Bioware has revealed that the next entry in the Mass Effect series won’t include the original trilogy’s main protagonist, Commander Shepherd. In an interview with Complex, Mass Effect 3 lead writer Mac Walters explained Bioware’s intentions to create a completely different experience from the trilogy, and that means excluding Shepherd entirely.
“Well, I can’t get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn’t relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever. Beyond that, that’s what we’ve been deciding for awhile. But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It can’t just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core. Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard specific companions.”
Walters’ comments keep in line with Bioware’s original intentions with this next installment; they don’t want people viewing it as Mass Effect 4.
In continuing with the interview Walters was asked questions regarding the highly controversial ending to Mass Effect 3. Walters believed Bioware did everything they could to correct the ending with their free DLC patch; and without entirely changing the concept behind the original endings.
“It’s been 18-19 months since it came out and my thoughts on it are that we addressed it the best we could in the extended cut, Walters stated. We’re obviously not going to be changing anything now. We’re only going forward.”
Walters believed the outrage concerning the endings comes from the personal relationship the players have formed with Commander Shepherd; as the character is essentially their creation.
“And I think that’s one of the things we really underestimated, which was how much ownership people would take over a character that they could do that, Walters said. You know, you’ve been given free choice to make all these decisions with this character, with the fates of millions of people, and then, you don’t get to choose your own fate. And I’m not saying that our decision was wrong or right. I think we just underestimated the impact that would have on certain players.
“To be fair, I get people, especially at the Cons, who will say, “I loved it. It was heart-wrenching, but I felt it was right for my Shepard”, Walters continued. And to me, that’s why it was the right path. But because there was no choice, it was going to be right for some people, and for others, in the middle, and other people were obviously very upset about it. In hindsight, I don’t think there was anything we would have changed about that, but it is a really good lesson learned.”
Expect more info on this next Mass Effect game in the coming months.