Next Mass Effect game may dump Frostbite for Unreal Engine

Electronic Arts and BioWare are looking for a Technical Director with Unreal Engine experience for the Mass Effect franchise.

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The Mass Effect franchise has a lot of history with the Unreal Engine. The original trilogy were developed with Unreal Engine. The latest mainline entry, Mass Effect: Andromeda made use of Electronic Arts’ Frostbite Engine, but it seems BioWare may be looking to return to the engine it built the franchise with. New job listings suggest the studio is looking for a lead with Unreal Engine experience.

The aforementioned job listing was seen on Electronic Arts’ career website, as recently spotted by VentureBeat. It would appear that Electronic Arts is on the hunt for a new Technical Director who will act as the “most senior engineering lead on the next installment in BioWare’s acclaimed Mass Effect franchise.” That alone is interesting, but even more so is the inclusion of UnrealEngine 4+ as a benefit in candidate consideration. While it’s possible that this is simply due to games and assets of the series developed in the Unreal Engine, it also seems highly possible that this could have implications for the next game.

Announced back at The Game Awards 2020, BioWare and Electronic Arts assured fans that a new Mass Effect game would be happening. We got little more than a short cinematic teaser at that event, suggesting that the game was still very early in development, but it was still something to get fans’ hopes up. Mass Effect Legendary Edition also helped to both remind many players of why they loved the series in the first place and introduce a whole new era of players to the space opera trilogy that captured our hearts. Mass Effect: Andromeda was the sole entry in the series to have ever used the Frostbite Engine, and it produced quite some lukewarm results, failing for many to capture the sci-fi adventure magic that has made the franchise so special to players around the world.

If Mass Effect is indeed moving back towards the Unreal Engine, especially with the advancements being made in Unreal Engine 5, it could make for quite the beautiful new game. Nonetheless, it’s still too early to know for sure what EA and BioWare’s plans are with the next Mass Effect. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates and details.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 7, 2021 10:50 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Next Mass Effect game may dump Frostbite for Unreal Engine

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      September 7, 2021 10:55 AM

      As the resident Frostbite hater, I say good

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      September 7, 2021 12:30 PM

      I don't care what engine they use, so long as it works at release. Something the last one didn't.

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      September 7, 2021 12:38 PM

      Jeff Grubb broke that one several days ago. The more concerning bit is that the next ME won't start real development until 2023 after Dragon Age 4 ships. So we probably won't see that ME game until 2025. :(

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        September 7, 2021 6:42 PM

        You think they can get it out in only 2yrs? I'd bet more like a holiday 2026 or summer 2027 release.

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          September 7, 2021 6:44 PM

          Two years of preproduction and two years of full development with support studios? It’s possible. It’s not like they’re making a Cyberpunk game. Lol!

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      September 7, 2021 12:45 PM

      Original ME was Unreal Engine 3 so it was kinda weird they chose Frostbite for the remaster.

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        September 7, 2021 12:46 PM

        Andromeda wasn't a remaster though, it was an off-shoot title

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        September 7, 2021 1:17 PM

        It was less of a choice and more EA trying to mandate their tech platform.

        Frostbite was a large capital investment that they were trying to make some money back on by eliminating engine royalty fees.

        EA mandating tech is the same reason that EA kept pushing their online stuff (that $1B investment)...the money matters more than the experience.

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          September 7, 2021 1:42 PM

          Yup, my understanding is that it was a classic example of large corporation software stupidity:

          1) Spend lots of money on software to deal with specific task A.
          2) Mandate use of same software to deal with other tasks B, R, X, and Z.
          3) Fail to invest sufficient funds to properly modify and support the software's application to tasks B, E, P, R, T, X, and Z.
          4) Be surprised when tasks B, D, E, G, I, N, P, R, T, V, X, Y, and Z, all trying to use the software, all fail miserably.

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      September 7, 2021 5:36 PM

      Has their been a frostbite game that wasn't battlefield that used the engine well?

      • P90 legacy 10 years
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        September 7, 2021 6:37 PM

        It was used with Mirror's Edge Catalyst and it didn't really have any issues.

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        September 7, 2021 6:45 PM

        The engine does not like the idea of controllable pause. It was very janky in Dragon Age Inquisition and absent in ME: Andromeda

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          September 7, 2021 6:47 PM

          What do you mean?

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            September 7, 2021 9:38 PM

            Both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series are best known as having variants of “real-time with pause” combat, where you can freeze the action at any moment and issue orders in this state.

            Apparently during DA:I’s development this was a major hurdle for the Frostbyte engine, requiring months of work just to get this basic structure functional. It’s quite telling that their next Frostbyte project, ME Andromeda, didn’t allow tactical pausing at all.

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