Mass Effect Andromeda studio merging into EA’s Motive

Electronic Arts are merging BioWare Montreal, the spin-off studio who made Mass Effect: Andromeda, into Motive Studios. EA say that “more than ever, we’re driving collaboration between studios on key projects”. It seems that, after Andromeda, the folks of BioWare Montreal are being drafted to work on others’ projects again. Motive, who are also in Montreal, are currently chipping in on Star Wars Battlefront 2 and we know they’re working on something new — supposedly an Assassin’s Creed-ish open-world action game — too.

After muttering about bringing the studios together in a public financial conference call last week, EA confirmed the merger in a statement to TechRaptor:

“The teams in EA Worldwide Studios are packed with talent, and more than ever, we’re driving collaboration between studios on key projects. With multiple major projects in development in Montreal, we are merging BioWare Montreal with Motive Studios. This is an ongoing process, but there are many exciting roles and opportunities for everyone on the team.”

“BioWare continues its work on new titles – including the highly-anticipated game, Anthem. What’s coming next for BioWare is very exciting, and we’re thrilled to have Casey Hudson returning to lead the studios in Edmonton and Austin.”

We had known since May that EA were shuffling BioWare Montrealers onto other projects, but this is a step beyond that.

BioWare Montreal was founded in 2009. After helping out on Mass Effect with the original BioWare, the one EA call BioWare Edmonton, Montreal got to take the lead for Andromeda. It was a bit disappointing.

Our John said, “as a follow-up to the previous trilogy, it’s a timid and tepid tale too heavily reliant on what came before, too unambitious for what could have been, trapped in a gargantuan playground of bits and pieces to do.” It seemed rushed too, with the launch followed by patches fixing some silly bugs and applying polish. Kotaku had a good long look at its troubled development, by the way.

For those asking “BioWHICH?” here’s a handy glossary:

BioWare: the BioWare family of studios.
BioWare: more realistically, people saying ‘BioWare’ mean BioWare Edmonton.
BioWare Edmonton: the original BioWare studio, which EA renamed in 2006, who have made most BioWare games.
BioWare Austin: formed in 2006, Austin make Star Wars: The Old Republic and were making the cancelled Shadow Realms.
BioWare Montreal: the studio behind Mass Effect: Andromeda, now defunct and merged into Motive Studios.
BioWare Mythic: formerly Mythic Entertainment, EA renamed the Dark Age of Camelot studio to EA Mythic in 2006, then back to Mythic Entertainment in 2008, then to BioWare Mythic in 2009, then back to Mythic Entertainment in 2012, then shut it down in 2014.
BioWare San Francisco: formerly EA2D, renamed in 2011 then shut down in 2013.
BioWare Victory: unveiled in 2011, BioWare Victory became Victory Games in 2013 then shut down later that year.
EA: early access.
EA: oh, also Electronic Arts.
EA Worldwide Studios: a relatively new grouping in EA’s corporate structure covering game development studios, worldwide.
Waystone Games: despite being part of the BioWare label, the studio behind cancelled MOBA Dawngate was somehow never named BioWare.

Simple!

30 Comments

  1. wombat191 says:

    And that’s the final nail in the coffin of single player story DLC for Andromeda

    • Someoldguy says:

      Really disappointing. Dropping this one like a smelly turd, walking away and trying to pretend it never existed is going to make it even harder to continue the franchise at a later date. That’s the sort of handling that creates a stink that just won’t fade.

    • ChrisT1981 says:

      There goes the last EA IP I had any interest in. I hope the wait for Cyberpunk 2077 will not be too long. I just prefer Sci-Fi to High Fantasy when it comes to RPGs and Mass Effect scratched that itch for me for a long time alongside Shadow Run.

      • welverin says:

        There will be another Mass Effect, it will just be in 5+ years instead of 3-5.

        • BooleanBob says:

          Expect an ‘HD remaster’ of the original trilogy before 2020.

        • ChrisT1981 says:

          I am not too sure about that. EA has a track record of letting beloved IPs vanish. Plus they have Star Wars now. A match made in heaven. EA is the king of Sequels and under Disney Star Wars will be milked year in year out for some time to come.

  2. Jane Doe says:

    Translation: “We’re closing the failed studio after their disastrous trainwreck, also known as Mass Effect Andromeda.”

    • pentraksil says:

      I actually liked Andromeda a lot. Why do you think it is a trainwreck? It has it’s problems (dialogue, some plot holes, companions are just OK, technical problems) but I enjoyed it nevertheless. In fact I was surprised that it has such a bad reception and that real trainwreck (IMO) that is Dragon Age Inquisition got so many good reviews….First time my own experience is so different from the majority. Usually I do understand some hate, but I really don’t get it why Andromeda is so hated. It is not the best ME but IMO it is a great game and was fun for me.

      • dylan says:

        DA:I was still part of Bioware’s “benefit of the doubt” phase, though just barely. Andromeda was the moment the public decided to punish Bioware for its long decline. And the terrible animations, bugs, and dialogue made it too easy. People smelled blood in the water, and that was that.

        • wombat191 says:

          People had a very low tolerance for screw ups with mass effect after all the blow up over ME3, this just added to it and you are right, it threw blood into the water.

      • Captain Yesterday says:

        Gamespot gave it a 6/10, which I feel is pretty accurate. Andromeda isn’t a total shitstorm, as some would have you believe, but it’s not Bioware’s finest hour either.

        There’s some really good bits in there, but there’s also a lot of filler not to mention some straight up crap. But so long as you adjust your expectations, it’s not a bad game.

      • wombat191 says:

        Personally I grew to love Andromeda and my snarky Ryder and I really enjoyed DAI as well. I still say that DAI was originally meant to be an MMO, there are way to many elements in there for it just to be an accident.

        As for it being a trainwreck. According to Bioware it was the most successful launch in the history bioware, which says a lot.

      • Oasx says:

        I decided to player Through Mass Effect 2 again, compared to Andromeda it feels ancient, the gameplay is just so rough compared to how polished Andromeda is.

        It has some bad dialogue at times, and the story is perhaps not the greatest, but at this moment i honestly think that Andromeda is the best Mass Effect game.

      • brucethemoose says:

        It was meme bait at launch, that’s why.

        Had they waited 2 or 3 weeks to polish the game, it wouldn’t have been the PR disaster at was. Sure, some.people would’ve complained, but EA doesn’t really care about that as long as critical gifs aren’t circling around on social media.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Andromeda was a decent 7/10 game. Well worth a tenner.

    But it sadly can’t stand up to the original trilogy. Let’s hope their next game is better.

    • Pich says:

      It also came out in the best 3-4 months of gaming in recent years, it never had a chance against Breath Of The Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nier Automata, Persona 5, Yakuza 0, etc.

    • Hoot says:

      My impressions of it after the trial were decidedly not 7/10. At a generous push I’d give it a 4. But realistically it’s more like a 3.

      I mean the problems with the game have been gone over many, many times and even if I could forgive the overall writing quality and the janky animations, I absolutely could not forgive a UI that felt as if it was designed by a man who has never operated a PC in his life and was born with XBOX controllers for hands.

      EDIT :- I bought NieR : Automata instead and was pleased to spend 45 hours with a wonderful game.

      • Morlock says:

        Yes. Unfortunately I couldn’t even get myself to finish the 10 hour trial. I played it until I got the ship.

        There was way too much plot given that it was so bad, way too much uninspired dialogue even after I had learned from Dragon Age Inquisition and didn’t try to solve any side quests. Combat felt okay.

        Based on my experience John’s review was pretty spot on. Such a shame.

        • wombat191 says:

          They said Andromeda starts slow and while I grew to love the game it still took me a good 20 hours before it grew on me and frankly I stopped detesting the thing.

          You just can’t expect people to slog through 20 hours before they start to enjoy themselves.

          Besides the game was missing a key reaction line from all the NPC’s which would of improved the game immensely: “Ryder why did you set Addison on fire and flush her out the airlock!”

    • pentraksil says:

      I have to agree. Started playing it last week and that is the only game I am playing right now. Really enjoying it. It has problems but it is still a great game IMO.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      It’s a 6/10 now and I’m not even at the ending which is probably bad but I count the effort they made in their favor.
      Unfortunately: the UI mess, the hideous faces, the animations, the logical fallacies, the writing, the dialogue, the tropes, the character design, the missing choices, space orcs, the glitches.

  4. BooleanBob says:

    Thanks for that genuinely helpful glossary on the bloat and butchery of the BioWare brand.

  5. Axolotl says:

    BioWare Montreal really had no chance of doing a good job with such a highly anticipated game as Andromeda. It was clear EA would butcher them after that, as they always do. I can only hope Anthem won’t lead to actual BioWare suffering the same fate.

  6. poliovaccine says:

    Wasn’t the whole “crossbreeding of different studios and devs across different projects” thing one of the key attributions to the chaotic dev cycle and subsequently uneven-to-abysmally-sucktastic product that was Mass Effect: Andromeda? Like according to that Kotaku thing anyway. Or is this different somehow..?

  7. sagredo1632 says:

    I’ve witnessed this kind of thing happen in university/hospital mergers. It’s amazing how many research and secretarial staff can be cut while multiplying the number of vice-presidents. Gotta employ those MBAs somehow.

    Possibly this could also be a case of rebranding a la Philip-Morris -> Altria (bet you didn’t know your cigarette peddlers were also your mac and cheese folks, huh?) or Blackwater -> Academi (Nisour Square what?).

  8. Booker says:

    I wonder if that also marks the end of patches/support for the multiplayer part of Andromeda.

  9. indigozeal says:

    “in a statement to TechRaptor”

    Followed up by a press release to 4chan, then analysis from…well, I was gonna say PornHub, but they’re a much more respectable outlet, frankly.

  10. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Started Andromeda yesterday (after like 4 Patches?) and yeah right those amateurs shouldn’t be left alone making games.
    Merging them with whoever is competent is a good idea.

  11. wombat191 says:

    Andromeda was doomed to failure, its a decent 7 out of 10 game, ok and playable but not great.
    The problem is that it had too much against it.. Animation and dialogue issues (my face is tired? how does this crap make it into a big budget game), the fact it introduces a new character rather than YOUR Shepard and the fact this crew isn’t YOUR crew.

    On top of that, Bioware burned a lot of bridges with the franchise due to the screw up with he ending of ME3.

    It’s not a bad game and most of the issues are sorted now with it and once you get over your initial “this is not my Shepard and crew” you can really enjoy yourself. It’s sad that we wont get any resolution to the story nor see what was meant to happen with the sequels, there is a lot of potential there for a great series.

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