wait… I don’t play AC, but wasn’t the most recent one either the best or second-best game in the entire series? I don’t see how that’s milking it.

  7. Shezo says:

    Will only be excited if the same guys that made ME3 mp are on board for a new ME game.
    After that horrible ending, for me, ME is a nice co-op multiplayer and nothing else.

    • newguy2012 says:

      Needs a fresh start to be interesting after that last horror show.

      - New characters, no alliance or N7 stuff.
      - Play as something different like a mercenary, explorer, trader or pirate?
      - Play as an alien?
      - Set it a long time after ME3.
      - Ship customizations and combat would be fun.
      - Planet exploration with vehicle in cool environments.
      - Story with actual decisions and choices, not just smoke and mirrors.
      - Please no: multiplayer tie into single player, timers that count down when not playing the game, micro transactions, fuel hunting, planet scanning or day one dlc ripped out from main game.

      This being EA, most of this is highly unlikely. Their lord of darkness ceo did not inspire confidence, just more EA-speak.

    • Ex Lion Tamer says:

      If that’s your take on ME3, good news: Bioware Montreal (which was responsible for the multiplayer) is handling this game. (As karthink pointed out above.)

      Personally, I’m not sure we’re going to get anything on par with the first game as long as Mac Walters is head writer on the series, but I definitely don’t see Montreal’s role as a positive development.

  8. P.Funk says:

    I dunno, they’re not overhyping us, just saying they’re doing something new.

    What, are we gonna get mad at them because they don’t contribute to the fucking circus that everyone else gets all sweaty about?

    Its better than I would expect from a subsidiary of EA.

    • Grygus says:

      Ah, but they did contribute to the circus; putting on a poor show isn’t the same thing as not being in the tent. I think the message here is that, if you’re going to bother at all, try to do something amazing. Ironic detachment isn’t often well-received as a marketing tactic.

  9. Neurotic says:

    The backlash against the ME3 backlash begins here, kids! See the mighty Internet Hate Snake whip its tail back and forth, back and forth!

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I for one cannot stand those nasty haters who deride the snide buggers whose targets are those mindless sheep-folk who pour vitriol upon those poor souls who felt victimised enough to express with some venom their hate for the ending of Mass Effect 3 when it ruined their lives.

  10. Turkey says:

    I feel like the stuff that’s always dragged Bioware(and most videogames) down, is their big, dumb overarching plots. If they’re starting with a clean slate, they should probably take advantage and not do any of that.

    • Coming Second says:

      The way Bioware responded to the criticism of ME3 it seemed like they always approached the series as three separate games, and tying them together into a cohesive over-arching whole was at best a tertiary concern. Which would be fine, if they hadn’t gone to such length bigging it up as the YOUR CHOICES WILL MATTER trilogy. You read about their creative process and they seem light years apart as to how they think about the game in comparison to their fanbase – scribbling down the ending about three months before release on a napkin, for instance. A small example but I remember reading about them having to quickly cook up some tragic romance stuff for Thane in the third game because “they didn’t think anyone would care about him”. Why even have him in the second game then? What the hell is the point to that character?

      As games they’re alright – as mentioned further up the TPS-ing in the third game is tight enough to support a surprisingly enjoyable multiplayer. But the series as a whole comes across as a massive missed opportunity, the blame for which I think can be laid squarely on Bioware accepting EA’s buyout between the first and second games, and the subsequent total change of writer team and aggressive deadline chases.

      • Ex Lion Tamer says:

        That’s a really succinct, even-handed summary of the series’ strengths and weaknesses.

        Other than the specific team Bioware has tasked with the new game, I think that’s also why I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. A standalone game set in this relatively interesting space opera universe could address the follow-through problems Bioware had with negotiating commercial ambition and the “epic, integrated trilogy” impulses in the second and third games.

        Or they’ll just immediately jump to a second sweeping trilogy arc with diminishing returns.

  11. Tiax says:

    Mass Effect 3 : Color blind people only get one ending

  12. DClark says:

    What I’d like to see for a future Mass Effect franchise is a jump of about 500 years or so into the future, the dawn of one of the groups left stranded in their respective galaxy finally finding a way to turn the Mass Relays back on. Your character might be a direct descendant of Commander Shepard, and now must go to the galaxies where the groups were last stranded and see what has become of them (and maybe reform the Galactic Government, Council, and Spectres).

    • Tom Walker says:

      Yeah, that’d work for me. Just so long as I get the sense of fighting something really, really massive again. That was what made it.

    • Shodex says:

      Only problem with this, is for me all of Shep’s possible descendants are little blue bisexuals.
      Would it read my save state and change the player character into an Asari?

      • DClark says:

        I just think of it as allowing you to play as any of the other races. Regardless of who your Shepard romanced, over the course of 500 years the Shepard bloodline could have spread among a few to several of Mass Effect’s races.

        And that’s excluding something like when the Illusive Man recreated Shepard for Mass Effect 2, maybe he created another from Shepard’s DNA, or harvested sperm/eggs from Shepard before the reawakening near the start of ME2. Playing the long game he starts growing another Shepard naturally. While too late for the events of ME3, a Shepard clone or test tube baby might have been brought into existence shortly after the events of ME3 and it’s his/her bloodline that spreads through the races.

  13. 731 says:

    I’ve more or less made my peace with ME3, it is still the weakest of the trilogy and the ending is terribly written, but I’ve made my peace. Kinda wish they would have stopped the milking, to me Mass Effect died with Shepard. The universe is great though, but good swords are kept in their sheaths. I think.

    Well, let the hype commence. At least Mac Walters isn’t involved.

  14. Kem0sabe says:

    “New people to fall in love with” – That right there is whats wrong with Bioware RPG’s, instead of focusing on innovative gameplay, they focus on “romances”, “cinematic moments” , and railroaded experiences.

  15. YoungSeal says:

    New character, some big boots to live up to.

    You can fight like a Krogan,
    run like a leopard
    but you’ll never be better than Commander Shepard!