• Mass Effect 4 has the opportunity to modernize and recontextualize the combat, level design, RPG elements, and narrative structure of the franchise.
  • The game should introduce a new cast of companion characters to capitalize on its position as a fresh start for the series.
  • While it would be tempting to bring back beloved characters from the original trilogy, BioWare should be conservative and purposeful with their inclusion to avoid being seen as a mere imitation and to maintain the chemistry with the new protagonist.

There are a number of interesting directions that Mass Effect 4 could take, as BioWare has a chance to modernize and recontextualize the franchise’s combat, level design, RPG elements, and overall narrative structure. It’s difficult to tell just what kind of game Mass Effect 4 will turn out to be, but its developers should capitalize on its position as a new beginning for the series. One way that his can be achieved is by introducing a new cast of companion characters.

The next Mass Effect game is mostly shrouded in mystery, but expectations are high. Many fans of the iconic sci-fi series hope that Mass Effect 4 can redeem the IP, reviving its legacy after it stumbled with the underperformance of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Promotional material for the game has been fairly sparse, but the available information suggests that the game will be taking players back to the Milky Way, and with an early teaser for the game featuring Liara T’Soni, there seems to be a chance of at least a few familiar faces cropping up in the game. While the idea of reconnecting with beloved characters from the original trilogy has promise, BioWare should take care not to retread old ground when it comes to party composition.


Why Mass Effect 4 Will Likely Skip Over the Paragon and Renegade System

As the fourth entry in the main series and the fifth entry overall, Mass Effect 4 will likely do away with the Paragon and Renegade morality system.

Why Mass Effect 4 Shouldn’t Bring Back Old Companions

Squad Members in Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 4 Needs to Blaze a New Trail

It may be tempting to bring back one or several party members from the original Mass Effect trilogy for Mass Effect 4, but the game would be better off without them. A new Mass Effect game will inevitably struggle with stepping out of the shadow of its predecessor, and if BioWare tries to directly replicate the party dynamics of the first three games, then it runs the risk of being viewed as a mere imitation. The game will be the first Mass Effect of this console generation, and it should thus be treated like a fresh start for the series.

There’s also the matter of the game’s protagonist. The identity of the next player-character is just as mysterious as the rest of Mass Effect 4, as it’s not clear whether Commander Shepard will appear in the game. However, if ME4 does feature a new player-character, which certainly seems plausible, then reintroducing older, legacy characters could feel forced and unnatural: their relationship with the protagonist would have to be narratively justified, and their chemistry would inevitably be different.

How Mass Effect 4 Can Feature Older Characters

For better or worse, it looks like at least one character from the original trilogy, Liara, will appear at some point in Mass Effect 4. However, BioWare could find interesting ways to utilize her, and potentially others, by taking care not to overplay their inclusion. For example, a legacy companion could join the player for one or two missions but not be part of the core crew. A major character like Liara could even be playable in Mass Effect 4 via flashbacks or other specific and relevant missions. Essentially, bringing back old Mass Effect characters wouldn’t be necessarily bad, but BioWare should be conservative and purposeful with them, rather than throwing them in the mix for the sake of fan service.

Since just about every Mass Effect companion can die at various points in the trilogy, Mass Effect 4 would have to solidify the series’ canon more and more with each legacy character it includes, which would come with additional problems.

The Mass Effect franchise has many strong characters. Indeed, the memorable and charming cast is one of the most enduring aspects of the original trilogy, and many players will be expecting this sort of high-quality character writing in Mass Effect 4. But a new game should bring new squadmates, love interests, and friends, not rehash old ones.


Mass Effect Trilogy

Mass Effect Trilogy is a compilation featuring BioWare’s Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mess Effect 3. The Trilogy also contains all of the downloadable content for the first two games including Lair of the Shadow Broker, Stolen Memory, Bring Down the Sky, and Overlord. 

Mass Effect

Action RPG , Third-Person Shooter


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