BioWare Founders Consider Mass Effect MMO

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BioWare Founders Consider Mass Effect MMO

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While the prospect of transforming its popular sci-fi RPG into an MMO is "daunting," BioWare still finds the idea "really interesting."

Many Mass Effect fans are sure to feel some mixed emotions when the series' third installment is released on March 6th. While most gamers understand that an enjoyable story must eventually reach conclusion to actually be enjoyable, the act of reaching that final credit roll remains bittersweet. The characters, their story, your story, is over. Still, BioWare has already said that Mass Effect 3 will not mark the end of the franchise, just the story of Commander Shepard, so the question must be asked: With the primary trilogy over, what's next? According to a recent interview held by the Penny Arcade Report, perhaps the answer is a new MMO.

BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka discussed the idea of moving their popular franchise into a persistent multiplayer world, having just completed one of the most successful MMO launches in history with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

"[The prospect of a Mass Effect MMO] is daunting, but the neat thing is it would lend itself to a different type of gameplay," said Zeschuk. "It's fun to think about. I imagine people think it would be just like Mass Effect as it is... but there's lots of people there. It's really interesting, I don't know. It's a tough one."

It's hard to say if a new combination of BioWare's two most recent successes would sound more or less appealing to the busy dev at this exact moment in time, but at least one thing is certain: Mass Effect is easily well-developed enough as a narrative universe to support the format and, though new to the genre, BioWare seems to know what it's doing when it comes to MMOs.

"When you deliver a game, and you deliver it for a player, you have to capture what they think is the possibility space," Kuzyka added. "You need to let them do everything they think they should do, and you can't block them from doing anything they think they should be able to do. You have to nail all the features and content that should be in that possibility space ... Mass Effect is a big possibility space."

Source: The Penny Arcade Report

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I can't help but feel that Bioware is overextending themselves. They're running a big time MMO, crunching out a AAA title next week, and Dragon Age 3 has already started preliminary planning. And I'm talking about core Bioware, not whatever smaller developers EA decides to slap their logo on.

An MMO set in the Mass Effect universe? That would be very pleasing.

They'd definitely need a different kind of game play though, TPS MMO doesn't seem like it would work too well.

I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

task seems incredibly daunting..

but then again, reading this thread, I don't think I'm alone thinking this

So they're considering making a competitor to a game that they made, that already has a seemingly unstoppable competitor already on the market.

Bioware is pretty fucking dumb if you ask me.

Why don't they just make a Mass Effect expansion pack to The Old Republic?
That's a less dumb idea.

Fappy:
I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

Yeah, this was my thinking though I'm neutral to the idea of it happening. It just probably won't seeing as EA has put all their faith in that one Star Wars MMO people are talking about. This would only really happen if EA made significant profit. That's what I think anyway.

Before Old Republic came out I wouldn't have been happier, but now... I doubt it'll happen.

Loop Stricken:
I'll be honest; I assumed a Mass Effect MMO was the obvious next step.

I know right?

I'll be honest; I assumed a Mass Effect MMO was the obvious next step.

Even ignoring the financial and social logistics of the whole project, this sounds like a remarkably bad idea. At what point does this MMO take place? Before the events of the Mass Effect trilogy, thereby avoiding retcon issues but limiting what players can encounter? After the Mass Effect trilogy, allowing for maximum freedom but cock-slapping anybody who has finished their personal story due to a canon MMO backstory?

Fappy:
I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

Your neglecting the cost defrayal of IP ownership. How much of that 20 million (which by the way, is still a completely unconfirmed number) was licence fee to Lucas Arts? How much of a % of their monthly revenue goes directly to Lucas Arts?

I agree a Mass Effect MMO is not on the horizon within, oh, probably this decade. They'll want TOR to run for 1-3 years before they even think of a new MMO project (if at all), and then the development will take another 5 years if TOR is any indication.

Kimarous:
Even ignoring the financial and social logistics of the whole project, this sounds like a remarkably bad idea. At what point does this MMO take place? Before the events of the Mass Effect trilogy, thereby avoiding retcon issues but limiting what players can encounter? After the Mass Effect trilogy, allowing for maximum freedom but cock-slapping anybody who has finished their personal story due to a canon MMO backstory?

Timeskip, same as TOR, which takes place roughly 100-1000 years after KOTOR
-

Now for dream speculation!

My dream Mass Effect project is a pausable real time fleet strategy game that allows me to pit racial fleets against each other in futuristic ye olde nautical style (space combat in the ME universe involves alot of broadsides and big ship manuevering while gunships and 'fighter' class vessels try to slip past larger ships ME fields)

Or, Frankly, a Mass Effect RTS of any kind...

Is this supposed to be news? Who would be surprised by this?

Let's take a game who's lore is arguably the most valuable part of the series, and push it to the side to cram in the mandatory two faction system and kill off all the major characters in boss fights. Sounds like a good idea.

one word: NO

Unless they do something experimental with the franchise (and I mean in the area gameplay) I don't see it as a good direction for the franchise to go. Personally I feel this is a perfect time to flesh out the world. Asari commandos and Salarian special forces represents 2 Shepard like directions that could give a different perspective. This would also underline the "humans are a minority" line. There are huge tracts of space to explore for a Privateer and Elite type space opera. It looks like earth will be in a sorry stat after ME3 so the hope of humanity will probably move to the frontier. Perfects spot for a resource management game or even a space-strategy game.

There are many more possibilities in the Mass Effect world. The beautiful thing about it is that Bioware don't need to make it all themselves. Outsource a game or two. Have a little fun with seeing what others might do with the franchise. On the other hand they could try their hands and something new. The games don't even have to be very big. A number of smaller less grand games would not offend me... as long as they were priced accordingly. Testballons if you will.

Fr]anc[is:
Is this supposed to be news? Who would be surprised by this?

Let's take a game who's lore is arguably the most valuable part of the series, and push it to the side to cram in the mandatory two faction system and kill off all the major characters in boss fights. Sounds like a good idea.

At least HK-47 has the ability to repair himself. Something Star Wars: Galaxies did right I say.

TsunamiWombat:

Fappy:
I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

Your neglecting the cost defrayal of IP ownership. How much of that 20 million (which by the way, is still a completely unconfirmed number) was licence fee to Lucas Arts? How much of a % of their monthly revenue goes directly to Lucas Arts?

I agree a Mass Effect MMO is not on the horizon within, oh, probably this decade. They'll want TOR to run for 1-3 years before they even think of a new MMO project (if at all), and then the development will take another 5 years if TOR is any indication.

Kimarous:
Even ignoring the financial and social logistics of the whole project, this sounds like a remarkably bad idea. At what point does this MMO take place? Before the events of the Mass Effect trilogy, thereby avoiding retcon issues but limiting what players can encounter? After the Mass Effect trilogy, allowing for maximum freedom but cock-slapping anybody who has finished their personal story due to a canon MMO backstory?

Timeskip, same as TOR, which takes place roughly 100-1000 years after KOTOR
-

Now for dream speculation!

My dream Mass Effect project is a pausable real time fleet strategy game that allows me to pit racial fleets against each other in futuristic ye olde nautical style (space combat in the ME universe involves alot of broadsides and big ship manuevering while gunships and 'fighter' class vessels try to slip past larger ships ME fields)

Or, Frankly, a Mass Effect RTS of any kind...

I would hope they release a Mass Effect MMO even longer from then if it can be helped. I think many here would agree that the genre needs A LOT of work and time to evolve. Hopefully by the time they do turn ME into an MMO the genre will no longer be resented by half the gaming community.

I... I just want to live long enough to play Mass Effect 3. And with all the wall-to-wall Bioware coverage on all these websites, I can't go a scant five minutes without thinking about how faaaaaaaaaaaaar away March 6th is!

Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn youuuuuuuuuu, interneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!

Running two MMOs is a nono. Just keep releasing Mass Effect games and I'll be happy.

TsunamiWombat:

Fappy:
I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

Your neglecting the cost defrayal of IP ownership. How much of that 20 million (which by the way, is still a completely unconfirmed number) was licence fee to Lucas Arts? How much of a % of their monthly revenue goes directly to Lucas Arts?

Apparently, EA will pay 35% of revenue from this MMO AFTER they have recouped their development expenses.
If that's true then nothing out of the reported 100-300 million went to Lucas Arts.

I also find it unlikely they're going to make another MMO any time soon. 'Course, you never know with EA.

The.Bard:
I... I just want to live long enough to play Mass Effect 3. And with all the wall-to-wall Bioware coverage on all these websites, I can't go a scant five minutes without thinking about how faaaaaaaaaaaaar away March 6th is!

Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn youuuuuuuuuu, interneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!

7 Days. That's right my boy only seven days till duelist kingd---I mean till Mass Effect 3 comes out. Hopefully someone gets the reference.

On Topic: The idea of a Mass Effect MMO does sound intriguing. If they were to do it though they would need to keep the game-play like it is now and also not have a two faction based system. I would totally make an Elcor Spectre. He would travel the universe righting wrongs and performing Hamlet in his spare time.

Fappy:
I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

What was the size of the warcraft franchise fanbase before WoW came out?
End of the day whether a game like that will be successful or not is largely up to the attitudes of people who don't consider themselves "gamers", and advertising generally has very little to do with it, much of it is word of mouth anyway. I reference Guild Wars in this:

3 of my friends (non gamers) were round playing split screen halo at my house, when i went off for a cuppa I brought my laptop down to do some vanquishing in guild wars, (friends by this point had set it to 2 player co op and hotswapping whenever a player died) so in turn each of them saw guild wars, and eventually one of them asked to have a go on it, we made a character, he started playing, got the others to join in, I got to go and play gears of war whilst they all went nuts on GW, and eventually one of them actually bothered to ask "what game is this and how much is it?" I gave that person the friends pass (lets you play for 14 days for free) and sent an email to the client dowload site to all 3 of them, they now all play the game (and have done for the last 4 years) and I know one of them has got his mates into it.

So that is at least 5 people all stemming from one person showing off the game (that I know about) and none of them had ever seen any advertising for it nor do they even know about sites like this where these things are discussed, so I wouldn't be too worried about initial fanbase size too much, rather making a game that is awesome enough to get friends to reccomend to each other, because Guild Wars didn't even HAVE a franchise associated with it, so that going on to become as successful as it is is nothing short of brilliant

LGC Pominator:

Fappy:
I will reiterate a point made on the Bioware Social Network. EA will not blow another 200 million dollars on an MMO with only a fraction of the fanbase Star Wars has.

Also, DON'T WANT!

What was the size of the warcraft franchise fanbase before WoW came out?
End of the day whether a game like that will be successful or not is largely up to the attitudes of people who don't consider themselves "gamers", and advertising generally has very little to do with it, much of it is word of mouth anyway. I reference Guild Wars in this:

3 of my friends (non gamers) were round playing split screen halo at my house, when i went off for a cuppa I brought my laptop down to do some vanquishing in guild wars, (friends by this point had set it to 2 player co op and hotswapping whenever a player died) so in turn each of them saw guild wars, and eventually one of them asked to have a go on it, we made a character, he started playing, got the others to join in, I got to go and play gears of war whilst they all went nuts on GW, and eventually one of them actually bothered to ask "what game is this and how much is it?" I gave that person the friends pass (lets you play for 14 days for free) and sent an email to the client dowload site to all 3 of them, they now all play the game (and have done for the last 4 years) and I know one of them has got his mates into it.

So that is at least 5 people all stemming from one person showing off the game (that I know about) and none of them had ever seen any advertising for it nor do they even know about sites like this where these things are discussed, so I wouldn't be too worried about initial fanbase size too much, rather making a game that is awesome enough to get friends to reccomend to each other, because Guild Wars didn't even HAVE a franchise associated with it, so that going on to become as successful as it is is nothing short of brilliant

The problem is that EA historically focuses on preexisting properties in order to project sales. If it isn't already big enough they won't bother. They don't sell games due to word-of-mouth (like many other developers do).

I am strictly speaking from EA perspective however. If I were an executive I would have put my hat in for a Mass Effect MMO over Star Wars. With Star Wars you have to factor in licensing and is more about making loads of money off of SOMEONE ELSE'S property. If you own the IP and it is a huge success, guess what, you just expanded your brand. Future projects with that IP automatically make more money.

How about no, Bioware?

This would be a bad idea. Having two competing big name sci-fi RPGs would ruin their product portfolio. BioWare has to take a brave step and create a new IP. It's risky, but BioWare (and EA) will stagnate if it keeps developing nothing but sequels and MMORPGs.

Oh jolly. Another WoW reskin just like TOR. Man Bioware seems determined to run its own name into the ground after getting rectally violated bought out like a common street whore by EA.

I would be very interested in this, but I feel like it would be a bad idea for Bioware to try and run two MMO's at once. I don't think they'd actually do it, they might throw the idea around like they are now, but I think they'd rather explore other, easier genres for now.

Bioware just feels dead to me now, what happened to that loveable studio back in the Jade Empire days?

Of course. Let's "explore the possibilites" by making something that will result in the ME universe being closed off for at least a couple years (if not more) and force a constant money drain on anyone who wants to experience that universe again.

I'm cautiously optimistic about this, considering that Bioware proved they can make Mass Effect still feel like Mass Effect with multiplayer (at least, in demo form). I'm a little more concerned about this move though. Looks like I get to play the "wait and see" game some more!

I just wish they could release a game which is not worse than it's predecessor.

Loop Stricken:
I'll be honest; I assumed a Mass Effect MMO was the obvious next step.

I thought the same too. However with Bioware and EA just launching the Old Republic I think it would be foolhardy to begin creating another MMO so soon. At least give the Old Republic as much resources as possible to extend it's product cycle, maybe when it's roots are strong and it has enough content look into a Mass Effect MMO until then hold back.

The.Bard:
I... I just want to live long enough to play Mass Effect 3. And with all the wall-to-wall Bioware coverage on all these websites, I can't go a scant five minutes without thinking about how faaaaaaaaaaaaar away March 6th is!

Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn youuuuuuuuuu, interneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!

I just want to play Mass Effect 3 too. All this coverage is great but it's not released until the 9th in the UK. Daaamaaaaaaaaaaaaamn ittttttttttttttt aaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!!!!

I'll refrain from commenting on ToR since while I play it my reactions are mixed. I've already said everything I feel I need to say on the subject in other threads.

I find nothing inherantly wrong with the idea of an MMO set in the Mass Effect universe, but to be honest I think it would be a retread of ToR. Mass Effect was the spiritual successor to the single player KoToR games and even touted as such, and it hits a lot of the same tropes as Star Wars as a matter of design.

In the end it would be another ground based sci-fi RPG, and really I don't think we need another one of those right now. Really I'm likely to only be interested in another sci-fi MMO if it launches with both a decent space and ground based component. Star Trek Online tried that with mixed results, as did SWG, and I don't think either did it wll. Create a full featured ground and space component together, like ToR on the ground and EVE in space and I might be interested.

I'll also say that I don't much care for the linear nature of MMOs nowadays, ToR in paticular feels pretty limited. To really sell me we're going to see the return of more open enviroments and choice of progression. Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) had it's problems, but in playing ToR I can't help but feel crowded and limited compared to what the previous Star Wars RPG managed to accomplish. I mean even now I walk past, see a cool looking creature and think "damn, if this was SWG I could ride one of those".

In short the Mass Effect liscence is okay, but they'd need more than that to sell me. They would need to produce a really amazing game around it, and one that isn't simply going to do the same thing as most other MMOs with differant thematic material. I'd kind of like to see another attempt at actual hardcore, open world, MMOing, rather than the trend that is leaning towards casual oriented, cinematic experiences. I mean ToR is fun, but in the end I have to say I probably got more enjoyment collecting and placing trophies from my adventures in my houses in SWG than I did listening to some guy gargle into a microphone while subtitles explain that the alien wants me to go click on 10 cages holding captured soldiers to free them. Quests like that are fine, and belong in the open world game too, but the point is that when I compare listening to a guy gargling into a mic, to say being able to eventually ride almost any creature I see in the world (or make it fight for me) or stake my own property in an open world and decorate my house... join player cities, and have players walk past them and see what we've set up... to me it just didn't turn out being a worthwhile trade off. I guess opinions vary though.

Allow me to fly a ship RPG style like in EVE between planets, and colonize planets and build houses/habitats on them, and I'll be interested in Mass Effect. If you just want me to run from quest to quest through very little paths, jump like mario from pipe to pipe to collect datacrons, and other things with voicework being the major selling point... I'll pass, largely because I already have ToR for that.

It's unlikely though because as a liscence Mass Effect involves no real interactive space combat, or colonization or anything. It's very much a focused military universe, and in all likely the essence of the series would be people developing special forces guys from various alien races and dropping onto planets to shoot stuff.

For those who read this far, I'd imagine Mass Effect Online would probably be "Tabula Rasa 2" when you get down to it. It's a matter of opinion whether that's good or not, speaking for myself, Tabula Rasa didn't hold my attention very long.

NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do not make a Mass Effect MMO. If you make it an MMO, console players won't get it, and I don't have the money to invest in a gaming PC.

The only way I would want a Mass effect MMO is if it was also available on consoles and didn't have monthly fees.

It's better to just keep releasing games.

Too soon. Still I think they could make mad bank out of fully fleshing the MP in ME3 into a TF2-experience. Having your own customized character, and running all sorts of random battle scenarios has been so much fun, I think I'll still be playing the multiplayer long after finishing the game.

I will never pay for a ME MMO and I adore Mass Effect. It would ruin the entire feel of the series.

The.Bard:
I... I just want to live long enough to play Mass Effect 3. And with all the wall-to-wall Bioware coverage on all these websites, I can't go a scant five minutes without thinking about how faaaaaaaaaaaaar away March 6th is!

Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn youuuuuuuuuu, interneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!

OSHI-! The.Bard is The Guardian from Ultima 7!

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