"Shepard, going up this beam of light will result in your death, and everyone else's confusion.
Now that Mass Effect 3 has been out for a while, and the controversy of its lackluster ending beginning to die down, it’s time we take a look at what future possibilities the popular science fiction franchise may hold. Spoilers for the entire series will be prevalent throughout this article, so if you haven’t finished the Mass Effect games, you have been warned.
At the end of Mass Effect 3, whether you chose to accept it or not, Shepard stops the Reapers one of three ways, sacrificing his life in the process. Of course there is the shot of him taking a small breath if you satisfied certain criteria, but for futures sake, let’s just assume he is dead. It’s not like we haven’t been here before. Shepard died at the beginning of Mass Effect 2, and through the tireless efforts and endless resources of Cerberus, Shepard was resurrected. That would appear to be near impossible to occur by the galaxies current standards, with the Mass Relays having been destroyed and intergalactic space travel came to an abrupt stop. That wouldn’t necessarily mean that resources aren’t available to bring Shepard back to life, but with Earth spending its recent time fighting against a near unstoppable force, it’s highly doubtful Shepard could return from the dead again. So what does that mean for the next Mass Effect? Well if Shepard is officially dead, it would be hard to think, especially because of recent heat thrown BioWare’s way, that they would attempt to bring Shepard back to life, since it may create more plot holes. If Shepard is truly dead, we can guess that BioWare would select a new hero to become the face of the franchise.
Love is a battlefield, too bad we don't really know what happened on it.
But what if Shepard lives? This is probably the most likely scenario due to the massive amount of fan feedback, but with BioWare saying that Mass Effect 3 was to be the final installment of Shepard’s story, it can be assumed that he would not be the main focus of Mass Effect 4, or even a playable character. We can take from this, the same conclusion as if he were dead, in that Mass Effect 4 will feature a new hero.
So what we have determined is that Shepard is probably alive, and most likely not the main focus for Mass Effect 4. As per the ending for Mass Effect 3, we have also determined that space travel is no longer a possibility for the near future and Shepard’s squad is abandoned on a far away planet. Now, if BioWare wanted to stay within the same universe with Shepard and gang, the next Mass Effect wouldn’t seem to have space travel as a feasible option of travel. It’s not impossible that some one in the galaxy didn’t reverse engineer a Mass Relay, but it is never alluded to in previous games. They are something that was just found and never replicated. Knowing this, space travel would more than likely prove as another plot hole in a story that has too many to begin with. The idea of rebuilding Mass Relays or the reinstitution of space travel, don’t seem like very attractive ways to lure in a very upset fan base.
Taking all things into consideration, there is one strong possibility that may be possible. The game would more than likely take place near the end of Shepard’s life. The aged and crippled hero could still be featured in the story, as well as some other old friends. This would help keep those attached to the characters from the series happy, as well as allow for a ‘passing of the torch’ between Shepard and the newer, younger hero. It would also allow for the pulling of the heart strings on those comrades that passed away during the Reaper battle. The game would more than likely feel a bit more primitive, as space travel and intergalactic communications have just recently begun to prosper. The reinstatement of the Spectre forces and a new committee of selected councilors would be more than likely as well. It would be obvious that a new enemy would be featured in Mass Effect 4, either hostile aliens still reaming from the recent battles, or maybe something more treacherous than the Reapers. The Reapers did always say it was inevitable that life should end, and that it could not be stopped. Maybe something else could be the reason, who knows at this point.
"I don't always end games, but when I do, I make sure you don't know what the f*** just happened."
There are many directions BioWare could chose to go with the franchise. First Contact Wars, the Krogan Rebellion, a future Reaper Attack, the Prothean/Reaper battles, the possibilities are endless. They have created a rich history and intriguing back stories, so we can assume the next game will be just as great as the last three. The franchise is too popular to let die, and EA would never let a potential profit just go by the wayside. And after the fan feedback on Mass Effect 3′s ending, BioWare probably wants redemption. Regardless of the scenario played out in the next title, it will be a hit and will sell millions, but we will haut have to wait and see what BioWare and EA choose to do with our beloved series.