EA has banked heavily on their Frostbite engine over the years. After its massive success for the Battlefield franchise, EA began using it as the go-to engine for every game that EA publishes, including their sports games, racing games like Need For Speed, and of course games of Bioware most noticeably Mass Effect: Andromeda.
With Mass Effect being a narrative game that is heavily driven by dialog, the game’s core concept seemed to be at odds with Frostbite. This is because the engine although known for creating beautiful environments is also known for being notoriously hard to animate facial animations and reactions. Upon release, gamers might remember this being a key issue with Mass Effect Andromeda.
Because of this, it appears that Bioware might be returning to the Unreal Engine for their next Mass Effect title. This news was first reported by GamesBeat shortly after a job listing for technical director on the upcoming Mass Effect listed Unreal Engine 4 experiences as a requirement.
Game Informer, who reached out to their own sources were told that “Yeah, it’s been something that’s come up a few different times, there is a really big focus on the next Mass Effect and doing it right.” With the last two Bioware games being poorly received by the audience and critics, it makes sense a strong emphasis is being placed on “doing it right.”
On the converse side, we also know that Bioware is currently working on Dragon Age 4. It appears that this game will continue using Frostbite, however, since the previous title in the series went on to win several games of the year awards, it makes sense for that title. While Dragon Age never used Unreal Engine, it is clear that this decision is based on an individual case. With Mass Effect rooted in Unreal Engine 3, and several developers from the original trilogy returning for the next game, this feels like the best decision for the franchise.