It isn't a new Jade Empire, but BioWare's latest announcement shows its committment to working on new and unexpected projects.
Legendary role-playing game developer BioWare’s attention is set squarely on Mass Effect: Andromeda right now, but the studio has another project planned that looks to be a massive departure from its previous works.
During a financial report delivered by BioWare’s parent company Electronic Arts, CEO Andrew Wilson revealed that BioWare would be delivering an “all-new IP” by the end of fiscal year 2018 — or the end of March 2018. Unlike the role-playing games that the studio is best known for, the new project will be an action game, “bringing friends together to play in exhilarating new ways.”
Wilson added that the game would be a “clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe.”
In a separate blog post, BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn revealed that the game has been in the works since 2012, and that the studio wants to “draw upon 20-plus years of development knowledge and lessons to create something fun and new for you to enjoy with your friends.”
Aside from Mass Effect’s mature take on science-fiction, BioWare’s other major original franchise is Dragon Age, which saw its last installment, Dragon Age: Inquisition, release in 2014. Both series make heavy use of action game elements for combat, with quick, real-time attacks, and in the case of Mass Effect, a cover-based shooting system that can rival games like Gears of War and Uncharted. Leaning more heavily on these elements for an action game seems like a logical move for BioWare, though the studio’s famous dialogue and choice system would likely be omitted.
Before Mass Effect and Dragon Age, the last original IP that BioWare created was the martial arts role-playing game Jade Empire. It didn’t receive any sequels, and the studio then began its partnership with Microsoft on Mass Effect while also developing the game Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood for Nintendo DS. In 2007, BioWare was purchased by Electronic Arts, and Mass Effect became a multi-platform franchise. Mass Effect: Andromeda, the fourth game in the series, is out this March.
What kind of a game are you hoping to see from BioWare? The studio has already tackled science-fiction and fantasy extensively. Maybe next they can do something a little more realistic? Let us know in the comments!