It’s been more than 10 years since we were introduced to the magnificent world and characters of BioWare’s Mass Effect series. We’ve played through an epic trilogy to see the end of Commander Shepard’s story and then traveled to another galaxy for a brand new adventure in 2017's Mass Effect: Andromeda. Since Andromeda’s release, there’s been no definite confirmation of when (or if) the franchise will be continuing as a video game.
But BioWare shouldn’t wait long for the next installment given all the possibilities the Mass Effect universe contains.
Despite what you think of Andromeda, it’s hard to deny it had a rocky release, and it seems fair to assume the lukewarm response is potentially responsible for the little we've heard about what’s next for the series.
It’s been said the franchise might continue at some point in game form, and there are other media such as an upcoming book to continue the story. However, Mass Effect is at its best as a game and BioWare should think about continuing it in that format sooner rather than later.
That’s why for this annual N7 Day holiday (November 7... get it?), we wanted to explore a few ways BioWare can make another video game in the same universe. Every year, Nov. 7 is celebrated by fans because of N7, the elite military designation earned by Shepard. So what better time is there to look at how the Mass Effect franchise can prosper and excel?
Here are five ways BioWare should consider continuing Mass Effect as a video game.
A prequel might not seem ideal to some, but Mass Effect has a rich history that we’ve only heard about in bits and pieces.
A game that goes back to a meaningful moment in the universe’s history would be an interesting journey. We may know the ultimate big picture ending for these events, but our characters can play a role in how they are reached and make impactful, smaller decisions along the way. Since we’ve also only played as humans in the main games, a prequel would allow us to learn more about the history and culture of other species for a change.
For example, if we go back to the First Contact War between humans and turians, BioWare should give us the option to play as either a human or turian to see how things play out on both sides. This could also be done for events like the war between the geth and the quarians, where you could play either, and, as a quarrian, have the added option to choose which side you want to support.
The far future
With the different ways Mass Effect 3 ended, any kind of sequel set in the Milky Way galaxy would be difficult, but it could potentially work if you go far enough into the future.
This would allow us to still see the galaxy we’ve come to know and love, as well as the races we’re familiar with. It would mean, though, that the major decision from the end of the last game would have to be reduced in some way so that BioWare isn’t building completely different games for each choice. They could do this by choosing a canon ending. Or a more interesting way would be to show small changes throughout so that people still see some results of their choice.
The far future could ultimately end up very similar for everybody because so much time has passed and some events have happened that lead to that, but perhaps certain characters, settings, and quests can be different and unique depending on which end we chose.
The Spectres are special agents of the Citadel Council who are the best of the best and described as the “first and last line of defense” in the galaxy. They don’t have to follow a set of rules and can achieve their goal via almost any means. Their role as Spectres can be revoked if they go too far, but otherwise they're given the leeway to decide how to get things done.
The whole concept makes the idea of a game centered on playing a different Spectre other than Shepard a fascinating one. Shepard was the first human Spectre, so whether the game was set before the trilogy or during, we would have to play as a different race in the elite group, which would be fun and could give us a taste of the other kinds of missions Spectres go on.
We ran into a few other agents in the trilogy, but what were the other Spectres doing? It would be entertaining to take on that role again whether it was going back to being one of the first ever Spectres when the group was new or handling other matters in the galaxy as Shepard was doing her thing in the trilogy.
Andromeda may have had some issues, but there were a lot of enjoyable parts, too; we met interesting characters and it was fun to see what a new galaxy was like.
The concept itself — of all these races trying to make their home in this galaxy — just leaves open so many possibilities.
BioWare may be addressing aspects of the story in book form, like what happened to the quarian ark, but we’re sure we’re not alone in wanting to experience in game form what happens to the characters. It would be sad to see such an abrupt end to those stories.
After listening to fans, BioWare could improve on what didn’t work in Andromeda to make a sequel that would be great to play.
Random Point in Time and Space
There’s no reason a game has to be set at a major point in time in the Mass Effect universe. Why not create a game that shows us what everyone else is up to as they live their lives in the galaxy? The timeline is so vast this could be set at any point.
We could be mercenaries trying to make a living as the reapers start invading or someone of any species down on their luck trying to survive on Omega at any time. Maybe we’re a character trying to live on the Citadel after Sovereign's attack and reports that Commander Shepard has died.
Many events we may know about thanks to Shepard, but there were other things happening in the galaxy that we can impact with our choices. We can experience a new adventure with new characters and influence new worlds and communities while potentially running into familiar characters and settings — depending on when and where the game is set.
What do you want to see in the next Mass Effect video game? Tell us in the comments!