We all remember the hoohah from the Mass Effect fandom around the end of Mass Effect 3. While I don’t really see what the fuss is about, I personally accepted the ending choices no problem, there is no doubt that whatever ending you chose, there is no way for the developers to continue that story. Not without upsetting a large number of fans anyway by picking a canon ending. So when we heard that Mass Effect 4 was definitely going to happen this was the question on everyone’s minds: How does the story go on?
There’s a consensus that Shepard is very likely not to return, which seems fitting. She’s done her part and can rest in peace for now. A few people suggested that the new game would take place so far in the future that the events of ME1-3 would just be legends rather than raw wounds. But that idea never seemed very satisfying. Like with reboots, I find it hard to forget everything that has happened and just ‘go with it’. There must be a storyline that is able to forgo the messy end of the last game, while keeping the strong love and immersion for the universe they have created.
We discover from the trailer at E3 that Mass Effect: Andromeda is, of course, set in a different galaxy. In the Bioware developers blog they state “this game is very much a new adventure, taking place far away from and long after the events of the original trilogy”. While we have to wait until ‘holiday 2016’ for it to be released, there’s plenty of time for speculation.
Take a look at this timeline posted on reddit in by /u/NeroJoe which suggests how the races of the milky way came to be in Andromeda.
You’ve got to admit, this is a tidy way to literally sidestep the events at the end of the third game while maintaining ties and callbacks to races, events and characters that we have come to love. It’s very doubtful that we will have many, if any, familiar characters in Andromeda, however if the new characters we meet remember and reference events that we experienced, there will definitely be squeal moments. There are a few holes to poke in this, like in any theory. For example, how did this ‘Ark’ remain secret from everyone through such tumultuous times. I could understand if this secret could be kept pre-ME3, but when the shit hits the fan and the reapers descend on your home, if you knew there was even the slightest chance of escape you’d grab your family and run. Panic isn’t stealthy, particularly at the flotilla scale proposed in this timeline. And Liara is good, but she’s not that good, surely? Okay, say the secret is kept, how and why does the ‘Ark’ get destroyed? Probably for plot convenient reasons like keeping the reapers out, but that sticks in the throat a bit.
Another user on Reddit pointed out that the protheanesque tower in the trailer looks a bit like the control tower from Stargate Atlantis which I think is a lovely comparison to another story of exploration to another galaxy. A story in which the link between the galaxies is lost and explorers are cut off from home to face unknown dangers. The link between galaxies is restored in Stargate Atlantis and I hope they will be again in the Mass Effect series, just not too soon. We all still need time to heal.
Let me know what your theories are for this series? What do you want to happen even if you don’t think it’s likely?