Despite generating one of the biggest video game controversies of 2012 with the mixed reaction to its conclusion to the trilogy, Mass Effect 3 remains one of the most acclaimed and successful titles of the year. It even won Best RPG at last week’s Spike VGAs.

Mass Effect 3 brought triple-A storytelling and character depth unheard of in most games, and even with the story of Commander Shepard coming to an end, the series is far from overMass Effect 4 is currently in development at a different studio and while we don’t know if it’ll be a prequel or a sequel, we do have an approximate release window.

In an effort to thwart the leaks and rumors surrounding the next Dragon Age title and the awkward buzz surrounding the exodus of several key employees at BioWare, from writer Alexander Freed and lead designer Daniel Erickson to co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, BioWare has been rather open about their future plans.

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut

The day before Muzyka & Zeschuk announced their retirement, BioWare unveiled Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. The day of, they then revealed Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC and more importantly, that they were planning a new Mass Effect game. Two days later, the studio also revealed that they were working on an entirely new IP built on next-gen technology.

With development of Mass Effect 4 moving away from its home at BioWare Edmonton to BioWare Montreal – the team behind ME3 multiplayer – the home crew is likely working on the new IP and Dragon Age 3. Since the time of the announcements, actual development has begun on Mass Effect 3 while executive producer Casey Hudson asks the community for ideas and whether or not they’d like Mass Effect 4 to be a prequel.

In an interview with Gamer Syndrome, an unnamed and unverified (we’ve emailed EA) BioWare representative discussed the developer change for the next Mass Effect game.

[Update: We’ve confirmed through EA and Gamer Syndrome that no one at BioWare actually provided these answers. You can read them for fun, but the basic timeline probably isn’t too far off when it comes to the next ME’s release date.]

“While I can’t comment on why it changed studios, fans can expect a similar style of choices and action that they’ve come to know in Mass Effect. Casey Hudson is very much involved in the new Mass Effect game, as well as many from Edmonton. BioWare Montreal is a great studio and they did fantastic with the multiplayer for Mass Effect 3, so fans should know the series is in good hands. The game isn’t far along in development so I can’t comment on specifics because they isn’t any yet, Frostbite 2 is a really good game engine that we are also using on Dragon Age 3. As far as release date, there’s nothing to be announced yet. You’ll hear more about the new Mass Effect game [next year] in 2013.”

We suspected last October, months before ME3 released, that Mass Effect 4 could potentially be a PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720 launch title. Depending on when Sony releases their next console (the next Xbox is strongly speculated to release next fall), that very well could be the case.

“Late 2014 to Mid 2015. I honestly can’t tell you an exact because full development on the game started a month or two ago.”

For fans still enjoying ME3, there will be more single-player and multiplayer DLC after Omega, but not that much as game approaches its one-year anniversary.

After seeing how Mass Effect 3 ended, are you interested in more sequels, and if so, what should it be about? Read our Mass Effect 4 wishlist for some of our ideas.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Gamer Syndrome