‘Mass Effect 4′ Brings Back the Mako, Set During Commander Shepard Era

Published 10 months ago by

Mass Effect 4 Comic Con Panel

Let’s face it, although it was nice to see something from BioWare regarding the next title in the Mass Effect franchise, what EA had to show at their E3 2014 press conference was underwhelming. All we got were a few pieces of concept art and some brief quotes about the universe, before BioWare Creative Director Casey Hudson signed off with a, “We’ll have more to show you in 2015″ message.

But before they completely blow the lid off Mass Effect 4, BioWare took the stage at Comic-Con 2014 to share a little more about their vision for the future of the Mass Effect franchise in a panel titled “Charting a Course: Developing the Next Mass Effect.” The panel, again, mostly focused on overarching concepts more than concrete details, but it did include some newsworthy reveals.

First and foremost, BioWare wanted to establish that this next Mass Effect game will be set during the same time period as the first ME trilogy, but will not feature Commander Shepard. The developers didn’t rule out the possibility of running into familiar places, but since this game will focus on exploring a vast universe that’s not necessarily a given.

Mass Effect 4 Mako Concept Art

On a similar note, BioWare confirmed the return of the Mako — the all-terrain vehicle from the first Mass Effect. The crowd seemed very receptive to the idea of the Mako coming back, but that’s likely because they hope BioWare will be able to get things right this time.

The panel presentation also included some concept art for the new N7 armor sets players will be able to wear as either a female or male character. Whether that character will have a predetermined identity like Commander Shepard or if they will play him or her as a blank slate is unclear. It does sound like the player character will be an N7 Operative, which could put a unique spin on things.

While the idea of a new Commander Shepard-type character is intriguing, if BioWare wants to take a completely different approach we doubt fans would mind. Ultimately, it depends on how the story and gameplay work.

Mass Effect 4 New N7 Armor

And finally, the developers briefly touched on multiplayer — specifically that their focus is on a cooperative slant more so than a competitive one. That isn’t to say that competitive multiplayer won’t be in the game, but fans of Mass Effect 3‘s riff on horde mode will likely be the happiest to hear this news.

Unfortunately, that was it when it came to new Mass Effect news. We didn’t expect much from the panel, so what BioWare had to show was a surprise. The return of the Mako will likely draw a line in the sand among fans, but the brief footage they showed of the vehicle in action instilled some hope that this version will be much improved. Whether or not the game as a whole, however, can improve upon the original trilogy and welcome in newcomers won’t be clear until later next year.

How do you feel about the Mako returning for the next Mass Effect? Would you prefer a game that plays as close to the original Mass Effect games as possible or a radical deviation?

Mass Effect 4 currently has no release date.

Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina

TAGS: BioWare, Electronic Arts, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 4

  • zark

    All I want is to choose my own race to play as, so tired of humans.

    • Trevor

      I agree with you 100%. To have the option of playing from the perspective of different races and having a different course laid out for that character, it would put a much needed spin on the new game. At the very least, it would alter where you go and who you encounter along the way.

      Example: You’re a Turian and eventually, you’ll be on a frigate and wouldn’t you know it? Tali is on board as she said she took one to the Citadel. Another example would be playing a Salarian and you would eventually run into Kirahhe as he is preparing to take out the base on Virmire or something…. I just like your idea though Zark.

  • Hunter

    Alright, fine. Don’t feature Shepard. But at least tell us the Destroy option saved him! and there are lil Tali-human hybrids running around! I’ll wait as long as Mass Effect 6 to find out. During the same period as the original trilogy is a sneaky interesting trick… but i’d rather a game bearing the same Overarching name we know and love not to deviate TOO radically far. Also…. YES! MAKO!!!! It only needed a little work. Perhaps a way to customize your mako ride? nothing drastic! just little upgrades and custom pimps or the ability to trade out parts to make it more Hammerhead like. I’m cool with either, just bring back the exploring beautiful terrain feeling we got to experience with the mako. not touching the player hero subject. I want Shepard and all his deep companions back but one voice won’t change that and you can totally work them into something new if you tried hard enough. Multiplayer? Co-op? Nice! I wouldn’t mind some Splitscreen action though I have no idea how that would fit into a Mass Effect game. Maybe player 2 can be a companion character. Loved ME3’s online multiplayer, just find a different, less necessary way to tie it into the campaign mode and add one other game type other than surviving a horde. If you’re going to try to top the beauty that already is the first ME trilogy, please… take all measures and take your time to do it right. Hope Bioware sees this, my semi-anonymous gamer rant. Good luck and much love!

  • josh

    when are people going to realize playing as different races in mass effect wont work? the only ones that might work besides humans are drell, batarians, asari, quarians. and those are all MAYBES

    • Omega

      1.) Why wont it work?
      2.) Thats most of them and thats the ones people want to play with an exclusion of maybe turians and krogan

      • Dorkatron199

        I agree with you, omega. I know that they already said that the main character is going to be a human (an N7, more specifically), that doesn’t mean that there can’t be other races as the main character.

        They wouldn’t be able to have the “Shepard” or “Hawk” style of gameplay, as you see in ME and DA2, but they could easily go back to the DA1 system (the original one with the gray warden). If this is the case there are many routes they could go in future MEs.

        For one, they could go the route of, you have to be a Spector and your limited to Human, Turian, Salarian, or Asari. They could also take even more from the DA1 system and allow for different backgrounds based on which race you chose filtered to a common starting point, like Ostagar in DA1. (You forgot Salarians by the way…)

        josh says it can’t be done, when it has already been done in a different situation under different circumstances. This doesn’t guarantee that it can be done in this situation, but does mean that its more likely.

        • George ACL

          They could be one of the N7 special ops from ME3 multiplayer (or something similar). So being N7 might not mean being definately human.

  • djnforce9

    If they can just make the Mako as much fun to drive as the M-44 Hammerhead from the Firewalker DLC of Mass Effect 2, I’ll be REALLY happy. I absolutely LOVED everything about that vehicle.

  • dethfuse

    Please let us just buy characters outright in the cooperative. Those packs were really stupid. Or have packs that just give us characters.

    • A Friend

      Or better yet, don’t gate the multiplayer content behind microtransactions at all. We’re already shelling out 60 bucks for the game.

    • shepard

      They did have a pack that was just characters! Do your research before you mouth off.

  • Warpness

    I don’t have a problem with the game taking place during the same time as the original trilogy. I don’t think it will be difficult at all to do it. In fact, I think it would be pretty easy. One thing people need to consider is that they have only said it will not feature Shepard, and that it will take place in the “Mass Effect universe”. Who is to say, though, that it has to take place in the Milky Way galaxy? You’ve got FTL travel and mass effect relays. Why can’t their be a relay to a nearby (or far away) galaxy? The latest news on the game suggests there will be a lot of exploration. Since we’ve explored much of the Milky Way (not to say there can’t be dozens, or even hundreds, of unexplored systems there), why not change the setting entirely? Maybe a large group of people (humans and aliens) set off through a relay and their job is to explore the “new” galaxy for settlement sites just in case Shepard doesn’t beat the Reapers. Maybe it’s just humans that go through. No one says the other alien races (or humans) can’t live in another galaxy. Plus you saw one of the first video clips they showed had a Krogan with a horn on its head. Very possibly that’s a sign of a lesser (or more) evolved Krogan race.

    Either way, having a simultaneous story is not at all a difficult concept if you think a little outside the box, and I’m looking very forward to seeing ME4 when it finally arrives. My guess for a release date is November 7th (N7 Day), 2016. I would love to see it earlier, but I’m willing to wait if it’s done right, and is as huge as they are hinting it will be (and there better be no PC delay!).

    • ethan

      but what about those people that saved shepard and were hoping to continue off of his life line

      • Warpness

        It’s a different game. Let Shepard go. He/She is gone. Shepard (and the rest of the crew) were amazing. Bioware did an incredible job of making characters that people could get emotionally attached to. In a way, it’s hard to imagine another Mass Effect game without them, but on the other hand, it’s pretty easy. Who is to say that Bioware will not create another set of characters that is even more dynamic, more in depth, that we get attached to even more? I’m willing to give them a shot. The thing is, if you go into ME4 expecting a sequel or continuation, or if you go in with a mindset that it won’t be successful without the characters from the first three, you won’t like the game…period. If you go in with an open mind and think of it as a new journey, I think Bioware will not disappoint us.

  • Tankfestroyer

    Why not make it to where you can play any any race at any tim. You could be a human and then do like a gta5 effect where you switch characters?i don’t know what the big deal about playing as other races is anyway. They are all humanoid type anyway. Bi pedal heads with mouths and eyes and ears all in the same place. No real difference.

  • Mortainous

    A new galaxy would be perfect what threats Rome this side of the universe, is it the Reapers or something that makes the Reapers look like angry children with matches. The universe is a big place with many possibilities. And multiple race choices is a requirement for certain game types now everyone wants to get their own story in these worlds just like when some of us were kids we would play our favorite superhero. Now you can, and now you can add stories hopefully without destroying the universe of those stories.

  • Mortainous

    Oh and Krogans and Turians go hard Geth are dangerously creepy but necessary. My belief is that you NEVER CREAT A.I. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUT IF IT IS CREATED AND ASK ABOUT ITS EXISTENCE THEN IT HAS THE RIGHT TO EXIST. SIMPLY PUT WE DON’T CHOOSE OUR PARENTS neither DOES A.I.

  • jartb47

    OK, no one is talking about what worries me– DAI is consoles only. Last time that I looked there were 511 PAGES of why doesn’t this work on PCs and when will you fix it on bioware’s forum, so let’s not talk about it being ported to PCs. EA is selling it on Origin as a PC game.
    EA is showing the same lack of respect in DAI that it showed in ME3.
    WHY is ANYONE expecting anything from ME4??

    • ladytech

      It is one of my biggest concerns. Maybe people are hoping if they dont voice it – it wont happen.

  • ethan

    i want them to continue off of everything that happened in the original mass effect trilogy. For example instead of playing as the original shepard you play as his/her child from your love interest in Mass Effect 3 and try to live up to your parents legacy. or you could select a species to play as which would be nice feature. but i mostly want true closure on the ending of mass effect 3 because i had a high enough global readiness for shepard to live. i want to know what happens after the extended ending after it shows him still alive. Dont let me down bioware i have followed mass effect all the way wouldnt want that to end now.

  • Evan

    People need to move on from the original Mass Effect Trilogy. There is an entire universe filled with TONS of lore that we could explore, but instead you want to stick to one story that has already been completed. Why can’t we be content with, “wow that was a good ending, they summed up the legacy of Commander Shepard quite well,” instead of “I want to see where MY Shepard is now!! He and Jack had lots of ultra-biotic babies except Shepard died so maybe he could come back as a Mecha-Prothean-Reaper Shepard! Don’t let me down Bioware! D; </3 #Disappointed"

    Do you have any idea how hard it would be for them to create a game that followed up on the original trilogy, while taking into account ALL the romance options that people could have chosen, as well as the ending you could have chosen, and so on? Let's say one person had a Soldier Shepard who got with Tali. So, if you were Shepard's child (as one person suggested) that child could potential have Tech and Soldier powers. But probably no Biotic powers. However, this Shepard chose to Control the Reapers, so now the Reapers are all flying around repairing everything and being friendly. Meanwhile, in MY playthrough I chose an Adept Shepard and a relationship with Jack. I also chose the "Synthesis" option, meaning that organic and bionic became one. Does this mean everyone has tech powers now? So will my Shepard-child have a tech/biotic mixture? And my Shepard got destroyed, so he would never appear in the game.

    There are too many variables people. Move on from the original trilogy and accept that this universe has SO MANY MORE STORIES than just Commander Shepard.

  • jeff

    i hated that drunken rhino

  • Tyler

    The fact that this new game will play along the same time is a little risky. We have all played the original trilogy knowing the reapers were the biggest threat to the galaxy and shepherd ultimately stopped them. I see a problem that COULD ruin the game.
    The scale of the next game could be severely downsized. shepherd saved the galaxy from the reapers. Sheperd is known throughout the galaxy there aren’t many people who haven’t at least heard of him. It would be like making a movie set at the same time as The Lord of the rings, but as some side character who we never heard of. I know that’s not a very strong analogy but basically that’s close to what they’re doing. The new character’s journey is not as important or valued as much as shepherd. Bioware would have to come up with some way of making fans care enough about this new character to want to invest in them. This is a tall order given the issues they faced with story telling in the original games. No offense Bioware but you guys really screwed the pooch on the ending. I just hope they can find a way to make fans reinvest in a new character after the countless hours of investing in shepherd.

  • shelbz

    I think setting the new games along the same time frame of the original Mass Effect series is a) risky, and b) unimaginative. Ideally, I would like to see a character variety on par with, or above, Skyrim and would like to be able have the choice of selecting between 5-8 species that each have their own unique characteristics and abilities separate from the individual powers/skills of the new main character and his/her companions(?). Separating the new series from the legend that is Commander Shepherd would open up new possibilities plot-wise, character-wise, gaming-wise and so on. However, there was an idea previously that they could explore other galaxies within the Mass Effect UNIVERSE and I don’t think that would be a bad way to do it either. By doing that, I think it would address concerns that there would be a lack of attachment to the new ME protagonist because of the massive size of Shepherd’s shadow. There so many possibilities to take the game in another new and exciting direction, especially in space, so I think it could either do really well in the setting they chose, or really poorly. I guess we’ll see in the coming years. It scares me a little bit that the lead writer also headed up Halo 4, but since there are other veteran ME writers on the BioWare team for this game, I’m slightly less concerned haha.

    In terms of improving upon what they built as the original ME series, I think they’ve been able to do more for a LONG time and have been kind of hit-and-miss about it. Mass Effect had an amazing weapon/armor/ammo customization menu and featured things like the Mako(flawed as it may have been I agree with James when he says the Hammerhead is built out of tissue paper) and open worlds with interactive objectives for players. On the flip side, it had sub-par romance options for both fem!shepherd and m!shepherd, and lacked a story line that really had urgency and drive. In Mass Effect 2 they improved on the story line in my opinion and created characters that actually had dimension and soul. The urgency in the game was real and even the cinematics and transitions from one part of the game to the next were well done. I think the basic mechanics of the game were more fluid than those in ME1, but BioWare SERIOUSLY dropped the ball with customization and open-world roaming in both ME2 and ME3 in comparison. And then, along with everything that ME1 and ME2 lacked (and a superior graphics engine if we’re to be honest and fair), ME3 has the worst decision engine in the whole series, fills in what used to be meaningful dialogue and decision-making with auto-selected answers, and ultimately fails in delivering what they had promised – an expansive, decision-driven story arc that impacted every part of your journey until the very end – and instead gives us a half-assed ending that was only very partially fixed by a DLC package that will forever be free as a testament to the epic fail that was the Mass Effect 3 ending. As a team, the writers of Mass Effect have always proved to be really strong in some aspects and weaker in others, but that’s alright, because that’s what makes Mass Effect unique. Personally, I think they did the best job with Mass Effect 2 and should build upon core concepts used in that game to carry the next generation ME to new and greater heights.

    I love this series and I love these games, no matter how flawed they may be. One of the best parts about these games is the detail of the worlds and the characters, and the stories that grab our attention and snatch our hearts. I think BioWare knows what makes Mass Effect great and different against the other RPGs out there, it’s just a matter of getting it done in the most effective way that will satisfy as many fans as possible. I have a lot of hope for this game. I think it has a lot of potential to not only rope in a whole new generation of fans, but to be an exciting and fresh addition to an already widely-loved series.

    Sorry I ranted, this game, and the hype around it, has just got me going! 😀

    • jck169

      Can anyone provide a timestamp to when they mention this will take place in Shepard’s timeframe? The first question during Q&A brought up this topic and here was the quoted response. “You’re not playing as Shepard. And Shepard is not a central part of the story… And we want to give players new spaces to explore uncharted areas…”

      Anything that says this takes place during Shepard’s story is assumption from the audience.

      “First and foremost, BioWare wanted to establish that this next Mass Effect game will be set during the same time period as the first ME trilogy, but will not feature Commander Shepard.”

      This quote from the article is not just misleading but completely false. Unless I missed something during my viewing of the panel.

  • JL Todd

    I’m fine with the Mako returning to Mass Effect. There was too much Mako in the first Mass Effect and that became annoying. But a new and improved Mako for use with some missions – not all – would be interesting. I would like different game play interaction with the new Mako. I would be interesting to explore the planet, and SEE the planet, from inside the Mako rather than just watch it from above rumble away. Maybe both should be an option.

    On another topic, BioWare needs to do a better job reaching closure on Shepard. Mass Effect 3 was a great game – right up until the ending. But what has frustrated ME fans is that in ME3 Shepard spent the entire game building a military alliance to fight the Reapers. And in the improved ending, Shepard lived (in a bad state – but breathing). Shepard was a galatic hero. You can’t just pretend he doesn’t exist. Especially if he is alive.

    On yet another topic, the story in the original Mass Effect is solid. But the graphics are awful and the gameplay is clunky. If you want new gamers to join the Mass Effect world – it makes the most sense to begin the beginning (Mass Effect 1). But it is so brutal to play that as it is dated. Since I have a PS3 I originally did not play ME1 – and I was missing a lot of context. I went back and played it when it was released for the ME1 – but it was painful.

    Great set of games…but could be improved.

  • Razorsh95

    Mass effect 3ending ruined the entire trilogy for me , unless they tell us how it ended with shepard there is no way i’m playing mass effect again with another character just lets face it folks mass effect means shepard have to be there that’s it

  • Raven

    I love that they’re bringing back the Mako, but not thrilled about the timeline situation. I would’ve preferred something more like an aftermath story. A new N7 with a new crew (bringing back a couple familiar faces wouldn’t be bad either) and a whole new threat to face and you find references to the past 3 MEs. They could’ve gone a few years or even centuries after the end of ME3 instead of during the trilogy

  • John

    Hey guys i love the idea of runnin a new story on the ME Universe it would be really cool to see another side of the universe personally id like to choose my own race but if i have to settle for human that would be fine as well i agree with playin as shepards kid but i also agree with the earlier comments about the difficulty of programing it would pose to bioware and EA but aside from that i loved the First ME Trilogy and would love to see another series run on it as far as the arguments about race choices people wake up do u know how much programing it would take to make that possible if they did that we wouldnt see new ME Universe games for at least 3-4years i dont know bout u but i dont want to wait that long for the new game to hit the shelves biowear make the game exciting and fun give the character a customizeable story line and people will be invested in the character cause they would be able to creat his/her background and future. And another side note have 2 options for multi-player mode offline and online cause not everyone can afford internet to get x-box live or playstation network etc. thats all from me again people look at the programing it would take for what u ask for before posting outrageous requests of biowear thank you.

  • Charles Griffith

    So the way I see this all, is many are comfortable with this idea of a new .beginning. But I see this as one of the most absurd things bio ware hasd one in any of the history of its game making. Shepard brought them fame, And fortune which none of their past games has ever done. I personally have a very strong emotional attachement to shepard, removing him from then series is one of the worst mistakes they have made, I certainly hope and wish they Do something to bring him back to the story. If not, then I do not think mass effect will survive, regardless of how high tech the next mass effect game will be .