Will Bioware finally walk the walk with new Mass Effect?

Bioware is hyping up their new game in the Mass Effect series that will for the first time, not include Commander Shepherd.

With the next Mass Effect game being announced quite some time ago, Bioware and developers are creating quite a buzz on the internet as of yesterday, about their new and untitled project continuing the Mass Effect universe. Developers are tweeting and posting on their blogs about the “absolutely stunning work from the team” and are once again getting everyone riled up for the new Mass Effect. This new game in the Mass Effect universe from Bioware will be the first Mass Effect game that doesn’t feature Commander Shepherd as his story ended in the previous game, this could both be a good thing as personally the Shepherd story was very stale, or a bad thing for the die-hard fans that are very involved with the storyline of Shepherd and his crew. 

Mass Effect developers on Twitter are speaking of the game in profound positivity and all seem to be very excited, executive producer Casey Hudson said: "In a milestone review for next Mass Effect game. Team is doing outstanding work. Looks beautiful, fun, ambitious, and Mass Effect-y!". A great start to some publicity for the game no doubt, as the assistant director of design at Bioware had this to say as well: “Just saw a early presentation for the next Mass Effect. Good thing you weren't here because you would have Lost... Your... Shit!”. But what exactly is going to become of the Mass Effect series without Shepherd? 

What do we have to look forward to?

The new and untitled Mass Effect game will feature the Frostbite 3 engine, Casey Hudson has reported using this new engine the game will be “fresh and new”. Bioware is talking up this new Mass Effect like it will be the next to break the ice on the seeming stagnant veil that has covered the series. They claim that the new engine, the new story and the new developers on the team are going to bring back the game for “new and long-time players”. With the last 3 Mass Effects focusing on Commander Shepherd and the story around him, the reapers, saving the universe and accumulating different races to participate in the saving the world campaign with him, there is potential for the game to change without him. But will the changes to the game and the lack of the main protagonist that everyone knows and loves be enough?

Personally I felt Mass Effect was pointless past number two. The combat had slight adjustments to it with each new title in the series, the story tried to get more in Depth and Bioware tried to increase the amount of involvement the player had in the story, adding new features with every game and trying to build that connection to Shepherd. I felt it was all fruitless, with each passing day as I played the new titles in the series, especially Mass Effect 3, I was reminded of the previous game and could only draw similarities between the plots and notice patterns. Maybe I was just being pessimistic towards the game as I was growing tired of the same title over and over, but could it be that sometimes a good game just needs to be left alone? 

The pattern seems to be in an ever repeating cycle, in each game you have a catastrophic event that kicks the game off its feet, commander Shepherd saves the day with his motley crew and you are thrust into the storyline of the politics around you, moral choices and the whole Kit N’ Kaboodle of RPG games. All of these decisions and political meetings you end up going to, all the characters you recruit draw you closer to the story and make you feel involved, you get angry at some point in the game when a council member says “No Shepherd you cannot do this, it’s too unsafe for the people” and you save the world 2 hours later. Maybe with a new “Commander Shepherd” we will be subjected to a protagonist that actually gets a decent level of respect after saving the world, or perhaps Bioware will open it up to be a player created character. 

Mass Effect is without a doubt in my mind one of the most involved RPG’s to date, Bioware is incredible with their attention to detail on storylines and are constantly involved in trying to better everything in their game. I can only hope with the fresh changes to the Mass Effect title that the creativity and innovation that Bioware has always offered in their previous games will bleed into this new title full force. There is nothing better than sitting down for an unhealthy amount of time during a day, realizing the sun is up and having that “oh shit” moment when you find out you have to work in a few hours, but if the Mass Effect title continues down the road of never ending “save the world” scenarios and the overused model that they currently have in place, I’ll be sad to say I won’t be looking forward to the new game.