Electronic Arts nabs Mass Effect PC publishing rights from Microsoft

Nearly all of BioWare’s recent RPG releases have first hit Microsoft’s console, be it the original Xbox or Xbox 360, only later to make it to the PC. It happened with the two Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, as well as Jade Empire, and it will happen to Mass Effect.

Electronic Arts and BioWare announced today that Mass Effect, originally released on the Xbox 360 late November 2007, will be hitting the PC in May 2008. Unlike the Xbox 360 version, which was published by Microsoft Games Studios, EA will be handing the publishing duties for the PC port.

Mass Effect serves as a powerful example of video games as an art form, delivering new levels of emotional intensity, realistic characters and a gripping storyline – all set in a compelling new universe,” said Ray Muzyka, General Manager, BioWare and Vice President, Electronic Arts.

Mass Effect for the PC also represents the first sign of the split in publishing agreements for BioWare and Microsoft after EA acquired the Canadian game developer.

Frank Gibeau, President of EA’s Games Label added, “EA has struck an agreement with Microsoft to handle future publishing for Mass Effect. We are looking forward to releasing Mass Effect on the PC this Spring and brand new titles in the future.”

EA said that the PC release will contain several new optimizations specific to the version, such as new control schemes, hot keys, along with new additions in the form of a new decryption mini-game and enhanced GUI system.

BioWare also recently announced new paid DLC for Xbox 360 owners to appear in March. It’s unclear at this time whether or not any of this content will be incorporated into the PC version.

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