Mass Effect 4 Uses Frostbite, Will Be Made In Montreal

Before we dig into the meat of this announcement, let’s preface by remembering that the original Mass Effect trilogy was made using the Unreal 2 engine. I mention this because it’s important to note that as befits their goal of making an action RPG with decent combat, BioWare used an engine designed for making shooters instead of one made strictly for RPGs.

Now the news. In a post to the official BioWare blog, it was announced today that Mass Effect 4 will be developed utilizing Electronic Arts’ proprietary Frostbite 2 engine, most recently seen in Battlefield 3. “[I]t will be built with the amazing technology of Frostbite as its foundation, enhanced by many of the systems that the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building,” the announcement informs us, confirming, if nothing else, that EA is definitely done leasing IP owned by other developers. It’s also probably proof that whatever else Mass Effect 4 will be, it’s going to look fantastic.

The news of ME4′s use of Frostbite was actually buried in the announcement, which was primarily about introducing fans to the studio that will actually be shepherding the new game into existence. Meet Yanick Roy, head of BioWare Montreal and the de facto boss being the making of Mass Effect 4. His announcement confirms something we’ve speculated on here at Game Front, which is that with ME3 complete, Casey Hudson is stepping back a bit. “To ensure a proper and effective transition,” Roy says, “we’ll continue to be supported by the Edmonton studio through the game’s development… Casey remains the Executive Producer, but he will have a Project Director under him, working in Montreal, leading our development team and making day-to-day decisions for the game. We all care very much about Mass Effect and make our decisions based on what’s best for the game.”

This means two things: First, that Mass Effect is in a sense BioWare’s Star Wars, and Hudson is going to do like George Lucas did with the original Star Wars trilogy and govern from above, but whatever happens now, it’s as much someone else’s baby as it is his. It should be assumed that he’ll be writing as he did with the previous trilogy, but expect his role to be much borader. No word on who the above-mentioned director is going to be, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the announcement. The second thing here is that BioWare Montreal has officially graduated out of support capacity, and will now be a full fledged BioWare studio in its own right.

As for what Mass Effect 4 will actually be like, there’s a clue provided in the announcement: “The other thing I can tell you is that, while it will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts. You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling.” Notably absent from the list of pillars is RPG elements, but hopefully this merely means that RPG aspects should be taken for granted.

So what do you think about all this, Game Front? Sound off in comments.

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20 Comments on Mass Effect 4 Uses Frostbite, Will Be Made In Montreal


On November 12, 2012 at 11:42 am

I think that i wont be preordering this the same as i wont be preordering DA3, because of DA2 and the ending of ME3.

DA3 i wouldn’t be preordering period, but if ME4 had been made by the same studio as ME1-3 i would have preordered. i may have hated the ending to ME3 with enough passion to ignite several lesser stars, but the rest of the series was amazing.


On November 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

I really dont care. If you guys here give this a good review when it comes out I might get it since you’re probably the only people who can be trusted to not give it a good review because of the name like ign, but the ending killed this series for me.


On November 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

My money has it as a MMRPG, single player campaign be damned.


On November 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I’m pretty much done with the series after how it all ended, the only way I would consider getting another one is if they changed it to an open world rpg and have it to where you can choose an alien race.

Jeff Mills

On November 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm

As long as the focus is single player first THEN multi-player, I’m down. But the lack of any sort of sense on the part of EA’s decision making for the past 5-6 years makes me feel that they’ll just turn this series into another Battlefield type of game with a laughable amount of single player content and a main focus on multi-player.

ME3 had a bit of that with multi-player affecting the readiness level of your troops in single player. I hope that’s never done again in any other game.


On November 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Mass Effect is just a walking corpse and needs to be put down. Same could be said of the current Bioware too.


On November 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Im interested in the direction bioware decides to take this. Im hoping that they make the game a little bit more focused on RPG elements rather then just being an action shooter. And as long as they don’t make a prequel or continue shepard’s story in any way then i would probably get this game.


On November 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Some interesting bits of news, here. I’m of two minds on both the engine and Hudson’s new role. The use of Frostbite isn’t too surprising since EA will want to get back what it spent having the thing made, and it certainly isn’t impossible for it to do other things considering they used the decidedly action-focused Unreal engine to make the other games. However, since we’ve only seen it in use for FPS games, it’s hard not to be skeptical of this “new direction,” As for Hudson’s role, on the one hand it seems like maybe he, or perhaps those above him, decided that after everything that happened, maybe rearrangements needed to be made. Then again, it sounds like he’ll still be in a writing position and have the overall final say, so maybe things haven’t really changed.


On November 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Same engine as Battlefield 3? My guess its an FPS based around a critical mission being performed by the player and [her] Asari Commando unit that needs to save the galaxy.


On November 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Frostbite, eh? Not entirely unexpected, EA’s gonna want to get their money’s worth out of it and it is a good engine for FPS. Mass Effect has been getting steadily less RPG-ish and more FPS-ish as time has gone on, the fourth iteration will probably come close to dropping the RPG pretense entirely. Something like RAGE with more dialogue, maybe.

It could very well turn out to be an excellent shooter, and might be worth buying on that basis alone. It will not, however, be a Mass Effect game other than in name and universe setting. That ship sailed a long time ago.

With that being said, personally, it will be a cold day in hell before I spend another dime on anything that Casey Hudson is involved with. I don’t care if it cures cancer. If that piece of #@it’s name is on the box, I ain’t buying.


On November 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Wesker1984 and some of the other diehard apologists (‘Hunter’, ‘Lilith’, ‘lol’ and maybe a couple of others) will be on the brink of orgasm at this news. The rest of us couldn’t give a tinker’s toss.


On November 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Well at least this game will look good. I honestly think ME3 looked like crap.

As far as what the game needs:

1.) Make an actual large world. While the games seemed “bigger” as you progressed in the series, they simply got smaller but the amount of instances increased.

2.) Make characters which are compelling. Making your navigator and having him nonchalantly say “I have a husband”, while maybe historic in how much tolerance has advanced, he wasn’t in the slightest bit compelling as say the small journey Pressley had from xenophobic bigot to wearetheworld. This was par for the course with all of the characters. They threw a few cosmetic things in there to add “depth”, but in reality, they were stale as hell, but hey, they had some great manipulative music! The characters of ME1 had amazing depth, and while ME2 was more hit and miss, their hits (Liara) far outweighed their misses (Grunt)

Disappointed J

On November 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Let’s see… By all accounts, a Battlefield 3 clone featuring essential Day 1 DLC and a multiplayer emphasis set in a universe devastated by genocide and poor concept development being led by the same man who dropped trou and laid a massive deuce on one of the most passionate video game fan bases today? Oh, and the company developing it has the industry’s biggest hard-on for mobile games?

I think I’ll be sitting this one out…


On November 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm

If I could high five you through the screen, I would.


On November 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Agreed with Ross Lincoln and Kevin, this game will (at least) look beautiful.


On November 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

The Mass Effect games used the Unreal 3 engine, not 2. :P


On November 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I’m also of two minds about this new mass effect.

On the one hand, I’d like to see bioware punished for their hubris regarding the ending controversy. And refuse to buy into anything with either hudson’s or Walter’s filthy fingers on.

On the other hand, a new team with a new engine may be able to make the series interesting again.

Regardless: it’s too early for me to care about another mass effect. Come back when you have a demo, and details regarding what we can expect; and maybe then I’ll become interested.

Red Menace

On November 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm


The Defenestrator

On November 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Hudson’s “move” is meant to be red meat for people like me who identify him as largely responsible for the FUBAR ending but, in reality, won’t mean a damn thing. He’s still in charge, still has final say. Don’t be fooled. Nothing has ACTUALLY changed.


On November 13, 2012 at 1:10 am

I predict would be like battlefield 2142 except now with Aliens and have to go online if you want to unlock new kits and powers -_-;