According to a report, development on Mass Effect has been put on the backburner.
BioWare Montreal has been downsized and development on Mass Effect has been put on hold, per a report from Kotaku. According to the report, a number of employees from BioWare Montreal were transferred to EA Motive to work on Star Wars Battlefront II while the remaining staff at BioWare Montreal has been turned into a support studio for BioWare’s other projects. Rather than developing new games (i.e. Mass Effect), BioWare Montreal will assist on other games currently in development. This comes shortly after yesterday’s news that BioWare’s new IP has been delayed.
There’s no other way to take this other than as bad news for the Mass Effect series. Whether you liked Mass Effect: Andromeda or not, the game’s controversial release was a problem. Andromeda was meant to serve as a reboot to the franchise after the conclusion of its original trilogy. Electronic Arts invested five years and a significant amount of resources into this game and it needed to be a slam dunk, game of the year contender; it wasn’t.
While BioWare is currently cleaning up and improving Mass Effect: Andromeda with post-launch patches, it needed to be better at launch. This was an incredibly important stage for the Mass Effect franchise and EA putting BioWare Montreal (a developer that had never created a game on its own before) in control was inexcusable. A controversial release, after the ending fiasco of Mass Effect 3, could jeopardize the series for good outside of its hardcore fanbase and EA/BioWare allowed that to happen. I love this series and I think Mass Effect: Andromeda was a solid game, but it wasn’t nearly good enough.
Now this news doesn’t mean that Mass Effect is dead. BioWare has a new IP in development and potentially a new entry to the Dragon Age franchise after that. Once those games are completed, then attention can be turned back to Mass Effect. However, because of the reaction to Andromeda at launch, you have to start to whether EA will continue from Andromeda or try to reboot the franchise again. I highly doubt that the franchise will be cancelled as Mass Effect has become one of the biggest franchises in the industry and has major fan support. But one also has to question the stain that Andromeda may have left on the Mass Effect brand.
Mass Effect: Andromeda ended with a lot of loose ends and open storylines for future DLC/games and it would suck for those stories to never conclude. I liked Andromeda and, like any other game in the series, I became invested in both the characters and the stories. I would hate to see the Andromeda branch of the series that holds so much promise be cancelled because of a mediocre launch. Regardless of what happens to Mass Effect, it’s probably gonna be a while before we see anything new here. I love this series to death and I have literally invested blood, sweat and tears into it; I can’t see it end like this.