Next Mass Effect to use Unreal Engine

Mass Effect concept art 2020
Mass Effect concept art 2020 (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

What you need to know

  • BioWare is currently working on the next Mass Effect game.
  • According to a Twitter post by producer Brenon Holmes, the game is being built using some form of Unreal Engine.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda used Electronic Arts' Frostbite engine.

The next Mass Effect game appears to run on some version of Unreal Engine, according to a post on Twitter by Brenon Holmes, a producer working on the game. This was previously implied by a BioWare job description, which asked for experience with Unreal Engine 4, or newer versions of the engine.

Job descriptions do sometimes ask for experience with engines that won't necessarily be used on a game, since there can be overlap in sets of skills. With that in mind, the continued focus on Unreal Engine in BioWare's hiring makes it fairly clear the game will use some form of Epic Games' engine.

BioWare is also currently working on Dragon Age 4, which is rumored to be aimed for a launch in 2023. The next Mass Effect is earlier in development than Dragon Age 4, with sources close to the production telling Windows Central the game is likely to arrive in 2024 at the earliest, with a launch further out being more likely. As such, it's fairly likely (though still unconfirmed) the game will specifically use Unreal Engine 5.

The original Mass Effect trilogy used Unreal Engine 3, as does the recent remaster collection, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. For Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare swapped to Electronic Arts' Frostbite engine as part of a push on the behalf of the publisher to have every internal studio using Frostbite. The team's lack of familiarity with the engine was cited as a reason for Mass Effect: Andromeda's troubled development cycle.

This corporate push is no longer in place, largely due to the efforts of developer Respawn Entertainment, which used Unreal Engine 4 to develop Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which reached over 10 million players as of May 2020.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.