Stephen Meyerink
April Fools 2011: Mass Effect: Conquest Announced
It looks to have both flexibility and reach. Also, a surprise cameo by Commander Shepard elsewhere!
04.01.11 - 11:37 AM

Fans of EA BioWare's premiere action-RPG franchise, Mass Effect, will be pleased to learn that today the company announced the development of the oft-rumored Mass Effect MMO, Mass Effect: Conquest. The game will follow in the footsteps of Mass Effect 2 and be available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, with BioWare aiming for a simultaneous launch on all three platforms, as well as a unified set of servers for the three.

Much like BioWare's other massively multiplayer project, Star Wars: The Old Republic, the development team hopes to integrate BioWare's strong writing and storytelling elements into the game. The story takes place sometime between the end of Mass Effect 2 and during the story of the upcoming Mass Effect 3, during the Reaper incursion into civilized space, and sees players joining up with one of several factions to fend off the invasion. At launch, the team aims to have a number of playable races, with that list already including humans, turians, asari, geth, and hanar. The storyline will be heavily based on player choice, with the series' signature dialogue wheel in full effect as players navigate a labyrinth of choices leading them into conflict with the Reaper forces, and even, the team teases, into battle under a legendary commander him or herself.

Surprisingly, the game will shed some of the series' RPG trappings and be what BioWare terms an "Action MMO," with massive battles featuring hundreds of players collaborating at once. Dr. Ray Muzyka, CEO of BioWare, offers his thoughts on the recent announcement:

"A big part of what we believe draws our players to the Mass Effect franchise is its frenetic, squad-based shooting gameplay, which we feel has been refined over two, soon to be three main entries, into what we see as one of the best shooter models on the market. With Conquest, what we're really trying to do is take that triple-A shooter gameplay and mold it into a large-scale team-based combat experience, yet still maintain that aspect of story and choice – that is, your race, your background, your decisions – things that were so successful in games like our recent Dragon Age II. I strongly believe that this is something that simply hasn't yet been done successfully in the MMO space."

Hard gameplay details are scant in the press release, but BioWare promises more details in the coming weeks, as well as the promise of the first footage of the game at this year's E3 Expo. Stay tuned to RPGFan for all the details in the future!

In related news, it has been announced that Commander Shepard will be featured as an exclusive pre-order-only fighter for the Mortal Kombat reboot scheduled to release in April. Shepard's fighting style will involve the use of a multitude of weapons as well as biotic and omni tool abilities. His biotic abilities also allow him to have unique fatalities, such as using his Charge attack to slam his opponents, causing them to explode.

Mortal Kombat is currently slated for an April 19th release.