Yesterday, BioWare teased us with a glimpse of their next game but the footage, seen in a Spike TV Video Game Awards ad, was so brief that little could be deciphered from it. Now the common thinking is that either we’re seeing a fraction of Mass Effect 3 or more likely this is what BioWare Montreal were staffing up for earlier in the year. An ad was placed looking for multiplayer programmers in order to “take existing single player user experiences and make them multiplayer safe.” Sources have told Kotaku that what was shown yesterday is indeed that game; a multiplayer spin-off of the Mass Effect series.
With the many planets and races that the stellar franchise has, you’d be forgiven to think a Mass Effect MMO is coming but the sources state that’s not the case (after all, BioWare are making Star Wars: The Old Republic and wouldn’t want to develop their own competitor) but rather a progressive experience to win over the Call of Duty crowd. And no Commander Shepard to take the lead either.
Previous clues from both developer and publisher all point to an altogether different game over the third instalment of Mass Effect. Not only was the Montreal studio looking for multiplayer programmers but BioWare boss Greg Zeschuk has gone on record saying to expect more games set in the universe of Mass Effect but not necessarily part of Shepards story line. John Schappert, EA’s coo, said in February that early 2011 will see “something far-reaching coming from Mass Effect.”
Would a multiplayer focused shooter be far-reaching enough? I can’t decide whether the combat of Mass Effect would translate well in a competitive online experience or if EA are hungry for a slice of Activision and CoD‘s delicious pie. Of course the game could also only use the lore and stylings from Mass Effect and have its own combat system, possibly a first-person view if the hope is to attract CoD players. The tactical element is a natural fit however and extension of the franchise could be the start of something really special since Mass Effect has the potential to be our generations’ sci-fi classic.