It was after the ending to Mass Effect 3 that fans of the franchise began to twiddle their thumbs and lament to themselves, “So, what happens now?” For those of you that haven’t played Mass Effect 3, the general gist of it (without offering any spoilers of course, though the game is now over a year old) was simply a situation where the illustrious role of “Commander Shepard” could continue no further. Since the series was based on the adventures of this singular man (or woman), it seemed logical to assume that Mass Effect was now finished. Just like with ground-breaking television shows such as Breaking Bad, the show ends when the story ends.

Mass Effect 2

Still, the question was raised frequently after Mass Effect 3’s release: the Mass Effect universe is so vast, could they not easily generate another video game that simply offers a different perspective on the “Reaper invasion or possibly before/after the war? BioWare seemed to agree with that and announced they were developing a new Mass Effect game last year.

I’m obviously not here to deliver stale news that most people have already heard about, but I think that little titbit about Mass Effect was worth introducing, mainly because the actual meat of this article is something that is bound to make some of us extremely excited. From a personal viewpoint, I’m a big fan of BioWare. These guys have been responsible for huge hit titles like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and now Dragon Age. I’ve only had the chance to play Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect from that list, but they both rank “up there” in all-time favourites. There’s simply something incredible about a story-based game that sets you, the underdog, against an undefeatable foe. Visiting new worlds, learning about new species, and interacting with a myriad of different people combines into an immersive experience that will make you consistently grovel for a new sequel. Hell, I’ve been waiting 8 years now for a new Knights of the Old Republic game that isn’t an MMO.

So you can colour me interested when I found out that BioWare already has playable builds of the new Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and a new franchise entirely. You read that right. These aren’t concepts, broken pieces being coded to functionality, or things simply being considered, they are all actually playable right this very minute. Of course, playable can mean a few things, but in any case it’s a significant step forward from an announcement last year.

biowareIn regards to a timeline, the new Dragon Age game (titled Dragon Age 3: Inquisition and built on the Frostbite 2 engine) was announced in May (2011) while both Mass Effect and the new franchise were announced in September (2012). This means that in the course of two years BioWare has developed three separate games to the point of being able to fire up the game and be put into the game’s environment. I don’t know about you guys, but I think BioWare is on a mission with this one.

There aren’t too many details about the new franchise, unfortunately. BioWare’s producer Casey Hudson has been pretty mum’s the word about it all, opting to only inform us that the new franchise will hopefully be something new and trend-setting like Mass Effect’s first game was, and that it’s now playable.

As someone who absolutely adored the first Mass Effect game, that sounds pretty damn great to me. Let’s just hope BioWare isn’t rushing any of these projects out the door like many thought was the case with Mass Effect 3.