After hearing the news that both members of BioWare's doctoral duo are headed for greener (or beerer) pastures, you might have worried that the studio would lose its flair for role-playing epics and start churning out farming sims, 1990s FMV adventures, or tasteful ballroom gowns. In a shocking twist, however, it's instead going to make more Dragon Age and Mass Effect. On top of that, though, Mass Effect lead Casey Hudson and some members of his team are putting together "an all new game set in a fictional universe." Which could mean just about anything, but anything is better than nothing. Or something. Words!
In the wake of the doctors' departure, general manager Aaryn Flynn wrote a lengthy letter discussing where exactly BioWare's headed next. Here, however, are the key bits:
"Executive Producer Casey Hudson and his team are coming off an amazing eight-year run with the Mass Effect trilogy. But they’re not done yet. We are releasing more multiplayer content and we have more single-player stories coming throughout the next six months, including Omega which is coming in the Fall. But the Mass Effect universe is vast, and Casey and our teams have plans for another full game. 'Where to go next?' with such a project has been a question a lot of us have been asking, and we’d all love to hear your ideas."
"Both Dragon Age and Mass Effect started as single games but grew into vast universes. But we aren’t stopping there. While Casey continues to oversee the development of our new Mass Effect project, he and his leads are putting together their vision for an all new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology."
So that's good to hear - if not exactly unexpected. The mystery game sounds like it'll kick off a brand new franchise, but the wording is just vague enough that it could also be licensed product (ala Baldur's Gate or KOTOR) or a sequel to, say, Jade Empire. Fingers crossed for something completely (or at least mostly) novel, but who really knows at this point? If nothing else, the "new technology" bit implies new consoles, and new consoles usually lead to new franchises. But we'll see.
As for Mass Effect, speculation very confidently pointed to an MMO a short few months ago. But times have changed, and SWTOR didn't exactly have the most graceful landing. So once again, the range of possibilities is wide open. That in mind - beyond the obvious beats of "outer space, no elevators, and an ending that's both bullet-proof and willing to take a bullet for you" - what would you like out of a new Mass Effect game? Heck, do you even want another Mass Effect game?