The trailer for a new chapter in the Mass Effect series was unveiled last week at The Game Awards 2020. The cinematic featured a character very much like Liara exploring the snowy landscape of an unknown planet. Here she finds a piece of N7’s helmet, next to the snow-covered “carcass” of the Reaper. This prompted fans of the series to think that Mass Effect 4 (since Andromeda is more of a spin-off) could be a direct sequel to the original trilogy.
The discovery of a piece of N7’s armor in the cutscene has revived the hopes of thousands of fans that one of the galaxy’s most beloved heroes, Captain Shepard, will also return. Even though he dies in most endings in Mass Effect 3. After the conclusion of the original trilogy, there are several ways to get things ready for Mass Effect 4, and there are a number of good reasons for BioWare why Shepard deserves a return.
Shepard’s survival in Mass Effect 3 means the destruction ending has become canon. However, it is likely that the new game will develop long after the destruction of the Reapers. Liara’s presence does not allow to determine how much time has passed, since the Azari live literally for centuries. However, Shepard himself is no longer quite human. He was revived at the start of Mass Effect 2 using Cerberus technology.
Given that we don’t know exactly how Cerberus reconstruction affects aging, it is difficult to predict Shepard’s potential lifespan. However, genetically modified characters such as Miranda Lawson have aged significantly more slowly in the Mass Effect universe. However, in addition to Cerberus, other, both simple and complex, options for a new performance with Shepard are possible. At the very least, Shepard could freeze in the ice, like Captain America, or be placed in a stasis capsule.
If the new BioWare trailer does not hint at Shepard’s return in Mass Effect 4, then it is not entirely clear why the N7 armor was shown in the trailer. From the video, it seems that Liara is looking for Shepard, especially as one of the best information dealers, she may have good reasons to believe in the survival and location of not only Shepard, but also any important figure in the galaxy. And it would not be difficult for Liara to draw conclusions about where the captain could be after the final collision. Despite opposition from other factions.
However, Shepard may not return as a playable character. Events and times should have left an imprint on him. In turn, this means BioWare has to make decisions about which decisions were canon, since we could make dozens of key choices in three games in the series. Not everyone may like this, as they have come to terms with the consequences of their actions.
On the other hand, Shepard as a playable character solves a lot of problems with the formation of a new hero. The search for a new protagonist in Mass Effect has already led to problems with Ryder from Andromeda. Compared to Shepard, it cannot be said that Ryder has sunk deep into the hearts of fans. And it’s hard to imagine that another newcomer will be able to fill the vacuum left by Shepard.
Perhaps the main reason for Shepard’s return is the storyline. Given the difficulties at BioWare studios in recent years, as well as the departure of Casey Hudson, who served as the creative director of the original games, the developers can bet on a conservative approach. Rely on Shepard’s stability instead of playing Russian roulette with a new protagonist.
Either way, a new chapter in the Mass Effect universe is coming. Even if Shepard doesn’t become a guiding star, the sequel to the original trilogy should attract fans who have never been able to bond with Andromeda.
Let’s trust that Mass Effect 4 won’t keep us waiting too long.