Even prior to confirming that work was under way on a new Mass Effect, BioWare was insistent that future games will leave the original trilogy--and protagonist Commander Shepard--behind. We've now learned that not only are certain races returning in the next game, but there will also be "nods" of some kind for fans of the Shepard trilogy.
Before sharing his enthusiasm for it with GameTrailers, BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn reiterated that the new, as-of-yet-untitled Mass Effect game is an "all-new journey" that doesn't involve Commander Shepard and his or her story. "It's exciting because [developer BioWare] Montreal is really killing it with Frostbite--they're working really hard on that stuff," he said. "Casey [Hudson, series executive producer] and the Mass Effect leads are really working well with them, making sure everyone's learning stuff, getting the fundamental tenets of the IP down. And they're just going for it; they're doing a lot of really cool stuff right now."
"[There are] definitely returning races. It's Mass Effect, so it wouldn't be a Mass Effect game without the Krogans." -- BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn
Asked whether the new game takes place before or after the existing games, Flynn said he "can't get into that much." He did, however, offer up some hope for fans who don't want to see everything they know about Mass Effect abandoned. "We've got a pretty cool idea for how we're going to carry on, keep the trilogy story separate, but at the same time, give a bunch of nods to fans who've really enjoyed the trilogy in the past," Flynn said. "That's all going to come out soon."
Flynn avoided discussing the prospect of returning characters, but did acknowledge there are "definitely returning races. It's Mass Effect, so it wouldn't be a Mass Effect game without the Krogans." Fans who have watched the Mass Effect trailer released on Monday will no doubt have noticed the Krogan, and Flynn was happy to talk about how great they now look. "The technology that makes the Krogans look so good, it's just off the charts, it's amazing," he said.
In April, BioWare studio director Yanick Roy described development on the new Mass Effect as being "somewhere in the middle." He declined to share any further details, only stating that BioWare's "focus is on doing it right over doing it fast."
The new Mass Effect does not yet have a release date, nor has publisher Electronic Arts indicated what systems it will be released for.