Veteran games narrative designer Mary DeMarle has joined BioWare as senior narrative designer on Mass Effect 5. BioWare project director Michael Gamble made the announcement on Twitter, which was met with universal praise from both fans and the games industry at large. DeMarle previously worked as executive narrative director with Eidos Montreal before the studio’s sale to Embracer Group, heading up projects including Deus Ex and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the RPG that won best narrative at The Game Awards 2021.
DeMarle was credited with reviving the Deus Ex franchise and introducing it to a new generation of audiences. In 2017, ahead of DeMarle’s DICE talk on creating Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the Academy of Interactive Arts in Sciences praised her “nuanced and complex storytelling.”
During her interview with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, DeMarle briefly touched on the challenges and opportunities of leading a project in a beloved franchise with a long gap between entries.
“We were lucky that it was ten years in between Deus Ex titles, because we all had beautiful memories of the early games,” DeMarle said. “But memories and what you’re actually dealing with don’t always jive, so it was nice to have the break in between games. However, we also knew that we had this huge challenge of people thinking, ‘You’re not them.’
BioWare might not have the luxury of memory gaps with Mass Effect 5, after releasing Mass Effect: Legendary Edition in 2021.
Whatever fans might be expecting, it’s hard not to see DeMarle as a natural fit for Mass Effect, though. During her career so far, DeMarle developed a reputation for writing complex and diverse characters with the intent of presenting multiple viewpoints to push players out of their comfort zones.
“The frustrating thing for me is that as human beings, we want simple answers and we want to understand things right away, but many people are only looking at things from their own standpoint and their own vision because that’s all they know,” DeMarle told the Academy. “If we have the capacity to dig deeper and really look, maybe we’ll start seeing things from other sides.”
Which is about as Mass Effect as you can get.
It’ll probably be a long while yet before we’re treated with even a tidbit of Mass Effect 5’s story, but BioWare did at least confirm that no, they won’t magically bring Shepard back to life.
Meanwhile, if you’re still playing through Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, make sure to tackle the missions in the right order. We’ve also got a roundup of the best Mass Effect mods to put a fresh twist on the classic trilogy.