Jeff Bell on the future of Mass Effect

Knowing EA’s traditions of making a game available on every conceivable platform, their recent buyout of BioWare and Pandemic had a few gamers worried. Will BioWare be able to focus solely on the 360 version of Mass Effect 2 or will they be forced to develop a PS3 version simultaneously? 1UP caught up with Microsoft’s Jeff Bell — Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business — at CES for a little chat and among topics, the EA/BioWare issue was brought up.

1UP: How does having Electronic Arts acquire BioWare and Pandemic affect your relationship with the Mass Effect franchise going forward? Does that mean you wouldn’t have a say in, for example, Mass Effect 2 going multi-platform?

Bell: Obviously, we couldn’t have a better partner acquiring one of our partners. EA is really strong in our relationship, whether it’s on the sports side or on their other incredible franchises like Rock Band. We do very well with them, they know us very well. [With] Chris Satchell’s group with SDK and development kits, [we have] very, very deep relationships to make sure their games play best — 60 frames per second on Madden versus 30 frames per second on our competition, etc.

Whatever the future holds for Mass Effect, we know it’s going to be part of our future, as well. We just look forward to making it an even better game that what is obviously an extraordinarily great game right now.

Looks like no one is willing to rule out the franchise moving to another system – not Microsoft, not BioWare, and definitely not EA. So it’s fairly likely that the game will be developed for other systems somewhere down the road.

It’s probably a bit too early to be talking about the actual release Mass Effect 2 yet anyway, seeing as Bioware’s Community Coordinator Chris Priestly has said it’s still a few years away. But Casey Hudson, BioWare’s project director for Mass Effect, has talked a bit about how the dialogue system will be improved. In the meanwhile though, there’s always the DLC — which will contain some really cool stuff — to look forward to.

[See also: Mass Effect gallery]