EXCLUSIVE: Mass Effect 4 Rumour Roundup

March 7, 2014

Good morning all! After we wrote (or recorded, we should say) about an apparent PAX conference leak containing details related to BioWare Montreal’s upcoming Mass Effect 4, we’ve since kept our ear to the grapevine hoping for a little more gossip. And today, after much stickybeaking, it has finally paid off…with small but tantalising details.

The following is information we’ve received from multiple sources regarding Mass Effect 4. Before we continue, here’s a few disclaimers.

Sources: Information comes from verified sources, people in a position to know. The information however has not been seen first hand personally by any member of Rocket Chainsaw. So even if we believe what we’ve been told, we cannot outright confirm its legitimacy.

Accuracy: Our sources stressed that the information passed on is based on an old prototype of the game. Our sources were unwilling to commit to the information being perfectly accurate at time of writing, and may have undergone changes that has made some of this information obsolete.

For both of these reasons we strongly encourage our readers to interpret this report as a rumour, at least until we can verify the information first hand for ourselves, or until the game is formally revealed. We’d also like to reiterate that much of this information is “obvious” and “predictable”, expected by fans following the series, so don’t expect major bombshells. Still, we’d like to share what we’ve learned.

And with that said, on with the stuff!

Mass Effect 3

  1. Mass Effect 4 is not called “Mass Effect 4”, but Mass Effect: Subtitle. Representatives at BioWare have implied as much, but we’ve been told that indeed Montreal’s Mass Effect does not use the title Mass Effect 4. It is currently operating under a subtitle name, which intends to carry across to the commercial build. The subtitle will embody the game’s major themes.
  2. Mass Effect 4 is third person. This might seem obvious, but we’ve included it more as an interesting titbit on the development process. BioWare has, in the past, experimented with different camera perspectives for all three of the mainline Mass Effect trilogy games, not always locking in “third person” from the very beginning. While they’ve too experimented with Mass Effect 4, the decision has been made to play in third person similarly to the original trilogy.
  3. Multiplayer returns. A no brainer. We’ve been told that Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer was a surprising success for EA, internal buzz very positive. Multiplayer is locked in to return for Mass Effect 4. We’re unable to verify if the mode has changed, or if it’s a similar co-op arena mode to Mass Effect 3.
  4. Exploration is a major theme. Here’s a good one: Mass Effect 4 will focus on many things, but “exploration” is apparently the core focus of both the gameplay and the narrative. This is a core theme that is driving the overall design and direction of the new series at Montreal.
  5. New races will appear. Yep, we’ve got confirmation that this game will not be restricted to the usual Human, Asari, Turian, and so on. Tied in with the prior point, Mass Effect 4 will introduce new species (multiple!) that play major roles in narrative and overall direction. Other species do return, though we’re unable to confirm if any have been removed or downscaled in significance.
  6. Sequel to the trilogy is likely. Unfortunately our sources would not confirm exactly when Mass Effect 4 takes place in the canon. That being said, we were stressed that all signs point to this being a forward moving continuation of the franchise. As BioWare has said many times before, we’ve also been told that all things “Commander Shepard trilogy” will not be continued in this game; the trilogy is over, and this is something new. That being said, the implication is that this narrative is set canonically post-Mass Effect 3. What does this mean for the multiple endings? We don’t know. Oddly, we’ve been told that “flashback” like sequences to franchise/lore canonical events are not out of the question.
  7. Nextgen focus. Some are worried that like Dragon Age: Inquisition Montreal’s Mass Effect 4 would be a cross generation title. This is untrue. At time of writing, Mass Effect 4 is being built on Frostbite 3 exclusively for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. This is being done in order for the core design to flourish on next generation hardware, and not be held back by previous generation limitations. While this does not rule out a rough last generation downport later on, we’ve been told there is currently no intention to do so. Mass Effect 4 is fully “nextgen”.
  8. PAX leak unconfirmed, but likely. We couldn’t help ourselves. Talking with sources, we had to ask about the reputed PAX leak, which claimed Mass Effect 4 would feature a focus on exploring new worlds, two new species, deep customisation, and so on, was the words of a madman or a legitimate leak. Our sources were coy and refused to commit one way or the other, but did emphasise that the leak seemed “believable”. Take that however you wish.

And that’s it! Unfortunately our sources would not disclose when the new Mass Effect is scheduled to be revealed, or a release window projection, so like all of you we’re eagerly waiting the day for Mass Effect 4 to be shown so we can cross check with the above and see what lines up. Hopefully E3 2014 is that day!

Reminder to read our disclaimers, and that a safe fan will take all the above as a rumour. Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think in the comments.

We’ve reached out to EA for a comment, and will update with any reply.