Mass Effect 4 Will Look Gorgeous in Unreal Engine 5
Mass Effect 4 is poised to breathe new life into Bioware’s beloved sci-fi RPG series after a considerable hiatus without a new installment. Following the release of Mass Effect Legendary Edition in 2021, which saw the original trilogy remastered and reignited interest in EA’s renowned franchise, fans were left disappointed by the lackluster attempt at continuing the series with Mass Effect: Andromeda. A significant factor contributing to Andromeda’s failure was the developer’s forced utilization of the Frostbite Engine, resulting in an ill-suited engine for the unique RPG genre that Mass Effect encompasses. However, the upcoming Mass Effect 4 is set to make a significant leap forward by adopting the Unreal Engine 5, presenting an opportunity to create the most visually stunning game in the series yet.
The original Mass Effect trilogy was developed using Unreal Engine 3, a technology dating back to 2006. Despite the impressive achievements BioWare accomplished with this engine across the three games, it was evident that a transition was necessary for the next installment. Amid conflicting reports about the circumstances at the controversial EA, BioWare ultimately opted to employ the publisher’s in-house Frostbite Engine. Regrettably, the Frostbite Engine’s incompatibility with Mass Effect’s distinctive RPG mechanics resulted in the widely criticized Mass Effect: Andromeda, regarded as the weakest entry in the series. Therefore, the decision to switch engines for Mass Effect 4 represents a significant step in the right direction.
Mass Effect’s future seemed uncertain after the Frostbite Engine misstep, but EA appears to have recalibrated its approach to the franchise. In 2021, rumors emerged through job listings connecting Mass Effect 4 with the Unreal Engine. From a financial perspective, it makes sense for EA to avoid the expenses associated with licensing Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, so their decision to revisit it demonstrates a serious investment in Mass Effect 4. Should BioWare indeed utilize Unreal Engine 5 for the next Mass Effect, it would suggest that EA is once again willing to take a risk, leveraging the power of Epic Games’ technology alongside BioWare’s creative vision.
Epic Games has showcased the immense graphical fidelity and presentation capabilities of Unreal Engine 5 through an impressive, nearly photorealistic Matrix-themed tech demo. With numerous major developers embracing the latest iteration of this engine, it might surprise many gamers to learn that it is publicly available and accessible to indie developers as well. Notably, there are several popular concept videos and tech demos featuring remakes of classic games, showcasing the engine’s ability to enable dedicated fans to rival the visual quality of official developers. One example is a recreation of an area from Pokémon Black and White in Unreal Engine 5, which competes favorably with the visuals of contemporary official offerings.
Considering BioWare’s connection to Unreal Engine, revitalized through the development of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, their adoption of Unreal Engine 5 for the next installment holds promise for the Mass Effect series. Despite being over a decade old, Mass Effect 3 has aged gracefully. Having recently completed the production and achieved immense success with Mass Effect Legendary Edition, BioWare likely gained a renewed familiarity with their former Unreal Engine 3 while optimizing the trilogy for its modern re-release. EA may have finally granted the studio the necessary time for the new entry’s development, a far cry from the rushed development of Mass Effect: Andromeda.
With BioWare’s experience in working with Epic Games’ technology and their newfound acquaintance with Unreal Engine 5, there is genuine potential for the next game to deliver a visually stunning experience. The recent remasters successfully updated the aesthetics of the originals, and the underwhelming outcome of games like Anthem underscored the wasted potential of visually impressive sci-fi titles. As a result, the level of visual fidelity BioWare could achieve in Mass Effect 4 remains unpredictable.
It’s important to note that Mass Effect 4 is currently in development, and fans eagerly await the next chapter in this iconic franchise.