Mass Effect 4: Why it Needs to be a Sequel & Let Players Choose Their Race


One fan’s thoughts on where BioWare can take the next instalment of the Mass Effect franchise. WARNING: This contains some minor spoilers to Mass Effect 3’s endings!

To say that gamers were let down by the original endings of Mass Effect 3 would be an understatement. The public outcry was so loud that BioWare eventually caved and updated them with the Extended Cut DLC. But that time has come and gone. Shepard’s story has been completed. It’s time to look at the future and how BioWare can weave a new series set in the Mass Effect universe.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a clear picture on what direction they’re going to take. There’s not much information on what Mass Effect 4 is all about and I don’t think they’ll reveal much, if anything at all, in E3 since they’re probably going to focus more on Dragon Age: Inquisition this year. So, what I can do is just give my thoughts on what I would like to see in Mass Effect 4.

1. Make it a sequel, not a prequel

I definitely would want it to be set after the events of Mass Effect 3. None of that “prequel” crap! No “alternate timeline” foolishness. No, the next Mass Effect game has to take place in the future. But how would they make it fit seamlessly with the three endings (no, I’m not counting the “Rejection” ending of the Extended Cut DLC because that would be dumb) of Mass Effect 3?

Simple! Mass Effect 4 takes place way in the future. I would have it set a millennia after the Reaper War. This does mean that all of Shepard’s crew has passed away by this time. This leaves the writers a virtual clean slate to work with.

But what about the events of the previous games?

2. Do not give the option to import old save games

This is controversial in my opinion but it would be for the best. I think BioWare would be hobbling themselves if they give gamers the option to import their old save games. Trying to craft a story based on all of the key events in the previous trilogy would be disastrous and confusing. The writers will need the freedom to craft a new story for what is essentially a new trilogy set in the Mass Effect universe.

While I would love to see what events would change based on this, I rather close the book on the Normandy crew’s story and focus on a new batch of memorable characters.

But what about Shepard’s history?

3. Shepard’s legacy is more of a legend rather than historical fact

Remember conversation between the Stargazer and the child during the endings of Mass Effect 3? He specifically says that some of the details of Shepard’s story has been lost because it happened a long time ago. In fact, the child doesn’t call the hero “Commander Shepard.” Rather, he calls him “The Shepard.”

I would think that there would be a new religion based on the exaggerated retelling of tales of Shepard’s adventures, making him a sort of messianic figure. Now, I’m not sure if the group would be a force of good or evil, though.

If Shepard’s gone and just a myth, who’s the new hero?

4. You can pick from three different races for the new hero

I’m guessing most fans would like a chance to play a different race other than the plain ol’ boring human. In Mass Effect 4, I’m hoping BioWare gives gamers the option to select between asari or turian characters, specifically. Each race would have varying strengths: asari will have better biotic recharge times, turians better accuracy and human will be a sort of middle ground between the two aliens.

Also, each race will also have their own special side quests and change how they interact with some NPCs! Combining this with a revamped morality system, this should lead to much more dialogue possibilities. It may be hell for the writers to think of the different scenarios but I know fans of the series will appreciate the variety.

What about the other alien races?

5. The quarians, geth and krogans’ home planets are wiped out early the game

mass effect tali legionAs much as I love the quarians and geth (the krogans, not so much), I think these races have to die out. Why? To patch a couple of issues with the ambiguousness of the fates of these races and to introduce the villain of the game.

First off, during the events of the entire trilogy, Shepard essentially has to decide what happens to the quarians, geth and krogans. Even the passage of a millenia cannot fix this problem with a “one size fits all” solution. Killing these three races pretty much solves the issue.

Additionally, if the new villain (whoever or whatever he/she/it is) annihilates these races during the first few hours of the game, the stakes will feel much higher. We saw the Reapers kill off the population of an entire planet but to literally blow it up? Now, that something scarier.

Now, about the other races…

6. Give the other races some importance.

In the original Mass Effect games, we only see the batarians and vorcha are targets to shoot at. Call me an oddball but I’d like to finally get both of those races as an available squad member! I want to see them side with the good guys for once! I’d even give them the ability to use biotics thanks to all races using neural implants to simulate the ability.

I’d also like to visit the hanar homeworld and how they interact with the drell species. Or even check out Irune, the volus’ home world! I think it would be interesting to see how their governments work.

Are we just going to stay in the Milky Way then?

7. Add a couple of new races (and even new galaxies)

One thing that I liked about the Mass Effect series is its universe has a very lived in feel. A lot of historical events have passed and, while we never experienced them, we learned about them through dialogue. We discovered the tragic history of the Ranchi Wars and how the technological superior salarians uplifted the primitive krogans to help them win. We also found out about the First Contact War between the humans and turians during the early years. Now that we know much of the old history, I’d like to learn of a couple of new ones.

Introducing new races can be as simple as finding an undiscovered Mass Relay that leads to another galaxy. Or the Citadel can try to investigate where the Reapers came from exactly and discover other primitive races while doing so. If Mass Effect 4 takes place a thousand years after the events of Mass Effect 3, then we’ll have roughly 1,000 years of catching up to do with these new races as well.

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About Victor de la Cruz

Most of my childhood (and adult life) was spent doing a lot of geeky stuff: watching TV, playing video games and going to the movies. To some, it may have been a waste of time. Well, to me, it has made me what I am today... a geeky adult. I actually write for a couple of blogs, namely: geekwisdom.wordpress.com 3rdworldgeeks.com gamemoir.com Please check them out!

There are 11 comments

  1. Nick Verboon

    I think you’ve about got it covered. I don’t see them doing a proper sequel any other way. There are just too many variables to consider continuing anything from the first trilogy so your vision seems like the best way to go. I love the idea of playing as a Turian or Asari too. Yup. It all checks out. I now desperately want to play your Mass Effect 4, Vic.

    1. Victor de la Cruz

      Yep. I really want to control new races in the game and the turian and asari races seem to be the most logical choices. It’ll be interesting to see which race gamers will pick given the selection.

      1. KingLard

        it is probably just my opinion but i think it would be cool to play as a Quarian

  2. Bradley Parsons

    A few of those points Bio-Ware already discussed.

    1. Bio-Ware said the main character will not be shepard. It might be a sequel, but it was implied it was not.

    2. New races will be added to the new game.

    @victor

    I am sure you know some of this below and above.

    I don’t know why you waited 6 months to write this up…when Mass Effect 4 was announced in December. I am sure they (Bio-Ware) are doing this game after all the bad feedback given to them by the people on the Bio-Ware Forums. Not just the extra DLC for mass effect 3 to give it a better ending. The main heads of the Bio-Ware Company then quit as a result of the bad feedback. I absolutely dislike that that caused those two individuals to leave with a bad taste in their mouth.

    1. Victor de la Cruz

      Yeah, I know this is a little late but I wanted to sort everything out before I rushed out with just a long list of “I want this” in the next Mass Effect game.

      About the part about people quitting, I’m kind of curious on how this would affect the “flavor” of the new games. Will the new team know how to handle the expectations of eager gamers based on the massive effect (pun intended) the series had in the gaming industry? I’m not really sure and only time will tell.

  3. Bradley Parsons

    I am happy that you did not take my post personal. Sorry.

    I am curious as well. I learned that the lead designer “Casey Hudson” spoke about the Mass effect 3 ending. I knew from the get-go that Commander Shepard would die. I was perfectly fine with that. Yes, it was sad.
    I understand that some fans expected more closure. It is not the first time I seen an ending like that in a game. They exist in shows too.

    I heard one of the new characters might be a Prothean which I am against as they were believed to had been wiped out. (Mass effect 1 story line)
    Low and behold….they weren’t…if that is true. For me, it changes the whole story.

  4. Savannah Winter

    Wiping out Rannoch and Tuchanka would be unnecessarily cruel to three species who just achieved resolution. I understand the aim to raise the stakes, but there are better ways. Usually I say go for the Halo route and destroy a major colony.

    As for choosing a race, I’m not opposed to that. If my idea for Mass Effect: C-Sec came to fruition, it’d be like the Elder Scrolls/Fallout on the Citadel and you can be a corrupt cop or a good cop and so forth. Mass Effect Sandbox. It could even take place up until the Reapers harvest the station and you’re fighting to stop it or evacuate the people or whatever.

  5. KingLard

    The only things that I disagree with is the part about the Quarians and as Savannah Winter said not whole species maybe just parts of species and something I think would be cool is to play as a Quarian and have if it did take place far in the future, The Quarians had found a way to live without the suits so we could play as a Quarian with a face.

  6. Victor de la Cruz

    Yeah, the thing is, if you have the Quarians or the Krogan survive in the sequel, that means Shepard managed to get both races to make it to the end (Quarians survive the Geth and the Krogans got the cure for the genophage). Not all gamers got these results (and they may have wanted to see the Krogans or Quarians wiped out).

    It’s odd but I wouldn’t like to see a Quarian without the mask. Part of what makes that race so cool is the fact you have no idea what they really look like. I think if we get a clear look at their faces, a lot of their charm and mystery will vanish.

  7. iyuriloli

    I don’t thing the Geth, Krogan and Quarians should be whipped out, that’s the most dumb opinion I’ve ever heard. They all ended up helping Shepard save the galaxy so why should they need to be of the game? They need to make an import so they can know the past history of the options you choose so it would make it better. You can always start off a new game rather than just import. Really… Fix this dumb topic.

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