With news on BioWare’s much-anticipated title Mass Effect 4 leaking into the public domain almost like data sneakily sold by the Shadow Broker, speculation among fans has begun to grow as to what they can expect from the game. Being a big fan of the Mass Effect trilogy I began to analyse the Mass Effect 4 news with an almost Spectre-like efficiency, and soon found myself starting to speculate on what this new title might feature.
The more I read the more my speculation began to gather pace, and faster than a Krogan in a blood rage, it quickly turned into a top five list of essential features I want to see in Mass Effect 4. So, read on to discover how I feel that if BioWare respect the original trilogy’s time frame, allow character diversity and add more multiplayer options – amongst other things – then they could in my opinion make Mass Effect 4 the best Mass Effect game yet. Please be aware that if you want to avoid minor spoilers for the Mass Effect trilogy, then do not read any further.
My first essential feature for Mass Effect 4 would be setting the game after the original trilogy. Now this may seem like common sense, but BioWare have teased us with a Garrus prequel, which intriguing as it sounds is something I feel is more like DLC than an actual game. In my view if Mass Effect 4 was a prequel then it would contain no drama or tension that hasn’t already been resolved. Take the Garrus idea; he can’t die in a prequel game as he turns up in Mass Effect 1 thus removing Mass Effect 4’s tension and thrills. Of course prequels can work if someone is travelling back in time to make sure Garrus and Shepherd never met, but as time travel hasn’t featured in Mass Effect before this would mean to me the game has sadly, “jumped the shark.” Some games have done prequels well, and I am not against the idea of a prequel that adds to a title’s back story; such as the superlative MGS series. To me, the Mass Effect trilogy were games of choices and their outcomes, and that to me doesn’t work retrospectively.
My original Mass Effect choices and their outcomes were a major part of that series, and the next feature I want to see in Mass Effect 4 is BioWare factoring in their impact. What happened to the Reapers? Which of my friends lived or died ? These were all choices that were major parts of the original Mass Effect games, and if they and my other choices have no impact on the fourth game, then to me it will feel less involved. Of course if Mass Effect 4 is set a long time after Mass Effect 3, then I accept the effects of everything that occurred prior to a new title might not fit easily into that game. But, history should have recorded some of my actions, and I would like to find out if my old character is still revered as a hero or if when their name is mentioned do people curse due to my pre-Mass Effect 4 choices? In the original trilogy I felt like I was striding through the game like a mighty colossus, people lived or died because of what I chose to do or say, and civilizations crumbled or thrived at my command. Somewhere in Mass Effect 4 I would like to examine the consequences of these actions, and if the game doesn’t acknowledge these then it will be less of a Mass Effect game to me.
For my third essential Mass Effect 4 feature I want to examine who should be the game’s main protagonist, and I find myself in agreement with BioWare that it’s time Shephard stepped aside. Of course this doesn’t mean that Mass Effect 4 would ignore Shepard and his/her legacy as I discussed earlier, but I do feel a new title will need a new hero. Why? Well, my reasoning is based on the fact that adventuring as Shepard saw the player cast in the role of a general making crucial decisions during a galactic crisis, great though this was Mass Effect 4 needs a new hero/heroine in a new role, else it could run the risk of the game play feeling stale. If the main protagonist in Mass Effect 4 is a spy, a diplomat or even a civilian, then the title will not feel like Mass Effect DLC, but rather a whole new game. I want to experience the world of Mass Effect 4 through a fresh set of eyes, as I feel this would bring more excitement to the title for new and old fans alike.
My fourth idea for Mass Effect 4 also centers on the game’s main protagonist, but now after deciding on who they are, I want to move onto what they are. I would like BioWare to allow gamers to play as a Krogan, Asari, Drell, Turian, or maybe an entirely new species altogether? OK, the line needs to be drawn somewhere, and maybe a Hanar or Elcor wouldn’t be an ideal playable character, but any options in addition to being human would be great. New player character options in Mass Effect 4 will allow more play styles adding to the game’s replayability factor. If Renegade and Paragon options are also still a feature then gamers are certainly going to playing Mass Effect 4 again and again for a long time after its release. The human race took center stage in the first three Mass Effect games, so to bring diversity and replayability to Mass Effect 4, I would love players to have more options when creating their hero.
In the original Mass Effect trilogy one of my favorite parts of the game was upgrading the Normandy, and turning it into the galaxy’s greatest vessel. But I felt disappointed that I could never take the helm of my trusty ship in space combat, and fly daring interstellar dogfights. So, for my fifth and final essential Mass Effect 4 feature; I would love to see ship-based combat introduced into the game. Allowing players to invest in their trusty intergalactic steed, and feel the benefits of the upgrades as they take the helm and destroy their opponents will be a lot more exciting than just trying to outrun ships on a galactic map, as per the first three games.
But why stop with just space combat? Mass Effect 4 could feature space ship racing or maybe space trading could be factored in, giving players an extra element to master in the game. Ship combat would also make a great multiplayer element for the game and it could be the first step towards Mass Effect online, similar to GTA online, but set in a galaxy rather than a city.
So that’s my five ideas for Mass Effect 4, a game I am very excited for and will probably pre-order the minute I can. Do you agree or disagree with my ideas? What would you like to see in Mass Effect 4? Why not let me know in the comments section below.