BioWare Working Out Details For Mass Effect 4

Jun 28, 2011 by  

Future Mass Effect Games

What was once Game Rant’s most anticipated game of 2011 is now a Kinect-enabled title set for release a few months into 2012. The delay of Mass Effect 3 didn’t phase us – after seeing the behind-closed-doors demo with Casey Hudson at E3 2011, the game is well worth the wait.

Perhaps it’s premature then to wonder what happens next? Mass Effect 3 marks the end of the trilogy and the end of Commander Shepard’s story arc. While that broad question won’t be answered for a very long time, it’s still satisfying to know that ME3 will not be our last time venturing into the Mass Effect universe.

Last January, around when Mass Effect 2 was hitting retail, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk confirmed the obvious by stating that the Mass Effect franchise has a long future ahead, far beyond that of Mass Effect 3. The potential for the franchise, the stories they can tell, the locations and characters they can use are limitless. We pondered some ideas for what we want from Mass Effect 4 (read it) but with Mass Effect 3 still in development, now with an added delay, we didn’t expect that to be a concern of BioWare at the moment.

As it turns out however, they are already working out the details for what comes next, at least according to two of the three BioWare co-founders: Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk. At E3, they went on record with the following:

Greg Zeschuk: “Certainly the setting has really resonated with people, the type of aliens in the world, the type of people that inhabit space. Obviously we focus first and foremost on nailing it on this game, and then, you know, the possibilities in the future are very, very broad.”

Ray Muzyka: “We want to make sure it’s awesome. [Mass Effect 3] is our first focus. Beyond that, we do have a desire to continue the Mass Effect franchise, and we’re working on the details, figuring out what the fans want, figuring out the right way.”

So, they’re planning ahead – no big deal, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

As anyone reading this is well aware, one of the many features that separates the Mass Effect series from other RPGs is how its games tie together in every sense of the word. Each successive sequel is not just another game, it’s a continuation of what came before. Specifically, the game changes based on what you chose to do and how you acted when sranding in the shoes of Commander Shepard.

Mass Effect 2 utilized the save files from the first game (if you played on PC/Xbox 360), pulling data on hundreds of decision points, allowing for serious ramifications to how you treated your teammates, what choices you made throughout the main story and side-quests and most of all, who lived or died.

Mass Effect 3 will do the same, pulling data from both of its predecessors. This amounts to a growing number of possible outcomes and experiences gamers will face in Mass Effect 3 and it certainly does not make development of the title an easy task for BioWare.

Mass Effect Galaxy map

Mass Effect Galaxy Map

With that in mind, and knowing that they’re already thinking in specifics about Mass Effect 4, does this mean BioWare is building in decisions and situations into Mass Effect 3 that will be drawn from for the next game? Will the next Mass Effect installment be tied down to what occurred in the Commander Shepard trilogy or will they relieve themselves of that burden and explore an entirely different story? Perhaps the end-game moment will impact the universe in some way that affects the next game, or perhaps continuing the chain of games grabbing old data is simply too much.

If you’re a fan, check out our E3 Mass Effect 3 previews:

Would you like to see some familiar characters show up in Mass Effect 4 or will you be satisfied with something entirely separate?

Mass Effect 3 releases for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.

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Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Forbes

Mass Effect map from DWebArt.

22 Comments

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  1. Will it follow the same single player RPG format or will it be an MMO like the Old Republic? Will you be restricted to playing as one certain character(ie.Sheperd) or be able to choose from all the other races?

    Not that I’m sick of the Mass Effect games so far (I’m obsessed with them), it’s just that with the Sheperd trilogy coming to a close, it would be cool if they changed it up alittle bit, in some way.

    Personally, it would be great to see a RTS game set in the Mass Effect Universe at some point. Be a mix of Star Wars Empire at War (space combat), and Relic’s COH and DOW 2 series (land/squad based combat).

  2. You know who I would absolutly LOVE to see in Mass Effect 4????Commander Shepard!Why does Shepard’s story have to end at all???Is it so bad that the Commander should live? That his story continue?I’m sure other fans would agree that it doesn’t.

    • Maybe he does… maybe he doesn’t. It probably depends on how you play the game. I’d like to think that there’s an option for him to survive and you encounter him in the next game. There’s a neat way to use your save files, especially if you customized your Shepard.

      • Yea no matter what kind of game it is we should be able to import our save file to customize something towards what we did in Shepard’s trilogy

        • importing game saves from all three games into the 4th?

          i have a headache just thinking about the complexity.

  3. Commander Shepard has already immortalized himself in the ME or HIS MassEffect trilogy. I also think it needs to be switched up. I say create a group. A playable customizable group story. Avoid all that RTS & MMO crap because it takes away from the hugely potential depth that still could be explored in the ME universe. Another key would be to not lose that transfer data feature. Having a galaxy carved out from your own adventure starting w/ shepards almighty super reaper ass-kicking trilogy & his crazy galactic changing decisions.

  4. It’d be cool if they did something similar to oblivion(skyrim)/fallout. A highly detailed open world RPG. Where you get to pick your race, buy/design your own ship, and recruit individuals to join your team at your leisure. It’d let you travel to different planets, and all the homeworld planets would have 2-3 big cities/ settlements that are fully explorable. As well as a few side areas, kinda like a version of a dungeon. Have areas open on other planets as well for missions. Obviously the citadel, Omega, and any other location from the trilogy would be there.

    You keep the fighting and party systems and you’d have one of the greatest games of all time :D . Set it like 100 years in the future, just long enough so they don’t need to bring every character back. But you could for example, still use Liara as the Shadow broker.

    You could even import your Mass Effect 3 save and it’d unlock/close off things in the game. If Shepard dies in the end of ME:3, it’d be pretty cool to see a giant statue of YOUR Shepard on Earth, you know built in memory of the greatest hero that ever lived type of thing.

    Races- Human, Turian, Asari, Krogan, Quarian, Salarian, Drell and maybe Geth?

    Faction (Joinable)- Like guilds in Oblivion, opens up new faction quests
    Alliance (human only)- Cerberus (human only) – Spectre – Become a Matriarch (asari only) and many more

    Of course this game would be perhaps impossible to make for at least the 360, without needing 4+ discs. So maybe an Xbox 720 game :D , with a later PS4 version (even though PS3 might be able to handle it)

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if there are spelling mistakes, I’m going on 36 hours of no sleep haha. Just ignore any mistakes :)

      • only problem is mass effect is great for its story, not sure if it would work so well in that idea although it is an amazing plan. if done properly it could bring back rpg’s

        • Yea true, it’d definetly be different. In fact so diffeent I don’t think it’d be wise to call it MAss Effect 4. Something like Mass Effect Universe.

          Yea, as great as Skyrim will be. There are people that just can’t/won’t get into a fantasy game like that. But an outerspace game that is similar could easily draw in fans of games like Halo, Gears, Dark Space, or any of the hundreds of games that take place in space. All while having a big community already invested into the story and universe of Mass Effect.

          It’d be a big challenge to pull off, but like you said if they could, it might be one of the best games ever.

  5. One game idea I’ve had for a while, other than the obvious MMO, would be to have something similar to Halo:Reach.

    In a sense it would be fairly similar to HR: first-person (or third-person if you prefer) shooter, fighting similar in a sense that you have straight-forward missions in a specific order, and provides a look at a historical event in the universe that has a large impact on the future.

    The game could start by showing humanity’s discover of the mass effect relays, followed by a montage of humanity spreading and colonizing in the galaxy. The first mission then could be humanity’s first contact with the Turians. Missions then would just consist of battles between the two races, with some important battles such as Shanxi. Players could play as either race, Turians or Humans, for the game, and for missions where the chosen race loses the player either leaves as a beaten soldier who escapes, or as at the end of HR a last-man-standing sort of thing. Or, the race you play as for each mission could be predetermined based upon who is supposed to win each battle.

    For playable characters it would be simplest to just make you a common soldier, getting orders and carrying them out. But there could also be the possibility of playing as some of the main characters at the time: Captain Anderson, General Williams, Jon Grissom, or Admiral Ahern for the humans, and Saren or his brother Desolas for the Turians. It would be awesome to be able to play as some of these characters in a game, and see them in action before they become the people we know them to be.

    As far as gameplay aside from the main campaign there are a couple options. Multiplayer matchmaking games such as those used in the Halo and Call of Duty franchises would be the most obvious option, providing group battles, multiple game variants, and extensive playtime through online matches. Another option could include co-op missions for the main campaign. Lastly, I think it would be an interesting idea to allow us to play through battles and events from the ME novels and comics. Such battles could include those from the first novel, showing us Captain Anderson in his prime and his dealings with Saren and the Spectres. These extra missions could come as downloadable content, or possibly a free add-on for those people with saved ME1/ME2/ME3 files, giving you more free missions the more you played the previous games.

    While this type of game may turn off some “pure” ME fans (no story building, no RPG elements, etc.), for some of us it would be a nice, fun alternative, allowing us to see past ME events while giving us hours upon hours of playtime. Also, if the ME universe is going to continue for a long time with its endless story possibilities, this sort of game could provide those people who shied away from the franchise, for any of various reasons, a chance to enter the ME universe, possibly convincing them to give the original trilogy a chance, and/or encouraging them to purchase future ME titles.

    • A Halo Call of duty fan trying to kill off another franchise that’s unique and different

      • False. I have owned one Halo game (Reach, though I occasionally played the others at a friends place) and I have never owned a Call of Duty game and haven’t even played the newest one (Modern Warfare 3 looks cool, but due to being a poor college student I definitely wouldn’t waste my money buying it before ME3).

        The way I see it, Bioware has got to be pretty busy. With the release of The Old Republic (whenever that may be) they are already hard at work trying to nail that down, and even after that is released they will have their hands full maintaining and updating (or whatever you do, I’ll be honest, never played and never care to play an MMO) that game to keep it relevant. Also, I’m sure they have plenty of other projects that not only they are already working on, but also have planned and want to get done before they even think about a new ME game.

        A Halo/CoD type ME game would be less time consuming and easier to put out than the next big thing. Now I’m not saying they should half-ass it, because that would certainly upset anyone who bought it, but this type of game, with one storyline, one outcome, would still be easier and faster to complete as a great game than something like an MMO or open-world RPG.

        And honestly, do you really think a Halo/CoD type ME game would hurt, or kill as you say, this sort of franchise? The answer is no. Many fans of ME1/ME2 are surely Halo/CoD fans. And many of those see the ME games as shooters already, with an interesting and compelling story included. ME2 was significantly better than ME1 in the combat category, no one will argue that. How big of a game was ME1? Pretty big. How big of a game was ME2? HUGE. So huge that they later released it on the PS3, where it did very well. People who played ME1 complained a lot that ME2 had become more of a pure shooter and stripped away way too much of the RPG elements. The implication of this complaint then means that all of the PS3 owners who have played must already consider ME as a shooter franchise, in which case a shooter based ME game could do very well.

        I didn’t even know ME existed until after ME2 came out and a roommate let me borrow both games. From what I had seen of it, all I knew was that the games were shooters. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised by it all and am one of the biggest ME fans out there. Would a Halo/CoD type ME game be true to the original? No. Would it turn away some of the ME “purists” who think it would kill the franchise? Probably (though if they were true ME fans they would give the game a shot and try to support it). Would a ME MMO/open-world RPG turn off some of the ME “purists” as well? Probably (and even possibly more than a Halo/CoD type ME game). But could a Halo/CoD type ME game be done very well, and soon, tell a compelling story, and interest both ME “purists” and casual gamers alike? In my opinion, definitely.

        Trust me, the next ME game will not be like the original trilogy. The story, the gameplay, it will all be different in some way or another. Whatever it turns out to be it has the possibility to turn away previous players and attract new ones. Or even if the gameplay is exactly the same, it could drive some people away who are looking for something new, something different in that universe, and not the same old story. To say a different type of ME game will kill off the franchise is just asinine, because the next game will be different, whether you like it or not.

        • Good post. I agree that anyone who’s a true ME fan would give anything that Bioware comes out with, no matter the differences or similarities to the trilogy, a chance.

          Also your comments about Bioware being busy, the Austin team is handling The Old Republic. One of the Edmonton team handles Mass Effect.

  6. i think if they do make a 4 game it would be cool if it was about the commander life before he or she join the alliance

  7. They should make a Star Wars Battlefront style Mass Effect, that would freakin pwn, esp since were probably never going to get another Battlefront ever…

    A game like that could seriously dominate on Xbox Live no doubt.

    • You are my new best friend!! Lol I couldn’t agree more.

  8. hm, how strange… I must of missed 3, I should go buy it quickly!

  9. I would be very interested to have a mass effect game where you can choose from seperate races and play through their histories up to a point where the timelines come together.

    I would be interested to play as the Geth and see the story of their creation. And I would like to play through the part that Legion talks about in ME2, regarding the Geth seperists who joined the reapers.

    As we find out (SPOILER)……….not all Geth are bad. Some just want to live in peace and these others didn’t like existing this way. It would be great to be able to choose between the loyalist Geth and the ones that seperated from the conciousness.

  10. P.S.

    @Ace

    I like the idea of calling it Mass Effect Universe. Keep this as the main title for all future releases and give each one a sub-title.

  11. I’d love to see some more of the ME universe. But I don’t want to play as Shepard. I’d love to be able to run into your Shepard or your old LI from ME3 at some point, and them have some age on them just so you can get some closure from that. But there’s so much I’d want to do with ME. I’d love to play as an Alien. What about Elder Scrolls but in the ME universe?

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