[Make It So takes a look at our favorite games and suggests additions, subtractions, and areas to improve upon for the sequel or next entry in the series.]
I wanted to preface this edition of Make It So with the caveat that I loved the original Mass Effect 3 ending, and the Extended Cut made me catatonic when I first saw it. I’m a firm believer in the creative team over at BioWare and I’m sure the next game in the Mass Effect series will live up to the high standards of its predecessor. Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t have things I would like to see. If anything, my love for the Mass Effect series got my creative juices flowing; so here’s what I want to see in Mass Effect 4.
Let the player pick the race of their character
As customizable as Commander Shepard was, his story is over. Now it’s time to open up the the customizer to include multiple races. BioWare already has experience doing this with the Dragon Age series, and the multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 was a perfect showing of how ready gamers are to full the shoes of a different species.
Distance the timeframe from the original Mass Effect Trilogy by at least a generation
As much as I would love to crew my ship with the amazing characters that populated the first three games, I think it’s time to write new stories and new characters. The best series know when it’s time for something new and if Mass Effect 4 is the start of a new trilogy (as it should be), then it’s time for a fresh start. This is where spacing out the timeframe of the game goes. After a galactic-level threat, any skirmishes that pop up aren’t going to have the same gravitas. Give the universe you’ve so lovingly created a chance to rest and rebuild. Let the facts fade into myth and legend and let us grow to love a new group of heroes.But all this doesn’t mean we can’t get a cameo or two from some of our more long-lived companions *wink-wink*
Have the galaxy be closed off following the destruction of the mass relays
This idea rolls out of the previous one. The destruction of the mass relays should make traveling between systems extremely difficult, if not impossible. This could lead to each system having to rely on the people and resources that are accessible to them. Some systems would be better off than others and that could lead to some resentment and jealousy. This could be the start of the next galactic struggle that our protagonist is trying to prevent.
Have smaller choices affect your outcome
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of playing the original Marvel Ultimate Alliance was beating the game, then being shown the consequences of all the actions you took in the game, some of which weren’t even conscious decisions. This made subsequent playthroughs an exercise in examining every action no matter how inconsequential it might seem. Then you found out that the option you thought was right, could only be considered to be your choice of evils. Part of what drew me to the Mass Effect series in the first place was this commercial:
The actual execution of this throughout the series was minimal at best. The only concrete example I can think of is the myriad of small choices you made on the Citadel in Mass Effect 3 after listening in on ongoing conversations. While there may be an immediate benefit to some decisions, there are also long-term repercussions, such as a shortage of medicinal supplies for soldiers later on. They might hate you for it, but they won’t be able to put it down.
Stick to your guns
This suggestion is more for the development team at BioWare than the actual game. All the insane “change the ending!” backlash is a testament to how amazing and engrossing you made this universe. People wanted the happy ending they felt their Shepard deserved. The ending you envisioned and designed for Mass Effect 3, while perhaps more rudimentary than expected, was, to you, the perfect way to wrap up the story of Shepard. No amount of caterwauling by gamers should sway you to change your vision. There’s a reason you guys have made one of the most successful series of the last console generation and it’s because of the groundbreaking vision you had 7+ years ago.
The Mass Effect series is on my list of all-time most favorite games. I’m going to be ecstatic for the next game, as will millions of fans worldwide. Hopefully, our next adventure into the Shepard-saved universe will be soon. What about you? What are some additions/subtractions/improvements you want to see in the next Mass Effect game? Let us know in the comments!