After what had been a fairly quiet N7 Day for 2021, BioWare did indeed drop a new teaser for the Mass Effect 4. A poster for the series’ long-awaited next instalment has the ME community pulling out its string-and-pin theory boards.
The poster depicts a striking scene from above — a round-edged Systems Alliance ship parked in the lower centre with a team of four disembarking. The body of what appears to be a Geth trooper lies in the dust not far ahead of them. Beyond the fallen Geth is what appears to be a deep crater where something has slammed into the surface. The horizontal incisions on either side of the crater are interesting. Could it have been a Mass Relay core that fell to earth?
Viewed from above, the formation of the crater ominously resembles the face of a Geth trooper.
The bottom of the poster reads, “Mass Effect will continue”.
— Speggel (@koulini) November 7, 2021
A handful of significant theories kicked off right away. Here are three of the biggest, and how likely they are.
“Destroy” was Mass Effect 3’s canonical ending
One of the most popular theories right now is about the prominence of the Geth face within the image. “Does this unit have a soul?” was the question posed by the recruitable Geth crew member Legion in Mass Effect 3. At the conclusion of that game, the answer was still a subject of great debate within the community. Now, there’s a growing consensus that this will be a focal point of the story moving forward.
The Geth connection is significant due to Mass Effect 3’s multiple (and controversial) endings. Indeed, in order for the community to begin theory-crafting, and for the series to proceed at all, it must be established which one of ME3’s endings is the “canonical ending”.
Based on this and the previous Mass Effect teaser, it would seem BioWare might have selected the Destroy ending. This would make sense. The Destroy ending defeated the Reapers through the destruction of all synthetic life in the galaxy.
Of the game’s four endings, only Destroy contains a secret final shot. The shot only appears if the player has increased the galaxy’s Effective Military Strength to a score of 4000 or greater. The scene reveals Shepard’s damaged N7 armour buried in debris. The shot lingers for a moment before Shepard takes a sharp inward breath, seeming confirmation they did survive the Destroy ending, and the credits roll. This, already, pointed to Destroy being the true, canonical ending.
So, again, “Does this unit have a soul?”
shooting my shot: the answer to Does this unit have a soul? is Yes. therefore the geth were not destroyed purely synthetic life.
— Jacqui Collins ???? (@jacquicollins_) November 7, 2021
What this latest teaser now poses is the possibility that, despite Shepard’s decision to wipe out all synthetic life, the Geth, or perhaps their shadow, may still exist in the galaxy. If the answer to Legion’s emotionally devastating question truly was “yes”, then as Twitter user Jacqui Collins points out, perhaps the Geth would not have been destroyed because they no longer qualified as purely synthetic. Sentience gave them life.
Verdict: We think this one’s pretty likely. BioWare seems to have chosen Destroy as the canonical ending prior to ME3‘s release, and the evidence supporting the theory is only mounting.
The Benefactor and the Andromeda Connection
“If that’s supposed to look like a geth and they already heavily hinted at the cross-over between the two galaxies, my theory that The Benefactor is actually a group of geth starts to make more and more sense,” Reddit user xisaloser posed on the r/masseffect subreddit.
This refers to a prevalent theory about the mysterious Benefactor from Mass Effect Andromeda, the 2017 spin-off title set between Mass Effect 2 and 3.
The Benefactor is an unknown group or individual that agrees to fund the Andromeda expedition after its initial cash flow runs dry. Little is known about the Benefactor or its motives. We know that it had knowledge of the Reapers return and that reaching Andromeda could give humanity a second chance when the Reapers torched the Milky Way. We also know that it is prepared to orchestrate the murder of anyone willing to divulge information regarding its true identity. An extreme preventative measure to be sure, but if you were a Geth hiding in plain sight, you wouldn’t want the humans to catch you either.
The Andromeda Initiative also openly deployed Geth technology to both observe and reach the Andromeda galaxy. It’s all a bit suss if you ask us.
Verdict: Since the first teaser for Mass Effect 4 was released, many fans have pointed to details that indicate an intention to directly connect the stories of both Andromeda and the original trilogy in some way. The Benefactor-As-Geth theory presents a neat route to doing so. The Geth were aware of the Reaper threat before the other races of the galaxy were. If the Benefactor was preparing for an “imminent threat” then it stands to reason it could feasibly BE Geth, or that it is working with them somehow.
This of course begs another question: If the Benefactor-As-Geth theory panned out, what’s their endgame? What would make the Geth so determined to preserve organic life in the first place?
This one we think we can rule out of theory-crafting right away as it’s less of a theory and more of a direct nod to the community. The identifier stencilled on either side of the ship in the poster’s lower third reads “SFX”. This instantly caught the eye of some in the community who began to speculate on what it could mean, but the die-hards saw through it immediately. BioWare codenamed the original Mass Effect “SFX” during development. Whether this has any greater significance beyond being a fun IYKYK easter egg remains to be seen. Could it be a clue to look further back in the timeline than the original Mass Effect? Time’s gonna tell on that one.
Verdict: Could SFX be something of greater significance? It’s a long shot.
What do you think? After sifting through Mass Effect 4 teaser theories all morning, we’re keen to hear your thoughts! Got any theories we should know about? Blow our minds in the comments below.
Mass Effect 4 will not be out for a very long time.