‘Mass Effect 4′ Doesn’t Involve Shepard’s Story ‘Whatsoever’ – Is It A Prequel?

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Mass Effect and Commander Shepard’s story offered a gret technical achievement in interactive storytelling. So few games come close the the level of choice and adaptation that the franchise offered and even fewer, if any, on the scale of BioWare‘s trilogy. Spreading out the story across three AAA titles in a way that allowed for massive choice potential was something entirely new. It’s a story many gamers became emotionally invested in and the series enjoys an incredibly loyal fan-base. (Even if that loyalty was tested by Mass Effect 3′s conclusion)

That is why fans who feel most connected to the series’ central character might be disappointed to hear that the events surrounding Commander Shepard and the original trilogy won’t have any bearing on ‘Mass Effect 4.

Talking to Complex, series writer Mac Walter has ruled out any of the Commander’s influence on the new game. Shepard not being the lead character of the next game is nothing new, but Walter’s comments certainly shed new light onto what the next game in the franchise could be.

“Well, I can’t get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn’t relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever.”

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Taking the mythos of Mass Effect into account, it may be possible to discern a few things about the next game. Walter seems particularly adamant that the franchise won’t relate to Shepard’s story “whatsoever” This might suggest that the next game is a prequel or set many years after the original games. Shepard’s story is fairly all encompassing for the Mass Effect universe with Shepard also becoming a recognized celebrity. To have a game set in the same timezone, but not reference Shepard, could be a little complicated.

Mass Effect 4, for want of a better title, will also be accessible to new players jumping into the universe for the first time. All these changes and appeal to a wider audience could have loyal fans worried but Walter did assure them that even without Shepard, the next game in the franchise would still be Mass Effect.

“But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It can’t just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core. Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard specific companions.”

What would you like to see from the next Mass Effect game? Would you prefer to go backwards or forwards in the timeline? Are you sad to see Shepard isn’t going to be influencing the game at all?

Source: Complex

TAGS: BioWare, Electronic Arts, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect 4

  • Nuclear

    I think they should keep Shepard going. I have played all three games and I do not think it is fair that Shepard has to die. The hard core fans are very upset with that ending.
    They need it to explore the dark matter that was brought up. Shepard is the only one that can get it done. If it is called Mass Effect in anyway Shepard has to be there with his or her crew. If you are going to do the game right just look up on all the mods people have downloaded to make the game the way they want. It will be a stepping stone for the new Mass Effect. Just like Dragon Age 1 was great then they made dragon age 2 that suck now they have improve and made a great new dragon age. Thank You for your time

    • ethan

      i agree they need to continue off of shepard atleast for a little bit give some true closure i have played through all of the endings and i have concluded any time i play now i will always destroy synthetics and save shepard. even if they dont let shepard into the new mass effect i would like them to start out with him being found or whatever because from me2 to me3 it clearly states that you have to live to continue with shepard. so why would they give the ending with the possibility of shepard living. i personaly want closure as to if he lives or dies and i want to also know what happens with ashley because after the citadel dlc she says she will wait for you. bioware has left to many holes open they need to close them.

  • Love shepard15

    Please bring Shepard and her crew back they have been threw hell and back three times you would have an increase fan base and money tremendously with out a doubt if you can’t do it with Mass Effect 4 then do it with the next one in some way you guy’s have to appeal to your fans and end Shepard’s story the right/good way put him or her up with one last foe and let one of the endings have one where the Commander and her crew/squad can sit back have some drinks smile and say it’s finally over. HEARS TO THE NORMANDY, CREW, COMMANDER AND THE FALLEN THAT MADE THIS ALL POSSIBLE!

  • NatureGoddess

    I’m not sad, I’m devastated, I can’t handle it. I can’t imagine the game without Shepard, Liara, EDI, Garus, Joker and so on… In ME3 the destruction ending is awful, I love EDI too much. But then if I choose synthesis, Shepard dies, it is so painful. And now what about ME4, I can’t believe this…WHY BIOWARE, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS!?

    I shouldn’t start playing this game in the first place, I KNEW it was a bad idea because I heard and saw on youtube that so many die, I’m too emotional for this and just can’t handle it…I wish I knew how to programme games, now only thing I have left is my imagination.

    • NatureGoddess

      Some may say it’s just a game but to me it isn’t, I’m so depressed over this. Please, don’t be insane and bring Shepard and her/his crew back including EDI. I don’t know what are you thinking, most people won’t buy ME4 and many will be in emotional pain.

      • Rikou

        From the horse’s mouth (Yanick Roy, Bioware Montreal Studio Director):

        If you had three games centered around a group of key soldiers in the US army during World War I and then decided to make a game about another group of people during the second World War, the games could have many points in common and feel true to one another, and you likely would have to recognize how the events of the first war influenced the ones of the second, but you would not necessarily think of it as a sequel.

        Again, the analogy is not great, but what I’m trying to say is that the ME universe is so rich that we are not limited to a single track when coming up with a new story.

        So ME1 to ME3 featured a group of soldiers, and this next game will feature a *different* group of solders, but the games will feel similar to each other, although the next game will probably have more evolved gameplay. Yup, sounds like no Shepard/crew in this next game.

        Especially the last part, the Mass Effect universe is so big, that they wouldn’t want to tell the story of the same characters in each game (eg. Shepard and crew). Game would get pretty stale if it did. Glad they are going to branch out and try some new things, instead of doing the game stuff over and over again.

        Change is good.

        • Cariannis

          Change good? That’s not always true. Change for changes sack is usually bad. Just compare Highlander 2 with Highlander…

        • Android

          Well, when you finally get around to playing Mass Effect, you’ll understand why your statement is stupid.

    • Michael H

      True, I knew it wouldn’t end well but the ending was just too much. Shepard had suffered a great deal throughout the series, he even died at one point! Although I thought Garrus was just great. He was the only one who really developed throughout the series as a character. The others did develop but Garrus in ME3 was different than ME1. The others didn’t really have much different about them. I’m just hoping Bioware doesn’t throw away these past three games into the bin. Just hope there is strong links to the trilogy

  • Android

    If they want to change the story and crew and appeal to a wider audience, do it under a different name than “Mass Effect.” And to have the game potentially be a prequel is such an overrated thing that companies do. It’s like remaking a movie. Either make a new one, or go away. If Shepard and the others are not in Mass Effect 4, then I will not be buying it. It will not be “Mass Effect” without the same crew. This isn’t Star Trek. And, if done correctly, you know, with good writing and skilled developers, they can make the game immersible for everyone, old or new to the series.

    It’s like God of War IV not being about Kratos, Uncharted 4 not being about Drake, or The Elder Scrolls not taking place in Tamriel. Then again, they wouldn’t be the first company to ruin a franchise. I sincerely hope the guy was joking, but with game companies being, well, not so smart with story lines nowadays, it wouldn’t surprise me. Mass Effect no longer belongs to BioWare- It belongs to the fans. The fans who have spent years with this story line, crew, and all the hard work they put into it. And, with the PSN, Xbox Live, etc, carrying over a story from the previous generation of consoles is not difficult. This is just people trying to get more money and not realizing that they will, in fact, lose money doing it this way. And, with so many holes left open in the story, it really would be a moronic thing to do. I hope, for everyone’s sake, BioWare makes the correct decision with the game.

  • WilliamRob

    I loved all of Mass Effect. I liked how the series ended. But I’m not sure about having a new character. Shepard and is crew were iconic characters.

  • Michael H

    Mass Effect isn’t the same without Shepard’s story continued, that doesn’t mean Shepard should live but keep it close to the world we know. Keep Garrus, Tali, Joker and Liara as a must. James could be an Captain Vega or something, as with Ashley/Kaidan being Commander. That is if they are meant to surive, but the individual choices could influence these events differently. You could play a long lost relative of Shepard’s who has survived all these years and attends an annual cemerony in rememberance of Shepard several years later. You’re still Shepard, just not Commander Shepard. Liara figures out who you are and enlists your help in whatever suicide mission comes next and you join the Normandy crew under the command of James/Ashley/Kaidan.

    Altenatively, Shepard somehow survives the Crucible. As his body isn’t found he’s presumed dead, but wakes up on some planet with no memory of his life. Which comes to haunt him in nightmares, assuming his experience with the Reapers, Collectors, Geth and Cerberus are merely part of his imagination. He’s trying to figure out who he was and as such the game could entirely focus on actually trying to bring Shepard’s memory back while surviving Cerebrus members are out to kill him for destroying Cerebus. Or tie it in with the precious idea having his relative and Normandy search for Shepard as they follow clue after clue of the truth he never died.

    Or we could be explore the realms of time travel or alternare realities, without it becoming stupid. Keep it going on the story, Shepard has suffered alot. And he did die in ME2. Shepard deserves a decent ending, although I knew that there was no good ending to have at least give Shepard a chance to have a happy ending. Am going to go back and do another playthrough.

  • Jim

    Please please keep shepherd
    Mass effect without shepherd is like the bible without Jesus

    • Disciple

      Well, to be fair, Jesus is only in 6 of the 66 books of the bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Revelations.
      So within your own logic, we could have 27 sequels without ShepJesus.

  • http://mybrainispink.tumblr.com/ Shannon

    I’m excited. But after playing with Shepard for such a long time it just feels kinda odd that I won’t have her back lol anyway I’ll play it. I just hope the story is as good and the gameplay doesn’t go worse. I mean, ME3 gameplay was good. Way better then the first