Ex-BioWare game designer Manveer Heir, who worked on both Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda before leaving the company says that the company’s swing towards open-world games us a result of EA’s push towards microtransactions.
Three key pieces of Mass Effect: Andomeda DLC would have saved the series.
On a recent Waypoint podcast, Hier, who worked at BioWare Montreal for seven years, claims the publisher is “generally pushing for more open-world games. And the reason is you can monetise them better,” and that the reason card packs were added to the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer was that they could “get people to keep coming back to a thing instead of 'just' playing for 60 to 100 hours?”
The success of the card packs in Mass Effect 3 has directly impacted the direction the studio as a whole has taken over recent years. Heir says that “the amount of money we made just off those card packs was so significant that's the reason Dragon Age has multiplayer, that's the reason other EA products started getting multiplayer that hadn't really had them before, because we nailed it and brought in a ton of money,” and goes on to claim that he’s “seen people literally spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards."
Heir goes on to suggest that the very existence of Anthem, BioWare’s upcoming multiplayer RPG, is down to the amount of money studios can make from microtransactions, and that “the linear single-player triple-A game at EA is dead for the time being," tying Mass Effect’s multiplayer to the recent closure of Visceral Games.