It looks like BioWare is considering returning to Unreal Engine for the next game in the Mass Effect universe. As reported by VentureBeat, a job listing for a Technical Director on the Mass Effect franchise suggests the ideal candidate is preferred to have experience in Unreal Engine 4 or even Unreal Engine 5, implying the team is considering moving away from DICE’s Frostbite engine for their upcoming title. EA hasn’t officially commented on the job listing or if Mass Effect will indeed shift over.
The move would not be unusual. The first three Mass Effect games, recently re-released as the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, were built on Unreal Engine. Mass Effect: Andromeda was made on the Frostbite engine but suffered from a myriad of issues as a result because the engine was not made to support RPGs. While the Dragon Age team had managed to somewhat adapt the engine to carry out basic RPG functions by the time Andromeda development started, things like the character animation had to be built from scratch. The results were not pretty and the team was constantly pushing the boundaries of the engine.
Interestingly, the job listing does also mention the potential for Frostbite engine to be used once again. VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb “confirmed through multiple sources that this is because everything is on the table when it comes to tech for a new Mass Effect—and that includes potentially replacing EA’s in-house Frostbite engine with Unreal.”
EA has been pushing for the majority of their games to use DICE’s engine, but not all have done so. Most recently, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also used Unreal Engine 4. While development on the game began before Respawn joined EA, Game Director Stig Asmussen confirmed there had “been no mandates” from EA for the team to use Frostbite. As BioWare is currently focusing on Dragon Age 4, a new Mass Effect game is likely years away and is not expected to appear before 2025, so there’s plenty of time to make that decision.[Source: Electronic Arts via VentureBeat]