Saturday, 13 May 2017

Mass Effect on ice as EA focusses on Star Wars



Looks like the Mass Effect franchise is on hiatus in the wake of a much-maligned EA Access early preview and middling reviews.

You can read my initial impressions of Mass Effect: Andromeda here.

Post launch patches have improved visual fidelity immeasurably. To the point that the divisive game now resembles a pretty polished product and begs the question: why didn't EA delay the release for a few more months? Andromeda was purportedly in production for several years as its budget ballooned. This isn't unique in AAA game development.

I read somewhere the alpha build used the Unreal engine before switching to stablemate DICE's Frostbite! This comparison video is insightful for anyone with an interest in the creative process.



Personally, I've sunk 40-hours or so into exploring Andromeda and am enjoying the witty banter between squad members, aboard the Nomad, and combat. The sudoku puzzles not so much. Music is a hallmark of the franchise. Curiously, there are strange silences despite a rich soundtrack worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.

The latest Mass Effect installment and PlayStation exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn should keep me occupied until Bungie releases Destiny 2 this September. Well, unless I cave in and buy a Nintendo Switch with a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the meantime.

However, Kotaku reached out to Electronic Arts and the publisher responded on the future of the franchise with a statement from BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy:

“Our teams at BioWare and across EA put in tremendous effort bringing Mass Effect Andromeda to players around the world. Even as BioWare continues to focus on the Mass Effect Andromeda community and live service, we are constantly looking at how we're prepared for the next experiences we will create. 

The teams in EA Worldwide Studios are packed with talent, and more than ever, we are driving collaboration between studios on key projects. 

With our BioWare and Motive teams sharing studio space in Montreal, we have BioWare team members joining Motive projects that are underway. We're also ramping up teams on other BioWare projects in development.

There will be much more to come from BioWare in the years ahead.”

Frustratingly, this leaves a subplot, that ties into a theory I have concerning Cerberus, unresolved. Hope BioWare continues to support Andromeda with free future DLC, expanding on the universe whilst tying up loose ends, as a goodwill gesture for early adopters. Unlikely. A new untitled IP has been pushed back to 2018/19 and EA's ramping up Star Wars releases.

Do you think the beloved Mass Effect franchise should be retired? Let me know in the comments below.