With plenty of details on Mass Effect 3 spilling out of the gameplay demo shown at E3 this week, fans are already speculating on what may or may not be featured in the final version of the game. As we pointed out in our extensive story preview, several former squad members made appearances alongside Shepard in the gameplay shown behind closed doors, which has caused Mass Effect 3‘s Gameplay Designer to clarify to what extent those characters will be involved. According to a tweet from BioWare’s Christina Norman, players shouldn’t be thinking of ME3’s team as having a set roster from beginning to end.

Fans of BioWare’s science fiction epic have every reason to have grown attached to one or more of the cast, considering the amount of time that’s gone into developing compelling backstory and chcaracter development.

Garrus Vakarian and Tali’Zorah vas Normandy alone have grown and evolved a great deal from just the first game to the second, and with both confirmed to be squad members for Mass Effect 3 – provided they survived – fans can now move on to wondering about other secondary characters.

There’s certainly no shortage of possible allies when factoring in the cast of two different games and DLC, but perhaps we shouldn’t be thinking of Shepard’s squadmates in the same manner as we have in the past.

Apparently the number of people requesting confirmation on the squad make-up forced Norman to address the speculation head on, taking to Twitter to remind fans that the story of ME3 will be far more intricate than a simple rescue or recruitment mission. As a result, a new approach to the team may be in order:

Mass Effect 3 Christina Norman Tweet

Considering the number of past squad members who have personal interests in the choices made by the player in the past, it makes sense that more familiar characters will have a bone to pick with Commander Shepard. With both Legion and Tali having suffered from the war between the Geth and the Quarians, and Wrex, Garrus and Mordin being tied both directly and indirectly to the genophage of the Krogans, there’s obviously a fair amount of internal conflict going on.

So while we may be expecting certain crew members returning to the team and others only appearing in small roles like in Mass Effect 2, Norman seems to be hinting that the developers are trying something new with ME3. The most obvious possibility is that Shepard will maintain his smaller crew of especially familiar companions, with secondary characters accompanying him on a mission that pertains to their interests. For example, Wrex may continue to act as a clan chief, but join Shepard as a playable character to earn the support of the Krogan army. Similarly, Jack might return for another chance to exact revenge from the Cerberus teams hunting Shepard down.

These are only guesses, but this method of swapping in past allies would be a great way to experience some nostaliga, and could be what BioWare meant when they said that Mass Effect 3 would have deeper relationships. Fans know what a joy it was to stumble across Tali and Garrus in ME2, so any method of building a team that increases the number of familiar faces joining Shepard is fine by us.

The developers have also stated that players who choose to ignore side quests will be met with a less-successful ending to the trilogy, so it’s even possible that past squad members could join Shepard on a completely optional quest, perhaps to help them find their own happy ending. Whatever the case may be, Norman has made it clear that making assumptions of any kind isn’t recommended, as Mass Effect 3 has the ability to surprise even the most knowledgeable fans.

What do you think of the idea that squadmates may come and go? Do you like the idea better than having characters drop everything to hop aboard the Normandy, or would you prefer a set companion list? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Mass Effect 3 will be seeing plenty of familiar faces in new ways when it’s released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.

Source: Twitter