Can someone verify some information on the dev team behind this game?

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#1 Posted by Mudig88 (14 posts) -

So far I've been told this:

The original Bioware team(Edmonton) has nothing to do with this game and are working on a whole new IP entirely. The reason is because they always intended Mass Effect to be a trilogy and nothing more. The reason why Andromeda exists is because of EA's greed and they passed on the responsibility to the team that made ME3's multiplayer mode(Bioware Montreal). Is any of this information true, and does anyone know more about the development process of Andromeda? Thanks.

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#2 Posted by RetroMetal (599 posts) -

I personally know a guy from Montreal that worked on this game. I'm sure he could answer whatever you wanted to know, however I'm not sure he is even a member here.

I'll pass this by him.

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#3 Posted by Marz (6072 posts) -
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#4 Edited by jay_ray (1529 posts) -

Montreal was the primary team on Andromeda though all Bioware teams worked on parts of Andromeda. The reasons why and who were involved with those decisions will probably never truly be known. A lot of those early decisions would have involved some people who have left Bioware over the past 5 years such as the Doctors and Casey Hudson.

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#5 Posted by LawGamer (1481 posts) -

The rumor - and this is most definitely only a rumor for what it's worth - is that 4 of the 5 years were the Montreal team, but that in the last year the game was such a mess that Edmonton had to step in and help out in order to get the thing released on time.

Like I said, that's totally an unconfirmed rumor. But given the state the game seems to be in it sort of rings true.

As far as principals go, though, a lot of the higher BioWare muckity-mucks seemed to have been involved to at least some degree. Mac Walters was most definitely at a lot of those convention panels puffing his chest about how Andromeda was going to be the greatest thing ever. Whether he was actively involved or just the higher up they trotted out for marketing purposes, I don't know.

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#6 Posted by RetroMetal (599 posts) -

My friend's reply was, "Half true and heavily spun."

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#7 Posted by Brendan (9117 posts) -

@retrometal: So basically a bunch of different teams worked on it, primarily Montreal, but saying it was because of "greed" is putting personal bias/opinion far ahead of actual fact.

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#8 Edited by ArtisanBreads (8783 posts) -

@brendan said:

saying it was because of "greed" is putting personal bias/opinion far ahead of actual fact.

Seriously. That cracked me up.

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#9 Edited by Hunkulese (4225 posts) -

@mudig88 said:

So far I've been told this:

The original Bioware team(Edmonton) has nothing to do with this game and are working on a whole new IP entirely. The reason is because they always intended Mass Effect to be a trilogy and nothing more. The reason why Andromeda exists is because of EA's greed and they passed on the responsibility to the team that made ME3's multiplayer mode(Bioware Montreal). Is any of this information true, and does anyone know more about the development process of Andromeda? Thanks.

This is a silly thing to say. If you're going down that route, every AAA game exists because of greed. And if there was any truth behind it, EA would have just gotten the Mass Effect team to make another Mass Effect game.

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#10 Edited by andythemeZ (175 posts) -

I mean then who do you have to blame for ME3 besides the people who made ME2? And both "good" ME games came after the EA acquisition and somewhere out there some KOTOR fan holds the biggest grudge and leaves 1/10 reviews for ME2 on every website possible because "EA greed killed KOTOR for this casual alien-boning-sim crap!"

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#11 Edited by Veektarius (6209 posts) -

@hunkulese said:
@mudig88 said:

So far I've been told this:

The original Bioware team(Edmonton) has nothing to do with this game and are working on a whole new IP entirely. The reason is because they always intended Mass Effect to be a trilogy and nothing more. The reason why Andromeda exists is because of EA's greed and they passed on the responsibility to the team that made ME3's multiplayer mode(Bioware Montreal). Is any of this information true, and does anyone know more about the development process of Andromeda? Thanks.

This is a silly thing to say. If you're going down that route, every AAA game exists because of greed. And if there was any truth behind it, EA would have just gotten the Mass Effect team to make another Mass Effect game.

Yeah, it would be "Greediest" of EA to do everything in their power to make a game that'd review well and sell boatloads. The fault that people should be worried about is "incompetence".

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#12 Posted by FinalDasa (3104 posts) -

Games aren't easy, even for big teams that work for big publishers. Handing Mass Effect to another team can be tough and developing a new game for the 1st time on a tight schedule can be worse.

Hard to say how much involvement the former studio did or didn't have, and hard to say what went wrong and when. Was is EA giving a low budget or tight time frame? Was it the new studio unable to meet expectations? Was it the old studio unwilling to help out the new one? Or are games just huge, complex, pieces of tech that sometimes go wrong?

Think of this as a Dragon Age 2 moment and not some monumental failure.

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#13 Posted by Justin258 (14686 posts) -

@andythemez: Wasn't the first Mass Effect originally published by Microsoft?

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#14 Posted by OurSin_360 (4992 posts) -

Well hyperbole aside the game feels like it was developed by a team that focused on combat, so not surprised that it was headed by the multiplayer team. Kinda wish they just went all out and made co-op shooter game just set in the universe.

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#15 Posted by andythemeZ (175 posts) -

@justin258: co-published. And the same accusations could be made for "M$" in that case.

that Bioware sold out so to speak in 2007.

Anyway this could happen to any game franchise left with the burden of having to go back to the well again and again. They churned out quite a few great games, stories, animations while profits for EA was the ultimate goal, and this one kinda mediocre one.

And it's not so much greed but the results that seem to show even crappy sequels in movies and games and books seem to outdo the good originals they follow, while new IPs are super risky. So it's less greed vs a proposition of A) sequel game that will 5 million copies if critically panned or 10 million if GOTY or B) new IP with 50/50 chance of either selling 5 million copies if critically acclaimed or completely flipping while still critically acclaimed, and they choose the safe bet

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#16 Edited by Blackout62 (2095 posts) -

As with all discussion of the Bioware/Pandemic sale to EA I feel it's necessary to make my own only partially founded accusation that it's all notable Elevation Partners stake holder and company namer Bono's fault. Like, forget Johnny Ric's long play to get back into EA's good graces. This is all the fault of Mr. "Where The Streets Have No Names".

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#17 Posted by ev77 (52 posts) -

@mudig88 said:

So far I've been told this:

The original Bioware team(Edmonton) has nothing to do with this game and are working on a whole new IP entirely. The reason is because they always intended Mass Effect to be a trilogy and nothing more. The reason why Andromeda exists is because of EA's greed and they passed on the responsibility to the team that made ME3's multiplayer mode(Bioware Montreal). Is any of this information true, and does anyone know more about the development process of Andromeda? Thanks.

This is a silly thing to say. If you're going down that route, every AAA game exists because of greed. And if there was any truth behind it, EA would have just gotten the Mass Effect team to make another Mass Effect game.

There is a huge difference between just 'greed" as you seem to be implying it (studio needs money to survive/grow) and "greed" as others seem to be implying (EA wants to milk the franchise/bioware name for all they can). And EA has a track record of taking great studios, milking them dry, and then tossing them aside when they are finished. Good publishers let their dev teams be creative and work on projects they are passionate about (see Horizon Zero Dawn), give them the time they need to achieve their vision (see Overwatch), give them leeway to take drastic changes (see Zelda BOTW), and foster a nature that keeps the talent through projects so improvements can be made (see Witcher 3).

Bad publishers force their teams to milk sequels, as often as they can churn them out, and cater towards achieving the most $$$ (hence "greed") in the shortest amount of time with little regards to anything else. It's no surprise when games that are made by passionate teams, who are given freedom (and time) by their publishers get good reviews and games pushed out the proverbial ass of some "AAA" company in a desire to turn a profit and keep the quarterly earnings flowing positive earn middling reviews. The times are a-changing and publishers who follow the latter philosophy will quickly find themselves in a corner if they don't adjust. And honestly, new IPs are not the huge risk they used to be.

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#18 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (2815 posts) -

@ev77 said:
@hunkulese said:
@mudig88 said:

So far I've been told this:

The original Bioware team(Edmonton) has nothing to do with this game and are working on a whole new IP entirely. The reason is because they always intended Mass Effect to be a trilogy and nothing more. The reason why Andromeda exists is because of EA's greed and they passed on the responsibility to the team that made ME3's multiplayer mode(Bioware Montreal). Is any of this information true, and does anyone know more about the development process of Andromeda? Thanks.

This is a silly thing to say. If you're going down that route, every AAA game exists because of greed. And if there was any truth behind it, EA would have just gotten the Mass Effect team to make another Mass Effect game.

There is a huge difference between just 'greed" as you seem to be implying it (studio needs money to survive/grow) and "greed" as others seem to be implying (EA wants to milk the franchise/bioware name for all they can). And EA has a track record of taking great studios, milking them dry, and then tossing them aside when they are finished. Good publishers let their dev teams be creative and work on projects they are passionate about (see Horizon Zero Dawn), give them the time they need to achieve their vision (see Overwatch), give them leeway to take drastic changes (see Zelda BOTW), and foster a nature that keeps the talent through projects so improvements can be made (see Witcher 3).

Bad publishers force their teams to milk sequels, as often as they can churn them out, and cater towards achieving the most $$$ (hence "greed") in the shortest amount of time with little regards to anything else. It's no surprise when games that are made by passionate teams, who are given freedom (and time) by their publishers get good reviews and games pushed out the proverbial ass of some "AAA" company in a desire to turn a profit and keep the quarterly earnings flowing positive earn middling reviews. The times are a-changing and publishers who follow the latter philosophy will quickly find themselves in a corner if they don't adjust. And honestly, new IPs are not the huge risk they used to be.

Mass Effect Andromeda was in development for 5 years. That's a long ass time.

I'm not saying EA isn't responsible for any of the game's problems, but it being rushed is not the source of it. It seems, at the very least, EA has learned from the Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 situations that forcing a super short development cycle doesn't tend to work out the greatest, particularly for Bioware's type of games. Since those two games, Dragon Age Inquisition got nearly 4 years of development, Mass Effect Andromeda got 5, Bioware Edmonton's new IP has been in development for 5 years and we've still seen nothing of it, and whatever the next Dragon Age game ends up being is approaching 3 years without even having been announced yet.

Again, obviously EA has plenty of issues, but it seems at least that they've improved in this one area.

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#19 Posted by ev77 (52 posts) -

@ev77 said:
@hunkulese said:
@mudig88 said:

So far I've been told this:

The original Bioware team(Edmonton) has nothing to do with this game and are working on a whole new IP entirely. The reason is because they always intended Mass Effect to be a trilogy and nothing more. The reason why Andromeda exists is because of EA's greed and they passed on the responsibility to the team that made ME3's multiplayer mode(Bioware Montreal). Is any of this information true, and does anyone know more about the development process of Andromeda? Thanks.

This is a silly thing to say. If you're going down that route, every AAA game exists because of greed. And if there was any truth behind it, EA would have just gotten the Mass Effect team to make another Mass Effect game.

There is a huge difference between just 'greed" as you seem to be implying it (studio needs money to survive/grow) and "greed" as others seem to be implying (EA wants to milk the franchise/bioware name for all they can). And EA has a track record of taking great studios, milking them dry, and then tossing them aside when they are finished. Good publishers let their dev teams be creative and work on projects they are passionate about (see Horizon Zero Dawn), give them the time they need to achieve their vision (see Overwatch), give them leeway to take drastic changes (see Zelda BOTW), and foster a nature that keeps the talent through projects so improvements can be made (see Witcher 3).

Bad publishers force their teams to milk sequels, as often as they can churn them out, and cater towards achieving the most $$$ (hence "greed") in the shortest amount of time with little regards to anything else. It's no surprise when games that are made by passionate teams, who are given freedom (and time) by their publishers get good reviews and games pushed out the proverbial ass of some "AAA" company in a desire to turn a profit and keep the quarterly earnings flowing positive earn middling reviews. The times are a-changing and publishers who follow the latter philosophy will quickly find themselves in a corner if they don't adjust. And honestly, new IPs are not the huge risk they used to be.

Mass Effect Andromeda was in development for 5 years. That's a long ass time.

I'm not saying EA isn't responsible for any of the game's problems, but it being rushed is not the source of it. It seems, at the very least, EA has learned from the Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 situations that forcing a super short development cycle doesn't tend to work out the greatest, particularly for Bioware's type of games. Since those two games, Dragon Age Inquisition got nearly 4 years of development, Mass Effect Andromeda got 5, Bioware Edmonton's new IP has been in development for 5 years and we've still seen nothing of it, and whatever the next Dragon Age game ends up being is approaching 3 years without even having been announced yet.

Again, obviously EA has plenty of issues, but it seems at least that they've improved in this one area.

Sure, they seem to have given them more time to develop, but as I listed out, time is only one small part of the process. Clearly there were plenty of other issues going by the final product. I mean, how can a team that has had that many years, and should have that much experience come out with something like that? It is especially noticeable in a month that saw the great RPG games of Horizon (by a team releasing their FIRST open-world RPG) and Zelda (the more apt comparison of another team with a long dev cycle with experience in the genre). All I can say, is that as soon as CDProjekt Red comes out with Cyberpunk 2077 they are going to eat bioware's sci-fi RPG lunch and leave them with nothing. And this is coming from a team that most people considered nobodies until their break-out success with the Witcher 3.

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#20 Posted by Justin258 (14686 posts) -

@ev77: I should point out that the only game you listed that wasn't developed and published by the same people is Horizon: Zero Dawn. Overwatch (Blizzard), Zelda BotW (Nintendo), and Witcher 3 (CD Projekt Red) were all developed and published by the same company. Which doesn't mean that there wasn't any strife between the people making the game and the people handling the money, but it does mean they were much more likely to share a similar vision.

This whole thread has already kinda devolved into people making vast assumptions and guesses about the politics between a developer and publisher. I don't doubt that EA is maybe sometimes a shitty company and it is a fact that some great developers and properties have been acquired and subsequently run into the ground by EA. Still, I dunno, people seem to be all too eager to blame a mediocre or worse game on publishers, especially when that publisher is as reviled as EA and that developer is as beloved as Bioware. I'd personally like for all this to be more transparent so we can see what actually goes on - it's entirely possible that Bioware Montreal, or Bioware as a whole, pitched the idea of Mass Effect Andromeda to EA and EA jumped on the opportunity to publish another Mass Effect game, not that EA "forced" Bioware to make another Mass Effect game.

Also, if I were a video game developer and an EA representative came into my office and told me that we were going to be making a new Mass Effect game, I'd be overjoyed. That means job stability, maybe even better pay, maybe huge opportunities for career growth.

Back on topic

This is another one of those things that we'll probably never really know for sure, although it seems fairly certain that Montreal did the lion's share of the work and Edmonton (and probably some other EA studios somewhere, I wouldn't be surprised if a DICE employee's handiwork was somewhere in Andromeda) helped out here and there.

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#21 Posted by Fruitcocoa (670 posts) -

I find it really hard to believe that this game was made with no heart just pure greed, regardless who made the game. It’s a good game, in some parts a great game. It might not be as good as Mass Effect 2, but I actually enjoyed it a whole lot and my problems with it would surely be there whoever would made this game.

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#22 Posted by probablytuna (4984 posts) -
@ev77 said:

And this is coming from a team that most people considered nobodies until their break-out success with the Witcher 3.

CD Projekt Red was already a notable development team when they released Witcher 2. They weren't quite as big as they were when Witcher 3 came out but they definitely weren't "nobodies".

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#23 Posted by ev77 (52 posts) -

@justin258: "Back on topic"? The topic of the thread is about games development, and specifically andromedia. Seems on topic to me. And sure, we are making assumptions and guesses; but the history of development studios at EA don't lie. If companies keep getting sucked up into the black hole that is EA and consequently keep turning out poor games soon after I'm going to be betting on the problem being EA and not so much the dev studios. Sure, EA isn't 100% to blame, but clearly they have a culture, or process, or whatever that most dev studios seem to not be able to adjust to.

Also, bioware could have totally called up EA and said "we want to make Andromedia" and been given the go ahead. But even giving EA the supreme benefit of the doubt that they didn't meddle in any of the development, anyone could have seen the game at the very least needed more time in the oven (or possibly even scrapped for something else), but they went ahead and pushed it out anyway. See the example of Overwatch, where things didn't work out, the project was canned, and from the ashes rose the metaphorically phoenix that is Overwatch (a damn fine game by most everyone's standard). Good publishers see the value in trusting their teams to make a great product, even if it takes them failing to do so. Bad publishers see $$$ and their quarterly earnings reports coming up and don't want to bother spending anymore money on something that don't believe or trust in and would rather push it out the door and get whatever they can out of it.

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#24 Posted by viking_funeral (2699 posts) -

A lot of speculation being passed off as fact in this thread.

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#25 Posted by ev77 (52 posts) -

@probablytuna: I loved Witcher 2, and personally wouldn't disagree with them being a great developer as far back as then; but I still stand by their mainstream status being as basically under-the-radar or nobodies before the Witcher 3. I think most people had an expectation of them just creating a decent "first attempt" at an open-world RPG that had pretty graphics (just like with Witcher 2) but was otherwise not notable. Instead, they ended up with a smash hit and (IMO) one of the best RPGs to date.

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#26 Posted by probablytuna (4984 posts) -
@ev77 said:

@probablytuna: I loved Witcher 2, and personally wouldn't disagree with them being a great developer as far back as then; but I still stand by their mainstream status being as basically under-the-radar or nobodies before the Witcher 3. I think most people had an expectation of them just creating a decent "first attempt" at an open-world RPG that had pretty graphics (just like with Witcher 2) but was otherwise not notable. Instead, they ended up with a smash hit and (IMO) one of the best RPGs to date.

For me, that was the mentality I had when CD Projekt Red moved from The Witcher to The Witcher 2. But I agree, The Witcher 3 propelled them to the mainstream as one of the major AAA game developers.

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#27 Posted by Justin258 (14686 posts) -

@ev77: Again, Overwatch was made by Blizzard. If Blizzard, the creative minds behind and funders (is that a word?) of Overwatch, decided to scrap whatever Overwatch was before it became a shooter, there's far less possibility for internal strife. Blizzard are also only matched by Valve when it comes to making games that continue to pull in money over a long period of time, which pretty much gives Blizzard the opportunity to do whatever they want, whenever they want to.

Also worth noting that the proper name for the company is Activision Blizzard.

@ev77 said:

@probablytuna: I loved Witcher 2, and personally wouldn't disagree with them being a great developer as far back as then; but I still stand by their mainstream status being as basically under-the-radar or nobodies before the Witcher 3. I think most people had an expectation of them just creating a decent "first attempt" at an open-world RPG that had pretty graphics (just like with Witcher 2) but was otherwise not notable. Instead, they ended up with a smash hit and (IMO) one of the best RPGs to date.

Not being "mainstream" doesn't mean you're a nobody. JRPG developer Atlus is pretty famous in video game circles at this point but they're still far from "mainstream". Persona 5 might break into the mainstream. Might.

I'm not defending EA or anything like that. All I want to do is stress the importance of not assuming you know something until you actually have something more solid than some correlation.

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#28 Posted by Gaff (2665 posts) -

Take this with a grain of salt: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1354014 and https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/Employee-Review-BioWare-RVW11370424.htm

I worked at BioWare full-time (More than 5 years)

Pros

- Used to be a great environment filled with great amount of world class creative talents.
- Work on a great AAA IP.
- Great location downtown Montreal.

Cons

- Bioware Edmonton and Montreal symbiosis is broken. Lots of conflicts and bro culture.
- Lost over 13 leads (game design, art, audio, prog, senior core leads, etc) in 5 years at Bioware Montreal on Mass Effect. Edmonton lost only 3. It is clear that Edmonton has the bigger part of the stick when it comes to purge Leads and Producers who are not aligned with their leadership style.
- Putting people on performance improvement program (PIP Program) is the new tactics to get rid of people. Once again more than 10 people in Montreal got slammed with this bureaucratic uppercut to let go people that are not bending to Edmonton leadership styles in the last revision cycle. This approach is used by the Montreal Leadership to purge the mess from the lack of vision cause by upper management in the last 4 years (throwing people under the bus to protect bad core management).
- Renaming crunch to Finaling mode. Which means company pays for your lunch but you have only 30 minutes to eat and then getting back on the keyboard. Was lasting for over 2 months and was a real catastrophy.
- Retaliation and harassment is sadly a reality. If you talk and ask questions you will be tag as a trouble maker and end up in a bad position.
- HR won't help you out. They will deny the current harassment from Monreal management by ignoring and not documenting the facts. In other words if you leave don't talk. Just let it go...
- Many benifits got cut due to too much time extension to get the game done.

Credit: https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/Employee-Review-BioWare-RVW11370424.htm

If this is to be believed, the fault is more on BW Edmonton and Montreal management than EA.

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#30 Edited by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -

It doesn't matter which team made it, the point is a lot of BioWare's talent behind their best games are all gone

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#31 Edited by RetroMetal (599 posts) -

My friend has added to his statement to say this... Again, this is directly in response to the original question in the thread.

"Half true and heavily spun.

Like, yeah, Mass Effect and Dragon Age ca. 2013 were the two strongest IPs in EA that weren't "brands", but rather universes. So yeah, after the trilogy is done, of course you want to capitalize on that. That could be construed as "EA's greed", or as "we want to continue to build out and explore this 'verse", or a mixture of the two.

But was that just hoisted onto whoever did ME3 MP? No, because the long-term plan for the Montreal studio basically always was to own/direct a game. It was assistance in ME2+DLC, ME3+MP+DLC, then assistance in DAI + ownership of MEA. Even then, as you saw in that FB post I shared, MEA wasn't just a Montreal effort, especially in the last year-ish of dev.

Btw, given the amount finger-pointing going around, and fractional truths and shit, you can prrrobably assume that 99% of people trying to guess how MEA's development went is wrong in one or more ways."

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#32 Posted by PillClinton (3585 posts) -

@brendan said:

saying it was because of "greed" is putting personal bias/opinion far ahead of actual fact.

Seriously. That cracked me up.

Well, the game is clearly a cash-in on the Mass Effect name. There seems to be no originality or passion to be found.

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#33 Posted by Humanity (16841 posts) -

@mudig88: I don't know if I'd call it "greed" when a company is trying to capitalize on a successful franchise.

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#34 Posted by ArtisanBreads (8783 posts) -

@pillclinton: I guess I am not enjoying the game right now at all according to you. It's fun for me.

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#35 Edited by kcin (879 posts) -

I guess Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 were the result of pure love and creativity, which would have come to fruition whether or not they received the necessary financial support of their publishers (and whether or not the team making them received compensation for their work), by virtue of the team's unbridled passion.

Whereas Andromeda is a product of sneering, conniving, cynical corporate greed.

Is that right?

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#36 Edited by PillClinton (3585 posts) -

@pillclinton: I guess I am not enjoying the game right now at all according to you. It's fun for me.

Hey, I've enjoyed shameless cash grabs before too. They can be fun sometimes. I didn't burn out on Call of Duty until after Black Ops.

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#37 Posted by ev77 (52 posts) -

@justin258: So I guess my wording of "publishers" was a poor choice. Maybe just "upper management" or "corporate executives" or some other phrase would have brought the point across better. Because, to be clear, Bioware is exactly like Blizzard/the overwatch team is to Activision_Blizzard or the Zelda team is to nintendo or CDProjekt Red is to CD Projekt S.A. (their parent company). Bioware is an EA company. They are not some 3rd party standalone dev studio that reached out to EA to help fund their project or get it "printed" so-to-speak (like for instance Titanfall 2 was/is). They were bought-out by EA and brought "in-house" to work under their rules. Which is the point I'm trying to make, that EA seems to have some real bullshit rules that keep sinking all their studios and creating mediocre products. Maybe that is why Blizzard has highly successful games time-after-time (even after merging with Activision)? Because I feel like even Blizzard wouldn't live long under an EA reign.

But I guess maybe I should be more clear on my whole point: I'm a gamer, I play a lot of games. And it's really enjoyable to me to play a great game, that oozes polish, love, and care. Some games may have their faults, but you can still see and feel the love and passion that is put into them (and I should say is ALLOWED to be put into them). So it really bums me out when I consistently see those qualities lacking from games that come out of EA; or see them consistently losing those traits with each new release.

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