Mass Effect 4 is not Mass Effect 4
However people will still call it Mass Effect 4 if the similarities ring true, oh and if Bioware calls it as such.
Bioware‘s community manager doesn’t want gamers to call Mass Effect 4, Mass Effect 4. Chris Priestly has stated that calling Mass Effect 4, Mass Effect 4, will confuse people into thinking that the new Mass Effect game is a continuation of Shepard’s story.
[quote]To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here. We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. That is the only detail you have on the game. 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.
I do not call the game ME4 when I talk about it ever, bucause that makes people think of it more as “what happens after Mass Effect 3” rather than “what game happens next set in the Mass Effect Universe”, which is far more accurate at this point. Obviously fans are going to speculate content, character and story until we actually reveal details in the years or months to come as you have almost no actual details, just don’t get bogged down in “well how are they going to continue ME3…”.
– Chris Priestly, BioWare community manager[/quote]
Dragon Age Origins, our hero was our choosing, their sex, origin, name, we created who we wanted to slay the dragon, to be the main character. Dragon Age II saw Hawke emerge as the hero and Dragon Age III will focus on a new main character. Three games, within the same universe with different heroes. Granted, Mass Effect focused on Shepard in all three games and with great marketing and awareness, the masses will learn and hopefully come to terms that Shepard is not the hero in Mass Effect 4. Therefore no panic attack is needed when people call Mass Effect 4, well, Mass Effect 4. The majority knows that Shepard’s story is over or at least no longer the focus point.
You have to wonder what EA and Bioware will call Mass Effect 4 if they want gamers to be able to disconnect the first three Mass Effect games and Shepard, from a new Mass Effect game. It’s not like the games were called Shepard Effect and then expect to have no Shepard involvement in Shepard Effect 4 automatically. Mass Effect is a grand universe with a lot of story opportunities. Yes, we should hear stories about Shepard within Mass Effect 4 but that doesn’t mean we need to have Shepard as the main hero. Take Assassin’s Creed for example. Not every game involved the same main character (save for Desmond) yet what Assassin’s Creed embodies is still apparent. Even if Mass Effect 4 takes place after the events of Mass Effect 3, if you make a great story and a great new hero, we’ll be okay with the departure of Shepard. If they are so worried about gamers being confused, then don’t call it Mass Effect 4, call it Mass Effect: Regeneration (or some other subtitle). Yes we’ll wonder what happened to Shepard and if details are left out, yes, we will be upset but that does not mean that Shepard needs to be the main hero of Mass Effect 4. It just means it would be nice to hear Shepard’s name once in a while, even in passing. Back to Assassin’s Creed real quick, Ubisoft did add subtitles to a few of their Assassin’s Creed games. You have Brotherhood and Revelations, Ubisoft‘s way for separating the Assassin’s Creed games, but still keeping them intertwined.
Stepping back here, the quote does come from a community manager wishing that EA and Bioware, as well as fans, restrain from calling the new Mass Effect game, Mass Effect 4. Could this be enough for a name change or a subtitle to be thrown in, only time will tell. Face the facts, you will not please everyone, no matter how hard you try, there will be people demanding for Shepard and you will have those who can accept a new hero. Quite possibly, we might see Mass Effect 4 turn into Mass Effect Universe but frankly, that sounds more like an MMO than a regular action RPG game.