Once upon a time, BioWare was working on a standalone Mass Effect multiplayer game that never saw the light of day, but did end up forming the basis of Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer. Cancelled a decade ago, Mass Effect: Team Assault was intended to be a digital-only release, “similar in scope to Battlefield 1943.” That’s according to Patrick Moran, a former BioWare developer who worked on Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer as Senior Gameplay Designer.
Mass Effect: Team Assault “was the foundation of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, incubated at BioWare Montreal,” Moran told The Gamer. “EA really wanted to see a multiplayer experience in the Mass Effect world. Once it had momentum as a standalone title, the design team in Edmonton advocated for and was able to pull multiplayer back to Edmonton, effectively cancelling Mass Effect: Team Assault.”
According to Moran, BioWare Edmonton integrated Team Assault into Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer, which led to the cancellation of the standalone title. Moran also spoke about tensions between BioWare’s Edmonton and Montreal studios, which ended up impacting the development of Mass Effect 3 and Andromeda.
While I’m not Canadian and can’t fully appreciate the anglophone vs francophone tension, the Mass Effect design team in Edmonton were outwardly upset at the opening of a Montreal studio. The Montreal studio, who owned a great deal of Mass Effect 3, were undermined internally back in Edmonton, where the Montreal studio wasn’t geographically represented. They infamously repeated the refrain that the Montreal studio was a ‘Gong Show’ and couldn’t be trusted to work on Mass Effect, and it took hold in Edmonton as a belief. Now, I better understand employees who were born in and never planned to leave Edmonton feared it might be the beginning of the end for the one game studio in town (now there are several). Ultimately, they were scared, there wasn’t enough upward momentum for the employees who had been at BioWare for over a decade, and the Canadian anglo/franco rift increased tensions.
BioWare has been on somewhat of a downward spiral since the release of Andromeda – something EA recently acknowledged. However, the publisher remains confident about the studio’s future.
[Source: The Gamer]