Electronic Arts and BioWare have reportedly put the Mass Effect series on hold, and that has the renowned developer preparing something new.
BioWare revealed its project Dylan during EA’s media presentation before the Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow in Los Angeles. The game is now called Anthem, and it will take the stage in a major way at Microsoft’s conference on Sunday because it is taking advantage of the Project Scorpio’s beefed up graphical capabilities.
EA confirmed the game was in the works during a conference call in May, where it said it was delaying the project until at least April 2018. Rumors also claimed that BioWare was looking to do something as a response to developer Bungie’s popular Destiny shooter. That means an online game with regular, almost weekly updates to keep players engaged and coming back for long periods of time. This “games-as-a-service” (GaaS) model is growing in popularity, and EA desperately wants in on that action.
The benefit of GaaS is that it creates a community of players who are constantly checking in on how their favorite game is changing. This enables developers to build up smaller content patches that drop frequently and are punctuated with larger updates every couple of months. These updates are also typically free, which keeps the community tied together and encourages players to instead spend money on optional, cosmetic items.
This content model enables developers to work on one game for a longer period of time, which maximizes the return on an investment in a project instead of forcing a team to jump to a new game immediately after finishing the last one. An example of how this works is developer Rockstar Games. From 2004 through 2013, this studio released nearly a game a year. After 2013 and the release of Grand Theft Auto V and, more important, GTA Online, the company has not released a major new game since. Instead, it has poured most of its resources into building out new content for the popular GTA Online, which Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive has called especially lucrative.
Other popular live-service games are coming from Blizzard, Activision, and Ubisoft, and EA is putting BioWare in charge of building something that fits this model.