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.