BioWare shared a surprise update about the next Mass Effect game this week, confirming it had left pre-production and entered full development. The brief update didn't include a word about a release date, but the little bit of information does provide some insight into when the next Mass Effect game -- Mass Effect 4, Mass Effect 5, or whatever it winds up being called -- will release.
The previous Mass Effect game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, took five years of development from pre-production to release. This period would have probably been shorter if the game didn't have substantial development issues, but development issues and BioWare go together like peanut butter and jelly. Dragon Age 4 has had serious development issues, and before it both Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem had major issues as well.
Mass Effect Andromeda was technically in development for five years, but the bulk of the game was made in 18 months. In other words, there's no reason to expect the new Mass Effect game to be five years out, unless something goes wrong, which is a real possibility with BioWare. Still, getting out of pre-production is key for the new Mass Effect because Mass Effect Andromeda struggled to get out of pre-production.
The new Mass Effect began pre-production in 2020. If it follows Mass Effect: Andromeda's development schedule to a T then it will be out in 2025. However, there's reason to believe it could be out before this, as Mass Effect: Andromeda was more or less made in 18 months after it struggled in the pre-production and prototype stage.
Ultimately, the release of Dragon Age 4 will also impact the release of the next Mass Effect. If it releases in 2023, like rumors suggest it could, then the new Mass Effect could be out in 2024. If Dragon Age 4 slips to 2024, then Mass Effect will probably slip with it until 2025, as EA and BioWare aren't going to release these two games in the same year.
Unfortunately, for now, all we have is speculation. 2024 looks like the most likely, but a 2025 release is certainly on the table. Meanwhile, 2023 is certainly too soon. And if the game doesn't come out until 2026, well something went wrong for BioWare again.
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