Anyone worried that Mass Effect 2 might slip from its launch window during the first quarter of 2010 can breathe a little easier. Today developer BioWare announced that it is establishing a new team in Montreal to focus on the sequel to the acclaimed sci-fi role-playing game, which Microsoft published for the Xbox 360 in 2007 and PC in 2008.
Given that BioWare is now owned by Electronic Arts--which will publish Mass Effect 2 for the PC and "consoles" (plural)--it comes as little surprise that the new operation will be located inside the offices of EA Montreal. BioWare cofounder and general manager Dr. Ray Muzyka told GameSpot that his group will "work in partnership with the existing EA Montreal team" but would still report to him and his business partner, Dr. Greg Zeschuk. "It's still a BioWare Montreal team," he said.
According to Muzyka, the new group will complement the efforts of the large number of developers and designers already working on Mass Effect 2 at BioWare's headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta. The initial team size will be around 30 people, with job listings for Level Designer, Environment Artist, and Senior Environment Artist currently posted on BioWare's job site in English and--naturellement--French. Muzyka said that the team might also eventually assist with work on Dragon Age: Origins and the massively multiplayer project Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Opened in March 2004 after a brief legal spat with Ubisoft, which also has a major presence in the Quebecois metropolis, EA Montreal currently employs around 700 people. Its best-known games include SSX Blur, Boogie, and Army of Two.