This past week it was N7 day, the famed BioWare Mass Effect holiday that has produced some fun over the years. This time, we got the smallest of glimpses at Mass Effect 4, which included a teaser trailer shot of a helmeted, trenchcoat-wearing N7 agent walking through a hallway, and a poster that included some art of Mass Effect characters within that figure. It showed us the Geth are back, for one.
But at this point it seems like a fair question to ask. What exactly is going on over at BioWare, and what’s the status of its two main projects, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and Mass Effect 4, two games that have shown us almost nothing at all in years?
Anthem was released in February of 2019, BioWare’s last major offering and of course, a famous failure in the live service genre, despite some promising elements and continued work to try to turn things around before all production was stopped. But since them, BioWare has been something of a black box.
Dragon Age: Dreadwolf development has reportedly been restarted a few different times with a few different people leading it, but the end result has been what can barely even be called glimpses at the game for years. We’ve seen concept art, and the most recent reveal was a nearly static cutscene released eleven months ago.
Going to the Dreadwolf website, the lead story and the latest bit of news is BioWare celebrating the game’s alpha milestone. What does that mean?
“Up to this point, we’ve been working hard on the various parts of the game, but it’s not until the Alpha milestone that a game all comes together. Now, for the first time, we can experience the entire game, from the opening scenes of the first mission to the very end. We can see, hear, feel, and play everything as a cohesive experience.”
But this was…October of 2022. Since then, again, we’ve heard and seen very little about the game, and we have no real sense of when it will be released. Best guess is maybe 2024, but it’s been draped in such dark shadows that we simply have no idea.
As for Mass Effect 4? That’s miles further away, and a new report from Jeff Grubb indicates that if the game is on a similar timeline to Dreadwolf, that we may not see it released until 2029. Here’s the quote:
“This game is just nowhere near coming out. I was told when they revealed Dragon Age: Dreadwolf in 2018, this is similar in terms of timeline. That was announced in 2018 and it’s not expected until next year. Now, do the math for that, we’re not getting this game (Mass Effect) until 2029.”
2029 would quite literally be the 10th Anniversary of Anthem, which is wild to think about. When this extended timeline has been brought up, there have been some responses of “what, do you want them to crunch?” But I think there’s a difference in demanding crunch and questioning why a game announced in 2018 (Dreadwolf) has barely shown off anything and a new Mass Effect game is going to potentially release 10 years after Anthem and 12 years after Mass Effect Andromeda. Keep in mind BioWare released Mass Effect in 2007, Mass Effect 2 in 2010 and Mass Effect 3 in 2012, interspersed with Dragon Age installments. The timeline hasn’t just slowed, it’s crawling.
At this point, almost five years after Anthem, it feels like it’s time for more than concept art and teaser trailers for both projects, or at least an honest conversation about the status of each. It’s a wide contrast to another EA studio like Respawn pumping out constant hits in multiple genres, and it feels like we need some straight shooting at this point from BioWare about where exactly things stand.