Mass Effect 5, a major technical change on the horizon

Mass Effect 5, a major technical change on the horizon

Mass Effect 5

Mass Effect 5 will certainly not see the light in the short term. After Andromeda, BioWare has dedicated itself to other projects, such as the Anthem experiment. Despite the absence of major news and weighty announcements, some important details regarding the development of the game have emerged in the last few hours. Nothing sensational, of course, at least in terms of history and gameplay mechanics. Different, however, as regards the technical aspect and the pure programming of the game.

Some time ago Electronic Arts decided to align all its studies, "forcing them" to use the Frostbite, a proprietary engine that has had its fortunes with the Battlefield saga. Over the years, all the franchises of the Californian publisher have used the engine, including FIFA. For Mass Effect 5, however, BioWare is looking for a tech director with Unreal Engine experience. A sign that could suggest an engine change in the race.

It is still too early to say and Jeff Grubb has also put forward some hypotheses about it. The journalist and insider has in fact opened up to two different scenarios: the first is that Mass Effect 5 can actually be produced with the Unreal Engine 5. The second, however, is that BioWare is studying some features of the Epic Games engine and then integrating them. inside the Frostbite. However, it is easier than the first option: a radical change, perhaps dictated by the fact that in 2023 (the year in which production of the game should begin) the Frostbite will not be up to the level of Unreal Engine 5.

Tiny scoop. A job listing says that EA is looking for a Mass Effect tech director who has experience in Unreal Engine. I've confirmed that the studio is strongly considering Unreal for Mass Effect 5.

- Jeff Grubb (@JeffGrubb) September 3, 2021

Speculations, of course. Which will be confirmed or not only when BioWare presents Mass Effect 5 to the world in all its glory. However, it may take a while longer, so our advice is not to get on the hype train: the development team will be ready to answer all our questions and doubts when the time comes.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available at a massive discount on Amazon.

‘Mass Effect 5’ May Ditch Frostbite For Unreal Engine To Avoid ‘Andromeda’ Repeat

Mass Effect 5


While we still know next to nothing about the next Mass Effect game, only that it will not be going back to the Andromeda galaxy, something interesting may be going on with its development.

A job listing has been spotted looking for a technical director role for Mass Effect 5 with “experience with Unreal Engine.” On its own, that might be ignorable, but industry insider Jeff Grubb from Gamesbeat has confirmed that his own sources tell him that BioWare is considering all options when it comes to the game, and that may include ditching EA’s often-mandated Frostbite engine for the more flexible and widely-used Unreal Engine from Epic.

A bit of history should indicate why this might happen. BioWare’s last two games were deemed failures, Anthem and Mass Effect Andromeda, on a few levels, but both struggled in the technical department, and much of that was blamed on Frostbite, DICE’s Battlefield engine for its FPS games, trying to be used to make these large, third party open world games.

“Over the past few years, one of BioWare’s biggest obstacles has also become one of EA’s favorite buzzwords: Frostbite, a video game engine,” said a Kotaku expose on Mass Effect Andromeda’s development back in 2017. “While describing Frostbite, one top developer on Mass Effect: Andromeda used the analogy of an automobile. Epic’s Unreal Engine, that developer said, is like an SUV, capable of doing lots of things but unable to go at crazy high speeds. The Unity Engine would be a compact car: small, weak, and easy to fit anyplace you’d like. “Frostbite,” the developer said, “is a sports car. Not even a sports car, a Formula 1. When it does something well, it does it extremely well. When it doesn’t do something, it really doesn’t do something.”

Mass Effect Andromeda


This explains why this change might be made, so BioWare can avoid the technical pitfalls that plagued many of their most recent releases. It should also be noted that Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order used Unreal Engine, and that game was widely praised on every level, and experienced none of the issues we heard about with BioWare’s last few games.

Whatever’s going on with Frostbite, BioWare has been struggling with it for the better part of a decade now. It may in fact be time to move on, because the studio cannot afford another miss at this point, and they need all the tools they can get to ensure that doesn’t happen. History would say Unreal Engine would be their best bet going forward here.

Follow me on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.

Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.