BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy revealed in a recent blog that the next Mass Effect game will use DICE's Frostbite engine while also incorporating many systems developed for the recently announced Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. Casey Hudson will remain as the Executive Producer, he said, but will have a Project Director under him who will be working in Montreal and leading the development team, making day-to-day decisions.
"While [Mass Effect 4] will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts," Roy said. "You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling."
With the core team in place, the next step in the Mass Effect 4 development stage will be to cram even more developers into the studio over the next year to support the production of another AAA Mass Effect title. Naturally that leads to a link to BioWare's job postings site, and a comment about how fans won't hear anything else from the studio for a long time to come.
The first trilogy of Mass Effect titles was created by BioWare's original studio in Edmonton. However news of a developmental shift to Montreal arrives after BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk retired from the company to pursue other non-gaming careers. Star Wars: The Old Republic creative director Daniel Erickson and writer Alexander Freed have also departed.
"In January of 2006, I was lucky enough to join my favorite game company," Roy said in the blog. "I was immediately assigned to the original Mass Effect, which was in very early production at the time, as its Senior Development Director. I worked closely with Casey Hudson and the Leads team through the rest of ME1 and the first half of ME2, when BioWare decided to open another studio in Montreal. I was honored to be asked to lead the team, so I wrapped up my work in Edmonton and moved back to Montreal in the summer of 2009, where our small team was being put in place."
To read the full blog, head here. Note that Roy doesn't mention the Frostbite 2 engine specifically, meaning the studio may use the next-generation version of DICE's engine instead. Dragon Age III: Inquisition is slated for a late 2013 release, and currently does use the Frostbite 2 engine.