Leading up to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare Montreal representatives remained somewhat elusive regarding the franchise’s future. As it turns out, they may have known more than they were letting on.
A new report from Kotaku suggests that BioWare has effectively put Mass Effect on a long-term hiatus and are treating BioWare Montreal as a secondary support studio. This move seems to indicate that the company has no plans to release any Mass Effect content in the near future that is more significant than a DLC add-on.
In an official statement, BioWare Montreal director Yanick Roy confirmed that the BioWare Montreal team will continue working to improve Andromeda‘s “community and live service.” He attributes this decision to EA and BioWare’s desires to provide more resources to more prevalent projects.
In some ways, this move is not that surprising. Many were shocked to learn that BioWare planned to return to the BioWare franchise at all with Andromeda. The general consensus seemed to be that the studio was ready to move on from the franchise after Mass Effect 3. EA also decided to send a number of BioWare Montreal employees to EA Motive in order to work on the new Star Wars game, which isn’t something a studio does if they are planning on re-launching a major franchise.
At the same time, this decision does raise a few eyebrows among those who remember BioWare hyping up Andromeda as a new chapter in the Mass Effect franchise. They hinted that Andromeda could just represent the beginning of a new series of adventures. While Andromeda‘s DLC may very well introduce new stories, it’s now clear that any plans the studio had to carry on the Mass Effect name past Andromeda will not come to fruition.
It is entirely possible that the lukewarm reception Andromeda received simply confirmed a decision EA and BioWare had already made during the course of the game’s troubled – and expensive – development. However, it is hard to argue against the logic of BioWare’s official statement when you consider that BioWare is trying to launch a new IP and EA is in the midst of revitalising the video game branch of the Star Wars empire.