While we still don’t know much about the next Mass Effect title, we’re being told not to think of it as “Mass Effect 4” simply because it is not a continuation of Shepard’s story.
BioWare’s community manager Chris Priestly said, “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.”
He continued, “I do not call the game ME4 when I talk about it ever, because [sic] 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…’”
The fact that this news is causing a bit of a stir only reiterates the obvious dissatisfaction that is still circulating around the conclusion of Mass Effect 3. Despite the fact that ME3 has reached its end (unless this is proved wrong in a post-Reaper DLC), people are still questioning the three endings and wondering if any form of closure will ever be exposed.
It’s no secret that BioWare is currently working on a new DLC for ME3, and it seems that every time this kind of news appears, people re-open the hopeful murmurings of a “Rescue Shepard” conclusion or at least an ending that would finally offer some closure to the questions being asked. But there has been no indication that anything surrounding that topic will ever be truly addressed.
But it was implied that the next title will take place after Shepard’s story. BioWare Montreal chief Yanick Roy “expanded” on what Priestly had to say. “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.
“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. 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.”
“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. Again, 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.”
The next Mass Effect installment is currently being developed at BioWare Edmonton, the same team that worked on side-quests for Mass Effect 2 and 3, as well as ME3’s multiplayer content. With a different team working on the next installment, what kind of changes do you see occurring? Do you think this game will be able to establish itself as its own successful solo title or will it fall beneath the trilogy’s massive shadow?