As exciting as 2015 will be for video game releases, it will be equally as exciting for news and developments emerging from post-2015 titles. We’ve known the next Mass Effect game has been in development for at least several months, and probably longer than that, but the game is far from release. Bioware GM Aaron Flynn posted on Neogaf about his team’s outlook on expanding the Mass Effect universe and supporting that through the gameplay.

The next Mass Effect -- which has not been named “Mass Effect 4” -- will mark the series’ debut on the new consoles, assuming we don’t get a remastering of a series collection (we’ve seen enough of those). Dragon Age may be Bioware’s next-biggest existing IP, but even so, Flynn is adamant that Mass Effect’s core experience, or gameplay “template,” will not be the same; in other words, it won’t be as closely linked as From Software titles (Dark Souls and Bloodborne) or Ubisoft’s heavy-hitters Assassin’s Creed & Watch Dogs.

Below, we examine Flynn’s insight and discuss some of the ways Bioware can take its IP and construct a stronger core gameplay offering. This article does not explore storyline continuity or love interests among quarians and volus, as much as I’d love to get into that, so prepare yourself for some Mass Effect meat & potatoes.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Richard Garriott de Cayeux, known to his fans as "Lord British," and Starr Long about the current designs for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. One of the design aspects I found truly fascinating was their player-driven economy model. This shouldn't sound that strange, as almost everyone MMO appears to hype such ambitions, but few actually manage to produce an economy that doesn't self-destruct.

Day one, year one of PAX South concluded with an off-site event hosted by the Cloud Imperium Games team, headed-up by CEO and Star Citizen lead Chris Roberts.

The ability to hook players into a game -- ideally without requiring a never-ending grind to get to the "fun part" -- is an ever-challenging quest for companies. This problem is one that actually benefits the modding community, which is probably one of the ultimate forms of complimenting a game's developers. Modding communities show that players are so committed to what they were given that they want to keep it alive as long as possible. Morrowind is a prime example of this; even after a decade, players are still keeping the game alive by porting it into newer engines -- even the game's Lead Designer acknowledges this, 10+ years later.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is not a Lord of the Rings game. There are no epic battles between a wizard and a balrog, there are no disguised female noblewomen slaying wraiths, and there are no hobbits singing jigs and jumping on top of cave trolls. However, having demoed Shadow of Mordor at Monolith Productions, I had not wanted any of that in the finished product.

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Sure, Peter Jackson’s films have translated well to a couple of titles, and some of our readers may have been satisfied by the more recent War in the North or Lord of the Rings Online, but there’s more to be had. What the Tolkien universe has needed to keep us inspired and excited is a logical, original interpretation of Middle-earth. Shadow of Mordor offers this originality by stripping the Tolkien world down to brains and blood, and the game is better off because of it.

Double Fine continues to surprise with how they craft their take on various game genres. With Massive Chalice, the company has unified the turn-based strategy of XCOM and Crusader Kings with the long-term strategy elements of Civilization, looking through the genetics lens of Fire Emblem. This complex offspring of those games explores the concept of the smallest action having an impact in the longer term – a terms as long as 350 years.

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Massive Chalice Lead Animator Geoff Soulis showed us how all the pieces fit together in a hands-on demo at PAX Prime. We’ll start by overviewing Massive Chalice, then describe its classes, explain Double Fine’s flavor of turn-based combat, and tie together combat with prolonging bloodlines.

Half of GN’s team is presently in Whistler Blackcomb as a refresher off the tail-end of PAX Prime 2014 (full event coverage here), but that hasn’t stopped us from pumping out content – including this Star Citizen piece. We recently published an interview discussing the research and implementation of procedural generation within Star Citizen, the stretch goal set about “$10 million ago,” so to speak.

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Today’s content specifically explains customization within Star Citizen. We spoke with CIG CEO & Chairman Chris Roberts about character, ship, organization, and space station customization in Star Citizen, including ship tuning and painting. As a quick throw-in, we asked Roberts about adjusting or changing FOV in Star Citizen.

Trion Worlds' sandbox MMORPG Trove, currently in alpha, has some exciting news for fans of the game – beta is coming soon).

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We were fortunate enough that GN Senior Editor Nick Pinkerton was able to meet with Andrew Krausnick, Project Lead, and Brian Clarke, Lead Artist, to find out how the alpha released has progressed to enhance the game’s cooperative, community-focused PVE experience. We’ll cover player-created content and crafting, clubs and the other worlds, and classes and items in this article.

After talking to Chris Roberts about procedural generation, we headed over to the Square Enix & Psyonix shared booth to discuss Nosgoth. And played it. I actually played a game at PAX – shocking. Nosgoth is another in the growing line of third-person battle arenas, and unlike Skara – Nosgoth seems to have gotten the pacing right.

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You play as one of two different factions in Nosgoth, humans and vampires, alternating mid-round after a time limit for balance reasons. Each team has a distinctive playstyle – the humans use a lot of ranged weapons to fight from afar and the vampires use their abilities and speed to quickly navigate terrain elements. Vampire movement is enacted in a fashion that allows them to close the distance on human prey with great efficiency.

Note: Nosgoth is still in closed beta right now.

Trion Worlds announced at PAX Prime this weekend that its westernized fantasy MMORPG ArcheAge will release on September 16. “Founders,” those who have financially backed the game to get access to the alpha and beta, can begin enjoying ArcheAge on September 12.

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ArcheAge has been in closed beta since July 17 and will release an open beta from September 4-8 so that newcomers can try it out before fully committing. That said, ArcheAge is free-to-play, but it will also offer Patron subscriptions and non-recurring passes for more in-game content & bonuses.

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