Mass Effect 4: Why Isn’t Commander Shepard Coming Back

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It has been confirmed that Mass Effect 4 will have a completely new focus, since Commander Shepard’s destiny has been fulfilled and there’s nothing much to go on about. There are mainly two reasons that won’t allow the hero of Mass Effect to return in upcoming games, at least not as a main character. The first explanation is related to the protagonist’s storyline and its conclusion in the third game. The events of Mass Effect 3, where the Normandy’s Commander manages to become a legend responsible for saving the entire galaxy from extinction, established a closure for Shepard’s story – his physical death was a cruel, yet logical ending for a dignifying character like this one. Despite the negative reception of Shepard’s death, which was perceived as an utterly disappointment by the fans, BioWare’s solution was not dramatic or severe in my opinion. Escaping death once again wouldn’t be any surprise for Commander Shepard but under the circumstances it would be more than astonishing, it would be ridiculous and completely fictional. This faith was inevitable and the most realistic one considering the sacrifices required to enable the catalyst. But this is not the only reason why BioWare isn’t bringing Shepard back in the fourth game.

There is also a programming factor that would make the development of the fourth game nearly impossible, in terms of coherence. In order to bring Shepard back, BioWare would need to consider all the events in the past three games and the options would be nearly limitless. This adversely condition would induce years and years of programming and perhaps, many options would still be missing due to the richness of the Mass Effect plot. Making a sequel, as desired as it may be right now, it’s nothing but a mirage due to the complexity involved, the only solution to bring Shepard back would be through a prequel, but then, what sense would it make? This character had no real weight before Mass Effect 1, he/she was a mere potential soldier in the Alliance military, would this be a worthy story to explore? Honestly, I don’t think so, and seems that BioWare shares the same opinion and definitely, Shepard is not returning. The Mass Effect series will meet a fresh new story but the possibility to see this legend once again is not completely hopeless, it might happen, one way or another.

18 Comments

  1. Yes, indeed, bioware would have to calculate millions of variables, give players millions of options-

    Or they could do what they did with 3, slop together an ending that doesn’t get affected by (literally) any choices you made before, call it good, and release it. Then not give a s**t about the fans’ reactions beyond a little “clarification”.

    I’m betting they’d go with the second one. Again.

  2. Everyone in the development community seems to keep getting fan ire wrong. It wasn’t that Shepard potentially ‘died’, it’s that the plot holes and asinine story development were unworthy of the Mass Effect franchise. It completely dismissed player choice, completely ignored established cannon, refused continuity, introduced a ridiculous deus ex machina, and ended haphazardly. They tried to rectify this with an expanded narrative but this only confounded the issues already inherent in the narrative of the third game. It was poor story telling overall and THAT is why the fans were angered. Shepard’s death had nothing to do with it. Bad writing did. How can one game have so many well told individual narratives within it and then have an overarching story that made no sense? I have absolutely no faith in the future of the series (which was up until the third my most favorite EVER) and won’t be picking up the next one. I’ll see the reviews and watch play throughs on youtube. I won’t be giving them my hard earned money only to be slapped in the face again with a wretchedly told story.

  3. You’ve made one huge mistake… Shepard didn’t die.

    • In some choice chains he didn’t die but in others he did, at least his physical form is gone.

    • Technically Shepard didn’t die at all unless you anger the AI I would be lying if I didn’t say I wish he lived so I could go to the qurian home world with tali but in the end. I did become the reapers destroy the reapers and survive and meld with all living species and turn them into organic machine hybrids so its not all bad I dint get the ending i wanted but it could have been a lot worse. Now I don’t want Shepard coming back as the main character but I wouldn’t mind taking a quest and searching for him finding him alive or just finding him alive and him being like a supporting character or something that way he has no direct contact with the story but we the fans still get the joy of finding him alive and are choices making a difference sort of like a bonus. So mass effect 3 ending was a B**** slap to the face but I do look forward to seeing new characters seeing old ones again possibly finding Shepard alive and saving the galaxy as some other dude and having fun with new classes or abilities

  4. I’m glad Shep’s not coming back; even if they DID decide to bring him/her back the story has run dry. Nothing good can come from milking a winning strategy, I remember watching shows like Bakugan, Power Rangers and Bayblade as a kid; they kept releasing new series where new enemies pop out of the blue and the same character is the only one who can possibly defeat them; I would HATE to see Shepard go stale like that.

    But I didn’t fall in love with Mass Effect because of Shepard, I loved it for the beautifully done lore; I want to explore more of the backstory, meet new characters and understand the galaxy and it’s events in more detail. We simply cannot do that through the eyes of one Specter being forced into new crisis after new crisis.
    Maybe I want to learn more about the Vorcha and their race; understand their culture, motivations and politics. I can’t do that as Shepard. Maybe I want to learn more about the Rachni wars or Krogan rebellions- we’re not going to learn more by playing the same dried-out character. Bioware is perfectly capable of creating an equally or more captivating character with a different point of view.

    We fell in love with Mass Effect, not Shepard and it should stay that way.

    • It would be nice if they DID bring Shepard back into the series. But after playing the 3rd I found that it had a lot more steam to make Mass Effect 4,5 ,or even 6. Now imagine Halo 4 without Master Chief or God of War Ascension without Kratos, Tomb Raider without Lara? How would gamers feel if Uncharted 4 had no Drake. Now I know Capcom tried a different direction with Devil May Cry 4 having Nero as the main guy, I found that DMC just wasn’t DMC without Dante as the main character. I hope that Bioware would reconsider their decision about Shepard.

  5. I agree the ending of mass effect 3 was disappointing, I also agree that bringing back Shepard as the protagonist would be a bad idea. Theres no way to further expand on that story. the Mass Effect universe is massive, theres huge potential to create a new unique, equally epic adventure. I think if they gave the audience the option to pay a non-human would be a fresh addition to the experience. Who knows…

  6. The mass effect universe is BIG very big. Shepard story line is done, and lets say for one moment he did somehow make it, would he want to continue fighting or would he sit back and retire ( or she )

    For me one way to solve this problem is to move the game on a decade or so.
    A fresh new person, ( could you get to play as a different race for example )

    Start fresh, you dont have the baggage of the last game, it will be in the lore of the universe that is for sure, however I don’t think we need to go back and see what happened the day after.

    Another idea is say for example Javik, after the events of ME3 starts to explore old ruins said to be Prothean, and discoverers a lost colony in hypersleep. Say its a large lost colony like a million strong, as his was suppose to be, if he woke them up what would them do?

    Would they try to coexists with the council races, or would they try and build a new empire, giving the other races the ‘choice’ he spoke about in the game.
    And if thsi is something that would happen, would this mean that they would be come the bug bad for the next serise of games, or iis it something else.

    The choices are endless, and I for one am looking forward to see this new chapter unfold through the games…….

    Si

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m actually happy with the thought that Shepard’s story is over. Shepard was awesome and all, but that boat has sailed. I’m getting on the next one before someone (or something! trolls… :/) tries to sink it. We’ll hit some rough waters, but with any luck, our ship’s captain (Bioware :D) will see the reef in the water and steer us away so we don’t run aground. A ship that sails too long on one course will run out of food for its men. And they will die.
    So, entire giant nautical metaphor aside… I’d love to be able to play one of the other races for ME4. Anyone else think that maybe after Shepard’s death, a cult forms? (And / totally twists the Shepard ideologies/takes them too far?) That could be another big-bad. (@ Si) Or, really, just a minor bad. (Like Cerberus + Shepard Cult. Oho~) Idea I’ve been toying with since I’ve finished the game.

    Looking forward to finding out more about

    • I think Shepard should be brought back, and here’s why. While mass effects universe is huge and the characters are memorable, the one person we never got to see truly fleshed out character wise….was SHEPARD himself. We were all so enthralled with the vastness of the mass effect characters and universe that we forgot about the main character himself. His conflicts, his thoughts, his feelings, who he was as a person. Yes we made that by choices, but what was his driving force? His true background? Shepard by all accounts should have been one of the most complex people in that universe, and he was just….meh. I would like to see him back, but not as the protagonist, rather an advisor to the main character, like Anderson was to Shepard. I’d have loved to see him settle down with either Miranda, tali, or liara. Or have him severely injured after the crucible/reapers incident, and you can visit him in the hospital after the fact, until he breaks and becomes either an admiral, or fugitive barf on the choices he made in the incident. Shepard had got to be back in some capacity. Also his crew from mass effect 2 and 3 can’t just be done away with. They themselves are legendary……especially Miranda and her sweet ass. ..but anyway if would be great to see what section they took post crucible incident, and see how they respond when they eventually find out Shepard is alive. That’d be awesome

    • Ivattthestannier

      Depends, see if shep became the controller of the reapers the inevitable conclusion he would come to , to benefit the Whole universe is what the reapers originally came to. If he destroys the reapers well…. In X amount of years a race will create another AI which will become the geth or reapers. If he joins all life well now thAt could lead down an interesting story path.because personally if some dude made a decision for me to have robot parts … Well I might take up arms, find like minded and go and try and sort the shepherd fella out!

  8. It wouldn’t need million of endings if they weren’t such fools and gave the fans credit and had just played along with the indoctrination theory then dished out the 4th one as a conclusion to the third one. The problem would be solved completely. They were given a free opportunity by fans to have a smart ending and a sequel to start over again with the ending but they chose to spit in the face of their fan base and say screw your idea for an ending, yes we screwed up and rushed an unfinished product, yes we didn’t follow through with many of our promises but screw you. lol what great business sense to piss off your fans. And their games are becoming more and more RPGs for dummies

    • Ivattthestannier

      The Indoctrine theory doesn’t really hold up. If shep had been indoctrinated he showed non of the madness others felt( voices in head,etc). He had a choice which indoctered people clearly didn’t and as garrus and tali had been around as many reaper artifacts in 3 games they would have been indoctrinated to…like Lost, the walking dead, dark tower, ff7 aeris, ico we have to accept the artists story because whatever pr speak its their story we just act it out.

    • Ivattthestannier

      Ugh worst endings ever are the ones which leave no questions what so ever! Miranda and Shepard settle down ? This ain’t the waltons-lol

      The writing at the end was very 2001 which is a sci if classic. Life is not black or white, I loved the reason why the reapers did what they did. The choices shep had. I just can’t get round this hatred of the ending ? Most questions like the krogan fate will prob be answered in me4.

      A good work of fiction will make you think, start discussions. This has.

  9. “Despite the negative reception of Shepard’s death, which was perceived as an utterly disappointment by the fans, BioWare’s solution was not dramatic or severe in my opinion. Escaping death once again wouldn’t be any surprise for Commander Shepard but under the circumstances it would be more than astonishing, it would be ridiculous and completely fictional. This faith was inevitable and the most realistic one considering the sacrifices required to enable the catalyst.”

    Yeah buddy. We were upset because Sheppard died, not because they threw 70-100 hours of earlier gameplay and decisions out the window. Did you even play the game?

  10. Ivattthestannier

    He can easily come back , the guy got sucked in to space and died once. And why bother showing him taking a breath at the end? Also the biggest clue is when the kid asks pops for another tale of the shepherd and pop says ‘ok’

    My guess is they will pick one of the endings as canon and build the story from that. And after all things like the collectors base choice didn’t really make a lot of difference.

    • Ivattthestannier

      And I thought me3 ending was very clever , why do we as shepherd need to know what the krogans or quatrains do after. Our job as shep is to defeat the reapers, curing the genophage was just a means to get them on earths side. And play leviathan to clear up any questions about the reapers.

      Great game. , great ending. People act like this game was completely freedom based. U made choices and the end followed suit. I was disgusted by how some gamers reacted and set up a petition!

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