Everybody knows that a new Mass Effect title is coming. Developer and series creator BioWare has said as much. What nobody seems sure about, however, is exactly when players will get their hands on the next installment of BioWare’s popular space opera. By some reports, the game is already in a robust and playable state; by others, the game is years away.
Still, with Dragon Age: Inquisition out and racking up awards, it’s safe to assume that production on the new Mass Effect is shifting into full gear. Superstar writers like Halo 4’s Chris Schlerf and BioWare’s own David Gaider are rumored to be working on the project. Motion capture for the game is underway. BioWare Senior Development Director Chris Wynn put out an open call on Twitter, looking for producers to help craft Mass Effect’s online experience.
According to one expert, all this activity can only mean one thing: the new Mass Effect will hit sometime before April, 2016. In a report published by Wedbush, Michael Patcher, one of the preeminent video game industry analysts, claims that Electronic Arts will bring the next Mass Effect title to current-generation consoles sometime in the 2016 fiscal year, which runs from April 2015 to March 2016 (fiscal years and calendar years don’t always match).
Mass Effect isn’t the only game that Patcher predicts Electronic Arts will launch during this window. Other titles that the analyst pegs for fiscal year 2016 include Star Wars Battlefront and the next Need for Speed game, which fans know about, as well as the long-awaited sequel, Mirror’s Edge 2. If Patcher is correct, Electronic Arts has an incredibly strong line-up scheduled for the next year or so, and that doesn’t even include its best-selling annual sports franchises.
Patcher doesn’t cite any sources, and that’s still not the concrete release date that fans have been hoping for. It’s possible that more information regarding Mass Effect will surface at E3, which is only a couple of months away. Previously, BioWare indicated that the next Mass Effect title won’t star Commander Shepard, but isn’t a prequel either: the game takes place concurrently with Shepherd’s story, and will introduce players to new characters, new worlds, and new alien races.
Of course, this is all assuming that Michael Patcher and his team are correct. As well-known as Patcher is, he’s been wrong before, and even if the analyst’s sources are correct, plans change. This is a day and age where big titles get delayed all the time, and even if Electronic Arts has a tentative time table set for Mass Effect’s release, that could all go out the window if developers decide that they need more time.