New ‘Mass Effect’ Game ‘Respectful’ of Trilogy Canon; Playable Alien Races Possible

Nov 12, 2012 by  

New Mass Effect to Feature Playable Alien Races

Following the controversial conclusion to Mass Effect 3, it wasn’t long before fans began to speculate on what BioWare has planned for the future of the franchise in Mass Effect 4. Of course, calling the game Mass Effect 4 is presumptuous at this point – since the game developer has, so far, only disclosed that they’re working on a “new Mass Effect” game. In fact, while BioWare may have some core ideas regarding where they are headed with the next series installment, development on the project is definitely still in flux.

A couple days back, Mass Effect series executive producer, Casey Hudson, put a call out for feedback from gamers – specifically asking what fans would like to see in the “new” game. Anyone following the subsequent flurry of responses to Hudson’s question quickly saw a trend in requests: Fans want playable alien races.

Responding in a new tweet, Hudson thanked everyone for their feedback – and acknowledged the increasingly popular request:

Great suggestions coming in for the next #MassEffect game. Seems to be lots of interest in playable alien races.

The recognition only further fueled the fire – as followers began to suggest how playable alien races could further enhance the unique narrative experience of Mass Effect as well as offer further gameplay customization. While the Mass Effect lead has yet to follow-up with further insights, or an official confirmation, Hudson is no stranger to how quickly the internet responds to rumors and speculation – meaning, if playable alien races were not (at the very least) a possibility or (more likely) already on the list of planned features, there’s no way that he would have publicly highlighted that specific request.

Mass Effect 3 Rebellion DLC - Vorcha

We already know for sure that Commander Shepard will not return (at all) in the next Mass Effect game – which definitely leaves room for non-human protagonist options. We already got a taste of customizable aliens in the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer arena – where certain races, like the Krogan and Vorcha, control a bit differently from traditionally human-like races, Quarians, Turians, and the Geth. While there are certainly technical hurdles to overcome, it’s hard to imagine that playable alien races would be a major challenge for BioWare – especially considering they’ve got a primarily blank story canvas.

While Hudson remains series executive producer, BioWare’s Montreal studio is set to take the lead on the next Mass Effect installment (prior games were helmed by BioWare Edmonton) – which, as mentioned, will mark a fresh chapter in the franchise. A new lead-studio, and new storyline certainly, leaves plenty of room for anxiety among fans but, in an open letter from studio-director, Yanick Roy, the developer promises a “respectful” evolution of story and gameplay in the series:

While it will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts. You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling.

Gamers might get anxious when they read “exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts” but, following years of similar anxiety, Microsoft’s in-house 343 Industries developed a new chapter in the Halo series – with fresh gameplay changes and an engaging shift in story (read our Halo 4 review). Unlike 343 Industries (at the time of the Bungie transition), the Montreal BioWare studio has the added benefit of experience working intimately on story-driven campaign DLC – among other contributions to the Mass Effect series. No doubt, fans will now be looking very carefully at the Montreal Studio-developed Omega DLC in order to determine whether or not Roy and his team are worthy of the “next” full-fledged Mass Effect.

Mass Effect 3 Omega squad mates

In addition, Roy also hinted that the next Mass Effect game will easily out-do the current offerings in terms of performance and visuals – given that the game is built on EA’s Frostbite engine:

There is really not much I can tell you about the game right now, except that it will be built with the amazing technology of Frostbite as its foundation, enhanced by many of the systems that the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building.

Some gamers might be skeptical about the future of the Mass Effect series – especially after the mixed reaction to Mass Effect 3‘s ending but the pieces are in place for a compelling and fresh installment. Of course, the only way to ensure that BioWare doesn’t drop one of your favorite franchise features is to weigh-in with your Mass Effect suggestions – or, as the open letter suggests, keep an eye on the studio’s job postings!

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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.

The next Mass Effect game does not have a current release date – so stay tuned for further updates!

Source: Casey Hudson and BioWare

21 Comments

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  1. “Seems to be lots of interest in playable alien races.” There was also lots of interest in playing other races in DA3…see what happened there?

    • I can see your point, however new studio working on Mass Effect? I think they will give the fans what they want, they will have been there to see where Bioware Edmont went wrong and there all the same team so I’m sure the guys at Edmont will be more than happy to show Montreal what they think they could have been better with their own games

      • It’s Edmonton, not Edmont.

  2. I definitely would play as a different alien race, so long as there were customization on par with that of Shepard in the original trilogy. Its cool being able to play as them in the ME3 multiplayer, but the relative lack of detailed customization options regarding appearance should be replaced if they are added as main story playable characters

  3. Being able to play different races is rally only worth while, if playing the the different race has some moderate amount of additional story or a modest change in how the over all story plays out. Dragon Age origin made it worth playing different races. Skyrim, how I love it dearly, playing different race was meaningless except to alter the game play slightly with racial abilities.

  4. The creators return to either destroy civilization or regain their Reapers from human control. Its simple. Granted, they have to keep their head on straight and try to not over exaggerate their story. Bioware, KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

  5. i would like it if all of the galaxy came together and there was peace for a hundred years or so after ME3 so tech is more advanced and there is a special team put together to explore a near by galaxy, this cud open up all sorts of amazing story ideas. such as encounters with primitive races, some sort of galactic empire, i could go on but i have work to do.. lol

  6. Ship combat!!

  7. Bullcrap, BioWare!

    You guys couldn’t even be respectful to the original game with the final entry. ME3 was absolute garbage, and judging from your actions since its release, I see no reason why you’ll do any better with ME4 or any new Mass Effect games. This is the same studio that ruined Dragon Age with only the second game in and pretty much killed Mass Effect with ME3: a game that lived up to pretty much none of your promises and abandoned almost everything that previously made the series good for the sake of mass appeal.

    In fact, that’s what you should just call the next one: Mass Appeal 4.

  8. I’m very optimistic about a new Mass Effect game. Choosing an alien race would be great! Fingers crossed for a Drell :)

  9. “Respectful of Trilogy Canon” had me rollin’

  10. Seriously, who cares about Bioware. ME3, DA2, and SWTOR are all prime examples of their epic failure.

    • ……….no

  11. While it’s nice to hear Casey Hudson asking for fan feedback, it’s probably asking too much for it to have much of an effect on the future of the franchise. E.A. won’t finance anything that doesn’t fit into what they believe will make the franchise more profitable, at least not in the short term. Even if BioWare had a long lead time for the next game in the franchise, just with the change in the game engine,a lot of good ideas will probably get left on the cutting room floor. And that’s just ideas that BioWare employee’s come up with. BioWare has great people who can do an outstanding job with future games, weather they will/can remains to be seen. Given limited time I don’t believe we will get much better than what ME3 gave us, which is still hotly debated in any number of forums. While I have great faith that BioWare could deliver an exceptional game for the future of their IP’s, I lack that same faith that they can in the time frame they will have to work within.

  12. But people, even hardcore fans angry at the ME3 ending, will buy it. IGN will give it a four star review, and we’ll move on. Playable alien races is a good idea since the franchise killed/modded/deified Shepard, and they move forward, not backwards with the story. You can do things like the First Contact War etc, through DLC. They also need to keep the gameplay core from ME 3 and improve the dialog system/face graphics using the cutscene tech that Halo 4 has. Don’t regenerate environments, make sure your choices are more then green, blue, red, and either make co-op multiplayer as part of the main campaign, not a kludgy deathmatch/kill shooter clone that RPGs fans loathe, or dump it.

  13. a little disappointed in an end to Shepard, but unsurprised. I think that it would be cool if They made it an open-world game, similar to Fallout, only based in the mass effect universe with Mass Effect’s story depth elements. I think that would make a very very, interesting game that would have a wide appeal. I know I’d definitely buy it.

  14. ME3′s ending made me sad, but that didn’t ruin the trilogy for me, all three games were fantastic, the books were interesting too. So… Playable races and a new story arc… I’m calling MMO, but only because a little part of me wants to see some badassery from factions. It’ll probably never happen, though. I can still dream ):

  15. Space, the final frontier… these are the voyages of the star-…
    sorry, I got a little side-tracked. I loved Mass Effect 1 and 2, Mass Effect 3 was ok, although I still need to finish it. I don’t know what to think yet about the next Mass Effect.

  16. i hope they allow us to play as different races too and have which ones that are available be a direct concequence to the choices the player made in mass effect 3 and each character should have their own backstory and exclusive tutorial mission and starting area as well as their first squadmate differeing depending on which character you choose (asari should start on thessia, and so on) as far as the story perhaps they discover another “citadel” and it’s a hub to another relay network that leads out of the milkyway and into a neighboring galaxy although there should still be exploration of the milkyway as well as the new galaxy and the introduction of a few new races

  17. The ending was terrible. I actually wrote a better one. Kasumi should’ve been a romanceable squadmate and we should’ve seen her face. FemSheps were supposed to have longer hair. They can’t be bothered to fix simple things like wrong blood colors for aliens (example, The Cerberus bomb mission, a Turian was shot and red blood sprayed out.). Before you create a new game, fix the one you have.

  18. i think they need to put in more freedom with the weapon choices make more than 6 choices for your weapons

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