Mass Effect 3. Everybody’s got opinions. But for a moment, let’s set aside our thoughts and halt those blood-curdling rage screams. We know that BioWare Edmonton, the team responsible for creating the side quests in both ME2 and ME3, is currently hard at work building the next entry in the ME universe. At this point we barely have any information on the game, but one thing BioWare wants to make perfectly clear: The game is NOT Mass Effect 4.
To provide a little clarity, BioWare Edmonton head honcho Yanick Roy took to the official forums. “…Thinking of the next Mass Effect game as Mass Effect 4 would imply a certain linearity, a straight evolution of the gameplay and story of the first three games. But because we are switching to a new engine and need to rebuild a bunch of game systems, we have an opportunity to rethink how we want these systems to be going forward instead of just inheriting them from the previous games.” He adds that, “Story-wise, the arc of the first trilogy has also been concluded, and what we will do is tell a new story set in the Mass Effect universe. That doesn’t mean that events of the first three games and the choices you made won’t get recognized, but they likely won’t be what this new story will focus on.”
Community manager Chris Priestly, an active member of the Bioware forum community (for obvious reasons), also shared his thoughts on the subject. “To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here. We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. That is the only detail you have on the game.” Speaking from an internal perspective, he goes on to say, “I do not call the game ME4 when I talk about it ever, because that makes people think of it more as ‘what happens after Mass Effect 3’ rather than ‘what game happens next set in the Mass Effect Universe’, which is far more accurate at this point. Obviously fans are going to speculate content, character and story until we actually reveal details in the years or months to come as you have almost no actual details, just don’t get bogged down in ‘well how are they going to continue ME3…’”
To best describe the situation, Roy offers this analogy: “If you had three games centered around a group of key soldiers in the US army during World War I and then decided to make a game about another group of people during the second World War, the games could have many points in common and feel true to one another, and you likely would have to recognize how the events of the first war influenced the ones of the second, but you would not necessarily think of it as a sequel.” He notes that, “the analogy is not great, but what I’m trying to say is that the ME universe is so rich that we are not limited to a single track when coming up with a new story.”
Well, while it doesn’t shed much light on the direction the franchise is headed in, at least we have a little insight from the folks who are in the developing stages of whatever the next Mass Effect ends up being. I’ll admit it seems rather difficult to set anything in the ME universe after the events of ME3, no matter what ending you chose, as the consequences seemed to have a rather severe impact on the entire universe no matter what. Considering part of the ME appeal is to have progress/decisions carry over from one game to the next, it seems next to impossible creating a game that would accommodate for every player’s ending.
What say you, oh vast and mysterious internet? Where would you like to see BioWare take the franchise post Mass Effect 3? Sequel? Prequel? 2D side-scrolling Reboot? Share your thoughts below.
[Side note: Please don’t hate me for choosing a feature image that doesn’t have femshep in it. This one is just one of my favorite pictures. I love femshep. I’ll use her picture next article about ME, I promise.]