What was once Game Rant's most anticipated game of 2011 is now a Kinect-enabled title set for release a few months into 2012. The delay of Mass Effect 3 didn't phase us - after seeing the behind-closed-doors demo with Casey Hudson at E3 2011, the game is well worth the wait.
Perhaps it's premature then to wonder what happens next? Mass Effect 3 marks the end of the trilogy and the end of Commander Shepard's story arc. While that broad question won't be answered for a very long time, it's still satisfying to know that ME3 will not be our last time venturing into the Mass Effect universe.
Last January, around when Mass Effect 2 was hitting retail, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk confirmed the obvious by stating that the Mass Effect franchise has a long future ahead, far beyond that of Mass Effect 3. The potential for the franchise, the stories they can tell, the locations and characters they can use are limitless. We pondered some ideas for what we want from Mass Effect 4 (read it) but with Mass Effect 3 still in development, now with an added delay, we didn't expect that to be a concern of BioWare at the moment.
As it turns out however, they are already working out the details for what comes next, at least according to two of the three BioWare co-founders: Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk. At E3, they went on record with the following:
Greg Zeschuk: "Certainly the setting has really resonated with people, the type of aliens in the world, the type of people that inhabit space. Obviously we focus first and foremost on nailing it on this game, and then, you know, the possibilities in the future are very, very broad."
Ray Muzyka: "We want to make sure it’s awesome. [Mass Effect 3] is our first focus. Beyond that, we do have a desire to continue the Mass Effect franchise, and we’re working on the details, figuring out what the fans want, figuring out the right way."
So, they're planning ahead - no big deal, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
As anyone reading this is well aware, one of the many features that separates the Mass Effect series from other RPGs is how its games tie together in every sense of the word. Each successive sequel is not just another game, it's a continuation of what came before. Specifically, the game changes based on what you chose to do and how you acted when sranding in the shoes of Commander Shepard.
Mass Effect 2 utilized the save files from the first game (if you played on PC/Xbox 360), pulling data on hundreds of decision points, allowing for serious ramifications to how you treated your teammates, what choices you made throughout the main story and side-quests and most of all, who lived or died.
Mass Effect 3 will do the same, pulling data from both of its predecessors. This amounts to a growing number of possible outcomes and experiences gamers will face in Mass Effect 3 and it certainly does not make development of the title an easy task for BioWare.
With that in mind, and knowing that they're already thinking in specifics about Mass Effect 4, does this mean BioWare is building in decisions and situations into Mass Effect 3 that will be drawn from for the next game? Will the next Mass Effect installment be tied down to what occurred in the Commander Shepard trilogy or will they relieve themselves of that burden and explore an entirely different story? Perhaps the end-game moment will impact the universe in some way that affects the next game, or perhaps continuing the chain of games grabbing old data is simply too much.
If you’re a fan, check out our E3 Mass Effect 3 previews:
- Mass Effect 3 Weapons & Combat Preview
- Mass Effect 3 Gameplay Demo Impressions
- Mass Effect 3 Spoiler-Filled Story Preview
- Mass Effect 3 'Fall of Earth' Trailer
Would you like to see some familiar characters show up in Mass Effect 4 or will you be satisfied with something entirely separate?
Mass Effect 3 releases for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.
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Mass Effect map from DWebArt.