We’ve known for a long while now that Mass Effect 3was to end the Commander Shepard storyline, and that Mass Effect 4, whenever it might actually arrive, would start something new. This is understandable; three games with the same main character is enough and they want to move on to fresh new things.
But now comes word that the next game, which will likely start another trilogy story arc, will not only not have Commander Shepard, but that it will likely not have anything to do with any of Shepard’s companions or the events of the original trilogy at all.
Continue reading to see what Mass Effect lead writer Mac Walters had to say about the future of the series.
“Well, I can’t get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn’t relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever.
Beyond that, that’s what we’ve been deciding for awhile. But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It can’t just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core. Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard specific companions.”
One of the options on the table when it comes to Mass Effect 4, it’s been assumed, is to set the story in a completely different time. The first game is set in the year 2183, so they could go either way, before or after, to begin a new story.
The negative to this is that you lose that precious continuity. Not playing as Shepard is one thing, but removing familiar faces and locations could make it a little more difficult to warm up to. The events and people surrounding Shepard were so significant that it’s hard to imagine anything set after those games wouldn’t at least reference back to those times once or twice. Then there’s the prequel option, but that’s never quite as appealing when you know the history and what’s to come.
When and where do you wish to see Mass Effect 4 set? Would you rather it be in a completely different time than the original trilogy with little to no traces of Shepard and the characters and events associated with him/her, or would you prefer a story set in and around that same time, which would open up the opportunity for occasional interactions with old friends?
Last time out they gave us an auto dialogued, linear game that focused solely on putting forward only the most minimal efforts while depriving us of things that used to define the series such as character importation, npc interaction through interactive cinematics, quest menus that actually work. Throughout Mass Effect 3 instances where “it’s good enough” seemed to define Bioware’s work, like taking a stock image off the internet and spending all of 15 minutes photoshopping it and using the result as one of the big reveals for the series, how does that happen in a multimillion dollar game with an entire art department behind it? Sadly a lot of these issues will always be overlooked because of what they forced on us, an ending that defies both logic an proper story structure and a microtransaction laden multiplayer that not only required you to play it but because of the way they designed the game became the only variable for the entire series that affected the ending.
I believe Bioware can make amazing games, but in their last two games they have shown neither care nor concern to give us anything close to their best effort and that’s something that can’t be forgiven and will not be forgotten.
Comment by Yukon — October 17, 2013 @ 4:38 pm
Then please, by all means, cease supporting Bioware. You will have no reason to complain, and we will have no reason appease the babble that I am certain you will voice for the 4th installment.
Comment by Kirk — October 30, 2013 @ 2:58 am
I agree with the introduction of a new playable character, but I think that the next installment should continue from where Mass Effect 3 left off.
Bioware should take a cue from other Sci-Fi series: for instance, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was set about 70 years after the original series. Simply introducing an entirely new story in the same fictional universe, while disavowing the events of the original ME trilogy, will backfire.
Comment by Gray — October 30, 2013 @ 1:09 pm
The problem with going in the future will still have to tie in some way with the decision one made as Shepard at the end of ME3. One cannot simply go forward without the consequences of the last game tying in.
The problem with going back is we know where the story ends up. This would prove pointless for some fans.
It seems they painted themselves into a corner. It’s almost like you’d have to introduce a new galaxy with a new set of species. They have that in Star Wars: TOR.
Comment by William_Morris — October 30, 2013 @ 2:18 pm
Easy fix! Simply treat the Synthesis ending as a complete ending, as if Shepard had died during play through, or Shepard failed to select any of the three ending options in ME3 resulting in Reaper Cycle completion. Now, Bioware just has to tie up the lose ends of two endings: Destruction and Control.
There are really only two major differences between these two endings: Shepard’s death (Control) and the destruction of all synthetic life (Destruction). Let’s assume both “perfect” endings (4000+ EMS), for the sake of optimal outcomes.
Because a new protagonist will be introduced in the next Mass Effect game, Shepard’s fate is irrelevant. The ME trilogy did a fine job developing storyline and plot details impacted by the survival or death of various squad mates and characters.
Finally, it was never implied that the Destruction ending would prevent recreation of synthetic life – just that existing synthetic life would be extinguished.
Comment by Gray — October 30, 2013 @ 3:31 pm
Not sure how feasible that’d be. Allowing for both realities means accommodating geth and no geth in the plotline, a pretty serious challenge. There’s also the issue of the quarians possibly being wiped out. Notice that they didn’t start outright wiping out races until the last game, it’s a big factor. Also, Reapers swooping around fixing everything or not. Also, Krogan being a new galactic force or continuing their decline. A post-ME3 story would have to revolve around council races almost exclusively or else they’re designing two different games.
Comment by will — October 31, 2013 @ 11:24 am
Regarding the quarians/geth survival, I am assuming reference to the “Priority: Rannoch” mission. Again, assuming the player completes ME3 with a “perfect ending” (4000+ EMS), then Shepard was successful in passing a “Reputation Check”, thereby allowing both races to join forces during “Priority: Earth”.
Now, whether the geth survive due to the player selecting the “Control” ending or die due to the player selecting the “Destruction” ending is a small feat to tie up going forward. The geth could always be recreated by the qurians, the humans, etc. for a similar plot device as though they survived the events of ME3.
In my opinion, the geth, EDI, Reapers, etc. would be best served as back-story: I can’t imagine that Bioware would create another trilogy based on organic/synthetic conflict.
The krogan quandary poses a real challenge (nice catch!). Perhaps, if the story begins 20-70 years in the future, the krogan are either: A) slowly becoming extinct, or B) an endangered race due to recent conflict.
Comment by Gray — October 31, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
Perhaps the conclusion of the Reaper threat permits surviving members of ancient races (Leviathans, Protheans, etc.) to reintroduce their influences on the younger races. With the Reapers gone (but not forgotten), the Citadel races scramble to redevelop Prothean/Reaper technology. This technology soon becomes a recurring nightmare for the (rebuilding) galactic frontier over the next couple of decades, often in the hands of a more shadowy Cerberus mechanism, who now look to control the Systems Alliance, and soon the galaxy.
Comment by Gray — October 31, 2013 @ 2:17 pm
The Mass Effect trilogy were my all time favorite video games and always will be. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that they are ruining it by making some spin off game. Sure, you can say its not a spin off and that its fresh and new and awesome, but not for me. They should have never even thought about developing a new Mass Effect game because the story of Shepard was absolutely perfect. I cannot stand that they are making this “Mass Effect 4” I wish BioWare would just make a whole new game or series for next gen.
Comment by Carter Hanson — December 26, 2013 @ 11:36 am
Bitch shut the fuck up don’t buy it then
Comment by Gacbf — March 7, 2014 @ 10:17 am
Both you bitches need to shut the fuck up go cry to yo mama
Comment by Gacbf — March 7, 2014 @ 10:18 am
Bitch fuck Star Trek hell nah we they gone do some cary cray shit
Comment by Gacbf — March 7, 2014 @ 10:19 am
Why you complaining it’s yo dumbass fault for buying don’t be buying shit you don’t like muthafucker
Comment by Gacbf — March 7, 2014 @ 10:20 am
Lmfao, please. With the way you talk, how does any human take you seriously? Go back and try to pass the 4th grade you uneducated porch monkey.
Comment by Kirk — March 9, 2014 @ 11:39 pm
They could still change the time and continuity and show some of the familiar faces. Most of the other races live for hundreds of years so it is entirely feasable to have some kinds of cameos or short roles for some of them. I would love to see it take place after and focusing on the rebuilding efforts while facing some new danger. A prequel sounds good, but the appeal is nullified a little by the fact that we already know the ultimate ending to everything.
Comment by Odis Lee — September 28, 2014 @ 10:37 am
The only real things that they will have to tie in is the control vs destroy vs synthesis angle. If it is say a century later, if you destroyed them, no reapers. If you controlled them, the reapers helped rebuild and left. The only bigger issue would be with synthesis. The reapers would still have packed up and gone home. The only thing with synthesis would be the little digital trace lines on everything. But while I am no programmer, I think that it is entirely possible to have a skin overlay activate if you choose that option. Would be cool to see how they get everything back in order. For one, are they able to rebuild the mass effect gates?
Comment by Guest — September 28, 2014 @ 10:40 am
I say its ok to go forth into the future ok not to see Tali or any others, no one lives forever. But!!!! your decisions as Shepard should matter, because we killed Reapers! Didn’t they try to make everyone extinct? and we survived. And its the future, all your effort has no influence means basically its MASS EFFECT 1 (reboot) to me.
Comment by Dope — May 27, 2015 @ 1:36 pm