There’s an air of the unknown about the next game set in the Mass Effect universe. What we do know is that it won;t feature Commander Shepard, and that it’ll run on the Frostbite 2.0 engine instead of the Unreal engine that’s powered the previous games. And now Bioware’s filled in a few more blanks.
It’s not a direct sequel – but it might not be a prequel either. So just what in the hell will the next Mass Effect game be about?
"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. Or yaddayaddayadda."
The next game in the Mass Effect universe is being handled by Bioware Edmonton; the company that made many of the side quests and the ME3 multiplayer. Edmonton honcho Yanick Roy took to the same forum to tease a little about the next game.
"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," he said. "That doesn’t mean that events of the first three games and the choices you made won’t get recognised, but they likely won’t be what this new story will focus on.
"If you had three games centred 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 recognise 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."
But will the next game actually look and feel like Mass Effect?
"What makes it Mass Effect is indeed the alien races, the technology, the lore, history, etc.” said Roy. “You can safely expect those in the next Mass Effect."
Beyond that, the company’s keeping mum – and won’t divulge anything more for at least the next few months. Just remember – it’s not to be called Mass Effect 4.