It seems the future of the Mass Effect franchise is in question. The last entry in the franchise, Mass Effect Andromeda, launched to divisive critical and community opinions. The reception and sales were probably below publisher EA's expectations, especially since Andromeda was the first game from Bioware Montreal, a new studio established to handle the franchise.
Kotaku is reporting that much of Bioware Montreal's staff has been moved to EA Motive, another studio that's busy working on Star Wars: Battlefront II. USgamer confirmed the shift in developers with its own sources.
"We've definitely taken on numerous [Bioware Montréal] people at Motive. The studio has shrunk, that's all I know," one of our sources told us.
The Kotaku report goes on to say that Bioware Montreal has been changed into a support studio, instead of a flagship one. The studio will help other Bioware studios with their titles.
"Even as BioWare continues to focus on the Mass Effect Andromeda community and live service, we are constantly looking at how we're prepared for the next experiences we will create," BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy said in a statement. "With our BioWare and Motive teams sharing studio space in Montreal, we have BioWare team members joining Motive projects that are underway. We're also ramping up teams on other BioWare projects in development."
A similar shift happened at Bioware Austin, a Texas-based studio that was working on its own new IP called ShadowRealms. The game was cancelled in 2015 and the team is now a support studio for other titles, including Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Bioware Edmonton is currently working on its new intellectual property, a Destiny-like live service title code-named Dylan. That IP was confirmed as delayed during an EA investors call yesterday. EA attributed the delay to getting the game's online services up to snuff, not the reception to Mass Effect: Andromeda.
"The design is stunning. Gameplay mechanics are excellent, and the action will be exhilarating. The game is built around a live service, and through our creative process, we decided to add more to the disruptive new social design for our players. To accommodate that, we are moving the launch date for this project into fiscal year '19," EA CEO Andrew Wilson said yesterday.