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.