Yesterday, a widely shared Facebook post claimed that BioWare had canceled Mass Effect: Andromeda's downloadable content. The good news: That Facebook post was a hoax. The bad news: They guessed correctly. Mass Effect: Andromeda will indeed not be receiving any single-player DLC, three people familiar with BioWare's plans have told me.
This will be a drastic departure for the long-running sci-fi series. All three Mass Effect games received single-player content after launch, with expansions such as Mass Effect 2's Lair of the Shadow Broker and Mass Effect 3's Citadel earning praise for their stories and character development. Fans had expected a similar approach for Mass Effect: Andromeda, but mediocre reviews and animation memes have steered the series in an unfortunate new direction.
In April, as we reported, BioWare scaled down its Montreal studio, whose staff had developed Mass Effect: Andromeda with help from BioWare's other studios in Edmonton and Austin. The chilly reception to Andromeda led the company to transfer BioWare Montreal's employees to other projects, including Star Wars Battlefront 2, Anthem, and the next Dragon Age. Although a small team remains in place to work on Mass Effect: Andromeda's multiplayer and patch support (which isn't done yet), most of BioWare Montreal has moved on.
BioWare also shelved plans for a sequel to Mass Effect: Andromeda, sources said.
While reporting that news, I had been pretty sure that Mass Effect: Andromeda wouldn't be getting single-player DLC. There are few people left at BioWare Montreal who could even work on it. But I wanted to be more confident, so over the past few weeks I've confirmed the news with three sources familiar with the company's plans, all of whom spoke anonymously so as not to jeopardise their careers. Unless BioWare decides to make some sort of drastic pivot (plans can always change!), Mass Effect: Andromeda will not be getting single-player DLC.
It's unclear why BioWare has not yet talked about these plans publicly -- and the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment over the past two weeks -- but this will no doubt come as sad news to Mass Effect fans. BioWare has traditionally released meaty, excellent downloadable content for all of its games, and Andromeda left several loose narrative threads that still need to be tied up.
Yesterday, a widely circulated Facebook post from a group claiming to be called Sinclair Networks said that it had been working on Andromeda's DLC until BioWare cancelled it. But Sinclair Networks appears to be fraudulent. Several BioWare employees later wrote on Twitter that they had never heard of this company. "While we can't talk about future yet, I can def say we build our own dlc/patches for our games and don't hire fake companies to do so," wrote producer Fernando Melo.
The future for Mass Effect, however, looks dismal.
For more on the turbulent development of Mass Effect: Andromeda, read our in-depth report:
In 2012, as work on Mass Effect 3 came to a close, a small group of top BioWare employees huddled to talk about the next entry in their epic sci-fi franchise. Their goal, they decided, was to make a game about exploration -- one that would dig into the untapped potential of the first three games. Instead of visiting just a few planets, they said, what if you could explore hundreds?