The Mass Effect trilogy is done. The story of Commander Shepard has been told. The Reapers came, fought, and (spoilers) were repelled. That story, although awesome, is over. There's nothing more to be said.

However, the engines of profit and franchising churn ever-onward. Another Mass Effect game is already on the way. BioWare higher-up Casey Hudson tweeted recently that the developer considering making a prequel to the series. This is not certain, as he also tweeted at fans asking for ideas. It appears BioWare is still in the conceptual stages of development.

Mr. Hudson, in the flesh.

I'm not worried about another game. BioWare has proved itself more than trustworthy with storytelling and Mass Effect. Poor ending aside, the trilogy was strong. Whatever those Canadians come up with, it'll be good. I have faith in them.

But what will the new game be about? Will it be a prequel? Will it be like the other games? Accurate conjecture about the game is nigh impossible, but I'll take a shot at it anyway.

First, the game will almost certainly be a prequel. The trouble with the choose-your-own storyline of the main trilogy is that it creates too much variation. Where is a new game supposed to begin? The endings are different enough to make writing a sequel difficult. The end of the trilogy also upsets a great deal of traditional fixtures in the Mass Effect universe. Placing a new game farther back on the timeline allows BioWare to include races and technology which may have been wiped out in the final battle. It's just easier.

The galaxy wouldn't be the same without the Krogan.

The topic could be the First Contact War which took place when humanity first met alien races. This would give BioWare a large canvas of warfare against which it could paint an action-filled adventure. However, I think it is more likely that the developers will eschew previous fiction and set the game in an entirely new event. The fiction of Mass Effect is complex but still in its infancy compared to Star Wars and Star Trek. There is a great deal of room for growth.

Gameplay is unlikely to change radically. BioWare did a hell of a job with the gameplay in Mass Effect 3, which was similar to that of ME2. They like to stick with what works. ME3 worked. There's no reason to change away from fun action-shooter gameplay.

Choice will likely be a part of the game, but not be to the same extent as it before. I doubt we'll see another trilogy of games with transferrable data. More likely, future Mass Effect games will exist separately with their own choices.

One certainty is that Commander Shepard will not return. The moldable protagonist of the main trilogy was intricately linked to the story of the Reapers. That story is over. BioWare has stated that although the universe will continue, Shepard will not. As awesome as he is, it's for the better. To bring him back would dilute the story of the original trilogy.

The most important factor in the development of the new Mass Effect game is also the hardest to predict. BioWare suffered a vicious backlash after the release of ME3 for its poor ending. The developers haven't forgotten this. The ending and its controversies will hang like a sword over everything they do in development. Perhaps it will force them toward more conventional endings. Maybe it'll inspire them to write an even-stronger story. It's difficult to say.

Ultimately, this is all conjecture. I have no idea what the next Mass Effect game will be like. Hopefully it'll be good. Either way, I can't wait to play it.

What do you think? What will the new Mass Effect game be like? Do you want a prequel or an entirely new story? Should Shepard come back?