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

Tepid reception to Mass Effect Andromeda is believed to be the reason for the studio's shift in direction.

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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.

Long Reads Editor

From The Chatty

    • reply
      May 10, 2017 1:33 PM

      Bwahahahhahaha

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      May 10, 2017 1:34 PM

      bummer. on one hand it may have been good to do a follow up fixing the things people didn't like but on the other hand maybe it's better to do a full reboot at a later date when people will be craving more mass effect soon.

      i wonder what that means for future DLC and support of the game.

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      May 10, 2017 1:44 PM

      Their faces were tired.

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      May 10, 2017 1:46 PM

      to bolster the team working on Star Wars Battlefront 2.

      this could double backfire very quickly

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      May 10, 2017 1:47 PM

      The last couple hours of the new ME game were great. Yeah, the bulk of the game was MMO-lite with pretty substandard writing, though it was fun to play. I did like how it came together in the last couple hours though.

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        May 10, 2017 1:50 PM

        aye, the final sections were pretty cool. also glad they had the "you are about to embark on the final mission" warning pop up. I appreciated that.

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          May 10, 2017 1:58 PM

          Big spoilery stuff: When all the people you helped out from the settlements all came together at the end for the final push I wished they'd put that much effort into the rest of the game.

          In the future, less side-questy stuff. I had 73 hours into the game when I finished it, and I covered most of the side quest stuff, minus the Tasks. There was more than enough game without padding it out like that with filler.

          A well-written and scripted primary campaign alongside the 6 follower missions would've been plenty.

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            May 10, 2017 2:24 PM

            They tried to be The Witcher 3, but didn't have the talent to pull it off.

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              May 10, 2017 2:45 PM

              What's frustrating is they *do* have the talent. Just not the will/desire/dedication.

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                May 10, 2017 2:51 PM

                I don't think you or anyone else in this thread is in a position to question that.

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                  May 10, 2017 4:18 PM

                  And it implies that talented people chose to make a substandard game, which I highly doubt. More likely is it being a time, management, or resource issue. And if we're going to throw around unsubstantiated claims, I'm voting for that the devs at these places are underpaid, over worked, and expected to beg for more. Who'd imagine treating your employees like slaves would have an effect on quality.

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              May 10, 2017 4:06 PM

              They are part of a big publisher with deadlines. CD Project can develop a game as they like. This has ultimately ruined BioWare as a whole as they are forced to pump out games and DLC on strict deadlines. Bugs and all.

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      May 10, 2017 2:08 PM

      Relevant, particularly the ending: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-msmx9yW5Q

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      May 10, 2017 3:11 PM

      Yeah, that's probably a brand you don't want to screw up... more... than now...

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      May 10, 2017 3:12 PM

      Converted BACK to a support studio lol

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      May 10, 2017 3:15 PM

      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.

      Did anyone think it wise to reassess the execs who are fucking up one of the company's major brands by giving it the wrong resources and direction?

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        May 11, 2017 5:07 AM

        Hey hey hey, this is North America, not Japan (and to a lesser degree Asia), where execs take responsibility for poor planning.

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      May 10, 2017 3:39 PM

      Should've kept pausable real-time and Squad Mate commands. But then I'm not the audience.

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        May 10, 2017 5:41 PM

        Having no control over squad mates is so aggravating -- they may as well not be there except as cannon fodder while I jumpjet around and snipe everyone

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      May 10, 2017 3:42 PM

      How the hell is that game in development for like 4+ years without anyone who knows anything about the Mass Effect series taking a look at it and being like "something's not right here"?

      I mean I'm sure that happened multiple times but the project was clearly allowed to continue. Was this thing just a sunk cost at some point? Seems like a terrible idea to still put it out since Mass Effect (was) one of the most universally acclaimed franchises in gaming.

      ME:A is definitely one of my biggest gaming disappointments of the last several years. It's way beyond No Man's Sky in terms of let-down, IMO.

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        May 10, 2017 4:11 PM

        Contrast with Blizzard, who would rather outright cancel a game that's completely finished than tarnish their reputation. (disclosure: I don't like Blizzard games anymore but lack of quality is certainly not the reason why)

        EA should've just canceled this game. Instead, they decided to roll the dice with their fanbase. They lost that dice roll.

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      May 10, 2017 3:52 PM

      Ouch lol

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      May 10, 2017 4:01 PM

      That is a bit of a overreaction. Mass Effect Andromeda may not have been a perfect game but it was a good game. Most of the problems in this particular game could have been solved in DLC or a sequel.

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        May 10, 2017 4:02 PM

        the IP carries GOTY expectations, that's their quality bar, not decent/ok

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          May 10, 2017 4:11 PM

          Yeah, this. Even AAA publishers have little to no margin for error these days. Sad but true.

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        May 14, 2017 4:25 AM

        Why is it an overreaction? You're assuming they did this because the game wasn't good but that's not how this works. They did this because sales were lower than they expected. That doesn't equal low quality even if it does in many cases.

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      May 10, 2017 4:04 PM

      It's a shame how badly they botched the Mass Effect franchise by EA/Bioware. The ending of three completely hamstrung it to begin with. Then they followed up with poor quality work.

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      May 10, 2017 4:22 PM

      There will be much more to come from BioWare in the years ahead. Let's hope it's an improvement from ME:A then.

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      May 10, 2017 4:23 PM

      Is this a smoke screen for the mass layoff that happens after every big name game is finished?

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        May 10, 2017 4:24 PM

        You wouldn't need a smokescreen for that, it's normal. This is making a bigger deal out of it than a normal reduction would be.

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        May 10, 2017 5:46 PM

        More like a mass effect.

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      May 10, 2017 5:02 PM

      Faceapp Effect: Remastered

      http://chattypics.com/files/shackbrowseUpload_62zhcgvnjt.jpg

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        May 11, 2017 6:17 AM

        I guess I shouldn't be surprised it works really well with rendered faces

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        May 11, 2017 6:36 AM

        Hahaha it recognized her as male.

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      May 11, 2017 5:31 AM

      So... maybe it's a perfect time for these remasters of original trilogy.

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        May 11, 2017 6:00 AM

        When they ever go back to the series, I'm pretty sure it'll be in the original galaxy.

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      May 11, 2017 6:45 AM

      I think this is a good outcome for everyone involve.