BioWare Montreal is lead developer on the next Mass Effect game, studio director Yanick Roy has announced. The game will stay true to predecessors in the shape of "diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore and of course rich, cinematic storytelling", but will move the series forward in other respects, incorporating systems from the recently announced Dragon Age 3: Inquisition.
Formed in 2009, BioWare Montreal produced cinematics for Mass Effect 2, and has worked on story DLC for Mass Effect 3 (including the forthcoming Omega pack). "This is the goal we have been working toward for years now, and every member of our team is proud, excited, and humbled to take on the responsibility for the next game," Roy wrote in a blog post.
"To ensure a proper and effective transition, we'll continue to be supported by the Edmonton studio through the game's development, working with and learning from them on some critical initiatives," he added. "On top of that, 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."
"There is really not much I can tell you about the game right now," Roy confessed, "except that it 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 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."
The studio is currently seeking programmers, designers and artists for unspecified projects - presumably, prepping Frostbite for launch on next generation consoles is among the Mass Effect 4 team's priorities. "We're all looking forward to telling you more about this next Mass Effect game, but it's probably going to be quite a while before you hear from us again," Roy concluded. "We know you have high expectations for the franchise and we want to make sure whatever we show you lives up to those expectations."
BioWare's Tully Auckland hinted at the premise of Mass Effect 4 in July, following speculation by BioWare's Mike Gamble that the new Mass Effect might be a prequel. What "systems" do you think the game has in common with Inquisition? Here are 12 things you need to know about Dragon Age 3.