As many of you know, Bioware’s recent addition to the Mass Effect library, Andromeda, was met with a somewhat mixed reception. If the reports are to be believed then we know why the final product had its issues.
A revolving door of lead developers in virtually every department. The Mass Effect franchise being put on ice, along with personnel being shifted to other studios. Bioware’s next game being delayed, while EA claims it has nothing to do with the performance of ME:A and that they are, in fact, “very happy” with it.
There is also the seemingly accepted fact that little to no personnel who worked with the company at the time of the first Mass Effect still remain. With all this combined, Bioware Montreal is looking less like a game development studio, and more like a game development factory.
It’s possible that an impressionable video game enthusiast may compare Electronic Arts’ modus operandi to be very similar to a virus. EA attaches itself to the development studio organism and proceeds to deplete it of resources until all that is left, is a husk of its former self. Once this process is complete, it moves on to another host. This assessment is a difficult one to argue against; Electronic Arts’ track record speaks for itself.
Personally I don’t think it’s the end, not quite yet. Mass Effect Andromeda doesn’t seem to be the colossal screw up that Sim City was and if any studio was going to be shut down for it, it would be Bioware Montreal; Bioware Edmonton, the original studio, will remain intact for the time being. Perhaps the Edmonton branch is also devoid of people working there for more than 5 to 10 years. But, the Bioware name still carries weight. To the person looking from the outside in, an axe that’s had both its handle and head replaced at separate times might as well be the same axe.
If the mysterious new ip from Bioware Edmonton is released and universally panned, then it’s time to panic. Like Sim City, the moment people start associating Bioware with crap, EA will take zero responsibility for whatever occurred and flush them down the toilet faster than unwanted semen. Any Bioware ip still considered a cash cow will be transitioned to a full blown game development factory à la 343 industries. Possible names include: Normandy Games and Deep Road Studios.
I’ve been hearing plenty of chatter about this recently and wanted to see what people around here think. Furthermore, if you have any more clever names for a company that only develops Mass Effect or Dragon Age games, I’d like to hear those too.