The next Mass Effect game was teased during EA's E3 conference last week. The game itself was in very early development stages, but we did get a glimpse of a new protagonist, new worlds and we got to listen to some of the team at Bioware discuss their ambitions and desires for creating the game. But what do the fans want?
Something which would really define the new protagonist is having the option to choose their species (like in Dragon Age: Origins). There are just so many possibilities here. It was touched on in the multiplayer component for Mass Effect 3, which gave you the choice to play as whichever race you wanted to be and more choices were added at a later stage. This would certain add a new dynamic to the character as well as how the universe reacts to them, and make them distinct from Shepard. Throughout the series as you progressed through the ranks and gained more money to spend, you could buy better mods and make your weapons and armour look aesthetically different. The mods and upgrades could help you kill select enemies faster or protect you from different conditions and enemies. What if in the next game you had the option to not only customise your look or your weapons and armour, but perhaps the ship you travel around on. For example, during the course of Mass Effect 2 and 3, the Normandy was given a dramatic overhaul between games. Imagine if you could do that to your ship and give it a more personal look; different colours, different general layout, different hull-plating to suit you as its commander.
I think if Bioware want to be successful I think it's only right to start somewhat afresh in terms of setting, too. I would prefer it if the new game is set in the future. They could introduce new races. They could set the story in an entirely different galaxy, or they could set it in the same galaxy but taking into account some of those big events that took place like, the curing of the genophage or the final choice at the end of Mass Effect 3.
Although I think to work with the last idea they would have to make one of those endings canon and, personally, think that doing so will inevitably bring up bad blood in regards to those endings. I think that it did give closure to select aspects of the main story which I liked, but a lot of people still see them as disappointing. Creating a distance in that regard would certainly allow space for those players to give this series another chance.
I think we can all agree that there was always one or two of those squad members out of the three games who we liked just a little bit more over the others. What Mass Effect 4 needs is another good mix of squad members, probably not as much diversity as was present in Mass Effect 2 but somewhere in between that and Mass Effect 3. We need characters that we can relate to, that we can start to build that bond with. Granted it's likely we might not see those familiar faces we like again. Of course this is all depending on when the game is set. Imagine seeing your favourite squad member from the previous games leading a new council or training new recruits, for instance.
In regards to a multiplayer feature I think with Mass Effect 3 it was enjoyable, but there was so much room for expansion. Why not give us a range of different game modes, including classics like Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag. Why not have us fight against other players instead of just the A.I.? It might make the online portion a lot like other games, but I'm sure Bioware could work something out that makes the online fresh and exciting to play over and over again.
This is where it gets a little bit spoilery....
I think if Bioware choose to set the game in the future past Mass Effect 3's ending. I think it's only fair to see what happened to Shepard following those events, even if it's some recording giving us the history as to what happened, and thus some closure. The new protagonist may even be inspired by Shepard and that could be what makes this person the protagonist In The first place. The game could be set so far in the future that Shepard has been dead for hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years and we get a look into the galaxy's history via a codex.
'Salvation comes with a cost...'
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