In case there was any doubt that Commander Shepard wouldn’t be a factor in Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare has released a teaser trailer that puts those outlying doubts to rest. In the teaser, players can hear Shepard handing off the mantle of protagonist to Mass Effect: Andromeda’s new lead character (or characters).

The footage is surprisingly heartfelt, combining shots of mankind’s greatest achievements in space exploration with a Jennifer Hale-narrated piece talking about moving forward. Yes, it would have been nice to get one last glimpse of Shepard – in either OG Shep or FemShep form – but that might have broken some of the immersion. In theory, no two Commander Shepards were the same, but now they are all a distant memory.

Unfortunately, BioWare didn’t offer up any new details alongside the teaser trailer, just a fond farewell for the protagonist that stood at the center of the Mass Effect series’ first three entries. They could have addressed the multiple endings in Mass Effect 3, or which one stands as canon in Andromeda’s world, but we suspect that BioWare would rather avoid talk of ME3’s endings.

For some the thought of leaving Commander Shepard behind may be a hard pill to swallow, but we’ve known this was happening for quite some time. BioWare made it abundantly clear that the Shepard era was ending in Mass Effect 3, and they’ve done nothing to convince us otherwise in the years since ME 3’s release.

However, with this latest teaser comes a lot of questions about Mass Effect: Andromeda, namely who will follow in Commander Shepard’s footsteps. The dialogue in the narration suggests that our hero may be a player-created character, but that’s not entirely clear.

Given BioWare’s penchant for character customization, it’s possible the developer is going with a more “blank slate” protagonist, similar to Dragon Age Inquisition. Offering players more choice is something Mass Effect fans have been clamoring for, and with the power of the new current-gen consoles BioWare may finally be able to deliver. If nothing else, we hope that the binary decision-making of the early Mass Effect games is broadened to include more nuance.

While N7 Day did come and go without a meaningful Mass Effect: Andromeda announcement, BioWare lived up to their promise and delivered a fun surprise for fans. Getting to hear Jennifer Hale’s voice one last time as FemShep is a treat and prepares us for thinking about the franchise’s future and all the possibilities.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is slated for a 2016 release on current-gen platforms.

Source: Gameland TV (via Gamespot)