Mass Effect: BioWare was working on a spin-off for Nintendo DS

Mass Effect: BioWare was working on a spin-off for Nintendo DS

Mass Effect

Former BioWare producer Mark Darrah spoke in an interview about a discontinued Mass Effect project that was being planned for the Nintendo DS many years ago. It was a spin-off in which the player would have flown in a spaceship through a rather undiscovered area of ​​the universe. The ex-producer of BioWare describes the title as a mix of Star Control and Wing Commander: Privateer.

Mass Effect: Corsair was the planned name for the Nintendo DS game. According to Mark Darrah, the aim was to create an independent protagonist who, for example, would have similarities to Han Solo. Players fly through space, collect cargo and sell information to the human alliance. A first-person perspective was provided for the gameplay. Plans for Mass Effect: Corsair were abandoned early on, though.

"All we had was start the flight controls - we hadn't put the rest of the game together. We were still figuring out how to do it would work with the IP. The problem was also that the economy of the Nintendo DS was just terrible. " - tells Mark Darrah in an interview with MinnMax. The cost of a cartridge of the handheld alone was $ 10.50 each. With the game selling for $ 30, there wouldn't be much left after deducting additional production costs. After the end of Mass Effect: Corsair, the team switched to the mobile sector and launched Mass Effect Infiltrator, a spin-off for iOS, Android and Blackberry.

Source: MinnMax

Mass Effect Nearly Got a First-Person Nintendo DS Spin-Off

BioWare was once working on a first-person, space-faring Mass Effect game for Nintendo DS, but the project was eventually disbanded.

Talking to MinnMax, ex-BioWare producer, Mark Darrah, spoke about the game - called Mass Effect: Corsair - and revealed what the project was intended to be. “It was going to be a DS game, it was going to be first-person, you’d fly around a ship,” he said. “We were going to put it out in a part of the galaxy that was more pirate-y and not really fully explored.”

“It was going to kinda be a combination of Privateer and Star Control,” he continued. “You would be independent, you’d be more like a Han Solo character, not a Spectre. And you’d be flying around, picking up cargo, exploring, and sell that information back to the human Alliance.”

By that description, it sounds as if Corsair was planned to take place in Mass Effect’s Terminus Systems; a sector of lawless space beyond the reach of the Council and the Earth Systems Alliance. Players would have had control of their ship, and been able to engage in space combat.


Not much had been put together when BioWare hit a stumbling block, though. “Pretty much all we had was the beginnings of the flight controls, we didn’t have the rest of that game put together,” said Darrah. “We were figuring out how it worked from an IP perspective, still.”

That stumbling block was the DS itself; more specifically its cartridges. “The problem is that the economics of the Nintendo DS are just terrible,” said Darrah, explaining that the cartridges needed for Mass Effect: Corsair cost $10.50 each. And with DS games retailing at $30, it meant very little money for development costs after the cartridge has been purchased and localisation paid for.

“That was the problem, ultimately,” he said. “We know how to make big games, not games that had control of their cogs. It didn’t make sense. EA was predicting we’d only sell 50,000 copies.”

Darrah said that the team on Mass Effect: Corsair eventually transitioned to mobile, and the creation of Mass Effect Infiltrator, a third-person shooter made for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

For more from BioWare’s sci-fi galaxy, check out our Legendary Edition reviews of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. BioWare also recently revealed the fate of the planned Mass Effect movie.

Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer.