Whaaaaaat! How is it possible for there to be another Mass Effect game? Surely everything was tied up and the game universe so profoundly changed by the conclusion(s) of ME3 that there’s simply no room for more? Unless there was somehow some way to tweak and retcon a story that’s already built around ad-hoc pseduo-mythology, resurrections and space magic…. No, surely no such thing is possible. While we wait to see how Bioware take ME’s prophecy-blighted space opera to new places (I’m going to bet you play as a new character who encounters/searches for a long-lost Shepherd), what we do now know is that it’ll be departing its mucky-textured Unreal-based engine of yesteryear and moving to DICE’s impressive (and, thus far, very PC-sympathetic) Frostbite engine for the next instalment.
This information arrives as part of an introduction from Bioware Montreal studio director Yanick Roy, the sudden appearance of whose face on the internet presumably reflects Bioware’s attempts to move into a post-Doctors age.
It’s unknown whether this is the existent, Battlefield 3-based Frostbite engine or a more belled and whistled future version, but the other key fact is that mention of Montreal. Bioware’s HQ is in Edmonton, but the Montreal studio they opened in 2009 will bear the brunt of development on the next ME. As for former series boss Casey Hudson, he “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.” Hopefully said Project Director will have genuinely planned his story out far in advance rather than hurriedly coming up with a conclusion a couple of months before release.
As for the nature and content of the game itself, there’s no too much to go on – “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.”
GUNS AND CONVERSATION please.
Alas, Roy reckons “it’s probably going to be quite a while before you hear from us again.” More ME3 DLC, then Dragon Age III, then presumably a round of DLC for that, are next from the Bioware RPG roster, so I’m going to guess at a 2014 release for ME Not-4 at the very earliest.