Earlier today, BioWare unleashed patch 1.06 for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The update fixes a whole bunch of lingering issues with the game. Sometimes, however, the good is merely a harbinger for the bad. Just hours later, Kotaku has received reports from multiple sources that BioWare is putting the entire series on hiatus indefinitely.
To say that Andromeda’s release was met with “mixed reception” is absolutely putting it mildly. Fan reactions to the pre-release footage of the game built a to a fever pitch, which was unleashed in what I’ve since termed a “memetic apocalypse.”
Regardless of how you feel about the game personally, the powers that be appear to have been less than impressed with Andromeda’s mediocre reception. According to Kotaku’s sources, BioWare has been shuffling its employees at BioWare Montreal to other projects because Mass Effect needs time on ice.
A number of Montreal’s staff were transferred to work on Star Wars Battlefront II over at EA Motive, which is located in the same city. BioWare Montreal will take on the function of assisting other teams with work on upcoming projects, including a brand new IP, code-named Dylan.
The Montreal studio will also continue their work on Mass Effect: Andromeda. Their intent is to continue to patch the game and build upon the multiplayer. If you were hoping for more single-player content, it seems that you’ll be disappointed on that front. There was no mention of any additional story elements being worked on.
After probing the developer for more details, BioWare has circulated the following statement:
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.
It’s extremely improbable that BioWare is done with the Mass Effect franchise entirely. They’re likely going to revisit the series at some point in the future; after the series has had time to cool off.
That said, it took them 5 years to release Andromeda. It’s easy to envision a scenario where the next game in the series won’t see the light of day for 7 to 9 years. That’s a lengthy stretch of time in the gaming industry.