Mass Effect 4 might not relate to Shepard "at all", says BioWare

BioWare writer also talks about Mass Effect 3's controversial ending.

BioWare has hinted that Mass Effect 4 will not relate to any of the events of the Commander Shepard story which ran through Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3.

The developer has made no secret that Mass Effect 4 is in pre-production, but in an interview with Complex lead writer Mac Walters spoke about how the team was looking to develop the series without Shepard. "Well, I can't get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn't relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever."

Walters added that Mass Effect 4 can't feel like a spin-off, but that the game needed to accomplish that without Shepard or their companion characters. "Beyond that, that's what we've been deciding for awhile. But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It can't just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core. Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard-specific companions."

The developer also looked back on how the reaction to Mass Effect 3's controversial ending has developed over time. "It's been 18-19 months since it came out and my thoughts on it are that we addressed it the best we could in the extended cut. We're obviously not going to be changing anything now. We're only going forward."

"And I think that's one of the things we really underestimated, which was how much ownership people would take over a character that they could do that. You know, you've been given free choice to make all these decisions with this character, with the fates of millions of people, and then, you don't get to choose your own fate."

"I'm not saying that our decision was wrong or right. I think we just underestimated the impact that would have on certain players. To be fair, I get people, especially at the Cons, who will say, 'I loved it. It was heart-wrenching, but I felt it was right for my Shepard.' And to me, that's why it was the right path. But because there was no choice, it was going to be right for some people, and for others, in the middle, and other people were obviously very upset about it. In hindsight, I don't think there was anything we would have changed about that, but it is a really good lesson learned."

BioWare's next game will be Dragon Age: Inquisition, which will be released later in 2014.

Written By

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor

Want the latest news about Mass Effect 3?

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3

Follow

Discussion

125 comments
inuyashagalo
inuyashagalo

As long as Jennifer Hale dubs female main character and you have badass squadmates I'm good. lol

Fire_Wa11
Fire_Wa11

Man, I just got a great too-late idea for the original series while on the can just now.  What if in Mass Effect 3 (minor spoiler) instead of automatically starting as an Alliance soldier fighting Cerberus you were either an Alliance soldier fighting Cerberus OR -- stick with me, here it comes -- a Cerberus soldier fighting Alliance depending on your decisions in previous games?  

You know what?  I'm not going to keep going on because I haven't finished ME3 yet.  I shouldn't even be reading this or I'm going to get something spoiled.

sayondas4
sayondas4

No,it should not relate to shepard. Start a fresh new trilogy with equally awesome story and characters. Otherwise entire series will become stale and repetitive. 

Xirexor
Xirexor

Shepard is MassEffect !

cougar2014
cougar2014

I think it should also relate to Shepard to a level, like it can be a new generation with little hints about Shepard and his old squad or it can even be Shepard's son or daughter or something like that, but I think its a bad idea to completely cut him off. (your going to have a lot of angry people off of that)

drmichael
drmichael

it certainly ought 2 relate to shepard in my opinion.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

Well...his story was different, his looks, gender, etc. were different based on who played the game right?  Granted it all funneled into the same drain but the journey getting there was what was so fun about the game.  We get to start a new ME story from the beginning...which is cool.

foxrock66
foxrock66

Good. I don't want more Shepard in any way.

Although I could always use more Garrus or Tali, I'm all for a brand new setting

Sn0wGl0be
Sn0wGl0be

In that case I doubt I'll be interested in playing the next Mass Effect game "at all". (and yes I'm one of those oh-so horrible people who happens to dislike the trilogy's ending and all its 3 colored artistic glory) 

Bioware already told everyone there wont be a "Shepard 2", but probably the only think that was keeping my interest in future games is cameos relating to the first trilogy we've all come to know and love. And possibly references to whatever choices we made if applicable to the point and time of the next game. 

But forgetting like the entire first trilogy ever happened "at all, whatsoever"? No thanks. I understand why they'd want to sweep everything under the rug and that it might get ppl who didnt like the ending to continue playing without being reminded of it, but to me, ignoring all the events that made us like Mass Effect in the first place just pushes hard core fans away even more.  

residentkat
residentkat

Okay Bio Ware, As a fan of the Mass Effect series I have to say that I have mixed feelings on the direction you're taking with Mass Effect 4. You say that the next game will not be mentioning Shepard or Shepard's crew at all. They all have an important role within the Mass Effect history and if you are planning the next sequel to this series they have to be mentioned in some way shape or form. Also after playing the series countless times I realized that the only character who's fate remained stable is Dr. Liara T'Soni. This to me hinted that she would play an important role the the next game. With her thousand year life span the the fact that she mind meld with Shepard multiple times with and without being in a relationship. She and or child, would have to at least be present in Mass Effect 4 for it to not feel like some kind of spinoff. In closing please understand that I have no problem with any of the four endings of Mass Effect 3. All Characters and there stories do eventually have to come to an end. All I ask is that you be mindful of the massive effect and the turning points that these characters have and played on there galaxy and there worlds histories. I look forward to seeing what Bio Ware comes up with next and thank you all the emotional hours I've had with this awesome series.    

residentkat
residentkat

Okay Bio Ware, As a fan of the Mass Effect series I have to say that I have mixed feelings on the direction you're taking with Mass Effect 4. You say that the next game will not be mentioning Shepard or Shepard's crew at all. They all have an important role within the Mass Effect history and if you are planning the next sequel to this series they have to be mentions in some way shape or form. Also after playing the series countless times I realized that the only character who's fate remained stable is Dr. Liara T'Soni. This to me hinted that she would play an important role the the next game. With her thousands year life span the the fact that she mind meld with Shepard multiple times with and without being in a relationship. She, would have to at least be present in Mass Effect 4 for it to not feel like some kind of spinoff. In closing please understand that I have no problem with any of the four endings of Mass Effect 3. Characters and there stories do eventually come to an end. All I ask is that you be mindful of the massive effect and the turning points that these characters have had on there galaxy and there worlds histories. I look forward to seeing what Bio Ware comes up with next and thank you all the emotional hours I've had with this awesome series.    

temperedsteel78
temperedsteel78

If it's a prequel then my money isn't going to EAware. Prequel would ruin it for me considering I actually delve into the lore about the series and know what happens already...

corrus
corrus

I don't care for the new Mass Effect if it's not gonna be related to the trilogy i don't care and for the new Dragon Age cos that arrogant B... Casey is in the team

ZeratulPrime
ZeratulPrime

just make more scripted event (EXPLOSION, wall crumbling etc)  like other CoD clone... chough*bf*cough

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

They better have a bad ass story for this game!!!

mr_nee
mr_nee

Too bad this game can't be about another cycle, rachni war or origins of genophage, because marketing people beleive that game has to involve humans

isshiah
isshiah

How is this new information?

mos2000
mos2000

This truly is mind boggling...

Now - I thought the ending cut-scenes in ME3 were "presented" in a poor cookie cutter fashion.  However I think they were on the right track. Only deal with the immediate aftermath of the decisions you made, and leave the future fate of the galaxy to be exposed in the next series. Despite the poor presentation, you've hit so high in all other areas of the story, all was not lost...

Until now....

If things stand, you've (Bioware/EA) f^&$'d up the impact of future installments - twice. First you succumb to all the winy dufus' who wanted you to give away the inevitable premise of the next arc, by providing new cut scenes. Now you decide to ditch that premise all together for some irrelevant prequel, or some story that takes place in another "cosmos".  Either decision frankly, is stupid.  How does handling the series from either angle provide the best quality product to your fanbase? How does this do so over following up on a highly enthralling and established storyline, that still has so many mysteries that could be further elaborated in a future setting?

People let's re-focus. Let's do so by legitimizing the limited details provided at the end of ME3 by answering those questions over the next series of titles - while presenting new characters threats, gameplay etc. Doing otherwise only renders the experience in the first three games pointless. It also makes true the once ridiculous claims of the dufus' mentioned above, for we all would have been jipped out of a reasonable conclusion to the story presented in the first three games.

Lastly - learn from your peers.  That entirely new premise in Bioshock Infinite didn't do wonders for Irrational Games now - did it?...

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Frankly, I think it is a good idea for ME4 to not have a connection to the past Mass Effects and not relate to Shepard. Gives the fanbase a chance to move on from that horrible ending and get a fresh start.

lacee148
lacee148

oh... I sick of it that the only thing we know that Shepard will not be in the new ME. WE GOT IT, OK!!? I don't know why they so affraid to put some hints about Shepard in the new game. It would be so nostalgic to hear about some of the characters or see them for a short scene in the new game, don't you think? 

And if they don't want to mention Shepard in the new game it must be a prequel.  I think its pretty obvious (or some kind of parallel universe thing). 

Anyway... we want some useful info about a new game. 

hadlee73
hadlee73

New characters across the board would be good.

Catz_03
Catz_03

The 1st way of doing that is to get people to stop calling the next game Mass Effect 4.

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

As long as it is better than 3 I'm happy, 2 was the high point of the trilogy. Just don't force in the previous cast for no reason.

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

Please, make a FPS this time, i hate the RPG part on the Mass Effect series, it was fun just when we were shooting.

tomservo51
tomservo51

I played ME3 on my Xbox 360. When I found out I had to buy a gold subscription to get the good ending I was pissed! 

operationode
operationode

ok good bioware, you ended the Shepard trilogy in a questionable way.

learn from your mistakes, listen to the players, do not put all your efforts in the multilayer mode, we want a good story, strong and memorable characters, good customization, NO PREQUEL and few more things...and maybe I will buy the future Mass Effect after my extended demo trial ( I bought 2 out of 3 of the mass effect game...guess witch one I didn't buy? ) 

Dexyu
Dexyu

its good i used mod ending and i don't need them to push it in my face that in reality shep died and my crew left me liek f pussys

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

I hate waiting for games to be developed !!! I miss the old days when I didn't have the internet to be informed about everything and I would just go to my local gaming store every week and see what new game came out that week.Now I have to live with the burden of knowing about it and I can't play it for at least 2 more years ...

ziproy
ziproy

Got the trilogy to hold me over until GTA came out. Loved the first two with a bloody passion and from what I played of 3 (just got to the Quarians with Tali being my love) 3 seems to be the best in the series.

I'm just dreading the ending. I don't know much about it, only that it sucks HARD and that I'll most likely hate it. It's cool though, just gives me one more reason to hate EA for ruining another great franchise.

Kinda want to read this article but I know everything will be spoiled with the first sentence I read

Gitano
Gitano

Just make it as epic as the others......

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

I thought this was old news, is it not?

Didn't they say after ME3, that there would be no more Shepard in any future Mass Effect game? Oh well, just tell us all again I suppose, no harm in it.

"I'm Punksterdaddy and this is my favourite store-y on the Gamespot." ;)

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

@foxrock66 Same here.  Something that will give you a choice of endings when ME 6 rolls around.

drmichael
drmichael

The endings were great once Bioware edited and fixed them. it showed a lot of character on their part to do that for us fans. If you still didn't like it then you can't be helped. if you didn't play after the updates, then you have seriously missed out. That said, I agree that the next Mass Effect should relate 2 the previous games.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

@Sn0wGl0be So you aren't down for a prequel kinda thing?  Something that shows the history up to Shepherd.

Chr0noid
Chr0noid

@SavoyPrime I'd rather have some explanation to the high assets Destroy ending than just let Bioware gloss over their monumental failure.  But that's just me.  I swear, every time Mac Walters opens his mouth it's just reopening the wound and pouring a gallon of salt on it. 

96augment
96augment

@operationode Mass Effect 3 had a good story. Just a bad ending. You should play it (at least see what happens to Mordin).

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

@ziproy Just because other people hated the ending it doesn't mean you have to hate it too.

Demanufactur3
Demanufactur3

@ziproy 

They patched it to change the ending a bit, it's still not out of this world "inside joke" but it's not as dreaded as it used to be.

isshiah
isshiah

Speaking of new news, did you hear tgat cleopatra just gave birth to julius caesars child?

Sn0wGl0be
Sn0wGl0be

@cjtopspin @Sn0wGl0be Oh don't get me wrong, I really wouldn't mind a prequel, but the thing is from what Bioware is saying, there wouldn't be any build-up to any of the events/history of Shepard, or anything at all to do with him. Which is what I find distasteful. 

I think that whenever timeframe the new game is in, there should be at least some acknowledgement to the first three games. i.e if a prequel then maybe some side-missions that could relate to the backstory of Shepard (depending on the background/reputation we chose as him/her), or even the Normandy crew, like how they got to where they were when we found them (i.e Garrus in his investigation of Saren) 

I cant speak for everyone, but I think that for those who disliked Shepard's fate at the end of the trilogy, providing more content related to him (rather than burying him for good under those rocks), even if it doesn't have to do with the ending itself would ease the pain.   

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@Chr0noid I agree. Hard for anyone to forget when we are constantly be reminded of it whenever someone from Bioware speaks about ME3.

hadlee73
hadlee73

@adjsaint @DigitalPrinceX They could always go a sequel in which some of the crew sit around a camp fire in a forest singing "Row, row, row your boat". Oh wait, Star Trek V already did that.

isshiah
isshiah

I don't think I've ever heard that complaint before. Usually, people say that the RPG elenents of an RPG need to be improved. This boggles my mind.

hadlee73
hadlee73

@metroidhunterx @Diegoctba I think there are plenty of FPS games out there to play without having to mess with the formula that makes Mass Effect popular in the first place.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

@Sn0wGl0be @cjtopspin :  I agree the ending was somewhat flawed and a new ME game would have to touch on the Shepherd universe due to his choices having a universe-wide effect.  As for a prequel...I think Bioware might be hesitant to create a ME version of the Phantom Menace debacle in the SW universe.. i.e. a little Commander Shepherd in a blanket at the end of ME6.  A prequel would be the only way to create a non-Shepherd related universe...I just worry about them falling into canned, over used story structures. 

The problem with ME 1-3 is the choices that were made, the universe storyline and the Shepherd storyline were so epic and so universe altering that anything they create that relates to his timeline will pale in comparison.  (Not to mention the emotional time and effort invested by the gamer)  Personally I think that can be handled with good writing tho.  A post Shepherd game could work well if the writers accept Shepherd as a universe altering figure, work that into the game story line as an ever-present constant in the universe and have the new protagonist continue forward in the same universe Shepherd cast.

But that goes back to Bioware accepting Shepherd actually happened and forces them to account for all the individual gamer decisions made in the first 3 games.


isshiah
isshiah

Slanderous filth. Damn you. Damn you, I say!

isshiah
isshiah

I will not stand by and ebdure such slander. Damn you. Damn you, I say!