Mass Effect Reportedly On "Hiatus," Changes Made At BioWare Montreal

EA confirms that some of the Andromeda developer's staff have moved to EA Motive.

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Now Playing: GS News Update: Mass Effect Reportedly On "Hiatus," Changes Made At BioWare Montreal

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During a conference call with investors yesterday, EA management voiced support for both the Mass Effect franchise and Andromeda developer BioWare Montreal in light of the mixed reaction to the latest game in the series. But change is reportedly afoot at the studio, according to a new report.

Mass Effect has been put on "hiatus," Kotaku reports. The franchise hasn't been axed altogether, but Kotaku's sources indicate that EA is waiting to kick off development on the next game in the series, rather than immediately getting started, as you might expect.

Additionally, changes are reportedly being made to the direction of BioWare Montreal. Some individuals have been moved to EA Motive, which is contributing to the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II (as well as another project that won't be out until at least 2018, if not later). The remainder of BioWare Montreal will either continue working on Andromeda multiplayer content or shift to the new BioWare IP, which was just pushed back until at least April 2018.

EA clarified with GameSpot that there hasn't been any downsizing at BioWare Montreal and shared a statement from studio director Yanick Roy. It confirms some staff have moved over to Motive or are now helping with other BioWare games.

"Our teams at BioWare and across EA put in tremendous effort bringing Mass Effect Andromeda to players around the world," Roy said. "Even as BioWare continues to focus on the Mass Effect Andromeda community and live service, we are constantly looking at how we're prepared for the next experiences we will create.

"The teams in EA Worldwide Studios are packed with talent, and more than ever, we are driving collaboration between studios on key projects. With our BioWare and Motive teams sharing studio space in Montreal, we have BioWare team members joining Motive projects that are underway. We're also ramping up teams on other BioWare projects in development.

"There will be much more to come from BioWare in the years ahead.”

Andromeda was the first Mass Effect game to be developed primarily by BioWare Montreal, a subject that came up often in interviews with Roy and other team members in our documentary series earlier this year.

The reception to the game wasn't up to par with what we've come to expect from Mass Effect, a fact which was acknowledged by EA CEO Andrew Wilson in this week's post-earnings conference call.

"Mass Effect [Andromeda] is an interesting title; it was in development for a really long time and represented a lot of the great things that BioWare is known for: story, size, depth, breadth, imagination," Wilson said. "And while overall the aggregate review scores were lower than we would have liked, we did have over 100 reviewers score the game at 80 or higher. So it represents a fanbase that's very passionate, that's looking for very particular things, and many players found exactly what they're looking for, and some players did not."

"We're very happy with how BioWare is doing, how BioWare is treating Mass Effect, and our expectations for Mass Effect are still strong for the future and the franchise overall," he added.

Wilson promised that new content will continue to be released for Andromeda. He also denied that the issues Andromeda faced are related to the just-announced delay of BioWare's new IP.

Aside from new content, BioWare continues to work on improving Andromeda. Following an update last month that addressed Andromeda's maligned facial expressions, a new patch hit today that makes "various improvements" to its cinematic scenes.

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Avatar image for zintarr

Note to BioEA, the hiring of a scumbag SJW in a game development role was probably not a smart move...just saying.

Avatar image for ECH71

Hopefully it started with the firing of inexperienced "lead facial animators":

Avatar image for craigtl

Reading some of the comments below just shaking my head..... Some of you guys need to put the conspiracy theories away, just chill out and either play a game you like or maybe go outside and get some real world interaction... maybe get a girlfriend or something.

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There is real factual evidence to suggest Bioware is nothing but SJWs now and Manveer Heir(look him up) who constantly tweets out racism and doesn't get fired. The old Mass Effect team is completely gone now. An it's obviously having a massive effect on the overall quality of the franchise, the writing sucks compared to the first 3 Mass Effect games, the characters are no where near as interesting, the combat has been immensely dumbed down, you can only use 2 skills and can't control squadmate abilities, have to rely on the terrrible AI, the UI is a complete mess. Listen up and listen well.

I know how to make Mass Effect great again for you Bioware, invite all the previous Mass Effect developers back. Give them big fat pay cheques. Fire all SJW cry babies and racists. Now just watch the magic happen. You'll thank me later.

Also Bioware, how about we just not go with Mass Effect Andromeda 2 for the next game. The story and characters just aren't interesting in the slightest for a sequal. So what I propose.. Make Mass Effect 3's red ending the canon ending, BRING BACK SHEPARD for Mass Effect 4. New STORY, interesting characters. We'll go from there.

Avatar image for craigtl

@omnichris: Only use two skills? You either have not played the game or you have only played a trial version. You can only assign 3 skills at a time but you can unlock as many as you like for your character and swap them out at loadout stations found all over the maps. Things like special ammo and are now consumables and can be used as long as you have them via menu wheel. So it does not at all feel limited compared to original ME (IMO) However, I did notice after I read your comment that there is a way heavier presence of female Krogan, and Turian characters. Matter of fact I think there are more female characters period. I will also agree with you on the writing, some of the things characters say and a lot of the plot just makes no sense. But I think the combat is more fierce and fast pace and that is probably the reason for changes to controlling characters power usage. Honestly the AI does a fine job of using the powers to combo with your character so its a feature I dont miss at all. I was one of the biggest skeptics after reading the plot and setting for the game, even more so after the game scored a 6. But I have EA access which gives you a 10 hour trial of the game and honestly it is a good game so I purchased. Im enjoying it, as corny as it can be sometimes.

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@craigtl: Actually, you can swap skills and base profiles mid combat with F1, F2, F3 and F4 for only a cooldown penalty. And if you want to, you can manually swap skills and profiles through the menu (U or P on PC). You can literally have every skill maxed out and unlocked at level 132 (the level cap), it just requires having done the extra skill puzzles during your two or three playthroughs in a row.

It's sad everyone is hyping the Kotaku "news".

Avatar image for craigtl

@omnichris: really you actually think that the game fell short because of SJW and white hating racist???? That has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. The only mistake they made was thinking that bigger is better and we got a lot of recycled elements from other open world games with Mass Effect elements spread throughout..... The combat is better than ever. The character models are sub par which is inexcusable and they tried so hard to separate this story from the original trilogy that at times the story line isnt very plausible even for science fiction. But come on man, that race thing you have got to be kidding me. If this same game carried any other title besides Mass Effect it would have gotten 7 or 8 IMO. There are things that I really felt they missed the mark on but the game is far from trash.

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Yes I do actually, true game development talent does wonders over SJW cry babies who only care about censoring speech in order to not get their feelings hurt. Bioware used to be masterminds at making high quality WRPG games. To go from that to what is displayed in Andromeda.. Is just a HUGE downgrade.

Avatar image for craigtl

@omnichris: The more I play the game and pay close attention to the corny dialog, I am starting to see more and more what you are talking about. At face value I just took it as bad writing. Its a shame that people have become sooooo over sensitive that it is starting to limit artistic freedom and creativity.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Here it comes, EA begins to dismantle yet another developer they bought and ruined.

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EA dismantling current Bioware can only be a good thing in my book. :) It's not like any of the real talent that made Bioware so great is even there right now. So why not? :)

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@Thanatos2k: And all it takes is one flop after huge success story

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@Thanatos2k: I think they ruined themselves by hiring SJWs for the sake of diversity instead of competent developers and writters

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@Vatusus: That explains Andromeda sure, but EA's response to that is to begin the destruction of the studio, just like they did to Westwood, Pandemic, etc.

It has nothing to do with the talent.

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You mean writing social justice commentary in space isn't interesting to gamers? I'm shocked. Shocked! Maybe next time Bioware should hire writers and not activists. And not racist developers. Might want to check that box off as well.

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Go figure, the only real losers in this whole situation are gamers, more specifically the fans of the franchise. As usual. We get treated to that shitty, half-baked Mass Effect game that does no justice to the series at all, then they go on to shelf the series because they f*cked it all up and don't want to come out and say it. But hey, at least EA got their $$ out of it!

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@juicedelgado: True. Andrew from EA was saying, "Bioware made a perfect game for these idiots, & they are too stupid to realize it (paraphrase)," and I truly thought he was about to say, "If it wasn't for James Comey & those damn Russians, we would have won."

Avatar image for smoke_dog_4ever

The biggest thing Bioware got wrong with this game was their overestimation of how important size was going to be. Mass Effect worked so much better in the first game, and after they started throwing in the scanning missions and other filler content to artificially inflate the game. ME1 didn't need all that unnecessary filler - the story was what kept gamers engaged. Now with Andromeda, they've tried to turn the series into Skyrim or Witcher 3. Not every game can be a clone of those games and not every game is going to function well as a massive open world entity with a metric shit ton of filler content that gamers have to trudge through just to fill like they're getting the whole story. I haven't beaten DA: Inquisition or Andromeda yet because of this - you just get bogged down and lost in the mix of too much content. These games function better as action RPGs and not open world RPGs.

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@smoke_dog_4ever: True that is one of the reasons. Open world doesn't always work if you're not willing to put in the effort. But let's just say Andromeda went for a more linear approach, it still wouldn't fix the god awful storyline and the completely bland as hell characters.

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This is pretty much how I felt. Though I didn't personally find the characters very interesting (as they seem fairly stereotypical of characters you see in mainstream video games and movies these days) I had a much larger issue with the amount of content and how it was presented. The game became a chore to play through fairly quickly. I find the more linear and direct approach of the first 3 games that played out more like a movie were more engaging. The combat was also more interesting as you had to strategize in the smaller areas. ME1 is still my favorite despite its flaws. ME2 is also a great game. ME3 is a decent game. I think it's better than ME4. At this point, I'd rather they start a new series. It seems similar to the way great movies are rebooted and end up losing their original meaning in a new age.

Avatar image for lutinz

@smoke_dog_4ever: Actually the first game had large almost empty worlds. If anything ME:A was more of a call back to the first game. At least the Nomad was more manoeuvrable than the Mako. I am not sure I found ME 1's story particularly better either, just different.

The main difference is the old ME games weren't so open. You generally had series of corridors to walk down. While ME:A doesn't force you to go too much of the beaten track to finish the story, a good portion of the side content in the game is off that track.

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@lutinz: The first game you didn't really have to explore those empty worlds though, it was basically just land on the planet, up your map, Go to objective marker and there was usually a decent quest to be found there. You weren't really forced into picking up resources and doing fetch missions for hours on end and mindless busy work.

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@omnichris: There is very little need to drive around in Andromeda if you don't want to. The planets you visit they point out exactly where you need to go and there is nothing making you take side paths unnecessarily. Its all optional. Even the gathering is optional. You can get by perfectly fine with weapons you find or buy from stores. Most of the missions where you need to go off the track and gather resources in ME1 (which was only for quests) really didn't have much to them and had repetitive layouts and something at the end of the quest you clicked on that told you had finished.

I think a lot of people remember the earlier games with filters remembering realistically what they were like. ME1 was great particularly for its time, but it didn't have better quest design than ME:A. Hell most people seem to forget how mind numbingly boring scanning in ME2 was like and that was somewhat obligatory to upgrade your ship.

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@lutinz: Agreed, odd that most people see optional content as a negative; if this were a jRPG that forced its completion to level to progress I could understand the complaint; but I did an Insanity run with a new character, touching no optional content and had no issue....optics and all that.

Avatar image for deactivated-5d762a7e1423c

You don't say? After the release of a game, some of the devs working on that game were moved to other games the company is working, groundbreaking news and much, much different than what happens in every other's not?...then what is this article about?

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Well, they're making two to three other games before that happens so it makes sense anyways.

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Am I the only one who thinks even the multiplayer in ME: A isn't as great as the one in ME3?

Avatar image for TashunkoSapa

Only Dead Space can pull EA out of my shit/no-buy list.

Avatar image for Devil_wings00

Yikes, that means it must have sold VERY badly. I mean a corporation like EA wouldn't give two craps about review scores if the game made enough money. It would just be something worth considering during development of the next one. Sad to see ME end up as a potentially dead IP.

Avatar image for archav3n

Good this will show them SJW don't buy their games. Keep making the games for them and they will realize how stupid is stupid

Avatar image for deactivated-5d762a7e1423c

@archav3n: Andromeda was a step back to their roots and materially better than DA:I on the SJW front....there are clearly areas that still require a lot of work to get them back on top, but I think Gaidar moving on last year was when they started making the changes to get back.

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Alexander_Mark happy...blah blah blah.

Avatar image for whiteagle18

For their next project they should make sure that they have more than just a couple of racist SJW hipsters. Oh, and diversity should be the number one hiring criteria.

Avatar image for txuzai

Shame that the people who created Dragon Age Origins and the Original Mass Effect are no longer at the company :(

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@txuzai: lol why is it a shame? They saw the light a jump ship quickly

Avatar image for charlieholmes

To put ME on the back burner after one sub-par game is asinine! The franchise has a solid rep, previous to Andromeda, and can be again if they go back to Shepherd or a Shepherd like premise, story, and foundation. There's simply not that much out there that even comes close to what ME gives us for diversity in our games so why in the hell would you not correct and continue the cash cow it has and can be!

Makes no sense but we're talking about EA here and they aren't known for a whole lot of green lighting new and diverse games. Just put out cookie cutters is all they seem to do now.

Just doesn't work for me. Oh and that one main developer jack wagon of theirs that hates everybody that isn't his skin color really clouded it for more people than I think they realized. I certainly didn't want to give them my money after the racism that guy spouted out and then when the game came out as mediocre, the decision was pretty easy to make.

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@charlieholmes: Agreed, for the most part. Gaidar moving on was a big step in the right direction and Heir and the culture that allows him to be employed there definitely needs to be removed, but ME isn't going still sells better than 99% of games, but going up against the hate machine that is the internet is a fickle business....still, tell them you are on "hiatus" and they will start hating on something else.

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@charlieholmes: Agreed. Manveer Heir and his racist, anti-white rants ruined this game for me. GS and other gaming sites should have done a better job of covering that part of this game development before the game was released. I think they deliberately tried to cover it up/ignore it.

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@edwardnygma: Agreed. I specifically did not buy this game because they did not fire him and pandered to the SJW ilk in many other ways. They need to hire base don talent, not mentally ill SJW politics.

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@charlieholmes: It means it really really failed to meet expectations, if this is what they are doing

Avatar image for Wraith3

Go back to the real ME galaxy!

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@Wraith3: You mean the one where they will have to invalidate two of the ME3 endings and a galaxy where most of the biggest secrets in the galaxy are already revealed and practically all the loose ends from the original trilogy are tied up?

The whole reason they moved on is the Milky Way's main story has been done. The aftermath, regardless of the outcome, would probably be a lot of rebuilding and politicking and less fighting giant robot threats. The biggest point left over is the Leviathans and frankly that is a bit too similar to the reapers.

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@lutinz: There's only one canon ending according to Bioware and that's Destroy. So there's no problem continuing after that. You don't really think EVERY story that could ever be told in the main ME galaxy has been told? They told one in the original trilogy.

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@Wraith3: Oh of course there are more stories that could be told but nothing on the same scale and really nothing continuing the Milky Way's story without invalidating a lot of players original play throughs (Things like who dies, what gets cured, which races survive). Even in ME:A they leave it unanswered. The Milky Way gets swept clean every 50 thousand years so we aren't likely to see relics of the past return to be a major thing, most of the major political conflicts existing already have been resolved one way or another and I don't really see them introducing a plot on the same scale that wouldn't mostly just be rehashing existing stuff.

It is hard to weave mystery and a sense of discovery into a setting like that and to me those qualities have always been a major part of Mass Effect.

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@lutinz: That's irrelevant. They've already had canon choices for who died (Kayden), what ending is the real ending (Destroy), etc. They don't need a massive scale story like that. There's probably a hundred stories they could do just on the Citadel. Bioware could even do stuff pre ME1,2,3. There's a lot to do.

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@Wraith3: I am going to be honest. I have never seen anything indicating an official canon ending. However large scale story is really a core characteristic of the ME series. I enjoy ME for the sense of adventure, exploration and discovery.

I think I will agree to disagree with you on this. Regardless the noise from the devs is that neither of us are going to see any form of ME for quite a few years. They have completely shelved the IP. It sounds like ME:A isn't even going to get story DLCs.