BioWare Montreal using the Battlefield 3 engine for the next Mass Effect

BioWare Montreal has taken the helm of the Mass Effect series, and it’s using publisher Electronic Arts’ favorite graphics engine to power it.

The next Mass Effect game is in development right now. Long-time Mass Effect lead producer Casey Hudson remains on as the game’s executive producer, but everything else is under the control of the Montreal team, according to a blog from BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy.

“I can not really tell you much about the game at this time, except that it will be built on the incredible technology of the Frostbite engine, which the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building,” Roy wrote. “The other thing I can tell you is that, while [the next Mass Effect] 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 assured fans that the series won’t abandon its roots. Mass Effect 4 — as we’re calling it — will have a diverse cast of alien races living in a huge galaxy that players explore throughout a cinematic story.

BioWare Montreal plans to spend the next year shoring up its team with new hires. Roy linked to BioWare’s job posting site and told potential candidates to keep their eyes glued to it.

This is the latest EA-published game series to switch to developer DICE’s Frostbite graphics engine. That studio is wholly owned by EA. One of the biggest costs in making a game is the technology-development phase where developers spend months creating the foundation for a title’s visuals. The Frostbite engine is a malleable solution that any other studio can quickly pick up and plug into their game.

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