As part of today’s Electronic Arts earnings call event BioWare confirms the studio plans to release its upcoming sci-fi IP in the first quarter of 2018.
During an earnings call earlier today, Electronic Arts confirmed that BioWare had not just one, but two games with planned release windows. The first is obviously Mass Effect: Andromeda, which launches on March 21. The second is the as-yet-unannounced new IP that BioWare Edmonton has been working on for several years. This new IP, which is said to be a unique action game with original gameplay, is tentatively planned for a Q1 2018 launch.
BioWare head Aaryn Flynn released a short statement following the Electronic Arts conference call and, among other things, he revealed that the game has been in development since 2012:
“In 2012, we began crafting a new universe full of new characters, stories, and gameplay. Our ambition is simple: Draw upon 20+ years of development knowledge and lessons to create something fun and new for you to enjoy with your friends.”
Where Flynn referred to BioWare’s historical design strengths (characters, stories) regarding the new IP, Electronic Arts was much more willing to embrace the game’s unique direction:
“… our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new IP — a clean-sheet design with new concepts, new mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe. This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people think about an action title, bringing friends together to play in exhilarating new ways.”
Exactly what BioWare’s new IP is remains ambiguous, but it’s clear that both BioWare and Electronic Arts are excited about the game’s potential.
Technically this isn’t the first time that BioWare has talked about the new IP being developed at the Edmonton studio. In 2014 BioWare announced the development of a new Mass Effect title with a concept reel that showcased various environments, space suits, and developers talking about what they were looking forward to. At the end of the video, it segued into the announcement of the new IP in development at BioWare Edmonton. It’s funny and somewhat odd that it’d take two more years before BioWare would talk about the project again.
BioWare in recent years has taken on a policy of not showing games until they were primed for release, perhaps to put the game’s best foot forward. Even now, very little is known about Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s multiplayer or RPG mechanics. Here again BioWare was “forced” to reveal a game’s existence as part of a financial report, even when it hasn’t been officially announced. With the game being described as wholly unique, BioWare will definitely want the game’s announcement to pack a punch.
Some are speculating the new game could share similarities with Destiny, Sea of Thieves, or other modern online multiplayer games. The statement that the game will bring, “friends together to play in exhilarating new ways,” definitely implies multiplayer. And there’s a significant surge in the industry for more console-style always online games that aren’t quite massive, but provide unique cooperative and competitive multiplayer experiences.
Expect more information from BioWare regarding its new IP before the end of the year. E3 would be a safe bet for an announcement, but like Mass Effect: Andromeda before it more meaningful details could fall towards late 2017 and early 2018.