Shacknews is breaking the news that Bioware is working on multiplayer capability of a game in the Mass Effect franchise and is speculating on whether this will mean multiplayer in Mass Effect 3, or if this is the first step towards a Mass Effect MMO. I blogged yesterday already about Bioware’s MMORPG plans for SWTOR. To be honest – I can’t see them tackling a Mass Effect MMO at the same time as SWTOR. Aside from cannibalizing each other there’s also a problem of available resources – not cash, but experienced people. They’ll be busy making sure SWTOR is a smash hit and get some field experience there before trying to apply that know-how to their own franchise.
Bioware might also want to build up the franchise first, before taking the massive step of creating their own MMORPG (imagine what expectations for that will be like after the mammoth project of the Old Republic!). They might also be wondering, is if they should diversify things a little. There’s a chance people will get tired of the story-decision-style games they’ve been churning out for the past few years. Different game styles could keep franchise fans happy without ‘burning them out’. In order to build up a really loyal following, they could release games set in the Mass Effect universe – real-time strategy games or privateer-like titles seem likely candidates. This would put them on a similar path as Blizzard, which profited immensely from creating their own Warcraft universe.
It took Blizzard a good 10 years to build up the reputation and franchise that contributed so much to the success of their own MMO. Bioware still has quite a way to go in regards to this, but probably it’s a matter of time until they take things into their own hands. But first, we’ll get a multiplayer capable Mass Effect 3. Yay for that. Needless to say, if they do ever come out with a Mass Effect MMO, Killer Guides will have a guide for it. Or 20. We’ll see.