BioWare seems to be getting a bit defensive when anyone asks them about Mass Effect 4. This is because they don’t want to “relate” the game to the original trilogy, as in have it held back by what they have done previously. They do not want to imply the game is following Commander Shepard’s footsteps.
“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 community manager Chris Priestly wrote on the company’s forums.
As understanding as I am of this sentiment, it left me wondering… what am I supposed to call it? Well, maybe we have the answer.
“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 wrote. “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 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,” he continued.
“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.”
Questioned as to whether the next Mass Effect game could still feature the same galaxy, the same alien races, and honour the series’ existing lore and history, Roy suggested it would.
“What makes it Mass Effect is indeed the alien races, the technology, the lore, history, etc. You can safely expect those in the next Mass Effect.”
Firm information on the project, first announced by BioWare last September, won’t be disclosed “for several more months”.
“We don’t have a firm communication timeline established at this point, but I don’t expect it will be for several more months,” Roy concluded. “Early in development, things fluctuate so much that any detail we communicate could have to be ‘uncommunicated’ a few months later. I think we’d rather have something solid to show by the time we step in the spotlight.”
So, it’s basically an all new game that takes place in the same universe. Something tells me we are going to see a subtitled Mass Effect game series. That isn’t a bad thing, but if this was part of the plan ages ago, maybe the number system shouldn’t have been used for the sequels?