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What's Next for Mass Effect?

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Old 04-16-2012, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default What's Next for Mass Effect?

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Mass Effect 3 acts as a fitting conclusion to BioWare's expansive sci-fi trilogy. But the tale of Commander Shepard's travails is the only timeline in that universe we've ever experienced. In such a richly layered fictional world, there must be more to see.

BioWare's talented writers have given us a glimpse into key historical events that shaped the trilogy's era. There are reams of lore referred to, but never experienced first-hand, offering plenty of opportunities for great new games. Let's explore five such stories, and how they might play out within the confines of different gaming genres.



The Mars Prothean Ruins and the Charon Mass Relay

In the grand scheme of things, humanity was a latecomer to the galactic scene. While races like the Asari were already mining Helium-3 from gas giants, running into other civilizations and colonizing planets, humanity was barely exploring its own solar system. Yet, by 2148, humans had stumbled upon ancient Prothean ruins on Mars that gave way to what would prove to be integral technology, including faster-than-light travel and the beginnings of mass effect mastery. A year later, humans figured out Pluto's moon Charon was actually artificial. It was a mass relay, giving humanity access to myriad unexplored sections of the galaxy.


We know when these events happened, but we don't quite know how everything went down. Was there intense Earth-side fighting over the ruins? Were corporations quarrelling over the rights to the dig site and mass relay? Did proof that we're not alone in the universe begin to uproot Earth's religions? A game exploring these stories would be fascinating. Perhaps a well-made Deus-Ex-like shooter, spread across multiple venues, would be best equipped to illustrate such a plot-heavy tale, rife with nuance and implications.


The First Contact War

With the discovery of the Charon Mass Relay, humans quickly found new sections of the galaxy to explore. Despite an understanding that the Protheans were real, humanity still didn't expect to quickly encounter another race. But they did. In 2157, humans ran into the Turians at Relay 314. Humans were trying to activate the mass relay, not realizing that this wasn't standard protocol (as you never quite know what rests on the other side of the relay).

The Turians subsequently attacked, starting a conflict that nearly spiraled out of control. Humanity battled the Turians staunchly, with the conflict centering around the human colony known as Shanxi.


Such a fight wrought with military and political implications reeks of a first-person shooter, perhaps one akin to the cancelled Mass Effect FPS BioWare had once worked on. But like all other would-be Mass Effect games, there would have to be close attention paid to story, too. After all, the result of the First Contact War was humanity's realization that there were many other races in the galaxy. Then again, negative repercussions could be felt, too. Humanity was always looked at as aggressive and violent hereafter in the galactic community.


The Prothean-Reaper Conflict

Mass Effect 3 players get a little taste of what went down between the Protheans and the Reapers 50,000 years before the events of the Mass Effect trilogy. But obviously, the details of the Prothean-Reaper conflict are largely unknown. Such fodder could be the basis for a Mass Effect trilogy prequel, and could be especially riveting. After all, what happens between these two races sets the stage for just about everything you experience in the trilogy itself. Prothean technology opened up the galaxy to many races, humanity included, and the ruins of their technology rest at the heart of galactic civilization.


Such a game could play out in a typical story-heavy fashion that would put it solidly at home within Mass Effect's lore, but perhaps the gameplay could be a bit different than the Mass Effect games we know and love. With two distinct races battling each other across the galaxy -- a hyper-intelligent organic race and a synthetic race hell-bent on cleansing the galaxy -- such a set-up almost begs a two-sided tower defense game, perhaps on your tablet of choice (and, of course, PSN, XBLA and Steam).


The Rachni Wars

Sometimes, lessons can be learned from the unfortunate galactic mistakes made by other races. One such mistake was the introduction of the Rachni to Citadel space that nearly saw all races eradicated. The mistake in question was the opening of a mass relay that lay dormant, with its end-point in an unknown portion of the Milky Way. That unknown portion of the Milky Way was the territory of the Rachni, and speeding back through the mass relay, they attacked. The conflict was brutal, and lasted for centuries until it was ultimately finished.


The conclusion of the Rachni Wars would make an interesting pick-up point. In such a game -- perhaps one that plays very much like the third-person RPG Mass Effect trilogy -- you'd play as a Krogan dispatched by the Salarians to the Rachni homeworld. There, you'd be charged with undertaking the events that ended the Rachni Wars -- the complete destruction of the Rachni queens and the hiveminds that control the entire race. Of course, such a race-ending ordeal could lead to choice-and-consequence sequences, which will be more than familiar to Mass Effect veterans.


The Morning War

The Morning War -- or the Geth War, depending on which side you fall on -- marks the culmination of one of the galaxy's most notorious events. It's during this war that the Quarian's mechanical creations, the Geth, fight back and ultimately win independence from their masters. Moreover, the Geth actually take the Quarian's homeworld over, expelling their creators to live in the space flotilla you find them floating around in during the events of the Mass Effect trilogy. The Geth prove to be a harsh lesson for the Quarians, and mark a fear those on Earth have of artificial intelligence as well; that they may achieve sentience and become uncontrollable.


There are two sides of the Morning War, and thus there's plenty of nebulous space for the player to work his or her way through. Perhaps such a game would take place on the Quarians' homeworld of Rannoch in an open-world RPG-like fashion, a la Fallout 3. Moreover, perhaps you can play as the Geth or the Quarians, working your way through the end events of the Morning War that ultimately lead to the Quarians' ouster from their own home. Either way, this war is compelling enough to see the light of day in a grand scale, doing full justice to its intriguing allusions within Mass Effect 3.
I like some of these ideas. Some I have thought of as well, I would also include a game based on Sheppards past, like the soul survivor past where he is the only person to survive the attacks on Akuze and how he came to be on the Normandy. The Asari have a really rich backstory as do the Salarians.

I dont know there is a lot to draw on, some of it that is already teed up and others that they can get creative on. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
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It would be nice to see a more open world, less linear COD style game. Like a true RPG, not an RPG in name only with an option to turn off RPG. Something where you can really explore more of the galaxy
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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I think thats the beauty of this, they could make soo many different genres out of the ME universe. They could switch it up and do an open world type RPG, then turn around and do a on rails FPS where its story heavy but no real choice (ala COD ect) but have big set pieces and action packed.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:39 PM   #4
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ME3 was pretty close to being "on rails." You just got to pick the order in which you played the ultra-linear missions. It would be nice to see some real freedom in the ME universe
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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ME3 was pretty close to being "on rails." You just got to pick the order in which you played the ultra-linear missions. It would be nice to see some real freedom in the ME universe
this is true, they increasingly made it more linear as each game went on. This is biowares style though lately.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:32 AM   #6
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Think of Bioware as a REALLY high tech Dungeon Master. They are telling their story, you just get to interact with it.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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I guess my take on of an on rails game is you get no say in where you go or what you do. 1000 people could play the same game and every detail of their game will be the exact same.

ME3 while linear is not what I would ever consider an on rails game like COD.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:06 PM   #8
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Either:

Mass Effect MMO

or Mass Effect: Subtitle. (I don't think they'll number the next one)


I think (hope) Shepards tale is over, and ideally for me I'd like a full on open world RPG. Think Skyrim in space, in the ME universe. That's my hope, but in reality I expect a dudebro TPS. On the bright side, 99% chance they'll use Frostbite 2 and I can still dig a dudebro TPS. I'd just much rather have an open space RPG in the ME universe.
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