Gamers built up an army, subdued the Reapers, and wrapped up the Mass Effect trilogy this past March, and (aside from the extremely controversial ending) many enjoyed finishing what they started with the series’ protagonist, Commander Shepard. It’s no secret that BioWare plans on continuing the franchise, but no one has a clue just what’s in store for the much-anticipated Mass Effect 4.

While fans speculate on where the series will go following the events of Mass Effect 3, there’s one thing about the inevitable fourth installment that gamers can be sure of — there will be no Shepard.

This revelation was exposed during an interview between VG247 and BioWare Montreal producer Fabrice Condominas. According to Condominas, everyone’s favorite commander has had his time in the spotlight, so it’s time to throw someone/something different into the, now vacant, leading role for Mass Effect 4.

“There is one thing we are absolutely sure of — there will be no more Shepard, and the trilogy is over.”

At this point in time, the Shepard-less Mass Effect 4 hasn’t progressed that far in development, but the passing of the guard has acted as as a jumping off point for the team. As BioWare gathers ideas internally in an attempt to decide where the franchise will head to next, the developer is confident that the Mass Effect universe is vast enough to provide them with plenty of different storytelling options.

“This is really our starting point. Now the Mass Effect universe is vast, and very, very rich. So at this point in time, we don’t even know what kind of time frame we’re going to be in. All we’re doing is more gathering ideas from the teams, gathering feedback to see several things.”

BioWare doesn’t just want to simply remove the Commander and throw some other generic sap into his shoes either, and Condominas made that very clear. There will be no “Shepard 2” in the next iteration, and that sounds like it’s for the best if the developer is truly trying mix things up with the next game.

“So first, we don’t want to make ‘Shepard 2′, or Mass Effect 4 with like, ‘oh there’s no more Shepard but you’re a soldier in the universe’. So this will be a very, very different context for sure, and nothing has been decided on the rest.”

Casey Hudson, the executive producer behind the Mass Effect series, has already mentioned that there are “a lot of possibilities” for the next ME title. Of course, gamers won’t be able to see which of these possibilities make it into the final product for a very long time, but it’s hard to not be curious about the future of the franchise.

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Source: VG247