The Next ‘Mass Effect’ May Not Be ‘Mass Effect 4’

BioWare has made it no secret that more Mass Effect is on the way in the years ahead, but the company hasn’t provided very many details about what’s in store for the next game in the popular sci-fi franchise.

While that still hasn’t changed, we can at least rule some things out.

Previously, BioWare said that Mass Effect 3 marks the end of Commander Shepard’s trilogy. Now, BioWare Community Manager Chris Priestly has clarified that, in case you didn’t believe them the first time around, and put an end to fan speculation by confirming that the next Mass Effect will not feature Shepard.

“To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here, Priestly wrote on the company’s forums (via Game Informer). “We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. That is the only detail you have on the game.”

As you may have noticed, Priestly said that fans shouldn’t necessarily expect a Mass Effect 4. Yanick Roy, the director of BioWare Montreal, offered some clarification on what Priestly meant.

“What Chris is saying is that thinking of the next Mass Effect game as Mass Effect 4 would imply a certain linearity, a straight evolution of the gameplay and story of the first three games. But because we are switching to a new engine and need to rebuild a bunch of game systems, we have an opportunity to rethink how we want these systems to be going forward instead of just inheriting them from the previous games.”

Roy also offered some insights on the story, adding, “Story-wise, the arc of the first trilogy has also been concluded, and what we will do is tell a new story set in the Mass Effect universe. That doesn’t mean that events of the first three games and the choices you made won’t get recognized, but they likely won’t be what this new story will focus on.”

What do you want out of the next Mass Effect game? A prequel? A sequel?