Slowly but surely, the list of things that gamers know about Mass Effect 4 is getting longer. Previously, BioWare confirmed that the Mako, Mass Effect’s much maligned all-terrain vehicle, will return in a new and improved form. The game won’t star Commander Shepherd, but it’ll be set during the same time period as her (or his) adventures. Mass Effect 4 will feature a renewed focus on exploration, but won’t copy the open-world structure of Dragon Age: Inquisiton. Finally, the upcoming title will introduce both new alien races and a new writer to the franchise; while BioWare hasn’t said much about the former, the latter is Chris Schlerf, who previously wrote Halo 4.
Now, gamers can add one more thing to that list: Mass Effect 4 will feature multiplayer, as was all-but-confirmed by Chris Wynn, Senior Development Director at BioWare. Earlier, Wynn tweeted that BioWare is looking for a “producer to come shape online for the next Mass Effect,” along with a link to a job ad on the official BioWare careers page.
In the corresponding list of job responsibilities, BioWare HR mentions that the producer will “champion the vision of the multi-player, connected experiences and online features of the game,” and emphasizes that “a strong online technical background is a plus.” While the use of the word “online” could simply mean that Mass Effect 4 will have some kind of separate online tie-in, similar to the Dragon Age Keep or Mass Effect 3’s Datapad app, the direct reference to multiplayer gameplay implies otherwise.
Honestly, the inclusion of multiplayer in the next Mass Effect title wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition both featured robust (but optional) multiplayer modes, and one of BioWare’s other big titles, the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, is obviously online-only. In many ways, removing multiplayer from Mass Effect 4 would be a step backwards. While online battles weren’t a crucial part of past Mass Effect games, removing features never looks very good to consumers.
The more interesting news is that BioWare is actively looking for developers despite the fact that the company recently cancelled Shadow Realms, their upcoming asymmetrical multiplayer RPG, for the explicit purpose of freeing up resources (i.e. employees) to work on other projects. BioWare Austin (where Shadow Realms was being developed) and BioWare Montreal (where this new producer will work) aren’t the same studio, but it seems as if BioWare has more planned than they can currently handle. Keep an eye out; it sounds like big things are in store, both Mass Effect-related and otherwise.
Mass Effect 4 is currently in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It has no scheduled release date.
Source: Chris Wynn