In all likelihood, it seems Mass Effect 3 (ME3) could be the final part of the critically acclaimed trilogy featuring Commander Shepard as the hero who saves the galaxy. However, all is not lost for die-hard fans as BioWare has promised to keep them hooked to the franchise with a flurry of single-player and multi-player DLCs for ME3 in the near future. Nevertheless, any new Mass Effect game is likely to break away from the storyline of the original trilogy.
IBTimes UK brings you a rundown of six different ways BioWare could actually redeem the Mass Effect franchise...
- Mass Effect 4: Will BioWare Release Next Iteration in Franchise?
There is every chance we might see the return of Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 4 (ME4). Not so long ago, BioWare hinted ME4 was in the works and as IGN noted way back in February, BioWare associate producer Mike Gamble advised gamers to hold on to their ME3 save files.
"Obviously I can't say anything, but it wouldn't be a bad idea," Gamble said in a report by IGN. It is anybody's guess if Gamble actually meant a Mass Effect 4 was to be expected. He could have been referring to Downloadable Content (DLC).
In any case, and at the risk of playing the devil's advocate, BioWare has only hinted that Mass Effect 3 could be the end of Commander Shepard's glorious career. The star gazer cut-scene at the end of ME3 undoubtedly keeps hopes that Commander Shepard could return for either DLCs or ME4, alive.
As of now, there is no official word on the new Mass Effect game from BioWare. So, we can only wait and see how it pans out.
- Mass Effect: Massively Multiplayer Online
Back in February, BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka sounded positive about the chances of creating a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) within the expanse of the Mass Effect universe. They hinted that although the task was "daunting", it would be "really interesting". In an interview with Penny Arcade, the BioWare founders expressed their views on the future of the Mass Effect franchise.
"It's daunting, but the neat thing is it would lend itself to a different type of game play. It's fun to think about," Zeschuk said.
"I imagine people think it would be just like Mass Effect as it is... but there's lots of people there. It's really interesting, I don't know. It's a tough one," elaborated Zeschuk, according to Gamespot, adding, "When you deliver a game, and you deliver it for a player, you have to capture what they think is the possibility space," explained Muzyka, adding: "You need to let them do everything they think they should do, and you can't block them from doing anything they think they should be able to do. You have to nail all the features and content that should be in that possibility space."
With BioWare's N7 Multiplayer Bounty Weekend events gaining popularity and fan response, the game developers just might harbour plans of unleashing an MMOG version of the game in the near future.
- Mass Effect: Matriarch
This game world - set a few hundred years after Mass Effect 3 - brings Liara back to action. As Commander Shepard, you could continue building an intimate relationship with Liara while exploring new avenues to control the galactic space and its resources. There could be another set of galactic wars or a tale of how the races established peace after the Allied victory against the Reapers. Answers to questions pertaining to Krogan rebellions, the Rachni threat to civilization and the co-existence of organic and synthetic organisms could be some of the key game elements.
- Mass Effect: Harvest
This game, set on Earth during the final assault on the Reaper invasion, could have you play as a soldier exploring the consequences of eliminating the Reaper threat. The player may import saves from ME3 to gain access to more powerful war assets and advance his/her Effective Military Strength (EMS). Maybe it could even hold a scenario where the Reapers could be destroyed without the use of the Catalyst, provided you achieve a high-enough EMS score. The possibilities are endless and the Mass Effect universe could bring more to the table every time you explore uncharted territories, along the lines of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- Mass Effect: First Contact
BioWare might go back in time a bit... to events that took place during the First Contact War or the Shanxi incident. Although the incident was brought up often in the course of the trilogy, it did not feature as gameplay element during any of the campaigns. The First Contact War was the beginning of the conflict between humans and Turians. With Turians being a dominant force in galactic politics, humans found less favour from the Citadel council in Mass Effect 1 (ME1). The fight for dominance and recognition resulted in a bloody war between the two beleaguered races - Turians and Humans - in the galactic space.
- Mass Effect: Redemption
BioWare could develop future Mass Effect games based on comic books, with more refined game mechanics such as newer tech abilities and a two-player co-op gameplay. The storyline could be adapted from the comic book series with some twists and player-decision based choices thrown into the mix. The storyline revolving around Doctor Liara T'Soni and her acquaintances could well be the start and that would allow it to connect nicely with the Mass Effect 2 DLC - the Lair of the Shadow Broker.