As fans of the Mass Effect franchise would know, BioWare is working on the next Mass Effect game with their Montreal studio leading the charge. Nobody knows what time period the next installment will be set in but one thing is for sure, Commander Shepard’s story is over.
“To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here.” BioWare Edmonton Community Manager Chris Priestly wrote in a forum post.
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. I see people saying “well, they’ll have to pick a canon ending”. No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know.
Bioware Montreal Studio Director, Yanick Roy, clarified Priestly’s point and hinted that although the next game could take place before or after the original trilogy, it does not mean that it will be a direct prequel or sequel.
What Chris is saying is that 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. 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.
When questioned on whether the next game would still feature the same galaxy, alien races, technology and lore, Roy suggested that they would.
“What makes it Mass Effect is indead the alien races, the technology, the lore, history, etc. You can safely expect those in the next Mass Effect.”
It is unlikely that we would hear more details about the next Mass Effect game until later in the year. Until then, BioWare still have more downloadable content planned for Mass Effect 3 as well as multiplayer updates.