We knew it was coming, and now we have confirmation: a new Mass Effect game is on the horizon. It was announced with a teaser trailer during last night’s Game Awards broadcast.
What we have is a short trailer with no gameplay but one that still makes a few things clear about the direction of the series. The new game will be made by BioWare under the EA umbrella, and the foremost revelations are that it seems to be set in the same galaxy as the original trilogy of games, it occurs immediately after the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, and it appears to feature at least one returning character (Liara T’Soni).
As for what gameplay looks like or where the story goes from here, it’s anyone’s guess. We don’t want to spoil anything here, but each of the Mass Effect 3 endings left the game’s setting unrecognizable compared to how it appeared during the course of the trilogy—hence BioWare’s decision to set the poorly received follow-up Mass Effect: Andromeda in a completely different galaxy with a new cast of characters.
It’s not clear from the new trailer which of the Mass Effect 3 endings ended up canon (given the scope of some endings’ differences, it seems unlikely that the player will get to import saves or choose), but in any case, the trailer suggests that much of the galaxy is in ruin.
It’s worth noting that several key creative team members responsible for the original Mass Effect trilogy have moved on from BioWare, which has seen a troubled few years with a rocky track record, to say the latest. A select few, however, returned for this project, according to tweets from Project Director Mike Gamble, including Narrative Designer Dusty Everman, Art Director Derek Watts, and Cinematics Director Parrish Lay.
Regardless of its makeup of both new and old members, the team making the new Mass Effect game has a difficult challenge ahead, given both the uncertain ending of Mass Effect 3 and the harsh backlash to that game’s endings, which was a flashpoint in the ongoing conversation about today’s persistent problems of online toxicity and developer harassment in the gaming industry and reportedly a major factor in the original founders of BioWare leaving the industry.
The trailer did not reveal a release date for the game or which platforms it will arrive on. It didn’t even give the game a name yet, so we’ll likely be waiting a while for more information.
Listing image by EA