The next entry in the Mass Effect franchise is in development at BioWare Montreal, the studio responsible for Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and contributions to the single-player campaign, and will make use of the Frostbite engine.
Yanick Roy, who joined BioWare to work on the original Mass Effect back in 2006, is studio director, but there will be continued support from the Edmonton studio.
A blog post by Roy explains why his Montreal studio is well placed to pick up the multi-million selling franchise.
"Because BioWare has always believed that the company culture is one of the key ingredients of the games we make, we took two important steps with the team. First, we deliberately seeded the new studio with many transfers from Edmonton. Second, we chose to grow the team relatively slowly, allowing new people to join the team and integrate into its culture in due time," explained Roy.
"Even with that approach, though, the Montreal studio has made significant contributions to the Mass Effect franchise. We started by building about half the cinematics for ME2, then most of its N7 missions, and finally we played an important role in the development of much of its post-release content. Then on ME3, we took charge of the multiplayer portion as well as making significant contributions to the single-player campaign. Most recently, we built a large piece of DLC that will be released on November 27 and that you know under the name of Omega. With each new portion of work, we took on deeper and broader responsibilities, but we always worked in conjunction with Casey, the Mass Effect leads, and the developers in Edmonton.
"That evolution now takes its next step, with the news that the next Mass Effect game is already in development, driven by the team here in Montreal. 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 continued: "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. 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, 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."
Roy says the team will be respectful of franchise's heritage, but with the original trilogy now complete it's possible to explore "new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts" whilst maintaining the "pillars the franchise is known for".
BioWare Montreal will expand at an accelerated pace over the next year in order to create a large enough team to support the project.
Roy concluded: "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. We know you have high expectations for the franchise and we want to make sure whatever we show you lives up to those expectations."
We can't imagine EA would move current gen Mass Effect development over to Frostbite at this late stage in the lifecycle so we're hoping this new title will be aimed at next generation systems.