Mass Effect 4: The Direction That Bioware Needs To Take

An epic trilogy deserving of an equally epic sequel.

Role-playing-games have come a long way over the past century, evolving from simple tabletop games to people dressing up and enacting their favourite fantasy characters, This trend finally stepped into the world of technology and gaming fully in the 1980s. Adventure, a game developed by William Crowther in 1972, is often accredited for being the first computer RPG of the age. Although not an RPG in essence, the game had a group of warriors battling a dragon. This may not sound much, but Adventure was the advent of a new genre of gaming that has found its place and established itself fiercely in modern gaming industry. Starting from Adventure, Ultima and Wizardry the RPG genre sprouted upwards and upwards just as technology was punching its mark in the daily lives of people, with games like Baldur’s Gate, Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger and the like.

Almost half a hundred years after the world was introduced to a new style of gaming, we are cannoned by a number of developers who have proved their ardour and ability in the field of RPGs. But every now and then, there’s a little bit of something from the hoard that catches our fancy; like spotting something shiny in the garbage while walking down the aisle that you tread day in and day out. That little shiny something came to us in late 2007, from the cradle of Bioware and it goes by the name of Mass Effect.

mass effect 4

The ‘mass effect’ concept was ingeniously employed which allowed the characters to carry 4 weapons, all of them retractable and compact, and all having the same weapon clip while firing a bullet the size of a grain of sand.

Mass Effect was a huge step forward in gaming with its unique setting, compelling gameplay, varied characters, ravishing environments and the sheer impact the concept of the game had. Set in the future with where humans become a part of the galactic order after discovering the ‘mass effect’ field, allowing them to travel faster than light. Even the weapon technology was based on the mass effect.The ‘mass effect’ concept was ingeniously employed which allowed the characters to carry 4 weapons, all of them retractable and compact, and all having the same weapon clip while firing a bullet the size of a grain of sand.

The amount of detail in the game, from the characters to the concepts involved, the logs and the journals, the main missions and the ability of the players to explore more than two dozen planets throughout the galaxy made gamers weep and laugh with joy. The fact that the decisions that players took throughout the game had severe consequences on the story and the gameplay and even character (and further dialogue) availability in the future had everyone spellbound. No game extant had offered such immense freedom to players with so much at their disposal. No wonder that Mass Effect set a gold standard for modern RPGs.

Mass Effect 2 followed this legacy in a slightly different manner. The game was more linear in order to attract the attention of the non RPG players who were averse to the idea of exploring such a huge world as in Mass Effect while still being dissatisfied with not completing the game fully. Bioware succeeded in this beautifully with the second iteration. It was the perfect mix of frustration and achievement, with the same storytelling brilliance as the first and propelling forward the gripping story that everyone found tenacious into further awesomeness with its further refined shooting and RPG elements.

After two very successful games, Bioware seemed to have taken to their recesses a little too strongly as was evident from Mass Effect 3. No doubt the game was as good as the previous two, but maybe in lieu of attracting more and more people to the Mass Effect franchise, Bioware became tentative in their approach and botched some aspects of the game.

Mass Effect 3 was a little too linear in its approach to the story although it saw some decent improvements in weapons technology but that was at the cost of exploring the scintillating galaxy at leisure. No doubt still the finest of games of all time, the game’s story (or how Shepard’s journey ended actually ) saw some criticism as did the always impending moral dilemma Shepard found himself/herself in while talking to almost everyone. The end of the game was satisfying in some bits, too obtuse in some regard and left you wanting more in some other respects.

reset theory interactive

It will do wonders if Bioware lets players play as characters from different races in Mass Effect 4. This will give gamers a chance to look at the world from a different vantage point since most races were already a part of the galactic council long before humans joined.

What has made Mass Effect aficionados particularly garrulous in recent times is the announcement of the new mass Effect game. Of course the game would see the departure of our beloved Commander Shepard and yes, that can’t really be helped. But what everyone is fervently hoping is that Bioware reincarnate Mass Effect 4 in the way they did the first game of the series. Of course the developers showed shrewdness over the years with every subsequent title in the series but concurrently, they forgot what was that had made Mass Effect such a good game.

Bioware has a lot to learn yet and simply put, they only need look around a bit. One of the most important reasons for the success of the Mass Effect series was its characters, a number of which had been with Shepard through thick and thin and it’ll be justice undone if Bioware deprives Mass Effect followers of embarking on a new journey minus all the characters they have always come to associate with the series.

It will be good to see if Mass Effect 4 would retain its relevance to the previous games, dropping in a reference here and there about the events of the previous games, remembering Shepard and his/her actions. Another thing expected of Bioware is to let players gain an insight into the lives of characters who accompanied Shepard throughout the journey. Mass Effect has had us acquainted with a lot of races.

It will do wonders if Bioware lets players play as characters from different races in Mass Effect 4. This will give gamers a chance to look at the world from a different vantage point since most races were already a part of the galactic council long before humans joined. The prospect of expanding the world beyond the galaxy sounds like a good one too but both these paths Bioware needs to tread with utmost care and precision.

Although the prospect of a map beyond the galaxy may sound too much to digest because it may become very repetitive and recursive, but so was the thought of a world spanning the whole galaxy in a game a dream. If Bioware does take up the idea of going beyond the galaxy, they’ll have to put their nose to the grindstone to come up with new ideas and elements to put in the extensive world in order to keep it from becoming redundant and monotonous. Everyone is sick of the rinse repeat theory. Even the phrase itself has become hackneyed.

mass-effect-3

After delivering to us a whole new world, luring us to the tempting worlds that the Mass Effect series unveiled with laudable characters to walk us through with our individual journeys, the series has had its name etched in gold in everyone’s heart and mind.

Carrying forward the legacy and the essence of the trilogy, it’ll be great to see our choices in the first three games affecting the story and gameplay of the fourth game. Improving upon the third games failings, Mass Effect must have a wider variety of vehicles like in the first game only that now everyone would be expecting a better and advanced variety of vehicular transport.

Although the first game in the series had its share from the critics for its AI and humongous world, it will be exhilarating to have more freedom to explore the world in Mass Effect 4. The weapons arsenal had always received attention aplenty from the developers, but customisation options the like of Mass Effect sound like a good idea albeit, the game mechanics in this regard will have to be much more refined than before.

Definitively, Mass Effect 4 is expected to carry forward the trilogy’s quintessence. It’s mandatory that the game feature the same moral and choice mechanics, the enticing and brilliant characters against the backdrop of a stunning world whilst focussing more on the role-playing aspects of the game and introducing and refining the stupendously fun action and thrill that the third instalment in the series gave us.

After delivering to us a whole new world, luring us to the tempting worlds that the Mass Effect series unveiled with laudable characters to walk us through with our individual journeys, the series has had its name etched in gold in everyone’s heart and mind. And none of us wants to see such an excellent creation ruin and thus are there such high expectations from Bioware and since they have delivered in the past, we all have our hopes stacked against the odds. Bioware, don’t let it be a bolt from the blue that catches us unawares and singes us.


  • Sal Manella

    Mass Effect 4 needs to do two things before I’ll spend my money on it. Go back to the more pure RPG model and stop pushing their social and political agendas on us.

  • c1098a2n

    It has been said many times before, the next Mass Effect game will not have any connection to Shepard. Will not mention him, or his choices or anything like that. It’ll be a stand-alone game.

    As said by the project director, Yanick Roy, that if the first three games were centered around a group of soldiers during the first world war (an anaology), the next game will feature a different group of soldiers (new characters, not ones we know of), but the two games will feel very similar in some ways.

    Following the choices carry over thing, if you make another 3 games, it essentially goes like this:

    Choices from ME1 affect how ME2 as a whole plays out
    Choices from ME1+ME2 affect how ME3 as a whole plays out
    Choices from ME1+ME2+ME3 affect ME4 and so on and so forth into oblivion. Each new game would become increasingly complex to develop.

    That’s essentially how most people see this series. So once you finish the fourth game, most people would probably think that the stuff they did there would carry over into the fifth, sixth, seventh, etc. game.

    Seems they are going to start new with this next game. Perhaps eliminating the choice thing all together, or perhaps limiting it.

    Second, for those who want a pure RPG model, it was also hinted that this next game will still remain a TPS/RPG. I don’t get all the shooter hate people have for this game. There is only one shooter class (Soldier). As a biotic or tech class, you rarely have to fire a gun. Plus, they put more expansive skill trees, and such into the third game (more RPG elements).

    Mass Effect may have strong characters (like any other series), but the point of the trilogy was to end the Reaper threat. The characters did get their moment in the spotlight, but they are not the driving force of this series. It was always about bringing a close to the Reaper story.

    • Jessie Brown III

      so long as they keep and expand on creating your initial character appearance, choices; i have to be as involved with my character as I was with shepard, new set of characters to fall in love with that are just as dense in personality example Garrus ME2-3 and James had me lol throughout Mordin and tali had me tear up in ME3 the romances even felt a bit genuine so i would keep it its a great story element and adds to replay value. game-play in ME3 was what it should have been given the situations people use guns no need to hate. quality dlc as the previous trilogy. seeing as its going to be on next gen player flexibility is a must felt kind of stiff playing ME..(doesn’t really bother me just something i noticed) ME has influence from star wars maybe space encounters like battlefront two.. or maybe a mini sandbox each non combat area you visit… but hey thats just my hopes i’m already buying the new trilogy by default because I got faith in Bioware knowing what they are doing.

    • william santos

      Yes agree with most.

      “Seems they are going to start new with this next game. Perhaps eliminating the choice thing all together, or perhaps limiting it.”

      Agreed and especially the synthesis

      Ending makes it almost impossible to make prequel to ME4. The other 2 can be limited.

      I personally don’t like the idea of eliminating the choices from the ME3. It would just make it a virtual reality.
      So for me it comes down to 4 choices.
      1 that they explained the synthesis ending changed during a time between ME3 and ME4 so it can easily be explained during ME4 timeline.
      This really is more an bad move imo but is better then nothing if you want a sequel like me.
      2 The same time line as ME1. This would negate the effects of choices. But it would also mean less lore and I really enjoyed the that part but this wouldn’t be a sequel.
      3 change the setting to Andromeda. This could be easily done by a story that revolves around a ship including various milky way races that have for some reason been stranded in Andromeda and must find a way home.
      This would almost eliminate the importance of choices done (well, except the stupid synthesis ending). This would have some advantage for exploration and lore. This is my favourite idea but I doubt many would like it.

      4 let the sequel take long after the original. That why choices would fade away. everything now is more or less a cyborg.

      All of this is of course if you saved the Milky Way. No, I don’t count the choice where Reapers win as an option. That is a game over for me.

  • owjdpao

    i really hope thats not the protag… adam jensen, make him blonde for once or something ..srsly bw use ur creativity

    • Jessie Brown III

      I-Im pretty sure they didn’t go too creative because odds are you are just gonna change the protags appearance anyway

  • Sol

    Characters have been mass effects greatest strength but also a stumbling block in some cases, most notably kai lame + his plot armour and cutting out entirely the best villain in the series, Harbinger.
    The new game in itself seems problematic to me simply because the plot should change dramatically based on what happened with that bollocks at the end of ME3. Either everyone’s some weird cybernetic hybrid, there are reapers running around still or every AI is dead.

    And as much as i liked shepard, i would like the chance to not play a human, it was one the more interesting parts of the limited multiplayer, figuring out each class and races eccentricities. And dammit i want to be a turian or an asari, id like to know their culture, like the turians militaristic one and the asaris much more long lived..i dunno, blue one.

    • Jessie Brown III

      they may implement a canon ending regardless of ME3s ending but yes I agree changing race would be cool.. although the differences in Game play and dialogue may be as subtle as your background and class in the Shepard trilogy.. But thats just something to consider I could be completely wrong and or over thinking “new stand alone game”.

  • ToMany Ads MakeMeUseAdblock

    Wow this site is littered with ads…

    • TooMany Ads MakeMeUseAdblock

      TooMany*

    • Scott

      And speculative articles like this designed to increase ad clicks.

  • Scott

    Mass Effect 4 has not been announced and the developers have already said that it will not be called “Mass Effect 4.”

    • chukky1123

      will not be called Me4 and will have nothing to do with first 3 … the triology is over shepard saved the galaxy with his team its time for a new story even though i cant resist playing 1 2 3 again over and over haha

  • Kirk

    I’m sorry, remind me again when exactly did bloggers become consumer gurus?

    Titles like these disgust me. It gives off such an egotistic aura. They don’t need to do a single damn thing you say. Bioware is comprised of many smart, dedicated people that collaborate with each other and their branches to make a good product. If you knew how to make a best-selling triple A title, you wouldn’t need to be writing about what triple A titles “need” to do. Pathetic.

    • T

      Couldn’t agree with this more. Comments like “it will do wonders” and that things “need” to happen are completely foolish. It is not Bioware’s job to feed your nostalgia for things that happened in the first three games.

      Bioware is going to tell a new story. Why not judge the quality of that new story rather than get bogged down in people, place, and things you miss about the old one.

      It’s a new game. If you want to experience more with the old games, play them again. Bioware gave you so many ways of interacting the game’s universe in the first three games. If you miss that, then play those games again.

      I would be concerned that by feeling like the must chain themselves to the old stories and characters, we’ll end up with a sub-par story that feels like more like “Saved by the Bell: College Years” than “Saved by the Bell.”

      The great thing about the characters in the first 3 ME games was getting to know them. IF you enjoyed that experience, then why are you arguing to deprive yourself of the opportunity to get to know others? If Bioware is worried about people being sad that Shepard and his crew aren’t in it, focus on making this story as appealing as it can be will be undermined, precisely because bloggers like this are whining before they even get to play the game.

    • Kirk

      Everything you said was on point. Especially your 4th paragraph. It really is far more concerning that there is some set, community defined list of rules that Mass Effect must now follow.

      This article keeps bringing this one question to mind..

      If the horde of cynical bloggers and game journalists were expressing things like this during the production of ME1, telling Bioware what “needs” to be done with this new IP, would Mass Effect 1 turn out to be as good as it was? I can only assume not.

  • Yukon

    Last time out they gave us an auto dialogued, linear game that focused solely on putting forward only the most minimal efforts while depriving us of things that used to define the series such as character importation, npc interaction through interactive cinematics, quest menus that actually work. Throughout Mass Effect 3 instances where “it’s good enough” seemed to define Bioware’s work, like taking a stock image off the internet and spending all of 15 minutes photoshopping it and using the result as one of the big reveals for the series, how does that happen in a multimillion dollar game with an entire art department behind it? Sadly a lot of these issues will always be overlooked because of what they forced on us, an ending that defies both logic an proper story structure and a microtransaction laden multiplayer that not only required you to play it but because of the way they designed the game became the only variable for the entire series that affected the ending.

    I believe Bioware can make amazing games, but in their last two games they have shown neither care nor concern to give us anything close to their best effort and that’s something that can’t be forgiven and will not be forgotten.

  • Leanne Wilson

    Rather redundant to make a prequel when you know how bad it all ended, and nothing you do will change that fact.

    If they want to save the franchise they would be better placed explaining
    how the alien species survived being stranded on earth and recovered
    rather than “here is a prequel to the titanic, it still sinks at the end
    but you get to feel involved in building the ship and that’s something
    right?!”

  • Kieran McMullen

    I’d like to see the world after the destruction of the mass relays. before we started to take them for granted, but this is something never seen before: a galactic community suddenly finding themselves bereft of space travel.
    I think they should capitalise on this with a new story that sticks to one planet (or at least one system). Element zero would become a rare commodity, as it just can’t be produced any more. what would a system do with all this advanced technology lying around but lacking the power to make more of it or even to keep it running.
    Would new empires spring up hoping to capitalise on the chaos? Would tensions wear thin in a galaxy lacking the infrastructure to feed, water and power it’s population? Would racial differences take a rapid increase now that it might be one species survival against another.
    And that single question remains: who will be first to rediscover… the Mass Effect.

    • Mystiq

      The only problem with this is that they’ll have to take one of the endings as cannon, and risk pissing off 33% of their fan base.

      As much as I’d like to see this as the story, I don’t know if it’s possible. If the ME3 endings weren’t so bad, it could be done.

  • Mystiq

    It was hard to read this article with the mildly-bombastic wording all over the place, run-on sentences and confusing grammar. It’s probably best not to be ambitious with writing if the result sounds worse than if you had just kept it simple. I happened upon this article while looking for Mass Effect 4 information and I probably won’t be coming back. :/ This is a hard-to-read fluff piece with little value.

    • Woodstock

      Wow… I thought it was pretty good. Maybe you can do better.

  • Munky

    I really want them to go back to their roots.

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