Question Weekend Question: Where should Mass Effect go next?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week the question is: Where should Mass Effect go next?

Everyone who played through the Mass Effect series probably has their own theory on what the ideal direction for the next game to take would be, and not just in terms of its physical location. Do you want it to be a sequel or prequel? Would you rewrite the ending of Mass Effect 3, or pick one and make it canon, or ignore the whole thing completely? Have another game about being a spaceship captain or something different? Stay in Andromeda or go back to the Milky Way?
People probably won't agree with me, but if I were in charge of the series, I'd find some way, plausible or not (think daytime soap operas) to bring Shephard back to life, throw in a new, unspeakable enemy and start a new series. So I guess maybe re-write the ending of 3 a bit. Definitely don't want a prequel.

What galaxy they put it in doesn't matter to me. Galaxies are rather large. In reality they should only have scratched the surface of both the Milky Way and Andromeda.

Spaceship captain? Sure. Bioware needs a hit pretty badly. They can't afford to experiment too much.

My biggest concern is that Bioware has been completely mismanaged for years, based on employee reports after the last two games came out. Has this been fixed? Because if it hasn't then this is all a waste of time. You can't make great games under the conditions these people were working. Also, writing. Andromeda had the writing quality of high school level fan fiction. If they haven't also addressed this problem then, again, all this work is for nothing.
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I think I could be on board with a prequel game that basically tells the story of humanity finding the first Mass Effect relay. I think that could be interesting, even if we already know where that eventually leads. Setting it that far back could also eliminate any concerns about retconning Shepard. And as much as I love(d) the character, I do NOT want them resurrecting her. (Or him, whichever you prefer.) I'm also not particularly on board with any sort of "reboot", plot-wise.

I would rather it not take place in Andromeda, as I see no point in taking it to a whole separate galaxy. As Zed pointed out, the Milky Way is huge, and there should be plenty of nooks and crannies left to explore. At least for humans. That's the other thing, I think it should still be played from the perspective of a human, unless they can manage something akin to Dragon Age Origins' opening choices, but at this point I don't trust Bioware to pull that off.

Edit to add: The more I think about it, the more I really like the idea of a "humans meet the other aliens, learn to get along" story. Because that clearly had to have happened before the events of the first Mass Effect. Perhaps with the war as a backdrop, since it wouldn't be much of an RPG if you spent the whole time just fighting Turians. Or a prologue that starts in the war, with the main game happening near the end of the war. I don't know, that's for them to sort out.


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Jan 17, 2020
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I would either be on board for a prequal, kind of like Krud said, an MMO set just after the end of Mass Effect 3, or my personal and probably disagreed with opinion, actually finishing Andromeda.

For a prequal, I think it would be fantastic to do so in a style closer to Dragon Age, where you get to choose your starting race, some background options, and so forth. This way you can get a different perspective like you did when you played through the original Dragon age.

For an MMO, it seems like the perfect time to start. Every world has been practically decimated, now its time to rebuild. Let the players become the new heroes (its a dream, but would be fantastic if it was in the same style as Star Wars Galaxies full of player made cities and industries). This gives ample room to allow for creative freedom in stories and TONS of expansion capabilities. My only fear for this is the fact this series is still owned by the worst gaming company out there and based on how they did with Anthem I have serious doubts.

Andromeda... well it would need a new team. The story was still fun and I would like to see a resolution. It ended on a hell of a cliff hanger that at this point I doubt we ever get to see answered.

All in all, what I would really like to see happen with Mass Effect, is for Microsoft to get it. With Black Isle now on board with them, it seems there may still be a team out there that can restore this amazing series to what it used to be.
I just want EA to give Bioware the freedom to bring back some decent writers. I'd also like to see the dark, gritty atmosphere of 2 and 3 return. Andromeda is so weak on atmosphere regarding enemies that really creep you out, like the Collectors in 2, and Banshees in 3.

The hardest enemy to kill in Andromeda, is some almost robotic looking space worm that is so forgettable I don't even remember what it was called. I also want more dark locations like 2 and 3 had, often times in complete darkness with nothing but your flashlight to light the way.

With a good crew, Bioware can get back to their creative genius, and I'd really rather not know what direction it takes them in ME. EA should know by now their draconian attitude over their dev teams is choking their creativity and ruining what were good franchises.

We all know the examples, the great Visceral Games team yanked off the great Dead Space series, and relegated to the horrible Battlefield Hardline, and now defunct. Respawn tasked to bringing back the Medal of Honor series, but only as a VR experience.

We know too well what they did to Bioware and Mass Effect, and Anthem was overhyped and underdelivered. It's time EA get sensible before they completely implode like Ubisoft is doing. Even the biggest pubs can eventually go down if they become self destructive.

EA need to get a clue why they are often called by gamers, the place great dev teams go to die.
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Essentially 600 years after the events of Mass Effect 2 & 3 gives a lot of room to explore. In Mass Effect we learned that the Reapers had been taking out advanced civilizations in the Milky Way every 50,000 years for millions of years. Just the sheer thought of that humbles a person and makes one feel really small.

In Andromeda, we find out that our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is silent. The Arks arrived in Andromeda, one Ark is missing, and the people of these Arks have no idea about the Reaper threat that occurred moments after the Arks departed. So from their perspective, now 600 years later--the Milky Way should be even more advanced than they were when they left, in fact drive technology should be even more capable, and there would be more ships from the Milky Way in Andromeda that have arrived.

Instead, the Andromeda Arks are all alone, there is no long range communications with the Milky Way, and the sinister side of me suspects BioWare may have went ahead with the darkest--but more realistic ending, which was the Reapers won, the cycle went through to completion, and the Reapers retreated to dark space for another 50,000 year cycle.

So, to get to the point, I'd love the new Mass Effect to explore Andromeda, perhaps find some Mass Relays, and further explore the Remnant technology in the galaxy, while all at the same time, dealing with the Silence of the Milky Way, major characters pondering what could have possibly happened back home and exploring ways of trying to communicate with home, and perhaps getting some answers they did not expect.
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Nov 24, 2020
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Signed up for the forum just to contribute to this. Lots of great ideas - except for ole Fraser's comment of 'into the bin'. Come on now, don't do Shep like that.

For as much clamor against having a prequel - don't you want to go through the First Contact War and finding the Mass Relays? I think just a one-off prequel where it feels a bit like when The Expanse explained how the Epstein Drive catapulted them into space travel could flush out how humans found the Mass Relays and the other races. Building the science and politics behind the move into space travel and then the initiation and resolution of the First Contact War would be really interesting.

Humans, especially Americans, don't like boasting about their losses and defeats. Bioware could write something like a clandestine mission or 'cold war' where the humans meet the Krogans, and through our stupidity and rush to judgment we could start a military conflict with them. That arc could see the humans just get demolished and never written to history.

There's several opportunities that a prequel would make sense and create really fun storylines to play through.
I've been thinking about this question alot lately, having just replayed the ME1-3 Trilogy late last year, and just recently started Andromeda for the 2nd time. My feeling, and what I hope for, is a story, possibly the start of a new trilogy, that starts somewhere after the events at the end of ME3. Extremely difficult I know, because what ending to you use as your starting point? It would be tough for Bioware to pull off, but I think that with the right project director, they have the talent to do it, especially if EA just lets them do their work without interference.

I also think it's important to somehow link the story to the events in Andromeda. How? I have no clue, but I think it's important rather than just completely write off Andromeda as a mistake. Andromeda could have been so much more, especially if they had made a DLC with the Quarian Ark, but EA just abandoned it because of less than ideal sales and reviews.

My preference is also that they stay with the action-type RPG formula, with companions, dialog, and choices that matter. Bioware has created some of the most memorable companions in any game I've played, and while I realize not many of those design artists are still with Bioware, I think that they're smart enough to learn from the Andromeda mistakes.

I'm not opposed to a prequel, but I just think it's the wrong way to go, after all these years without a new Mass Effect game. Clean up the mess, get back to basics, and unify the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies.