Mass Effect 3 is the end of Commander Shepard's story. Whether he lives through the Reaper invasion or not, BioWare will continue the Mass Effect franchise with other games, exploring different stories and events.
From a gameplay perspective however, what actually happens when you complete Mass Effect 3's main quest/story? Mass Effect 1 allowed players to replay the game with their more powerful and experienced character with New Game+ mode, but in Mass Effect 2, you could also simply continue travelling the universe to complete side-quests and such. What happens when you beat Mass Effect 3?
We've covered a variety of topics from the 12-page exclusive ME3 preview from Game Informer but there are still a few neat tidbits we've yet to touch on so let's talk replayability.
We don't know how the story of Mass Effect 3 plays out, but we do know it features multiple endings depending on your choices. We do assume that the basic end-game moment will be shared across the variety of conclusions since I don't expect Mass Effect 4 or future spin-offs to tie into the trilogy and your save game files as they've done with the series thus far.
When you beat the game, do you continue on your way with Shepard and your surviving friends? Do you get to replay the game and explore other routes like we did with Mass Effect 1? Or will the game continue without Shepard, perhaps with you controlling one of his squadmates?
BioWare's Casey Hudson explains that the end-game content will likely be a mix of what we saw in the first two games:
"It's probably going to be a combination of both. We're going to have a version of the post-game state that you can go back to and finish more stuff, but then we'll have stuff you can loop back around and do in new game+. It's a hybrid of the two"
The biggest question would be what the "post-game state" involves. I have a funny feeling that BioWare may do something along the lines of Red Dead Redemption but I won't spoil that for you if you've not played it.
If you’re catching up on all of the Mass Effect 3 news, here are the latest topics we’ve covered:
- Mass Effect MMO possible.
- No multiplayer in Mass Effect 3.
- Mass Effect 3 characters and story hints.
- Mass Effect 3 weapon changes.
- The Scale of Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 3 releases this Fall (rumor: November 8th) on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.