Rumor has it that Bioware is working on a new game in the venerated Mass Effect game series. This news should have me jumping for joy — but now that I’ve heard it, I’m not sure it’s such a good idea.
According to the rumors, the new game is very early in development — that’d jibe with the vague hints Bioware tossed out last year that it was working on “secret stuff” with regards to ME. The original source of the rumors appears to be this story from Kotaku, which also specifies the game will be directed by Mike Gamble, whose previous work with Bioware includes several previous ME titles and Anthem. These could be scurrilous rumors, and I’m sure EA wants to keep any speculation on its future projects vague just to create buzz — meaning, I’m not sure they’d ever flat-out deny working on one even if they aren’t. But still, let’s assume for a moment that it’s true and Bioware
If you’d asked me about this even five years ago, I’d have told you a new Mass Effect game was something I wanted more than anything. Mass Effects 1 & 2 are some of the most important games to me, personally, and I’m far from alone. Skim the likes of Reddit and you’ll see plenty of users willing to sing the praises of the original trilogy. Now, I’m not so sure this is the right move for Bioware — and not just because of the middling quality of the last game in the series, Mass Effect Andromeda.
Bioware currently has its hands full. For the last several years, it’d touted the merits of its new game, Anthem. A game so un-Bioware-y was raising eyebrows from very early in its development. But since its release, to say Anthem has failed to live up to expectations would probably be underselling it. A damning report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier exposed the absolute trainwreck behind the scenes, a development process that caused lasting damage to the beloved studio.
Nevertheless, Bioware is reportedly going to dedicate at least some of its resources to saving Anthem. It’s planning at the very least to reboot the game with new content, and reportedly might even overhaul it entirely. Considering the development of the game originally was so disastrous on its staff — in part because a good deal of resources had to simultaneously be poured into Andromeda — I would actually want Bioware to devote itself to the Anthem effort. I may not love Anthem, but trying to spread resources too thin caused this mess in the first place — no need to wreck yet another incarnation of Anthem and potentially another Mass Effect by repeating these mistakes.
Besides, I can honestly say I was content with the original trilogy’s wrap-up. For all the kerfuffle over the original Mass Effect 3 ending (was that really seven years ago? Goddamn), the series felt like a complete and finished heroes’ journey. After being so disappointed in the direction of Andromeda, I’m not sure how close any further games in the series could come to making me as happy as those first two did. If Bioware really wants to make some cash, I’d say a remaster of those games may be just the ticket.
Now Bioware, listen very carefully: Give me the next Dragon Age game, please. The last game ended on a terrific cliffhanger regarding the fate of the world and I’ve got the worst case of fantasy war blueballs right now. Do that for me, and then we can discuss the merits of exhuming Mass Effect‘s body.