A new Mass Effect teaser trailer was released during the Game Awards 2020 ceremony. The teaser trailer itself was very nostalgic and primed the audience with memories of the past adventures from the series. Check it out for yourself:
Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.
Personally, seeing Liara clear off a piece of N7 Armor was even better than when Han and Chewie walked into the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The teaser was brief, but I managed to glean some information from it. Here are my key takeaways from the Mass Effect 5 trailer and a little speculation to boot.
Mass Effect Returns to the Milky Way Galaxy
The teaser gave the viewer a brief rundown of humans spaceflight and Shepard’s adventures from the original trilogy. We heard some audio from the First Contact War, zipped ahead through the arrival of the Reapers, and then came what sounded like the aftermath with contact being cut across the galaxy.
I think I even heard someone say one of the Arks was away (a cool mention of Andromeda). The teaser ended with Liara finding a piece of N7 armor on some snowy planet.
If you’re like me, your brain screamed: Is Mass Effect 5 Taking Place in the Milky Way?
Based on the appearance of Liara, the callbacks to the Reapers, and the nostalgic music at the end of the teaser, we’re picking up where Mass Effect 3 left off. It’s just not clear when the new tory is taking place.
Trying to pick up the pieces in a galaxy that is now bereft of functioning Mass Relays (until they’re repaired) could be very entertaining. Or it could be like Mass Effect: Andromeda where a lot of your effort was poured into stabilizing civilizations. If we are far in the future, what is a bigger existential threat than the Reapers? In other words, what evil are players brought back to fight?
Going back to the same universe as the original trilogy might feel good, but is that what is best for the franchise?
Is it worth going back to a series and potentially tainting its legacy if you put out a lackluster game? I think you have to be pretty confident to take that risk.
Then again, I will happily eat crow if they put out a good game. Believe me, I want to trust Bioware, but we have all been burned before.
We Will Finally Get a Canon Mass Effect 3 Ending
Since we are going back to the old galaxy in a time that is set after Mass Effect 3, we will get a canon ending. That means we’re going to get answers to what became of the Reapers and possible some of our crew members.
You might remember the absolute mess that Bioware made of the original endings to the trilogy, right?
Well, a new game means we finally get some closure about what happened during that desperate, final battle.
Based on the teaser, it seems that the Mass Relays are out of order, so I would take a wild guess and say that Shepard didn’t end up taking the synthesis option or the control option.
Personally, I don’t think it’s possible that the control option happened, either. I can’t imagine that Bioware would leave Shepard in control of the Reapers and then bring us back to that galaxy.
That leaves the destruction ending as the most likely in my opinion. Especially when you consider the dead Reapers in the background.
So, it is possible that Shepard canonically survived the ending of the game. That being said, don’t count on seeing a living Shepard in this game.
One thing is sure: Bioware will have to make a choice and I hope it’s entertaining.
The Reapers Are Apparently Dead
Take a look at the frame here.
That’s an inactive Reaper in the background. According to Michael Gamble, Project Director at Bioware, Liara is climbing another Reaper.
I am going to say that they’re dead rather than dormant, too. They went dormant in deep space; they didn’t take a 50,000 year rest on other planets.
Why is that important? It lends credence to the idea that Shepard did destroy the Reapers at the end of Mass Effect 3. That ending would have major impacts on the galaxy.
Of course, that might do more to create more questions. I hope that Bioware has some cool answers in store!
The Game May Be Set Years or Centuries After Mass Effect 3
We only have a single character close to the camera during the teaser, and it’s Liara. I might be off my rocker, but do I see some crow’s feet on Liara? If so, then we’re probably not seeing Shepard.
Asari live over a thousand years, so this game could be set several hundred years in the future. It could be that a better game engine is showing off more details, but Liara was still a spry centenarian when we left her.
That would have some serious implications on the story, and we would definitely have a departure from Shepard’s storyline.
Krogan live a long time, too. Maybe we will get to see Grunt along the way!
Is Andromeda On Ice Or Is This a Dual Sequel?
Another interesting scene from the teaser is the emphasis on the Milky Way and Andromeda at the beginning of the video. Maybe I am reading into this too much, but maybe they’re going to find a way to stitch the two storylines together?
Or, since the view clearly sinks into the Milky Way, it’s a sign that Andromeda’s story will have to continue at another time. When you think about it, this new sequel could pick up at the same time that Andromeda is taking place— roughly 600 years after the trilogy.
It is also possible that they will try to mash the two galaxies together and bring the Kett to the Milky Way. I hope that’s not what we’re getting, though.
I thought ME: Andromeda was a very good game that would have been a great game if it didn’t have the Mass Effect name and the baggage that came with it. The game had the impossible task of following up one of the best video game trilogies of all time.
Either way, it seems as though we aren’t getting a direct follow-up to that game right now since the trip to Andromeda was emphasized as a one-way journey for the Ryders. My guess is that the lukewarm reception is going to leave the game and the Ryders in limbo for a while. What happened to that last Ark, anyways?
Final Thoughts: Will The Remasters Employ the Canon Ending?
Bioware will basically have to give us an ending to Mass Effect 3, and it just so happens that we are getting a remaster of the original trilogy. Does that mean we might see the official ending put in the remaster? That would be a pretty interesting way of preparing us for our journey back to the Milky Way.
Bioware definitely caught us by surprise with this one, and I am interested to see what they make of it. I think they could make a very satisfying game, but I am also worried that it might just be nostalgia bait.
I’ll still buy and play the game either way.