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BioWare introduces new Mass Effect leads

Developer lays out Montreal staff in charge of next game; Halo 4 scribe brought on as lead writer

Given fans' reactions to the last Mass Effect game's ending, the people responsible for the next installment in the sci-fi franchise are under a significant amount of pressure to deliver. In a post on the developer's official site today, BioWare Edmonton and Montreal Studio GM Aaryn Flynn laid out exactly who those people are.

"These developers have hard-earned industry experience matched by ambition to go further than we ever have before. Bust most all [sic], they're people who understand that no matter what changes, stories are timeless, and a great story needs to be at the heart of the next Mass Effect game."

On that note, Flynn revealed Chris Schlerf as the lead writer for the next Mass Effect game. While Schlerf has 20 years of experience as a screenwriter, his tenure in the game industry is limited to a stint with 343 Studios, where he was lead writer for Halo 4.

Schlerf isn't the only BioWare newcomer on the next Mass Effect. It will also be the first project at the studio for lead designer Ian Frazier, whose previous credits include lead designer on 2012's Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, as well as a stint at now-defunct Iron Lore working on PC titles like Titan Quest and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Soulstorm.

Senior development director Chris Wynn is also new to the series, having joined BioWare last year. Prior to that, Wynn served as senior producer role on Gears of War: Judgment, and has a 15-year history in the industry with a particular concentration on racing titles.

The remainder of the new Mass Effect team have roots of varying depth in the series. Producer Fabrice Condominas oversaw the multiplayer creative team for Mass Effect 3 and led production of that game's Omega downloadable content. Art director Joel MacMillan has been with the studio since 2004, working on Jade Empire and the original Mass Effect trilogy. Creative director Mac Walters has similarly spent the last decade on Mass Effect, leading the writing team on the last two games. Producer Mike Gamble came on board as a development manager for Mass Effect 2 and has worked on the series since.

Finally, BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy has been involved with the franchise from the very first entry, on which he served as senior project manager.

"I love the mix of experience and the new blood that we've brought in for the upcoming game," Roy said. "I like how that new blood is bringing to the table diverse experiences that absolutely benefit what we do, because regardless of their professional experience, they all came in as huge fans of our games. Whatever new ideas or elements they inject into our process, it's always done with the utmost respect not only for what we achieved in the past, but for what our fans expect us to do next."

If you have jobs news to share or a new hire you want to shout about, please contact us on newhires@gamesindustry.biz

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Latest comments (7)

Daniel Hughes PhD Researcher, Bangor University3 years ago
It was a fairly interesting, if vague roundtable. I expect the game is a couple of years away, and we may well see a current generation remake of the original trilogy before the new Mass Effect makes it to market.

Based on what I heard today, as a fan of the series who felt let down with the third game, I'm happy for Bioware to take their time. It sounds like they're nailing a lot of core concepts that will serve the franchise well, so I hope they have the time to put together a really good space opera.
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 3 years ago
I never had a problem with ME3 , I like the focus on player choice
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Alex Lemco Writer 3 years ago
I never had a problem with ME3 , I like the focus on player choice
Really? What was your favourite colour?

Sorry, I couldn't resist that jibe! I honestly don't begrudge other players liking Mass Effect 3's original or 'final cut' narrative design, it's become a good topic for discussion. Personally I felt that the consistency that had run through the previous two games was dropped for the closing chapter in favour of a more mainstream narrative. I'm glad to see they've brought in Chris Schlerf. HALO 4 had some of the best dialogue I've seen from that franchise, in addition to a well-written villain. That screenwriting experience really shows, but I worry that good writing input will be warped for the sake of gameplay elements or time constraints.

If ME4 has multiplayer that builds on what ME3 had, I'm sold. Those PvE games were brilliant, if hampered by randomised gear drops.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Lemco on 8th November 2014 10:07am

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Show all comments (7)
Ivan Pedersen Technical Artist, ARM Ltd.3 years ago
I am excited to see what they come up with for ME4 for MP. Rapid matchmaking and sub 20 min games in intense maps are great - this makes for a more fun experience than more recent action-rpg PvE centric games set in space.

The PVE multiplayer part of ME3 should get more mentioning - it's great fun and a good example of PvE done well. The community around this part of the game has been very active long after release - and has a wide spread of people who play in terms of age / gender / nationality. Disclaimer: solely based on the people I've played with in random matches who ended on my friends list.

Re. the writing in SP - I really enjoy when the script is a part of the gameplay and done without removing control from the player. More of this in ME4 please.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany3 years ago
@Alex

Totally agree with you. ME3's multiplayer was brilliant in its simplicity. I definitely want it back in the future.
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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections3 years ago
It's the story of Mass Effect 4 that matters to me. The relationships and interacting of strong characters.
It worries me that the new writer is a Halo writer, considering I've never found any of the Halo stories to be even remotely memorable:/
Or moving. And I don't remember any of their characters by name either.

I'm sure the multiplayer/combat will be fine, but thats never been the main draw of the Mass Effect franchise.
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now if only they would return to Mass Effects roots before it all happend :)
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