Mass Effect Lithograph Hints at Major Return for Upcoming Sequel (Update)

Update: As spotted by Eurogamer, Project Director Mike Gamble took to Twitter to say that mentioning Shepard was a mistake, adding that it was “written by the people who run the store and aren’t familiar with the game.” Shepard returning did seem like a bit of a stretch, given the implied time jump in the debut trailer, and this update lends more credence to the idea that this upcoming entry will have a different protagonist.

Original Story: YouTuber MrHulthen has captured a now-deleted description from the official BioWare store that hints at plot elements from the next game in the Mass Effect series. Specifically, a lithograph celebrating the return of the franchise was described with text that suggested that main character Shepard survived the events of Mass Effect 3 and could therefore return as the protagonist (or at least some character) for the next game.

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The quote from the original store description mentions Shepard and other survivors picking up the pieces following the destruction of the Reapers at the end of Mass Effect 3. The description was scrubbed of any mention of Shepard quickly after its initial posting, and it’s now reduced to a few sentences describing the collectible.

The survival of Shepard is backed up by one of the endings of the 2012 RPG. Those who choose the Destroy ending after clearing every mission put in front of them will see an additional scene following the typical colored epilogue. The crew of the Normandy gather at a memorial wall, Shepard’s love interest refuses to add their name to the list of fallen heroes, and then we see Shepard take a breath as they lie in the rubble. Considering that this ending is the hardest to unlock, many fans have considered it canon, making Shepard’s survival a foregone conclusion.

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Whether Shepard is the main character of the next Mass Effect or not won’t be revealed for a good while, as the game will not even be the next one released by BioWare. The team is hard at work on the next entry in the Dragon Age series, although that development has been fraught with difficulty for quite some time, given staff departures and the lack of footage to show after years of work. Fans of both franchises are eager to see if BioWare can recover from recent missteps and deliver new adventures in these beloved worlds.


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