BioWare recently indicated that they haven't given up on the Mass Effect series. The Canadian video game developer has no shortage of well-known properties in their stable, but the Mass Effect series, which first launched almost 11 years ago, holds a special place for them.
The first two games cultivated a massive fan base with a refined mix of action and RPG elements and then alienated a fair number of them first with the controversial ending to the Shepherd trilogy and then a lackluster debut on the next generation of consoles with Mass Effect: Andromeda. Last year they even canceled all plans for new DLC, leaving the series in limbo. But it seems the franchise isn't dead after all.
BioWare indicated in an official blog post that they are working on something Mass Effect-related. As could be expected, most of it is about their plans for Anthem, an online multiplayer effort that represents a shift away from single-player epics. But for those who miss trying to save the universe solo, a ray of hope appears near the end:
"And yes - we hear loud and clear the interest in BioWare doing more Dragon Age and Mass Effect, so rest assured that we have some teams hidden away working on some secret stuff that I think you'll really like - we're just not ready to talk about any of it for a little while..."
Of course, that's not much to go on, but it is reassuring to know that the property hasn't been completely buried. The Mass Effect trilogy earned its accolades by balancing a sprawling Star Wars-style epic against a variety of interesting and well-realized characters. Taking on the role of an intergalactic special forces agent, players could fight and bargain with a variety of human and alien companions, each with their own stories and agendas. Even if the ending to Mass Effect 3 proved underwhelming, that was a small annoyance compared to hours of great gameplay.
Then came Andromeda. While expectations were high, the game showed up riddled with bugs, a weak and unresolved story, and some bizarre animations. BioWare promised and managed to deliver some fixes, but support for the game dropped quickly. With more and more resources being devoted to Anthem, the developer seemed to quietly shut the door on a series even they admitted hadn't turned out the way they wanted.
BioWare isn't likely to share any more until they're good and ready, but the fact that they want to acknowledge the Mass Effect series' fans is heartening, as is the mention of more Dragon Age games, which comes on the heels of confirmation of Dragon Age 4 earlier this year. Anthem certainly sounds promising, but there's still a place for an absorbing single-player gaming experience, and both series have become proven institutions in the genre.