Mass Effect is one of the most beloved RPG series of all time. The franchise got its start on the Xbox 360 in 2007 with the original Mass Effect, which was, in many ways, a spiritual successor to BioWare’s earlier Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Commander Shepard and his quest to stop the Reapers became an instant hit with gamers, but it wasn’t until Mass Effect 2 that the series arguably realised its full potential; most people consider this followup an improvement on the original in every way.
Mass Effect 3 closed out the trilogy with mixed results in 2012, and 2017’s Mass Effect Andromeda, while ambitious, was plagued by production problems, resulting in an unfinished game that arguably wasn’t what Mass Effect fans wanted. With that, the series entered a hiatus period, but now, we know that BioWare and EA are working on another Mass Effect title. Will it be the followup Mass Effect 3 deserves, or will it be another unfocused mess like Andromeda? Here’s everything we know about Mass Effect 4.
Do we have a Mass Effect 4 release date or window yet?
Mass Effect 4 sadly doesn’t have a release date or tentative release window yet. We simply don’t know when we’re going to get to play the next sci-fi adventure in BioWare’s flagship series. It’s a shame, but it looks like BioWare is quite a way off finishing the project (or perhaps even getting to a point where it can be demonstrated), so it might be a good while before we hear anything from Mass Effect 4. Of course, that’s also a good thing; when games are announced before they’re ready, that’s when problems, delays, and rushed end products happen.
There’s some potential bad news on this front, however. In March 2023, VentureBeat’s gaming offshoot GamesBeat reported that the Mass Effect development team was being shifted to Dragon Age in order to assist with development on that project. It looks like Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is getting underway in a big sense, but that also seems to mean that Mass Effect is being put on the back burner. To a certain extent, this makes sense; it’s been nine years since the last Dragon Age game and only six since the last Mass Effect, so Dragon Age needs a refresh more urgently. Still, this is worrying for lovers of sci-fi RPGs everywhere.
Is there a Mass Effect 4 trailer out there?
Happily, although we don’t have much concrete information about Mass Effect 4 right now, there is a trailer that we can comb for details. The trailer is simply titled “The Next Mass Effect – Official Teaser Trailer”, and it was released on December 11th, 2020. In the trailer, we see several scenes of space with radio chatter overlaying them, as well as the telltale sound of the Reapers.
A ship then soars towards a planet as signature Mass Effect-style synth music plays. As we zoom in on the planet, an unknown figure reaches towards the snow and unearths something. The figure brushes the snow off the object and we see that it’s a piece of Commander Shepard’s original N7 armour. As the figure then looks towards the horizon, their hood slips, and we see that it’s Liara, one of Commander Shepard’s companions. She smiles enigmatically, and the trailer ends.
What does this trailer tell us? Unlike Mass Effect Andromeda, it seems that Mass Effect 4 will continue the stories of characters we’re already familiar with. It’s hard to imagine how BioWare is going to pick up from Shepard’s story given how conclusively it ended (without wishing to spoil anything), but some of the criticisms levelled at Andromeda revolved around its lack of familiar Mass Effect elements, so that’s likely why we’re returning to solid ground with the new instalment.
What platforms will Mass Effect 4 be on?
It’s difficult to make even an educated guess regarding what platforms we’ll eventually be able to play Mass Effect 4 on. This will entirely depend on when the game is released. However, given that BioWare felt confident in revealing the game in late 2020, we’re guessing that it’ll likely be ready in time for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S generation, so expect it at least to arrive on those consoles as well as on PC. Depending on what Nintendo intends to do, we could also see a version of the game for a potential Switch 2, but expect Xbox One, PS4, and Switch to be off the cards for this game.
What do we want to see from Mass Effect 4?
With so little information out there, it’s difficult to know anything concrete about Mass Effect 4. With that said, we do have a laundry list of things we’d like to see from the game. Here are some of our wishlist features for Mass Effect 4!
- Other playable races. This one’s been a point of contention ever since the original Mass Effect launched. Simply put, we’d like the ability to play as other races. Humans are all well and good, but why not let us play as turians, salarians, or asari?
- A less military-focused narrative. One of Mass Effect Andromeda’s biggest successes was letting players inhabit a character other than a soldier. The original Mass Effect trilogy could get a little “modern military” after a while, so we’d like the chance to play in a different corner of the universe.
- More tactical combat. At times, Mass Effect 2 and 3 devolved into pop-up shooting gallery-style cover shooters, and we’d like to see a little more RPG-style complexity in the combat. We’re not asking for turn-based battles, but more strategy would be nice.
- Sandbox planets. Mass Effect Andromeda’s planet exploration was pretty nice in principle, but there was rarely anything to find. We want to see this system return, but we’d like to see those planets being properly populated this time.