Mass Effect 3 effectively concluded Shepard's story in the Mass Effect universe, but you didn't think that was the end did you? We've known for a while now that BioWare intended to continue investing in the Mass Effect universe, but an interesting blog post over on the official site has provided a little more info on Mass Effect 4's development.
Firstly, it looks as though the lion's share of Mass Effect 4's development will take place in BioWare's new studio in Ubisoft Montreal.
"[T]he next Mass Effect game is already in development, driven by the team here in Montreal," writes Yanick, BioWare Montreal's studio director. "This is the goal we have been working toward for years now, and every member of our team is proud, excited, and humbled to take on the responsibility for the next game."
BioWare Montreal did a fair amount of development on Mass Effect 3, including working on multiplayer and a number of the single player missions. According to Yanick, this has helped prepare the team for the intimidating task of managing Mass Effect 4's development.
"To ensure a proper and effective transition, we’ll continue to be supported by the Edmonton studio through the game’s development, working with and learning from them on some critical initiatives," he said. "On top of that, Casey 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. We all care very much about Mass Effect and make our decisions based on what’s best for the game."
But if Yanick Roy is to be believed, we don't have to worry too much about Mass Effect 4's direction. The latest version of Frostbite is being used in development, and it will remain true to previous games in the series.
"There is really not much I can tell you about the game right now, except that it will be built with the amazing technology of Frostbite as its foundation, enhanced by many of the systems that the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building," he explained.
"The other thing I can tell you is that, 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."
It sounds all well and good, but clearly BioWare's main studio in Edmonton is focusing its resources on another IP, which may be a little hard to take at first, particularly for fans of the series. It'll be interesting to see precisely what direction Mass Effect 4 takes.