There has been a bit of speculation of a Mass Effect MMORPG on gamer forums and blogs for a little while now, much of it with little evidence that such a thing is likely to ever happen.
That is something I would like to see. Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 have been among my favorite games of the last few years. I really enjoyed both of them (except for the scanning mini-game in ME2, uurgh.) I reckon the backstory for the ME universe has some real possibilities, and once the trilogy has been tidied up there will likely be some level of aftermath for players to inhabit.
Anyway, I digress.
Industry Gamers asked Greg Zeschuk about the possibility, and he responded to the query with, “You never know.”
While this is great news for MMO lovers and fans of the Mass Effect series, who want more SciFi in their gaming, I wouldn’t start looking at upgrading your PC just yet. The release date is not likely to be for many years yet.
- SWTOR is shipping late this year, and will likely tie up resources for 12 months or more. The first year or two is critical, not only for fixing bugs and developing the expansions, but for the company to learn to run a AAA MMORPG.
- Bioware have to complete and ship Mass Effect 3. I don’t know what the release date is for ME3, but it won’t be this year, and will possibly be mid-2012 onwards.
So it’s likely that if Bioware do decide to develop MEO (like the acronym I came up with there?) development won’t start until 2013. With the long development times of big MMORPGs, you’d expect it take at least four years, that puts the earliest release date for Mass Effect Online at early 2017.
Of course, it is also way to early to get excited about a Mass Effect MMO at all. “You never know,” is not exactly a, “Hell yeah, we’re already planning it out.” And even if the Bioware doctors are keen to do MEO and have all sorts of great ideas for it, that doesn’t mean that they’ll get approval to do it. They’ll need approval to start, and funding from the bean counters at EA to even start spending money on the planning process.
And EA will want to see how SWTOR does before they commit money to MEO.
If we look practically at the other issues involved, even getting the approval to start planning could take a while, then it’s not unlikely that a Mass Effect MMORPG would have a release date closer to 2020.