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Report: Mass Effect Put on Hiatus, BioWare Montreal Converted to Support Studio

According to a report published by Kotaku, BioWare Montreal has been downsized and the Mass Effect property put on hiatus due to tepid reaction to Mass Effect Andromeda.

The four sources who spoke to Kotaku reporters also said that BioWare Montreal will function as a support studio, with staff pitching in on projects in development at other BioWare studios. The transition began in April when several employees were transferred to EA Motive—also based in Montreal—to bolster the team working on Star Wars Battlefront 2.

Meanwhile, Mass Effect as a franchise isn't dead, only on ice. BioWare executives thought it wise to put some distance between potential new entries and Andromeda rather than immediately assign BioWare Montreal's developers to a another Mass Effect title.

The decision seems prudent given that critical and consumer responses to Mass Effect Andromeda were unenthusiastic, to put it lightly. Shacknews editor and Modojo editor-in-chief Brittany Vincent reviewed the game and gave it 6 out of 10, citing—as did most critics—insipid characters, an overwhelming number of glitches and bugs, and a staid narrative.

"Unfortunately, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a frustrating mess of bad design decisions, bugs, glitches, and narrative missteps," she concluded. "It could have been so much more, but it ends up falling flat on its face. While there are things to enjoy about it, they're few and far between -- your time is much better served replaying the original trilogy or exploring the widely available mods out there. You'll end up being much more fulfilled and feeling as though you've used your time in a productive manner."

Kotaku contacted BioWare for a statement and received a response from publisher Electronic Arts. EA attributed the following response to BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy.

Our teams at BioWare and across EA put in tremendous effort bringing Mass Effect Andromeda to players around the world. 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.

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