Bioware is stressing that their next game is not “Mass Effect 4.” A studio rep says that the next game may not take place before or after the trilogy, or even feature any of the prior characters from the trilogy, Eddie Makuch for Gamespot writes on Feb. 7.
Writing on a Bioware forum, via Eurogamer, community developer Chris Priestly “explained that the only confirmed detail about the new game is that it will not feature Commander Shepherd,” Makuch writes.
“To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here," Priestly said. "We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. I see people saying 'well, they'll have to pick a canon ending.' No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda. Wherever, whenever, whoever, etc will all be revealed years down the road when we actually start talking about it."
Thus it looks like the “Mass Effect” series is indeed going the good-and-ended “Harry Potter” route, and not the “temporarily finished” route of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
Priestly went on to elaborate that the game is just a continuation of the universe, expanding what players will experience and learn. He recommended that fans speculate about who, when, and how this game will fit into the overall “Mass Effect” formula, if at all.
Nothing official, though, will be announced for quite some time, with the official game announced planned for Nov. 2013. What little else is known is that it will run on the Frostbite game engine—the engine that runs Dice’s “Battlefield” games—and that it will be very “very respectful to the franchise’s core pillars,” though Bioware plans on “pursuing new directions with regards to story and gameplay.”
For more information, check out Eddie Makuch’s writing on Gamespot.