The “Mass Effect” series is, in many ways, the “Star Wars” of video games. It’s a beloved franchise that pits good against evil, in varying shades of gray, all in the confines of infinite space.
It’s got space ships, and space travel, and space aliens. It’s got a “one-of-a-kind” hero, played by you, whose hope all life in the galaxy rests on.
There’s even an “original trilogy” that fans are especially fond of. But it’s the newest game in the series, “Mass Effect: Andromeda,” that’s been divisive.
The game launched for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC back in March. It was not met with universal praise:
While a 70 is still a perfectly reasonable score, it’s a far cry from the high 80s and 90s of previous games in the franchise. “Andromeda” isn’t a disaster by any means, but it’s a comparative disaster for fans — the “Phantom Menace” of the franchise, if you will (though that’s probably a bit strong).
In light of the “Andromeda” misstep, the game’s publisher EA has reportedly, “put ‘Mass Effect’ on hiatus.” That’s according to a report from Kotaku, which cites “four sources close to the company.”
To be clear, that doesn’t mean the “Mass Effect” series is being killed — just put on pause.
Often in game development, following the release of a successful game, the development team is immediately tasked with a follow-up. Maybe the team works on extra story content, like new missions; maybe the team works on new multiplayer stuff. Maybe the team gets to work on the early stages of a full-on sequel!
In the case of “Mass Effect: Andromeda,” it appears that BioWare Montreal — the team in charge of “Andromeda” — is being downsized. EA confirmed as much in the same Kotaku report: “With our BioWare and Motive teams sharing studio space in Montreal, we have BioWare team members joining Motive projects that are underway,” EA said.
It’s not clear what this means for the future of the “Mass Effect” series, but it’s hard to imagine EA straight up moth-balling the ridiculously popular franchise. What’s most likely is EA spends a few years re-thinking the series, taking a critical look at the missteps in “Andromeda,” and then hopefully gives it new life in the not-so-distant future.
For now, though, it appears to be “on ice.”