Hudson: Next Mass Effect a ‘New Way to Explore Whole Universe’

BioWare hasn’t released much in the way of details concerning the next title in the Mass Effect series, but franchise Executive Producer Casey Hudson took a moment to tease fans a bit today.

“We are starting to get ready to develop another Mass Effect game, and it’s going to be a new thing,” Hudson said during the Mass Effect retrospective at PAX East in Boston. “We want to be able to give fans an opportunity to get back into the world with these things you’ve come to know and love about the Mass Effect experience but start something fresh and new — a new way for you to explore the whole universe in Mass Effect.”

We do know a bit about the next Mass Effect title — namely, that it’ll use Battlefield 3′s Frostbite 2 engine and be developed mostly by BioWare Montreal, although Hudson will remain executive producer. However, Hudson is based at BioWare Edmonton, where he’ll be working on another, apparently new title. Game Front previously has heard rumors from some trusted sources that Hudson would be executive producer of the next Mass Effect title more or less in name only, and if he’s working on another project at a studio in another city, it seems that interpretation may be accurate.

As Kotaku reported about the panel, joining Hudson on the new project will be Mass Effect series Lead Designer Preston Watamaniuk.

“We are developing a whole new fictional universe at BioWare for myself and Preston [and other Mass Effect trilogy creators.] That’s kind of our next thing,” Husdon said. “We’re focusing on building something new the way we did at the very beginning on Mass Effect.”

As for the next Mass Effect game, we know it won’t be Mass Effect 4, it won’t include Commander Shepard, and it likely won’t be directly related to the story of the Reaper War in the Mass Effect Trilogy. Official details beyond that are sketchy, although BioWare Montreal was responsible for Mass Effect 3′s “Omega” DLC pack, which might suggest some clues of what to expect from the new development team.

There are a few rumors about the next Mass Effect title that might illuminate the game some, however. Game Front commenter Sachel, who claims to be a BioWare insider, has said the next game will be called Mass Effect: Contact and that it will be a first-person shooter. He also has said that the game will be a prequel, taking place during the “First Contact War” — the conflict between humans and turians when humanity first discovered the Charon Mass Relay.

Of course, these bits of information should be taken with a large grain of salt. Game Front has reached out to Sachel in order to confirm his or her identity, but the commenter prefers to remain anonymous. That said, Sachel correctly predicted every detail of the Citadel DLC pack more than a week before its launch and that BioWare Edmonton would be working on an unnamed project starting pretty much right now, which definitely counts in the commenter’s favor.

While it’s impossible to know now just what the next Mass Effect title will look like, the franchise has moved toward a more action-oriented presentation for the last two games and several DLC packs. It seems very much likely that Mass Effect fans would be less than thrilled about an FPS entry into the game world when story and characters were what created those fans, but we’ll have to wait and see what BioWare Montreal eventually turn out, and if those rumors do turn out to be true.

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13 Comments on Hudson: Next Mass Effect a ‘New Way to Explore Whole Universe’

goose2989

On March 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I will be extremely disappointed if the next game turns out to be a prequel. We already know what happens before Mass Effect 1 and the Reapers; move the series forward.

If the next game is set during the First Contact War, you can say goodbye to having awesome aliens as squadmates. No more cool squadmates like Tali, Garrus, or Wrex; it’s Humanity against the galaxy.

Luke Frozen

On March 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm

goose2989 – the problem though is that BioWare has completely shot itself in the foot with the ending to the last game, not only by making a large number of their customers feel so ripped off that they’d rather stick their face in a blender than spend any more money on the franchise, but also in how the ‘content’ (if you can even call it that) of the endings affects any potential sequels.

Remember, the final choice was as follows – homogenise all life in the galaxy (the so-called ‘best’ ending despite being ridiculously offensive as a peace treaty), indoctrinate all reapers and turn them into manual labourers (which presumably indoctrinates everyone they come into contact with as well, but who cares about minor details like that?), or destroy every synthetic in the solar system regardless of its sophistication or complexity. Depending on EMS, you might also end up charring the entire planet Earth killing almost everyone in the process or at least destroy the buildings, as well as obliterate the Mass Relays. The new option shows quite clearly that, regardless of EMS, you lose the war and a different cycle (presumably in another 50,000 years although, once again, it’s never made clear) defeats them, presumably using a method you refused to prove how right BioWare was to include them as options or by using a totally different method that our cycle was too dense to come up with ourselves.

Not a lot of scope there for a sequel, is there? Which is why BioWare, logistically speaking, has one of three choices – make a sequel that’s set so far in the future that the already pretty ambiguous choice Shepard made at the end of ME3 is rendered completely meaningless via some space magic, make a prequel which we already know the ending to, or make a game that takes place during the same events as Shepard’s saga which would either be a watered-down story compared to trying to fight galactic genocide or would take some serious retconning.

Either way, it’s just more evidence that BioWare should have stayed true to their original stated intention and made it a trilogy with a proper ending that made sense and actually rewarded the player for the choices they made over three games. The series would have left us all wanting more – now it’s got many of us praying the company will go out of business before it has the chance to ruin the franchise even further.

goose2989

On March 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm

@Luke Frozen

I realize all the issues with making a sequel that you mentioned, and even more; I know it’s not perfect. However, compared to a prequel that we all know the ending to, I would prefer BioWare just makes some arbitrary decisions with one ending (let’s say…. destroy) and went with them. I’m sure you know that, during the Destroy Ending narration, Hackett puts a lot of emphasis on “we can repair everything” that got destroyed during the war. I say BioWare just goes with that, and ta freaking da! We have a manageable sequel

Patches

On March 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Casey Hudson, Executive Producer?…

Yay… Moar Space Magic incoming…

Me, still bitter about ME3?… How did you guess?…

Matt

On March 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm

No more prequels for crying out loud, prequels= lets milk the franchise for every last dime before they die

gasmaskangel

On March 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm

The problem with prequels is that a.) we already know how the story ends, and b.) all of the recognizable characters are far less awesome than they were in the source material (see the Star Wars prequels for proof). Add in the fact that if the original was any good at world building or character development then a prequel isn’t really worth the time or effort. You could hypothetically make it a prequel for a character that was introduced as if we should already know who the hell they are (Paragon Lost, which was a prequel for that one guy who was voiced by Freddy Prinz Jr. who was so pointless and uninteresting that I can’t be bothered to remember his name) but odds are good that no one really cares about the meat head generic space marine type.

Now I’m going to speculate on how they could make ME4 good, mostly to pointlessly taunt myself. The way to do it is to dial the scale way back. It’s not about saving the galaxy, it’s about personal survival and revenge with a small but interesting cast of characters. Let’s say your character busts out of prison and hijacks a warship that was docked at the prison, then you adventure across the galaxy as a badass space pirate trying to hunt down the people responsible for your false imprisonment.

Too bad they won’t do that. In fact, I predict that the protagonist will be a badass human commander who will either be instrumental to bringing peace if it’s set during the first contact war, or who will become a specter if Bioware actually tries to make a proper sequel.

Fletcher

On March 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm

If it’s a prequel, you can count me out. I’m not interested in a Prequel especially if its about the First Contact War. There’s already enough information kicking around for us to know what the First Contact War was about. There’s even a prequel comic series about the Illusive Man’s past that takes place during the First Contact war.

Biioware’s best chance at winning me back would be to make a game that takes place after ME 3. Even then, it would take a lot to convince me to get the next one. If they learned from their mistakes with ME 3, then they have a shot at it. We’ll have to wait and see.

Foehunter82

On March 23, 2013 at 10:18 pm

“Game Front previously has heard rumors from some trusted sources that Hudson would be executive producer of the next Mass Effect title more or less in name only, and if he’s working on another project at a studio in another city, it seems that interpretation may be accurate.”

Prediction: Mass Effect 4 will be the beginning of an all-new trilogy. By the end of this next trilogy, Montreal will pass the franchise back to Edmonton so that Hudson can write another nonsensical ending.

“There are a few rumors about the next Mass Effect title that might illuminate the game some, however. Game Front commenter Sachel, who claims to be a BioWare insider, has said the next game will be called Mass Effect: Contact and that it will be a first-person shooter. He also has said that the game will be a prequel, taking place during the “First Contact War” — the conflict between humans and turians when humanity first discovered the Charon Mass Relay.”

Prediction: Yes. This “prequel” will really only serve to provide further background information to cement the ending of ME3. On the plus side (mostly for EA/Bioware), setting the prequel up to be an FPS will allow them to put some distance between the post-Reaper War trilogy that will inevitably be made in the next decade. They’ll crank out 3-5 Mass Effect FPS games over the next few years, maybe a Mass Effect RTS or two, and then they’ll return to their roots with a post-Reaper War trilogy that is an FPS/RPG hybrid. This will be when they do some major experimentation and whatnot, culminating in an inevitable reboot 10 years from now.

Seriously. I think any prequel game is a mistake. I won’t be interested in it. The only purpose I believe it would serve would be to reveal that there was a handful of previously unknown characters that knew about the Reapers, the Catalyst, Indoctrination, etc. These characters (some of which will inevitably be human, even though this is supposed to be the “First Contact War”) will wind up having access to some kind of deus ex machina that makes them aware of this information. All this will do is serve as a de facto retcon whose only real purpose is to make the Mass Effect 3 ending “make sense.”

Michael

On March 23, 2013 at 10:22 pm

This guy ruined the entire game series for me that i had to get rid of it. I loved this game so much that I was hoping that it will go down in history as my favorite game. But HOPING for anything good this day and age is futile and making the next game a FPS game says it all.

I understand that there was alot of hard work put into this franchise but as a worker I would have argued about the direction the game took in those last 5 minutes.

I’m completely done with anything Mass Effect. I’m just hoping some other company comes up with a better space adventure game that topples this one from my memory.

R.J.

On March 24, 2013 at 1:33 am

I’m less than thrilled by the prospect of a “new way” to explore ME since that seems like a strong signal that the RPG aspects will be nonexistent, and seems like a mark in favor of what Sachel said about it being an FPS. On the other hand, it seems like they would know this wouldn’t be a popular decision, but the events of the last couple of years starting with DA2 have made me question if the decision makers at BioWare really know what people want anymore. The prospect of playing through the First Contact War isn’t that appealing either. While we don’t know every little detail of that conflict, we know enough to know how it all turns out. Plus, any squad mates would have to be human, and let’s face it, it was the aliens that contributed so much to ME’s unique feeling.

sep

On March 24, 2013 at 3:52 am

DA:O – Awesome
DA2 – Hack and Slash

ME series – Awesome / Awesomeish towards to the end
ME follow up game – FPS

Bioware has moved on from RPG’s it seems. So the moral is, do what your best at and love doing, or pull a Bioware and be somebody’s little

Underlaw

On March 24, 2013 at 6:34 am

The clock is ticking, 1 more year Bioware, just 1 more 1year…….

Maay

On March 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm

What bugs me the most is why the hell are they NOT making a sequel that wipes out the current endings, rewrites it to a proper ending, and go on with a sequel built on a gold mine !
How can you justify, even to a board of director, to be that stubborn, and destroy so much value ?? It just appalls me. If the directors are happy with making money, why oh why do they let their best assets be spoiled like this ? If I was a shareholder, I’d certainly be very worried… If I was a major shareholder I’d certainly take action, fire the dude that killed the golden goose and move on with making the ending that was promised since the beginning.

Instead of going down as the biggest blunder in gaming history, why not admit the issue and solve it, so that it becomes “the biggest blunder that everybody is happy to forgive and forget” because the series starting with ME1 all the way to ME(xx) is so damn gooooood !

This is so frustrating…