Feature Part 4 – Let’s Talk: Mass Effect 4
It’s time for the final part of our ME4 possibilities feature. In our defence, originally we had this pegged as a one article feature, but I soon lost that opportunity as my writing for the prequel ran out of control, closely followed by the sequel. It’s really easy to get carried away on these articles, especially when you’re writing about one of your favourite game series of all time. If you haven’t seen Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3, you can do so from the hyperlinks above!
So without further ado, part four of our feature. Enjoy!
…it’s only the beginning
So, loose ends and major plot twists aside, if Bioware manage to tie all of these up into a suitable start to a sequel, what might they look at to focus on in the post-Reaper era? Because let’s be honest, not much is going to compare in scale to that war. Well, although I haven’t managed to figure out a war quite on the same scale, I may still have identified a few possibilities for a new conflict: they involve one of three choices… a new race emerges, an old race returns, or a current race steps up.
A New Contender
The introduction of a new race seems like the most likely possibility for the path of the sequel. In terms of fitting in with the peaceful ending of synthesis, perhaps this new race was out of the reach or immune the effects of the blast from Synthesis. You could probably extend this damage immunity to the Destroy and Control endings as well. Perhaps this opportunistic race managed to hide themselves away from the oncoming Reaper threat in the hope of claiming the galaxy once the war was over?
What this new race would be is anybody’s guess, but a new race would give Bioware a chance to stretch their legs and add some new content rather than reusing the same ME universe, and allow them to bring in new concepts for technology, society and biology. For developers, I can imagine this is the more exciting possibility when compared with concept recycling.
A Returning Veteran
Presumably, a lot of cultures and races have been harvested and assimilated by the Reapers before the victory in our cycle. But if the Protheans managed to hide away stasis pods and VIs like those found on Ilos in ME1, you’ve got to consider the possibility that other races managed to do the same kind of thing. Once again, this race, which would now be considered extinct, would have had to have hidden away for millennia, which would give them ample time to work on their own solution to the Reapers. And if they managed to figure out an anti-Reaper solution, the answer may have potential to be turned on a new united galaxy.
Of course, all of these ideas are literally wild shots in the dark and massive speculative thought processes, but with at least a small amount of grounding in the game’s history. Both of the last two options for a new enemy are very similar, granted, but they allow Bioware to work with all three of those open endings and remove the need for alienating a previously friendly race (and, by extension, the races associated fans!).
A Rising Power
If you want to see an example of somebody stepping away from peacetime in the interest of furthering their own gains, look no further than politics in the modern day world. So it stands to reason that a race in ME3 can take similar action. I’ve tried to look at each of the main races and determine why they’d set about changing the state of play in the galaxy, once again from themes in the past of each where applicable. As usual, they’re all theories and ideas… I don’t really want to see any of the awesome races of the ME universe become the villain!
Humans – Superiority Complex/Greed
We’re human. And it’s one of our worse traits that dictates that we always want more than we currently have. Humanity’s progress in the universe since joining the Galactic community has been one of the quickest of all the races, with a Council seat within decades. But let’s be honest, humans are always working on the next step. They’re never happy where they are. And so we may see humanity become the villain in a sequel (which would be an interesting twist), as they try to grab more power in the newly advanced galaxy.
Turians – Superiority Complex/It’s for your own good
They once had the largest fleet in Citadel Space. They boast the best organised and trained military in the galaxy. And up until now, they’ve fought for peace under the guidance of the council. But millenia down the line, what’s to stop the Turians striking out against the other races in an effort to assert themselves as the new all-powerful race? It doesn’t even have to be a power play if you don’t want to think ill of the galaxy’s peacekeepers. Perhaps they’re stepping up for the greater good?
Asari/Salarians – For the Greater Good
The Asari and Salarians aways seemed like the logical thinkers and fair minded of the council races. If they deemed it necessary to step up for the greater good of the galaxy, would they hesitate? Who knows, but it’s another potential plot line and a reason for a race to step up to the mark. Of course, I’m not suggesting that any of the races can’t have any of these traits. Humanity could fight for the greater good, or Asari could fight for dominance, but these are just examples of previous behaviours we’ve seen in the ME trilogy.
Krogan/Rachni – Necessity/Because we can
Curing the Genophage is a massive step in the evolution of the ME galaxy. Through either Shepard’s actions, or the slow progression of their own science, the Krogan will have the Genophage cured by this point (which is a good way of justifying elimination of another loose end). Vast population growth as a result of the cure may lead to a similar situation to that encountered in the Krogan Rebellions. What stops it from happening this time round? Another example of necessity of war would probably be for the Rachni, perhaps to regain their territories once lost? If this happens, you may thank your lucky stars that you saved the Krogan (or curse them if you decided not to).
Batarians/Quarians – Revenge/Assertion
When I first wrote that subtitle I hated it. Batarians and Quarians in the same category? Nah. I hate Batarians and think Quarians are awesome (don’t judge me). But lets face it, both have been marginalised for their past actions, and both are looked down on by the council races in one way or another. Maybe they finally snapped and decided to show the galaxy who’s boss? Not that either would have much chance as a result of ME3, depending on your choices in the original trilogy. The Batarians got all but wiped out at Khar’shan during a frantic defence against the Reapers (and their last officer can potentially get shot in the face by Shepard), and the Quarians can potentially be wiped out or close to it at the hands of the Geth if Shepard doesn’t resolve the situation (again). It’s time for another game of “figure out how the story will work with all these pesky ending possibilities!”.
So that just about wraps things up here…
Originally when APB’s Editor, Sam, asked me to write about both sides of the ME4 story, both sequel and prequel, I was pretty dubious. I could talk about prequels all day, and that was where my support was initially, but as I started to look into considerations for a sequel and did a little more digging on the ME3 endings, my thoughts started to take shape. Hopefully you’ve found this and the other parts of the feature at least a little enlightening and thought provoking. If you have your own opinions on possibilities for ME4, APB would love to hear them, so post them in the comments section below! But remember, everyone is entitled to their own view on how the story could unfold!
Thanks for reading!
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