A few weeks ago, we Mass Effect fans were presented with two sets of news. One of them being that the Take Back Omega DLC rumors were indeed true and that Bioware has decided to release an 8 hour long DLC that depicts the reclaiming of Omega, a city housed in an asteroid that was largely featured in Mass Effect 2, from Cerberus hands. This was only the first bit of news we had received. The other was that there were indeed plans for a Mass Effect 4. I was not entirely surprised to read this, since the franchise was so successful and had generated so much support from its fans. The more I thought about it though, the crazier the idea sounded. Here are the reasons why:
The Reasons Why
There are some obvious reasons as to why the creation of a Mass Effect 4 would be logistically challenging. For one, with the release of Dragon Age 3 near about the same time as the release of the next generation of consoles, how would there possibly be time for Mass Effect 4 to hit the market before the next generation? It wouldn’t. The real problem here is what does that mean for our flag saves, and for all of the decisions we had made in Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3? For PC gamers, this is not an issue, but for us console players, we could be in for many, if not all of our choices being made standard for all players. This is most likely wild speculation, seeing as I have no idea what level of technology the next gen consoles posses. Perhaps there will be a cloud save system that allows us to access our saves from our 360 or PS3. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.
Another issue that stands out even more than the issue of the choices that we made in previous Mass Effect games appearing in ME4. It’s the actual complexity of the choices themselves. Is it even possible to account for all of the variables that Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 created? The final choices made in Mass Effect 3 could drastically alter the events of Mass Effect 4, almost to the point of one person who chose Option A playing a different game than the person who chose Option B back in Mass Effect 3. They could make certain endings canon in order to solve this, but this is also a huge blow to the concept of Mass Effect, where our choices truly matter.
The Obvious Decision
With all of these obstacles in the way of making Mass Effect 4, what could Bioware possibly do to make their game worth making? Here’s a thought: Make it a prequel. I feel that there is a large chance that Mass Effect 4 will end up being set in a time before the events of Mass Effect 1. While this does seem like the easiest and most obvious choice to take the series, I hate it. I generally hate most prequels. They never hold up to the quality of the series they are in. Why? It’s because nobody cares. Who cares what happened in the past with this person, we all know what’s going to happen to him. Also, how can you make giant galaxy changing decisions if story has already progressed beyond them? You can’t.
The bottom line is that making Mass Effect 4 will be incredibly difficult, and while I feel that Bioware is up to the task, I also feel that they might get lazy and make a decision that will ruin the future of the series forever. Who here remembers Fable 3?