The lights are on
BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy confirmed that a new Mass Effect game is being developed by his studio. Although he couldn’t say much aside from the concrete fact that the game is in development, that doesn’t stop our imaginations from running wild with the potential the Mass Effect universe has for future installments. Here are some of the things we’d love to see.Playable Alien RacesThe Mass Effect franchise followed the path of famed Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre, during the discovery of and defense against the aggressive Reapers. Throughout the journey, the Commander’s multifarious party was made up of several different alien races, with dozens more filling out NPC roles throughout the games. Why not let us play as one of these races?Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer gave us a taste of what it would be like to use an Asari’s biotic powers or a Turian’s military training, but the characterization was all cosmetic. Imagine if more protagonists were added to the single-player game; the possibilities would increase the replay values of each installment tenfold. BioWare has proved beyond any doubt that they can infuse a story with excellent characterization, so tackling a new trilogy as a renegade Batarian or passive-aggressive Salarian would vary the Mass Effect experience extensively.Expand The MultiplayerAs previously mentioned, BioWare Montreal worked on Mass Effect 3’s addictive multiplayer. As the lead team on a new franchise entry, it wouldn’t surprise us to see the multiplayer fleshed out even more. How about local split-screen co-op? The wave-based battles against different factions kept players returning in Mass Effect 3, but adding the ability to play together in the same room presents a host of potential thrills.Mass Effect 3 multiplayer tied into the single-player story by allowing progress in the former to contribute to Commander Shepard’s galactic readiness against the Reapers. As well as that worked, we can’t help but imagine how great it would be to have a standalone multiplayer story. The aforementioned cooperative play could allow for missions within the context of a parallel story, much like Assassin’s Creed multiplayer or Halo 4’s Spartan Ops. These added narratives not only fit in great within the context of their overarching games, but also supply more useful information to supplement single-player modes. New Character Classes, Or Maybe None At AllThe three major Mass Effect classes focused on combat, biotic, and tech-based abilities. With another three that combined two of each of these, it seemed like every play style was catered to. The purpose of this wish list is to dream up what would make an ideal Mass Effect game though, so why not ask for more classes? Even adding one more specialization would supply us with a slew of new combination classes. For instance, if we added a melee-based class that used omni-tool weapons, the total number of possible classes would increase to 10 (the new class plus three possible combos with each of the others). On the other hand, what if character classes were ditched completely? If new playable races were added to the roster, Mass Effect could take the route the Elder Scrolls did with Skyrim and shrug off any presets. This freedom would allow us to shape our chosen character however we want from an expansive skill tree. Imagine a Geth who develops sniper skills alongside heavy biotic powers, but also dabbles in sentry turret upgrades and active camouflage? The possibilities are almost endless, so we’ll try not to get our hopes up.Other GenresEven if you’re not normally a big RPG gamer, the chances of Mass Effect catching your eye are high. Because of the sheer number of fans the franchise attracts, it’s easy to see new genres the franchise could branch into. With the multitude of different races, cultures, and characters present in the Mass Effect universe, it’s hard not to look at MMOs for possible future territory. The progression, characterization, and cooperation of the genre seem easy to adapt to a universe already permeated with lore and background information. BioWare tried their hand with The Old Republic, which had a storytelling focus, so why not attempt the same with Mass Effect?The Mass Effect games are already easy to get lost in, but imagine if we had a vast world to explore with no boundaries, much like the previously mentioned Elder Scrolls games? For a universe so full of life and diversity, exploring every inch of it could clear our schedules for months. Even the lauded storytelling of BioWare could take a backseat to water cooler moments, secret areas, and expansive side missions filling out this open world.To deviate from the original mass Effect trilogy completely, maybe an RTS would suit the property well. A plethora of factions and their alliances are already fleshed out in detail; couldn’t these translate over to a genre centered on war? What Do You Want?The news is official: a new Mass Effect game is being developed. Whether we have much say in the process or not, it’s still fun to dream up ideas for new titles in franchises we’re already fond of. So what do you want from the new Mass Effect game? What could the new game do better than the original trilogy? Are there any new genres you’d like to see BioWare explore?