The past several months have been all about Mass Effect for me. Earlier in the year, I took a second trip through Mass Effect: Andromeda, and had a good time doing so. I then dove back headlong into the world of Commander Shepard and her merry band of galaxy-saving misfits via the games Legendary Edition last month. As the end of the Shepard-versus-Reapers story is in sight, my mind has been turning towards thoughts of what will come next for the series. Some may recall that BioWare released this teaser trailer at the 2020 Game Awards:
In quick succession, the video travels through time in the universe of Mass Effect, hinting at humanity’s first contact with alien life, passing over the destruction of the Citadel and the advent of the Reapers, and settling with Normandy crewmate and “adolescent” Asari archeologist Liara T’Soni as she uncovers N7 remnants on a frozen planet. Viewers are then promised that Mass Effect “will continue.” Honestly, with the series’ classic theme music playing the background, it makes me heart leap every time I watch it. Frankly, after Andromeda, I’m glad that BioWare isn’t ready to hang up Mass Effect for good.
There’s been no word from BioWare on where the series is going since the release of this trailer, and ye olde Internet is rampant with speculation. I can’t even begin to add to it myself, not that I really want to. The bottom line is that the teaser, as with most of the same, is incredibly vague. Seeing Liara is a nice touch, but her presence doesn’t explain much, and neither do the N7-labeled scraps she finds. If anything, the two together suggest what everyone has already figured – the next Mass Effect will likely be a sequel to Mass Effect 3. As well, also out in the ether is that the game will serve as a sequel to Andromeda, which suggests that the Liara we see in the teaser could be some 600+ years older than when we first met her in ME1, so that’s something. I like the idea of an older, wiser Liara, and the small smile she gives upon finding something with “N7” on it suggest that she might remain an optimist when it comes to Shepard, the Alliance, the past…and the future.
Oops, there I go speculating, if obliquely. More than anything, this new ME teaser continues to draw out nothing but questions. Given the utter lack of Commander Shepard in Andromeda (save for a rather pitiful display in the space station Hyperion’s “museum,” what difference would that character or the N7 Alliance make in the 28th (29th? 30th?) century? What if I got the ME3 ending where no one walked out of the crashed Normandy? (Which, in and of itself, still opens up a can of worms.) How would Liara have survived? Heck, is that even really Liara?? What is she’s a VI, a construct…a DREAM upon a frozen wasteland??!
Whatever is going on the teaser, there’s no reason to get all riled up. Given the slow trickle of Dragon Age 4 information and the knowledge that it’s coming first (but not any time soon), the next Mass Effect installment is easily a long way off. There wasn’t a peep about it (or from BioWare generally) at E3, but one could hope that some new ME news might make its way onto the scene before the year is out. Maybe at EA Play in July? (That made me laugh just typing it.) Maybe at some surprise event in the fall? Maybe at this year’s Game Awards?? Whatever the case may be, I’m certainly not one to speculate.
Lede image © BioWare.