With the (well-earned) retirement of BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuck, there are sure to be some who believe that the main driving force behind the studio’s creativity is now absent. But those still manning the fort are quick to point out that’s not the case, and the team(s) assembled are up to the challenge – not to mention determined – to continue the momentum and success.
For the team behind Mass Effect, the most successful series the studio has produced, that doesn’t just mean continuing to support Mass Effect 3 through DLC. Besides planning a brand new game in the Mass Effect series, the studio has confirmed that a new franchise, set in a new universe, using new hardware, is currently being developed.
Obviously some fans will automatically be enraged that BioWare isn’t making a return to the worlds of Jade Empire, Baldur’s Gate, or Knights of The Old Republic now that they’ve wrapped up Commander Shepard’s saga. That doesn’t mean those past franchises aren’t on the minds of those in charge, but for now, it seems that the only direction to look is forward.
In a post covering plenty of updates on the current state of BioWare’s various teams, General Manager of BioWare Edmonton Aaryn Flynn took to the company’s blog to thank the Doctors for their years of service, and give a sense of the studio’s direction from here on out. Included in the post was an announcement that a brand new game series for the next generation of consoles is currently in the early stages of development:
“Both Dragon Age and Mass Effect started as single games but grew into vast universes. But we aren’t stopping there. While Casey continues to oversee the development of our new Mass Effect project, he and his leads are putting together their vision for an all new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.”
Let’s all take a moment to process that, and have a few deep breaths. There’s no way to overlook the fact that Mass Effect 3 didn’t go over as well with fans as the original, even with the extended endings. But regardless of personal investment and relative feelings of closure, there is no denying the fact that Mass Effect 3 was one of the most polished and impressive games we’ve seen. Dragon Age 2 is a much harder game to say that about, but at least those responsible have admitted their shortcomings, and are asking the fans for input with Dragon Age 3: Inquisition.
Considering just how much baggage ME3 brought with it, and how readily comparable both it and Dragon Age 2 are to their predecessors, perhaps a fresh start is what’s needed. In hindsight, the time and energy that went into making the world of the original Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins led to generally more satisfying and well-rounded experiences. If the first game in a BioWare series tends to become the most beloved by fans, then this announcement is particularly good news. One doesn’t have to look too far to see how modern consoles have limited even as well-positioned a studio as BioWare, so a next-gen release isn’t surprising. And considering what seems to be possible with Star Wars 1313, BioWare might have an even better platform with which to tell compelling stories.
Now the question remains as to what type of game series is being planned. With science fiction and fantasy both covered, it seems unlikely that the new franchise will fall into either category. Even if they were tonally unique, different aesthetics and worlds would be needed just to avoid confusion. Perhaps a modern day, realistic setting? So far there is little to go on besides Flynn’s comments, but the fact that the most accomplished and successful development team within BioWare – Casey Hudson and his leads – is being trusted to come up with the next idea is promising.
What type of series would you like to see BioWare pursue next? A darker, more serious story, or something a bit more action-focused and light stylized? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
We’ll keep you up to date on all BioWare projects as details are released.
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