‘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


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  1. I think it would be best to take Mass Effect into a different route. The developers of the game need to learn how to take the Mass Effect appeal to a wider audience. Especially in a time and age where Call of Duty is becoming the number one gaming franchise. Thoughtful story based games such as the last Mass Effect game didn’t work at all. The series itself is just taking the genre too seriously. What we need is a just a straight forward first person shooter styled game. Then releasing multiple Mass Effect titles each year but in different tones. This is how the appeal of these games should divulge in order to stay successful. Not focusing on Shepard is a start, he was too much of a three dimensional figure but they need to see and realize the other issues too.

    • I’m hoping most of that was sarcasm…

      • Mark, we don’t want another mindless polished turf like Call of Duty, we want an intelligent game with incredible story complimented by some fantastic gameplay.

    • haha, great comment!

    • I also hope that was sarcasm and /or trolling because that’s blatantly not the case at all. Good story telling DOES sell games.

      Its the point & shoot genre that bores me to tears. You couldn’t pay me to play a game like COD or BF. It doesn’t even take 2 brain cells to play that crap its mindless go here, push this button now move to the next & do it again.

      at least the story telling gives me motivation to actually finish the game and not quite after 2 hours of nothing but the ‘same’ness.

  2. Your wrong in every way as Mass effect does not need to be like every other generic first person shooter. The game and the story where fantastic and those who complained about the ending to ME 3 and how the game was different in the way of it being more action orientated where in my own opinion wrong todo so.

    And i also disagree with removing shepard from the ME 4 story as i’d personally like to know how his life turned out after ME 3 and also that depending on the LI you choose for shepard what happend between them i.e did they have children etc.

    • I disagree with anyone who says your in place of you’re and where instead of were. How clever could someone like that be and therefore how valid his opinion?

  3. I think Mass Effect 4 should do a Halo 4 but i think Shepard should be more of a side character or a quest giver. A new menace should be brought in, one that is original and seemingly invincible. I feel a new main character would breath a bit of life into the game, I felt that Shepard, while a cool character, was a little drawn out and at times a little stale. If possible there should be several voice actors for both male and female characters to allow the player to select a voice that suits their character and make that character a little more personal and give him or her a bit more meaning to the player.

  4. Mass Effect needs a tone shift back to its second installment. We need a personal, character driven story that doesn’t need giant space battles and the fate of the galaxy resting on our shoulders.

    Something with a Firefly/ME2-esque feel would do nicely: A rag-tag group of people from different backgrounds scrounging out a living through smuggling, mercenary work, and things like that. A game like this could easily be set parallel to the timeline of the games and no problems would arise.

  5. They could create a story that allows for multiplayer while still giving choices. The multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 was somewhat close to what we wanted and they could create a useful PvP arena. Now is the time to create something new but somehow similar to its predecessors to show the consumers that there are still brains working and ingenuity still exists when designing new gameplay mechanics.

    Or they could just let Mass Effect die and all will be well.

  6. Well, considering they blew up all the Mass Effect relays in the galaxy I can’t see how they can move forward. Not that I will be buying it or anything, since they lost me as a customer with the cluster f*** that was ME3.

    • +1

    • ^^^This guy must not have seen the extended version and is still butt hurt over the last 10 minutes of an almost perfect game.

      • Last 10 minutes of an almost perfect game? Sure. If you don’t count the auto dialogue, Diana Allers, forced companions (James Vega), Diana Allers and on disk DLC. Yea it was a perfect game. I even ignored the really stupid bugs and quest log.

        • Auto dialog was actually more involving, and on NONE of my play throughs has it felt like it wasn’t accurate to my character, renegade or paragon. And it was a feature in EVERY Mass Effect game, just more frequent and better done in this one. Diana Allers….what the heck’s the problem? Barely involved, having someone in the news made sense for a war, AND might as well throw a bone to someone geeks know. And Vega was there in case some moron screwed up the games prior and didn’t have any companions. You need someone to be there for that. No more forced than miranda or Jacob in ME2. And I NEVER experienced any kind of bug or glitch on any playthrough, so…What was your original and well backed point again?

          • “Auto dialog was actually more involving” yes that’s my problem. My Shepard (key) did say lots of things I never would have picked her to say. Diana Allers was a waste of disk space. If we needed a news reporter it should have been Al-Jilani not Allers. “And I NEVER experienced any kind of bug or glitch on any playthrough” you (key) never experienced any bugs well good for you my Mass Effect 3 crashed twice the first day of playing.

          • Vega was just an example of the forced companions, which was something I hated. Being forced to take a companion on a mission even though I couldn’t stand the person. Like taking EDI on that one mission or Vega on Mars.

  7. I’d much rather see the game go forward in time, I’m going to get ahold of it any way but if there’s anything to be said of the game and no mention of Shepard it’s sounding more likely to have been set in the past way before his, Wrex or Liara’s Birth, so that sounds to me like either Prothean era or around the problems with the Rachni, Krogan Rebelions, possibly the Geth Uprising even the First Contact war.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if we were able to get involved with a game where we traveled through time and focused on specific events as they happened I.e a Prothean fighting the Reapers, Krogans “wiping out” the Rachni, Turians fighting to the sterilization of the Krogans and inducing fear into the Salarians, Quarians fighting against the Geth uprising, and then Humans fighting against the Turians.

    I can’t think where the Asari could come into all that, but man would it be cool to see all the character back story, I for one would love to see that kind of mechanic for Mass Effect 4, the future sounds great and all but why not expand on the historical reference that is already avaliable, that way you would have absolutely no effect on 1,2 or 3.

    But if there was a game set further into the future, you would need a new threat that had the potential to equal the reapers if necessary, but that game could be influenced by the grander events of Mass Effect 1,2 and 3. The really interesting thing is what species would survive into the future?
    What new species would be present in the universe, how would the Batarians have faired?

    The past raises questions but answers more that it raises, but it’s not as much of a challenge as writing for the future of Mass Effects universe as it raises far more questions to which we need to search for the answers which could lead to an entirely new trilogy, but as it’s established my question for bioware is do you have the balls to do it all again?, or are you going to park the new car in the driveway so to speak and give us an eye into specific historical events?

    • I completely agree. A game set in the future would be hard to set in the future but according to Casey Hudson (Yes, I know, don’t crucify me.) said that they already had a second trilogy prepared to continue. And they vaguely insinuate that there are more things lurking in the darkness of the other galaxies. Whatever stories they were preparing, I want. But because of the controversy over the ending, they dropped the baby, and probably will never pick it back up. Very sad. I wasn’t a fan of the ending, but I still want them to continue the story, not just drop it and move on.
      I think a new trilogy, playing as any main species would be cool.

      • The ending of Mass Effect ruined the entire franchise. THey could not have recovered with a new trilogy set in that time. Once they publsihed that ending I stopped reading the novels and canceled my Dark horse comic subscription.

        The fans were right to complain, and maybe setting ME4 in the future away from the trite ME3 story will invigorate the games like ME 1 and ME2. I don’t know. Maybe they will make it an RPG again instead of an action shooter like ME3. Get MAcWalters off the writing though. Bring back Karpashyn.

  8. Not really surprising. They always said that Shepards story would end after ME3. But more Mass Effect is never a bad thing!

    • They said a lot of things which turned out to be false.

  9. No thanks on a prequel….set it 500 years in the future and that’ll separate it enough

  10. Most of the comments I’m reading are making me hate the Mass Effect community.

    • Right?

  11. Who gives a damn. After me3 debacle, buying me4 proves these lying pissants can get away with b******* of the highest order. If you hated me3 and you still feed these … money then you are completely without class.

    of course we already knew that so it will probably be a best seller.

  12. The relays can be rebuilt, as shown in the paragon extended ending. Given that FTL drives still exist, you’re going to see a lot of even more mixed raced societies, such as the krogan who remain in turian space (those that survive starvation, since turians use). The remaining fleets will have to use Earth and any nearby planets as colonies, and the Council no longer has power. Lots and lots of mini-states, just like Rome after it fell.

  13. ME3 gave the illusion of choice but in the end it never mattered because what choices you had resulted in the same conclusion with different colors.

  14. It would be cool to play POV’s of different races, like in GTA V. Or play as a Turian or Human soldier during the contact wars

  15. I have no idea where a Mass Effect spin-off should go. Hopefully they come up with something that’s worthwhile.

  16. How can people still be upset at the ME3 ending? Get over it.

    • I would imagine the same way that people are still upset at the star wars prequels. a die hard fanbase that doesn’t feel the potential of the product was reached and is determined to gripe until it is rectified.

      • +1.

        If they want to make a Mass Effect in the Future time line I am all for it.

        If they go back to MacWalters idiotic reaper story, than NO THANKYOU.

  17. Mass Effect is not the same without Shepard! Like it or not he drove the series. While he does not have to be the feature presentation, an appearance would be a nice touch. I fear what tragedy will befall my beloved series. I have no confidence in Bioware’s ability to enhance the Mass Effect experience in ME 4!

  18. The new “Mass Effect 4″ won’t be set during the first contact due to the shortness of the conflict. Read the codex entries, a few ship got destroyed a planet captured with the humans then conterattacking. Before both humanity and the turians could gear up for war the council intervened and forced a truce. Even if they did set a game then at most you would have one very short game extending over a few days or a week at most. Not enough content for the next amazing trilogy that has been quoted. Though one thing I predict is that humans will have to be included or the game will feel too alien for new players. Or the game could be some elaborate hoax by bio to gain interest in upcoming games; not as if that’s been dome before. What ever the case I still hope they create a game what ever the story, and me like many thousands of other gamers wil sit down quietly and do as we are told (cough) COD players.

  19. I honestly have no idea where a mass effect spin off could go, and still have no idea whether I want to be a part of it. When I first heard about Mass Effect 4 I was overjoyed, until Bioware announced Shepard would be no part of it. I was pretty confused to be honest, I thought ‘Hey! Mass Effect is Commander Shepard. Commander Shepard is Mass Effect.’ I couldn’t imagine a mass effect universe based game without my lovable Shepard and her squad mates. And I still can’t.

    I never thought Shepard would be the main character, of course not. But I thought she’d/he’d be in there somewhere (Surely there’s some room for some Shepard love?). And I definitely never thought Shepard’s story would end there and then, on the Citadel with her friends soaring away on the Normandy unsure whether or not their Commander was alive or dead.

    Of course when the time comes and Mass Effect 4 is released I’ll probably be ready to fork out £50.00 just to see what Bioware make of it, whether I’ll be pleasantly pleased or absolutely empty is yet to be seen.

    All I can really say now is- Bioware, try and not screw up.

  20. i think a prothein should be involved. like he is the last of his kind.

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