7 Things We Want to See in the Next Mass Effect Game

N7 Day has reminded us once again that Mass Effect is still alive, this year in the form of a new game teaser. The teaser itself was short and ambiguous, but we’re already daydreaming about the next game regardless. Here are seven things we want to see in the next Mass Effect game.

More Citadel Wards Exploration

wards arms of citadel (7 Things We Want to See in the Next Mass Effect Game)
Image Source: BioWare

Citadel Station was such an amazing breather section in Mass Effect 1. Not only was the Citadel an excellent hub area with fun exploration and quests, but it brilliantly set up the worldbuilding for the entire setting.

Despite frequent appearances of the Citadel throughout the trilogy, there’s still a ton of potential left to be explored regarding the center of galactic politics. The bright Presidium ring has been explored to decent satisfaction in the games, but we’ve only seen a tiny portion of the over-populated Wards. Said Wards occupy five arms of the station, primarily comprising residential and commercial infrastructure and some of the best moments of the series take place there (including Commander Shepard declaring every store is his/her favorite on the Citadel).

With the fifth Mass Effect game, Bioware has the opportunity to wow us with remarkable worldbuilding via Citadel segments flooded to the gills with side quests and memorable characters. Heck, they could set an entire game just in the Wards alone, never mind the Citadel as a whole. The biggest obstacle in having the Citadel return is its fate at the end of Mass Effect 3; however, it’s precisely how the Citadel is affected by Mass Effect 3 that could set the stage for the new Mass Effect game.

A Villain That’s Actually Interesting

saren standing with geth
Image Source: BioWare

One of the big failings of Mass Effect Andromeda was its wet noodle of a villain. Granted, they had a high benchmark to reach after the original trilogy, but they still fell far short of being up to the series’ standard.

The Illusive Man was the last great villain we’ve had in the series, but even he was overshadowed by that letdown of an ending in Mass Effect 3. The Reapers pretty much took over the overarching villain role for the trilogy at the end and went out with a whimper without a satisfying resolution. Cool and enigmatic in concept, but truly lackluster when it came to actually putting them on display for the climax.

BioWare is at its best when crafting personable villains like Saren and The Illusive Man; those with complex, yet grounded motivations who mirror the main character in a twisted yet believable way. Opting for this type of antagonist in the next Mass Effect game would really get the series back on track, and enthrall players long enough to draw them into a whole new saga.

More Choices With Visible Consequences Between Games

kaiden and ashley (7 Things We Want to See in the Next Mass Effect Game)
Image Source: BioWare

One of the most ambitious qualities of the Mass Effect trilogy was how your choices carried over across the three games. The implementation wasn’t perfect, but the interconnected nature of the trilogy was a critical component of immersion as seeing the outcomes of decisions we made years ago in previous games was a delight.

Perhaps the most ambitious of these player-driven choices was which party members survived previous games. The choice between saving either Kaden or Ashley in Mass Effect 1 haunts us to this very day. Okay, maybe not, but it was still neat having sequels adapt to what characters we kept alive. The potential for gut-wrenching regret is intrinsic to the formula, and Bioware just has to make characters we truly care about for us to really feel the weight of the choices.

And then there are the decisions with far-reaching consequences for the setting at large. A perfect example of this is curing the Genophage In Mass Effect 3. You could effectively decide the fate of an entire species with the Krogan Tuchanca questline. This quest was multi-layered and accounted for many smaller choices made in Mass Effect 1 and 2. The next Mass Effect could bring up some of these broad decisions from the trilogy in the character creation process. Branching stories would then result from what the player selects. Yes, branching campaigns between games is ambitious, but that’s what we adored about the original Mass Effect trilogy. It’s our hope they can succeed at it again.

Return of Mass Effect 1 RPG Elements

rpg gun combat in mass effect
Image Source: BioWare

Mass Effect progressively withdrew on its RPG identity with each new game, and by the time Mass Effect 3 rolled around, the combat was narrowly defined as a third-person cover shooter. I know what you’re going to say, “But combat progressively improved across the games.” This is correct, but it doesn’t mean an RPG shooter still can’t work.

Mass Effect 1’s combat was slow and clunky, but at least it stood out in a sea of cover shooter games. The more the combat got streamlined, the less build variety there was. There was merit to how different each build played and how tactical each encounter was.

While it might ruffle some feathers, there’s no doubt that Mass Effect’s combat could be done in a more CRPG style like Dragon Age or Baldur’s Gate 3. Heck, BioWare could even make it a tactical grid-based like the X-Com games. It just needs to embrace its RPG elements more aggressively and allow players more freedom in personalizing their experience with the game.

A Refined Paragon/Renegade Morality System

7 Things We Want to See in the Next Mass Effect Game
Image Source: BioWare

One of the biggest departures felt in Mass Effect Andromeda was the total lack of any morality point system. The series had been gradually moving away from Paragon/Renegade points as it went on, but Bioware unabashedly got rid of it completely in Andromeda.

It was a bummer to see, because there was definitely still merit to the mechanic. Not only do moral decisions go a long way with immersion and character-building, but they also give us some memorable moments like punching an annoying reporter in the face, Saving an otherwise doomed character, or potentially siding with a villain. The additions of interrupts and ambiguous moral answers in later games solved a lot of the first game’s archaic binary choices too, so there’s clearly a path forward for the system too.

An overhauled morality system could tap into that for the modern era and make Mass Effect 5 a must-play game. It just has to avoid making the choices purely binary and with obvious color-coding. That way, this addition could add some dynamism to the choices and help players more minutely mold the morality of their characters.

Class-Specific Choices/Dialogue

Mass Effect 3 Mod Makes Dream Sequences Actually Reflect Player Choice
Image Source: BioWare

Speaking of dialogue and player agency, class-specific content would be awesome to have in the next Mass Effect.

Character backgrounds were lightly implemented in Mass Effect 1, but their impact on the story was minimal to non-existent by the end of the trilogy. We never truly got specialized content based on the class or background you chose.

Like classic pen-and-paper RPGs, Mass Effect could individualize dialogue around your class expertise. For example: If you’re a biotic specialist, you could then befriend fellow biotics with greater ease and open the way for unique solutions to problems. You could likewise avoid combat altogether based on class and persuasion, using Class and background-specific actions to engage in dialogue with enemies and bosses alike a la the recent CRPG hit Baldur’s Gate 3.

Tie Up Loose Ends From Mass Effect 3’s Ending

shepard facing off against reapers (7 Things We Want to See in the Next Mass Effect Game)
Image Source: BioWare

While we would all like to erase Mass Effect 3’s disastrous ending from our collective consciousness, there’s no ignoring the elephant in the room: If we’re going to have a Mass Effect game including the Citadel, we’re going to have to come to terms with what happened at the end of the third game.

Even a prequel will have the disadvantage of eventually leading to the events of Mass Effect 3. There’s really no ignoring it unless it’s set in a different galaxy like Andromeda was. Or at least, that’s the case unless the next game is a time jump far past the events of Mass Effect 3.

A forward time jump accomplishes two things regarding the ending: it solves the tricky problem of a ‘canon’ ending, and distances itself enough without changing galaxies. Past events can be told through the lens of unreliable historians, resulting in ambiguity and freedom from Mass Effect 3’s ending. Additionally, enough time could have passed for the proverbial dust to settle and for things to normalize again.

Plus, there are many fascinating story elements from the trilogy that can be further explored despite the ME3 ending. The mysterious existence of Dark Energy and the identity and role of the Keepers are just a few. There are many unexplored aspects of Mass Effect’s Milky Way that have yet to unravel themselves, and we don’t need to let one disappointing ending ruin that for us.

Those are the 7 things we want to see in the next Mass Effect. With a teaser for the next Mass Effect game recently shown for N7 day, it’s safe to say production has been underway for some time. Hopefully, BioWare can implement some of fans’ wishes for the next game and bring their downward trajectory up a bit. Check out our Mass Effect news coverage here on Twinfinite.

About the author

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Matthew Carmosino

Matthew Carmosino is a freelance writer for Twinfinite. He started gaming in the mid-90s where his love for SquareSoft RPGs like Chrono Trigger changed him forever. Matthew has been working in the game industry for two years covering everything from story-rich RPGs to puzzle-platformers.
Listening to piano music on a rainy day is his idea of a really good time, which probably explains his unnatural tolerance for level-grinding.

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