Don't Call BioWare's Next Sci-Fi Game Mass Effect 4

Mass Effect 3 is well behind us and fans already know that that an upcoming game set in Bioware's far-future universe is in development at BioWare Montreal's studio. That game doesn't have a name yet. But the dev studio's representatives really don't you to refer to it as Mass Effect 4.

Warning: If you haven't finished Mass Effect 3, you should probably stop reading.

First came comments from community manager Chris Priestly on the BioWare forums:

"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. 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."

Those remarks were followed up by BioWare Montreal studio director Yannick Roy, who chimed in on a NeoGAF thread to clarify the direction of the new ME game.

…Time does indeed matter, but the words prequel / midquel / sequel come loaded with a bunch of other assumptions that don't necessarily all apply to the next ME game.

Roy also indicated that, while a Mass Effect MMO is still possible, the new game won't be that. Overall, it sounds like BioWare doesn't want us to think of the next Mass Effect game as a next chapter, but as a new book entirely. We can get with that, right?


    I am more than completely happy to deal with that. Thoroughly enthused, even. When it comes to Mass Effect, I trust Bioware implicitly.

      Your mastery of sarcasm surpasses my own sir.

        No sarcasm. Everyone complaining about ME3 ending were just whiny bitches. It was good.

          I disagree that the ME3 ending was good but the rest of the series was fantastic, so I'm with you in trusting their judgement.

          After the extended cut, I agree with you. Before that, however...

          How could you even defend that? It concluded nothing, left a thousand loose ends, and the concept of it was awful anyway.

          And don't give me that rubbish about it being good because it's "open to interpretation". I'm sure you're not that foolish.

            Yeah, for Casey to suddenly go off into a sealed room, smoke some dope and pen the ending sequence essentially by himself instead of running it through a co-writer feedback session as he did with all other parts of the game... mind-boggling. If you want to blame anyone for ruining the original ending to ME3, Casey's the guy.

            No it wasn't open to interpretation. You wrap most of the loose ends up in game, as it happens. I think it was good writing not to rely on a 5 minute clip at the end to show what happened. And frankly pretty immature of everyone else to demand a little sideshow to give them closure when these things had already been resolved.

              Spoiler warning, because I don't know the spoiler tags on here.

              How did they wrap up the loose end of things like the Mass Relays all blowing up? That means every character we care about is stranded in Sol, never to see their homeworld again. What about everyone on the Citadel? Are we supposed to assume they're all just dead? How about some confirmation? What about the Normandy? Is everyone there going to suddenly rely on nothing but the natural environment around them to live? What about the god child? Where did he come from? Is he an AI, or a god? What relation does he have with the Reapers?

              This ending has more holes than a piece of swiss cheese. Barely anything is cleared up. Most of these things are fixed in the extended cut. So how on earth can you justify the fact that the original ending left all of this very vital stuff out of the game completely? These things that have huge implications for the rest of the series if it continues are tossed aside by one very vague ending.

              I don't see how you can deny that any of these things have importance. I wouldn't care about the fact that they're omitted completely if I didn't think they were important.

                Be patient for god's sake. It was the end of Shepard, not the mass effect universe. And as for the god child, if anything, that didn't need any follow up. If anything, it needed a little bit more foreshadowing leading up to it, but the beauty of the ending that people never get is that it isn't a straightforward narrative. Who cares how they survive on that planet without tech? The point is, they made it out alive, and that they will stay alive. It symbolises a freedom and purity from the shackles we put ourselves in when we get too focused on improving the individual rather than harmony of a community.
                It has a poetic ending, and while everyone else was looking for a narrative ending, they missed that and started bitching. Did you complain at the end of inception because the spinning top never quite fell? No. You think "ah, I see what you did there" and consider the messages they're sending to the audience.

                  That's "leaving open for interpretation". As I mentioned before.

                  And yes, in some cases it's fine to do that, but leaving people intrigued and interested by an ending is completely different from leaving them bat shit confused as the god child did.

              I almost agree with you. The entire Mass Effect 3 game was the end not the final 20 minutes, and I loved it, right up until they fell into the classic trap of trying to make the ending 'better' than the rest. It was like if the Foo Fighters tried to wrap a show up with an opera. It was like Die Hard ending with an anime style long discussion about the true nature of war.
              Mass Effect 2's ending had more plotholes and stupid twists, but the ending was in line with the rest of the story and mostly satisfying so nobody really noticed all the holes. The final sequence in Mass Effect 3 tried way to hard to be epic, and in the process attempted to move to a more 'intelligent' sort of story, which it failed miserably at. It's just bad writing.

    I hope its set after ME3, It will be good to see how everything got on, and play as someone new.
    Hopefully the player starts as a low rank this time and works his or her way up.

      I actually really liked that Mass Effect started with you at a high rank. The idea of playing someone who was already a war hero was a lot more interesting than the usual moisture farmer scenario. The game opens with you as the best of the best, actually recognised by people for your pre-game actions, so it didn't get that series of unlikely events thing going where somehow you go from being a kicked around nobody to king of the universe.

        the phrase "the usual moisture farmer scenario" is now embedded in my vocab. Thank you sir.

    I hope they keep (and enhance!) the ME lore. My favourite part of the series

    Brute Force 2?

    Set ME4 like 50 000 into the future and and no one knows or remembers how it was rebuilt and no one cares. Also make the squad a Firefly type rouge squad.

      Mass Effect: Rouge Squads and Mass Effect: Mascara Battalions. Nice.

    Why can't they just name it something else and use a sub-title like they do for other game universes in the past:

    Not Mass Effect 4
    (Set in the Mass Effect Universe)

      The 'Not' makes it sound like them porn parodies

    This is what I was hoping for. With the exception of the final 20 minutes the series has been great so far, but it needs to shake things up. Otherwise it's like making Star Wars exclusively about Skywalkers. There's plenty of fine Skywalker stories but waste if you're not willing to scrap the cast and write a completely independent story from time to time.
    The universe has way too much potential to be stuck with one cast and one engine. I've always said I'd love a Mass Effect RTS. Something like Metal Gear or Hitman would be nice. Even crazy stuff. I'd kill for something like the original Rainbow Six games set in the Mass Effect timeline.

      I was thinking after ME3 that a game where you play as any number of races and they each have their own story which explore different aspects of a war or big political issue. Get to mix up the play style because of races, and it would have a social commentary com

        That sounds cool. I mean really there's an almost infinite amount of ways to go. Turian, Krogan and Asari lend themselves to pretty much the entire range of straight/stealth/tactical action games. A Turian space fighter like Rogue Squadron would be amazing. Pretty much name a game and you can remake it with Mass Effect's universe without trying. Angry Krogan's?

    C’mon give me Garrus la noire-esque prequel. Will be Bladerunner meets ME.

    If they ever decided to do a spin-off, the events of Mass Effect 3 could make an interesting RTS.

    As for new full games, I always thought being a quarian on pilgrimage could be an interesting concept. There's exploration, collecting technology, dealing with prejudice and possibly a bit of healthy spaceship combat. That said, it would have to be set before ME3 due to spoiler-y reasons.

      First contact war, Turian vs. Human spacecraft battles. It would be amazing.

      I was really hoping that a RTS would be part of the galaxy at war stuff. Infiltrator was fun but it'd be an absolute blast if we had of got an iPhone/XBLA/PSN Mass Effect Invasion RTS.

    Maybe they'll look at why Harbinger was so awesomely creepy in ME1, and how his isolation from the other Reapers (ME3) had made him so idiosyncratic. Could be an off-beat comedy even: "Harbinger and the Long Night" or some such.

    I reckon to get around all of this they'll probably just go for setting it in another galaxy, maybe even one where the Reapers directly come from. The ME series pretty much only deals with the Milky Way, they could set the whole thing again in a completely different galaxy with different alien races etc.

    Setting it in the events following ME3 is probably too tricky, as they have to pick an ending and roll with it, which might conflict the ending the player chose, so it's easier to go with events prior to ME1.

    Anyway, my feeling is it will be a different galaxy with ambiguous timeline (you won't know whether its prior to ME series or post). Reapers will be in it.

      i'd have to go check again, but wasn't it implied that the Reapers were created by organics to break the organic/AI cycle?

        I'm not sure exactly either, it's all a bit vague to allow players to draw their own conclusions to some extent.

        Anyway the wiki has a lot of info ( It is likely though that the idea of Reapers attacking organics can be applied to any galaxy, maybe they only hit the Milky Way every 50,000 years whilst they hit other galaxies every 20,000 years?

        Who knows what angle they'll take, but if they decide to call it a 'Mass Effect' game then you could assume they'll use the 'Mass Relay' technology, which in turn implies Reapers (who built them). Again, my guess and money is on it being in a totally new galaxy.

        After digging a bit deeper it looks like the Leviathans created 'The Catalyst' which in turn spawned the whole Reaper cycle.

    "Overall, it sounds like BioWare doesn’t want us to think of the next Mass Effect game as a next chapter, but as a new book entirely"

    As someone who has been assuming this all along I find it surprising others think they'll make a direct sequel. We've heard Shepard's story is over and there's a whole universe to explore beyond her story.

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