EA has reportedly put Mass Effect on hiatus and downsized Andromeda's studio, sadface (Update)

Littered with bugs, graphical anomalies, and myriad engine quirks that negatively impacted the game's story delivery, Andromeda was, and is, a poster child for "delay and polish." For whatever reason, though, EA felt it was ready to be shipped as a total mess, albeit with the makings of a tremendous game beneath it all.

Regardless, BioWare heard the feedback loud and clear, and its Montreal studio committed itself to issuing bug fix patches, and even cosmetic upgrades in response to the negative outcry. Sadly, though, it might all be in vain if this report is to be believed.

Update May 11th, 2017: We've since spoken to some of our own sources regarding this story, with two saying that Kotaku's report contains some truths, and some "inaccuracies." Although our sources declined to say which parts were inaccurate, we can confirm that staff from BioWare's Montreal studio are working on other products, including EA Sports titles as well as Battlefront II and BioWare's project "Dylan." We'll let you know if we get more information on the so-called "hiatus" of the Mass Effect series, but it could be a simple case of waiting until BioWare's main studios have some room in their schedules.

Original Story:

According to Kotaku, four sources have said that EA is stripping BioWare Montreal of developers, moving them onto other projects such as Battlefront II, and BioWare's mysterious new IP, codenamed "Dylan." BioWare Montreal, who before Mass Effect Andromeda has never made a game of its own, has been relegated to a support studio, and will provide work for EA's other titles.

BioWare Montreal previously made Mass Effect 3's multiplayer component, and it looks like that's the type of work the team will be given moving forward.

When it comes to Mass Effect itself, however, EA has apparently put the franchise on "hiatus," with no follow up planned for Andromeda, save for bug fix patches.

BioWare provided a typical PR response when asked for comment:

"With our BioWare and Motive teams sharing studio space in Montreal, we have BioWare team members joining Motive projects that are underway. We're also ramping up teams on other BioWare projects in development. There will be much more to come from BioWare in the years ahead."

It's unlikely that the Mass Effect franchise is dead, given it's staunch fanbase and IP recognition, but BioWare seems all-in on service-based games right now, namely Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the mysterious "Dylan" project, which has been tipped as a Destiny competitor.

The sad news is, that it doesn't seem at all likely we'll get any answers left behind by Andromeda's ending, which seemed primed for both story-based DLC or sequels. It's a damn shame, because under all the filler, bugs, and, general blandness, there beats the heart of a true Mass Effect game in Andromeda, that could've been realized with a delay.

Regardless, you can check out my review of Mass Effect: Andromeda below if you're curious, otherwise, let us know what you think in the comments. I suspect some of you have interesting opinions about this. If this is all true, I'm willing to lay blame at EA for not delaying Andromeda, faithful readers.

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • And once again, EA destroys yet another beloved franchise
  • Bioware did a good enough job of that themselves when they released ME3.
  • Even that was kinda on EA. Reports were that the people they put in charge made last minute changes, because they didn't need creative people dictating how stories go!
  • There's a reason they won The Consumerist's Worst Company in America poll two years in a row.
  • Yet another example of why most people hate EA.
  • Speak for yourself about ME3. I personally loved it. Even the ending, at the least the part where all your decisions didn't matter in the end. Thought it was quite poetic about the universe. The part where organics and synthetics merge though not so much. It was a good game though. But yes. Quite worried about the future. I'm only in to where Ryder meets Peebee. Feels a little different...not sure yet. Slow.
  • Yeah, I couldn't bring myself to buying Andromeda with all the stuff I've seen about it. Really loved the ME series too...
  • Wow sad day for me oh well life goes on.
  • It's sad news because mass effect was such a great series, but it's also not a surprise given everything EA touch crumbles. Doesn't actually affect me though, I decided to stop buying EA games years ago.
  • Damn. I still had fun on Andromeda. Let's hope the series isn't dead. If they release a Mass Effect game, I'm buying it.
  • Glad I held off on buying this, sad they're just packing their bags and giving up. 
  • Dang, and EA had been going so well lately too. It's a shame they are during back to their old ways.
  • I haven't yet bought the new one, but I plan to. This is a sad day. 
  • While Mass Effect Andromeda's technical problems arguably placed at EA's feet, the blame for its mediocre narrative,  tone deaf conversations, and boring game loop belong entirely at Bioware's.  It can only do the franchise good to pause to look for better storyteller, writers,  and designers. 
  • Well keep pushing a social agenda instead of making a game that people want to play. Throw in life styles that the majority of people disagree with just to be political correct. I am done with mass effect games because of this garbage. Keep pushing that crap and you will lose more business.
  • Are you BK's Computing? What a small world, I live right up the street! 😂
  • Ya that shoehorning
  • Did you need a waaambulance?
  • Majority disagree with?
  • I love that part too. Just because you don't agree with something always makes it wrong or that everyone else is with you, even if it's an even number or you are the minority.
  • Funny thing, when I said not to expect anything good from EA, I got downvoted.
  • Found the salt! :)
  • Found the salt! :)
  • While it is smaller news, I also heard a quarter of the staff at PopCap Games was just laid off. Lets hope EA doesn't buy any other game companies. The body count of the ones they already own keeps climbing in their wake.
  • Higher than the body count at MS Studios?
  • Yes, a lot higher.
  • I don't know if it's higher to be honest, but I guess the main difference is that EA is and always has been exclusively about gaming. I will admit that some of it is a bit personal for me which is probably the reason it hurts to see this with EA more so than MS Studios as many of these companies were a big part of my youth. Westwood, Bullfrog, Pandemic, Maxis, Bioware etc. I remember EA from back then as well. It's just a shame to see.
  • Yep... Loved Westwood (C&C was just amazing back in the day) and Maxis. Such a shame. My dislike for EA runs a long history as well.
  • Sounds like the devs weren't up to the challenge. They likely had a load of money and time to make this game, and it wasn't just a few issues. It was a colossal mess across the board, from what I've read and heard. EA made the team choice, but chalking it up to "EA's fault" is kind of a weak cop-out to not hold the devs responsible for what seems like a horrible job. Why they got that as their first solo job is baffling.
  • Sad. The Mass Effect universe was so rich and detailed that it felt better than Star Wars at the (prequel) time. The novels were great. The comics were great. Even the toys were great. But that ending for ME2. Then the disappointing finale to the trilogy. And now Andromeda. It was a sci-fi that could've been massive if handled right.
  • It's another BF4 debacle when they shipped it and moved all the developers onto Battlefront. How long until they roll out their marketing team to mitigate? When #fixthegame starts trending again?
  • I really love Mass Effect Andromeda, despite of all the little bugs I had (caracters were always smiling and sometimes huge drops of FPS). I hope the dev team had finished something secretly to add a bit of story and which will be published in the next update. My girlfriend really love it too just like 2 other friends. :)
  • I guess I'll skip this for now and go straight for Prey instead. Sad, sad day.
  • I do not believe that we will not see the sequels, EA knows better than to kill a good franchise. I believe the decision to take off Bioware montreal from this game is the right choice. Sure the further improvement of the current ME:Andromeda will stall, but I am faithful that a new studio will take on the next iteration better.
  • GOOD!!!!!! This means people voted with their wallet that Mass Effect Andromeda was a big pile of **** compared to the rest of the series. All the important people from Bioware had already left before Andromeda started work. So why this surprises anyone is beyond me. Alot of people cling to a franchise even though it no longer remains anything like the franchise at all. Mass Effect is no different. It reminds me of Bungie actually. Bungie isn't bungie anymore at all. All the people that bungie what it was moved over to 343 industries back in 2011. Destiny isn't made by the Halo team at all. Which is why that game is so bad. No story, poor AI and relies completely on the gambling part of the brain to keep players playing. Loot boxes and playing levels thousands of times till you get that euphoric feeling for 10 SEC's because you got that loot you want. Gaming today could well implode like it did in the 80s. Hopefully not all debs go down the gambling route.
  • How many of those people actually played Andromeda and how many of them believed what others told them and have never played it?
  • SJW ruined another game.
  • Single Jaded Wombat?
  • Great, one of my favourite game series destroyed.
    The original trilogy is awesome, I feared this when EA got involved.
  • With all the reports of talent leaving Bioware over the last years - especially related to Andromeda but also to Dragon Age Inquisition - I am inclined to think EAs usual policy of cookie-cutter copy & paste game creation with slightly updated graphics and disregard of any story quality or game depth is the root cause of what we see here (again). No one with creative talent in any area other than graphics will want to be associated with an average EA title. The EA approach to push out a skeleton game and then charge you through the nose (eyes, ears and a..) for a myriad of DLC may work for shooters and with people who have an attention span of -5 seconds, but they are a sure fire way to kill story driven games. You can not "patch" awful dialogue through a DLC and you can not improve on a bland story iteratively that way either. I saw the same thing with Dragon age. The first one was tiny compared to Inquisition, but it was a hell of a lot better in terms of story and dialogue. Instead of a huge grind fest, they could have made Andromeda a smaller game and put the resources into higher quality. They won't do that though, it would mean falling behind the competition in terms of size, so they blow up the game through repetitive gameplay, cut down on story and qa and shove out unfinished, unpolished and shallow games instead. At this point it is obvious to me that EA is incapable of pulling of a Witcher 3, they are too greedy to allow a project like that to succeed.
  • Slapping the Bioware name on a studio based in Montreal solely for the purpose of EA getting some huge tax breaks isn't profitable if the game is a dung heap. Get it now EA?
  • No one seems to read. BioWare is ok which is the main developer for the Mass Effect trilogy. EA decided to put BioWare Montreal (responsible only for ME3 multiplayer) in charge of the newest MEA. The series is not in jepordy but I would expect BioWare Montreal to make another ME game.
  • having only played ME 1&2, is it worth playing ME.A?
  • Yeah, but it might be worth waiting for a price drop/further patches.
  • So far I think Andromeda is very good gameplay-wise. Definitely needed work in the facial animation/graphics but otherwise I'm happy with this installment. A shame on BioWare's part but blame is all on EA.
  • Bioware... EA Sport titles? What the
  • Indeed.
  • Cool, this means I'll buy it with all the DLC and bugfixes in one package for a discounted price. I'm still waiting for ff15 to drop, its a single player game, you'll never miss anything so long as you play before the next one is released.
  • Nice - my choice to wait till next Winter to play this game may not have been completely unfounded... although initially it was just because I have no time to play.