During the 2020 Game Awards, Bioware unveiled two trailers for the next instalments in their Mass Effect and Dragon Age sagas. Both of these are fan favourites, with eager eyes waiting to see if Bioware can return to form following the failures of Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Dragon Age 4 hasn’t been given an official release date yet, with EA previously stating that it would be 2022 at the earliest. This means that any future Mass Effect game will likely come after this, perhaps sometime in 2024/2025. One might wonder why they even bother to release a trailer. It’s never too early to look ahead however, and as an avid Mass Effect fan these are the features I hope to see in the next iteration.
A Deeper Story
In recent years, Bioware has played it safe with most of its game stories. The cliché trope of; you are the hero go save the world, pops up a lot in their games. Now there’s nothing wrong with this per se, it does provide a satisfying power fantasy after all. But after both Dragon Age and Mass Effect trilogies used this trope, and even Anthem used it so some extent, it’s time for a change.
ME:A looked promising because it seemed like a fresh take. You are an explorer in a foreign galaxy here to settle a new home. Unfortunately, this very quickly turned into a classic Bioware tale. Oh no the aliens are bad and you are the only one who can stop them. The new Mass Effect trailer seemed to confirm a return to the milky way, which many fans will rejoice at. It remains to be seen what direction they take the plot in, I can only hope for something new.
After four instalments of adventuring through space surrounded by a myriad of aliens, it’s starting to get a little stale being stuck as a human. Conversely Bioware have let players choose their race since the start with the Dragon Age series. Any “next-generation” Mass Effect title should also include this as a feature. Your species selection could tie into the games romance system, with different options being available depending on your selection.
Mass Effect has always had deep lore pertaining to the different races, for those that enjoy delving into the codex. Even to a more casual audience it’s clear to see that each species has a different history and personality. It would be a nice change to see it from their perspective rather than the eyes of a human.
Stronger RPG Mechanics
The release of Mass Effect 2 made clear that the series was aiming for a traditional 3rd person shooter combat system. This made sense when the main hero was Commander Shepard, a rough hero in a galaxy full of threats. With the release of ME:A, Bioware made the genius move to give the player access to a jetpack. This made all sorts of new moves possible, form dashing around the battlefield to hovering above and laying waste to your enemies.
Still, this had its own shortcomings. Regardless of the players choices, Ryder was still the same hero and interacted with the world in the same way regardless of what skills the player might have chosen. In any future releases it would make sense for the world to react to the player’s hero dependent on the players choices. If the hero is a biotic for instance then the world should react, much in the same way Dragon Age reacts if the player is a mage. This would help make the world feel believable and elevate the game from a simpler single player story.
Return of Multiplayer
This may seem like an odd choice but when Bioware decided to add multiplayer to Mass Effect 3 it was a surprisingly good decision. Having played the mode for hours, with follow up Mass Effect: Andromeda improving upon the formula thanks to improved combat mechanics, I hope to see a return.
It’s easy to see however that these modes were just a test of what would become Anthem. Because of this it’s possible that Bioware may choose to pass on co-op and instead focus on single player. Still, Dragon Age: Inquisition had a similar multiplayer mode and so Bioware may hopefully continue the tradition of letting you enjoy these worlds with friends.
The release of any Mass Effect game is still a long way off, it’s likely that even the developers don’t have a complete picture of what the final release will contain. Some prominent Bioware leads have also recently left the company, throwing more doubt onto the successful outcome of these games. Only time will tell what becomes of their future releases, but one hopes that Bioware can return to making the great games we know they’re capable of.
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Which features do you want to see in the next Mass Effect? Let us know in the comments section and while you’re at it why not check out our review of The Painscreek Killings
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