BioWare Gives An Update On Next Dragon Age And Mass Effect Games

"AAA next-gen games take a long time to make--and we know our fans may want them sooner."

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BioWare GM Gary McKay has provided an update on the development status of two of the studio's upcoming high-profile games, which are new entries in the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. In short, the new Dragon Age game is in the middle of development while it appears the next Mass Effect title is at a much earlier stage of development and is thus seemingly further out on the horizon.

In a blog post, McKay confirmed that the untitled new Dragon Age game is "right in the middle" of production. "Our blueprint was completed last year, so we're now focused on building out our vision: creating amazing environments, deep characters, strong gameplay, impactful writing, emotional cinematics--and much more," McKay said. "The blueprint for the game is well understood and the team is focused."

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McKay also provided some background on the various stages of development that BioWare games go through. The first are concept and pre-production, which is when a team determines the creative vision for a project and begins to lay the groundwork for its technical underpinnings. In this stage of development, "iteration and flexibility are key," McKay said. New ideas are suggested, tested, and refined during this stage. When this is complete, full-on production begins, and this is all about taking the ideas and making them into something playable. After that comes the alpha and beta phases of production, where further refinements and polish are applied ahead of launch.

McKay also gave an update on the team that is developing the next Dragon Age. Christian Dailey, who began with BioWare on the Dragon Age team in 2018 and was the game's executive producer, has left the studio. "The games industry is ever-changing though and sometimes folks want to go and try new things--we understand, but we will miss him as a friend and as a colleague," McKay said.

In his own statement shared on social media, Dailey said the Dragon Age game is "in amazing hands," going on to say that people should not buy into any speculation about it.

With Dailey leaving BioWare, McKay outlined the leadership team for the new Dragon Age game. 18-year BioWare veteran Mac Walters is the production director, while Corrine Busche is getting bumped up to game director for the title--she is a 15-year EA veteran. Beniot Houle, who has worked on every single Dragon Age game going back to Origins, is the director of product development on the new Dragon Ago. And McKay himself said he plans to work "more closely" with the development team alongside his other responsibilities as overall GM of BioWare.

As for when BioWare will share new insight on the next Dragon Age, McKay said fans can expect blog posts and social media content later this year. McKay also confirmed that BioWare will be in "regular communication" with its "community council" of fans who provide feedback to the studio as part of the development process, while BioWare will listen to and consider feedback from the wider gamer population as well.

Neither BioWare nor EA have given any indication as to when the new Dragon Age game might be released, but a recent report said it might be at least 18 months away from release.

Shifting to the next Mass Effect game, it sounds like this project is further out. McKay said the next Mass Effect title is now in the prototyping phase, with developers experimenting with "ideas and experiences" for what the game will be. BioWare veteran Mike Gamble is leading the team.

"AAA next-gen games take a long time to make--and we know our fans may want them sooner. But our number one priority needs to be quality, and that simply takes time to get it right," McKay said.

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