Whether you loved, hated, or were completely indifferent to the ending of Bioware’s Mass Effect trilogy, many gamers will still remember the action-RPG as one of the most memorable gaming experiences of the PS3/Xbox 360 console generation. Unprecedented customization of both the player character and story, gamers became enamored with their Commander Shepard as well as his (or her) personal choices – choices that had enormous impact on the people and worlds featured in the game. Admittedly, all those decisions may not have added up to a conclusion with the same level of personalization but the three part Mass Effect journey definitely set a new bar for what gamers should expect from action-RPG titles going forward.
We already know that currently untitled Mass Effect 4 will not feature Commander Shepard, but after so many enjoyable adventures, it’s no surprise that gamers are eager for word on the next-generation follow-up. Currently, no official date for the game has been set, with BioWare hoping to share details this year (likely at E3 2014), but the recent listing of possible PS4 and Xbox One versions of the Mass Effect Trilogy bundle caused fans to speculate that the game might be coming earlier (or even later) than originally expected.
The “next gen” Mass Effect Trilogy bundle has yet to be confirmed by BioWare; however, if it turns out to be real, the developer could be using the remastered combo pack as a way of delivering new Mass Effect content to established fans in the interim time before Mass Effect 4 – as well as providing PS4 and Xbox One owners with an all-in-one entry point to the series. Microsoft (among others) has used the first tactic before – releasing the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary remaster as a stop-gap before Halo 4 – and may, depending on who you believe, launch Halo 2 Anniversary as a means to tide-over anxious Xbox owners before Halo 5 arrives.
Still, some players got their hopes up that the Mass Effect bundle, which would be a remastered version of the current-gen offering, could actually have been set to coincide with the release of Mass Effect 4 – especially after news broke that the future installment is in a playable form. Nevertheless, a new update seems to suggest that, assuming a next-gen bundle is actually scheduled for release later this year, the actual Mass Effect follow-up will not launch until at least 2015.
According to Bioware MontrÃ©al studio director Yanick Roy, Mass Effect 4 is currently “in the middle” of development. Check out his Tweet below:
Even though the next Mass Effect game will enjoy the luxury of shirking off most (if not all) of the decisions that gamers made in prior chapters – the game is, without question, an enormous undertaking. For that reason, fans should return to the status-quo expectation that we’ll see the finished game in 2015 – at the absolute earliest. After all, the studio previously stated that Mass Effect 4 will feature a significant overhaul (while still being recognizable to returning players).
During development of Mass Effect 2 and 3, the logistics of ensuring that nearly every decision players made would be accounted for in subsequent titles posed a challenge for BioWare – but creating a, presumably, all new roster of characters, gameplay mechanics, next-gen visuals, along with a fresh story angle is no small undertaking either.
Still, players can take some comfort in knowing that BioWare should start lifting the veil in the coming months. Hopefully, E3 will at least give fans an idea of the general premise and time period featured in the new game – even if the information is limited to a CGI announcement trailer.
We’ll you bring you more updates on Mass Effect 4 as details become available.
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