With a release due for 2016, Mass Effect: Andromeda is one of the big AAA heavy-hitters for the upcoming year of gaming. However, they may have encountered a major setback with the game's director taking leave from the project during the middle of development.
The news came courtesy of a Tweet that IGN spotted from former senior development director on Mass Effect: Andromeda, Chris Wynn. The tweet is as follows.
It occurred right before Christmas; certainly an event that does not make for the merriest of times.
The news was accompanied by a statement from BioWare issued to Game Informer, where they mentioned that development was still going to progress as usual...
Chris was a great member of the team. We want to thank him for his contributions and we wish him the best in his new adventures. Development of Mass Effect Andromeda continues to move full speed ahead at BioWare Montreal, Edmonton and Austin.
Developing the game across three studios is usually how Ubisoft handles the development of Assassin's Creed games. They have up to a thousand people around the world developing different parts of the title in order to squeeze it into a two year development cycle (in some cases they may get three years).
While it doesn't seem like that big of a deal that a senior development director has left the project, it's actually a very big deal. Just like with filming a movie, a game's director is vital for maintaining the creative and design direction of a title to get various project segments completed on time. Design and development directors are usually the ones who steer the ship on the ground level when it comes to implementation, coding assignments and moving modules from the concept phase into the working design phase.
Losing someone instrumental in directing the development of a game as large scale as Mass Effect: Andromeda did not come across to the community as a sign of confidence in the timeliness of getting the project finished before the end of 2016. Most gamers across social media and gaming websites have commented that this likely will signal a delay for the upcoming Mass Effect title, or that it may suffer a similar fate as Mass Effect 3 if EA decides to rush BioWare in getting the game out of the door in time for the holiday season.
Both companies are still suffering from negative impressions that gamers took away from the ending of Mass Effect 3; many who commented about it online felt it was rushed and incomplete. After months of arguing with fans and having the gaming media attack the Mass Effect fans for being “entitled”, BioWare and EA eventually capitulated and released an extended ending DLC sequence to finally add some resolution to the ending of Mass Effect 3.
I'm sure EA and BioWare will want to avoid another debacle of that scale for the upcoming game, and will more than likely hunker down and make sure the game works from top to bottom and has a complete ending when it releases for home consoles and PC in 2016.