If there is one thing Mass Effect‘s Commander Shepard won, it’s a fucking rest.
In the last 24 hours, flavor text for a promotional product, like spotted by a YouTubersent fans in a panic of speculation that the galactic hero would return in some sort of new adventure. But the project director of the fan-favorite role-playing series quickly shut down the rumors, to which I can only say: Good. Bringing Shepard back is an abjectly terrible idea.
Although the main Mass Effect trilogy culminating in 2012 — and its sequel, Mass Effect: Andromeda, received a mediocre reception five years later – BioWare’s flagship bang-an-aliens RPG series is in full resurgence. The developer teased the “next Mass Effect” at The Game Awards 2020. Although the details are slim, it pretends to connect the wires Between Andromeda and the main trilogy. This announcement was followed by last year’s Mass Effect Legendary Editiona repainted 4K compilation of the original trilogy, more like 99.99% of its DLC, which has resurfaced its lyrical narrative into cultural awareness.
And if there’s one thing our collective replays have brought home – Ah, sorry, hold on…
Spoilers follow for Mass Effect 310 years this year.
Hmm. Like I said, if there’s one thing our collective replays have made clear, it’s that Commander Shepard’s story is definitely coming to an end. For many, this means Shepard may be meeting the more final end: death.
The most of Mass Effect 3The story centers on Commander Shepard’s last-ditch effort to defeat the invading army of Reapers, a collective of sentient machines that roam the galaxy every 50,000 years and wipe out all traces of moderately intelligent life. At the end of Mass Effect 3although there are different endings, you are given a series of wide choices as to how you will defeat the threat.
One choice allowed you to destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy, including Reapers. Another allowed you to subsume them under your control. A third, only available if you’ve done enough side quests, gave you the ability to merge all synthetic and organic life. (The post-release DLC infamously added a potential fourth ending, which had you simply detonate the catalyst, dooming the galaxy to death.) All are available in Legendary Edition, and all show Commander Shepard making that ultimate sacrifice (you know, death). But if you manage to hit a max “military readiness” score – meaning you’ve basically completed all the side-quests and collect-a-thons – you’d see a cutscene of Shepard taking a single breath.
Text deleted since for an N7 Day poster sold on the BioWare store suggested the difficult-to-achieve 3.4-second cutscene was canon. (N7 Day is BioWare’s annual fan celebration Mass Effect series.) As shown in a recent video by MrHulthena YouTuber specializing in coverage Mass Effectthe flavor text initially read, “As Shepard and the survivors must pick up the pieces, fans are wondering what’s next.”
This text has been revised – see if you can spot the difference – to “The Reaper threat could have been removed, but at great expense, including Earth itself.” As the survivors have to pick up the pieces, fans wonder what’s next. And currently the poster product page does not contain any reference to plot details regarding Mass Effect.
Representatives from EA, which publishes Mass Effect, did not respond to a request for comment. Mike Gamble, Mass Effectproject director, said on Twitter that the original text mentioning Shepard’s survival was published in error. But if that’s even the slightest hint of what’s to come Mass Effect is on point, the potential ramifications are baffling, to say the least.
I mean, if Commander Shepard really does make a comeback, does that mean time travel is in play? After all, if this new game is meant to connect to Andromeda, which takes place six centuries after the events of the main trilogy, the narrative should do something to close the gap in time. Or, oh, maybe there’s a multiverse thing going on, although I sure hope not; we’re already at the height of cultural multiverse fatigue, and I can’t imagine such a feeling easing until the next Mass Effect spell. (The next game has no name or release date.)
Given that we know next to nothing about the plot of the next game at this point, I guess it’s impossible to rule out the laziest of all worlds: that Shepard actually survived by disintegrating in a hot flash. of celestial blue light, or disintegrated into an incandescent flash of celestial red light, or disintegrated into an incandescent flash of celestial green light, or, uh, trampled by an ageless species of intergalactic machines that are strong enough to level cities.
Read more: Everyone makes the same choices in Mass EffectApparently
But all speculation is, ultimately, irrelevant. The return of Commander Shepard would likely be a disappointment for fans – it would essentially remove all of the scope of the original trilogy, whose appeal was based on making tough decisions at key moments in the narrative, living with consequences and about seeing the ramifications through to the end. This final was damn final. Fans have had a decade to let it gestate. There is no reason to rewrite this story.
Also, come on, if there’s one supposedly dead character who should be making a comeback, it’s the wrong commander (who, again, seriously won peace and quiet 10 times). It’s Thane.
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