Yesterday, we got to meet some of the new squadmates introduced in Mass Effect: Andromeda. One of them, pictured above, is named Cora Harper. Harper is your second-in-command on the Pathfinder mission to find a new home for humanity.
"To be brief, I am a biotic, the team's operation's specialist in charge of ground missions, and I spent the last four years serving alongside Asari commandos," Harper says. OK, cool. She sounds like a badarse.
Wait a minute, though. Harper. Harper. That name sounds familiar. Who who else has that surname?
The Illusive Man does, AKA Jack Harper. Do you see a resemblance?
— BioFan (@BioFanOfficial) January 26, 2017
Now, this could just be coincidence. We do know, however, that Jack Harper had a family before Cerberus, so it's certainly possible that they could be related. Harper's Illusive Man connection would also be ripe for storytelling tension, as players inevitably wonder if she is going to be Solas 2.0. Then again, Harper mentions that she spent time with Asari commandos, so it's also possible that her politics don't align with that of Cerberus (also an interesting possibility!)
That said, the potential threat of Cerberus influence over the mission has fans in a speculative frenzy. Another thing revealed yesterday was your ship would come equipped with SAM, an AI designed by Pathfinder Alec Ryder. Ryder's biography briefly appears during the trailer, and while it's impossible to read as-is, knightsfan went ahead and blew it up for us:
That last bit reads, "Alec became interested in artificial intelligence as a means of human advancement." That sure as hell sounds Cerberus-y to me ("Cerberus supports the principle that any methods of advancing humanity's ascension are entirely justified," says the Mass Effect Wikia.) And we know that Cerberus has some experience building AI — they created EDI, after all.
Maybe fans are reading too much into all of this. It doesn't help that even Mass Effect's producer is teasing people about the potential implications of AI usage:
That's right, folks. AI. Not VI. Wonder how that happened....
— Michael Gamble (@GambleMike) January 27, 2017
Guess we're gonna find out what's going on soon: Mass Effect: Andromeda drops on March 23.