Mass Effect 3 to be Shepard's last appearance

BioWare says it has plans for more stories in its sci-fi franchise, but won't be returning to the commander of the Normandy for future games.

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In BioWare's Mass Effect universe, Commander Shepard has enjoyed a distinguished career, but if it continues beyond next year's Mass Effect 3, gamers won't be seeing it. The developer confirmed for PC Gamer earlier this month that it won't be returning to the protagonist of the Mass Effect trilogy after the third game's release.

After Mass Effect 3, gamers won't have Shepard to kick around anymore.
After Mass Effect 3, gamers won't have Shepard to kick around anymore.

"After this, Commander Shepard's story is complete," producer Michael Gamble told the site. When asked if that meant Shepard definitely won't be in future Mass Effect games, Gamble responded, "Correct."

That doesn't mean the Mass Effect universe is in danger of going away. BioWare CEO Dr. Ray Muzyka told PC Gamer that the studio has "ambitious plans to continue this franchise," and is looking at Mass Effect 3 as an opportunity to make an entry point for newcomers to the series.

Set for release on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on March 6, Mass Effect 3 sees planet Earth under siege. The attackers are the Reapers, a race of heavily armed sentient spacecraft that were central to the plot of the first Mass Effect. The return of the Reapers to the series was concretely revealed in Arrival, the last installment of downloadable content for Mass Effect 2.

In Mass Effect 3, players will once again take on the role of Shepard, who is now on the run from the shadowy pro-human organization Cerberus. To save Earth, Shepard must travel the galaxy trying to rally support from alien civilizations with varying degrees of sympathy.

For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Mass Effect 3.

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