BioWare will release its brand new IP in the first quarter of 2018, EA said during an earnings call for investors on Tuesday, 31 January. EA CEO Andrew Wilson teased a few details about the upcoming game that is expected to launch by the end of the current fiscal year that ends on 31 March 2018.
"At the end of the fiscal year, our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new IP, a clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe," Wilson said. "This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people thing about an action title, bringing friends together to play in an exhilarating new way.
"We're very excited about the future of this new franchise and its ability to attract a large, global audience."
During the Q&A portion of the call, Wilson said the title will be an action-adventure, rather than an RPG – a marked change in direction for the studio best known for its beloved RPGs.
"What we're seeing more and more is genre-melding, which is great components of a number of different genres really kind of coming together into single games," Wilson said. "And so when you think about this game, you should be thinking about the great RPG character development and storyline progression that BioWare is known for, but in a world of greater action and greater adventure, which is growing to be one of the larger categories in games."
BioWare vice president and general manager Aaryn Flynn teased few vague details about the new IP as the development team continues to finish its upcoming sci-fi epic Mass Effect: Andromeda that's set to release in March.
"In 2012, we began crafting a new universe full of new characters, stories and gameplay," Flynn wrote in a blog post. "Our ambition is simple: Draw upon 20+ years of development knowledge and lessons to create something fun and new for you to enjoy with your friends.
"There's nothing quite as exciting as building a new IP from scratch, and it will be even more thrilling for us to share more with you in the future."
The new IP was first announced by BioWare in September 2012 as a game that would be built from the ground up and run on "new gaming technology."
In November last year, Flynn said the team would not talk about the unannounced IP until they're "confident about what it's going to be and everything."
"We've been doing reviews with our CEO Andrew Wilson and I think he likes it," Flynn told Game Informer. So, knock on wood, we'll keep working on it and we'll keep doing it. Hopefully you'll hear more about that once Andromeda's done and we've satisfied fans with that game."
When asked about the feedback Wilson gave the team during the review session, Flynn said the executive may have said the game was "more done" than what he initially expected.
Flynn also noted that while it is a "privilege to get to work on a new IP" the team did have to do a lot of "soul searching" to figure out what they wanted in the new IP.
"You have to ask yourself, 'Do you want to do something that fiercly different or do you want to do something that's very recognizable?,'" Flynn said. "'Do you want to take something that you've done and put a spin on it, or do you want to wipe the slate clean and say what would we do in this.' And for us, what we said was we're BioWare; So we have a certain kind of game that we love making and we know our fans would love, so we started with that and that's a game that has as its heart stories and storytelling.
"So we decided we're going to stick with that. We're not just going to walk away from that. Once we agreed on that, everything started to fall into place."
BioWare's highly anticipated sci-fi RPG Mass Effect Andromeda is set to release on 21 March in the US and 23 March in Europe for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.