While we still know next to nothing about the next Mass Effect game, only that it will not be going back to the Andromeda galaxy, something interesting may be going on with its development.
A job listing has been spotted looking for a technical director role for Mass Effect 5 with “experience with Unreal Engine.” On its own, that might be ignorable, but industry insider Jeff Grubb from Gamesbeat has confirmed that his own sources tell him that BioWare is considering all options when it comes to the game, and that may include ditching EA’s often-mandated Frostbite engine for the more flexible and widely-used Unreal Engine from Epic.
A bit of history should indicate why this might happen.BioWare’s last two games were deemed failures, Anthem and Mass Effect Andromeda, on a few levels, but both struggled in the technical department, and much of that was blamed on Frostbite, DICE’s Battlefield engine for its FPS games, trying to be used to make these large, third party open world games.
“Over the past few years, one of BioWare’s biggest obstacles has also become one of EA’s favorite buzzwords: Frostbite, a video game engine,” said a Kotaku expose on Mass Effect Andromeda’s development back in 2017.“While describing Frostbite, one top developer on Mass Effect: Andromeda used the analogy of an automobile.Epic’s Unreal Engine, that developer said, is like an SUV, capable of doing lots of things but unable to go at crazy high speeds.The Unity Engine would be a compact car: small, weak, and easy to fit anyplace you’d like.“Frostbite,” the developer said, “is a sports car.Not even a sports car, a Formula 1.
When it does something well, it does it extremely well.
When it doesn’t do something, it really doesn’t do something.”
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Whatever’s going on with Frostbite, BioWare has been struggling with it for the better part of a decade now.It may in fact be time to move on, because the studio cannot afford another miss at this point, and they need all the tools they can get to ensure that doesn’t happen.History would say Unreal Engine would be their best bet going forward here.
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I’ve been writing about video games, television and movies for Forbes for over 10 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.I cover all
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I’ve been writing about video games, television and movies for Forbes for over 10 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.I cover all manner of console and PC games, but if it’s about looting or shooting, I’m definitely there.If I’m watching something, it’s usually science fiction, horror or superheroic.
I’m also a regular on IGN’s Fireteam Chat podcast and have published five sci-fi novels.