The beloved “Mass Effect” game franchise has been essentially put on ice in the wake of the polarising reaction to the recent “Mass Effect: Andromeda”.
Kotaku reports BioWare has put the franchise on hiatus and turned the game’s developer, BioWare Montreal, into a support studio with a much smaller operating staff.
The first game in the “Mass Effect” series was loved, the second is considered one of the truly great video games ever made, and the third was very well regarded up until its ending which left a sour taste. The fourth has received a much more mixed reaction.
A troubled production process, which included switching over to the Frostbite Engine and adopting a much larger open world format than before (one that borrows heavily from Bioware’s “Dragon Age: Inquisition”), the game was put in the hands of the Montreal division as opposed to the main office in BioWare Edmonton.
The result was a title that arrived effectively lacking a bunch of polish – the facial animation was terrible, glitches and game breakages were common, and the scripting and strong narrative of the previous trilogy were absent. That said, the game had supporters too who acknowledged some of the superb world building and scale on offer.
The result wasn’t so much a bad game as much as an unfinished and undercooked one. Despite being a reboot, it was still seen as a fourth game in a franchise (as opposed to a new one) and thus the fundamental flaws were less forgivable.
BioWare Montreal will continue to patch and support Andromeda’s multiplayer and will help support BioWare’s other games including a new IP for the company codenamed ‘Dylan’ which has now been delayed to anywhere between April 2018 and March 2019. That delay is said to be separate from the issues with and sales for ‘Andromeda’.
Earlier this week on an earnings call, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson told investors they are: “very happy with how BioWare is doing, how BioWare is treating Mass Effect. And our expectations for Mass Effect are still strong for the future and the franchise overall.”