Everything we know about the next Mass Effect

Sam Smith
Mass Effect 5 trailer

A brand new entry in the Mass Effect franchise has been in development for some time at Bioware and while details are scarce, here’s a full rundown on everything we know about the upcoming title.

Five years since the last Mass Effect game launched and a full decade since Commander Shepard’s trilogy came to an end, Bioware confirmed a new entry in the renowned RPG series is on the way.

Since that initial announcement, there has largely been three years of silence, with only tiny updates and hints here and there. It looks as though the game will be returning to Unreal Engine but, beyond that, there is very little information on what it will look like. Having said that, some exciting new tidbits are out in the wild.

Below, we’ve compiled everything we know about the next entry in the series, gathering every tease and snippet of information direct from BioWare.

Contents

N7 in the snow
Could this be a tease of Commander Shepard’s return?

Is there a release date for the next Mass Effect yet?

The next Mass Effect title does not currently have a release date, nor has a year even been roughly outlined yet. However, a February 2022 blog post outlined how the game is still in its “prototyping” phase.

Since then, Bioware has confirmed the game is still in “pre-production.” As a result, it’d be wise for fans not to hold their breath. We could very easily be waiting until 2024 or 2025 at the earliest for the next installment in the franchise.

BioWare also confirmed the upcoming title will be a “next-gen” launch, implying the next Mass Effect will be available towards the end of the life cycles of the PS5, and Xbox Series X|S hardware.

Mass Effect sequel latest news

As part of N7 Day (celebrated on November 7 for obvious reasons) clues started to appear online. The first of these was a five-second teaser with related text that read as follows:

////ACCESS CODE: EPSILON

/////ACCESS CODE ACCEPTED

/////SECONDARY ENCRYPTION DETECTED

/////VJBSVU-XXXX-XXXXXXXX

/////ANDROMEDA DISTRESS SIGNAL DETECTED

/////YEAR SENT: [REDACTED]

/////AUDIO TRANSCRIPT: ALTHOUGH THEY SHOULD KNOW BY NOW NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE HUMAN [REDACTED]

The addition of the Andromeda distress signal makes it look very much like Mass Effect 5 could be a direct sequel to the much-maligned game of the same name. It’s also likely to feature the return of Liara T’Soni, who we know was a direct contact of the Initiative of the previous game.

Subsequently, a full 30-second teaser trailer made its way into the wild. The trailer features an anonymous character in an N7 trench coat, a possible pro or antagonist for the game.

Additionally, Bioware shared additional artwork on Twitter/X featuring the trench coat character that has hinted at further details. Specifically, it looks like it contains both Geth and Angara, the latter of which is one of the only known native species in the Andromeda galaxy. This, in turn, means that the two races are likely to have met each other, either in Andromeda or the Milky-Way.

When providing an update on the next Dragon Age game, Bioware General Manager Gary McKay also gave a small insight into how the progress of the upcoming Mass Effect title is fairing. McKay said that there is a team “hard at work envisioning what the future holds for a new single-player Mass Effect game.”

Mass Effect sequel original teaser trailer

BioWare announced the next Mass Effect title with a teaser trailer on December 11, 2020.

The trailer spans across multiple galaxies before zooming down into one in particular, past a star and vast alien structures, before following a small ship while it descends onto an icy planet.

While this happens, various voices can be heard depicting crucial moments from human history. These include space travel, first contact with alien life, as well as some kind of disaster. This could be the Reaper crisis from the original Mass Effect trilogy or one of mankind’s early wars with aliens.

Finally, the trailer features a member of the Asari race climbing a mountain in the snow, before retrieving something burned from the ground. The female Asari clears off the snow to reveal the item is a piece of N7 armor, before smiling down at her discovery.

The N7 armor of course could be a reference to Commander Shepard, Ryder from Mass Effect Andromeda, or someone entirely new, depending on the game’s setting. Some fans have speculated that the female Asari could be Liara T’Soni. However, this is unlikely if Mass Effect 4 is a sequel to Andromeda, with that game being set 600 years after Mass Effect 3 and an entire galaxy away.

Mass Effect sequel poster

A poster released by BioWare in November 2021, offered more clues for the next Mass Effect title. It accompanied an update from BioWare posted to the company’s blog on N7 day which read:

“We are, of course, hard at work on the next adventure in the Mass Effect universe. Until then, please accept our most humble thanks to you for accompanying us on this journey. We know we couldn’t do it without you — on N7 Day, or any other day.”

The accompanying poster features a ship with its crew walking out onto an alien planet. Eagle-eyed fans have zoomed into the poster and have reported it shows the landing party approaching a crater and what looks like the damaged body of a Geth.

The Geth were our primary cannon fodder in the early Mass Effect games. They are a race of robots that share a hivemind and were used by the Reapers as troops in the first two games. However, the Geth turned against their puppet masters in Mass Effect 3, joining the fight against the Reapers. At least, this is if the player makes it so.

The landing party also seems to be comprised of four characters, each resembling one of Mass Effect’s key races. The character on the left is almost certainly a member of the Krogan race. A human and an Asari are also relatively clear.

Do we know anything about Mass Effect sequel’s setting and plot?

No, we currently have no details on what the storyline could be in the Mass Effect sequel. The latest updates on the next Mass Effect seem to suggest a sequel to, and therefore setting in, Andromeda. The fourth game in the series wasn’t as popular as the original three and was infamously derided for its character models at launch.

That said, the latest releases don’t rule out the Milky Way serving as the main setting or it playing a role in some way. The presence of the Geth in promotional art could mean they have made it to Andromeda but this feels less likely than the Angara heading the other way.

As well as this, the tease of beloved character Liara T’Soni coming back sent fans into a frenzy as to whether or not the game would focus back on Commander Shepard and the original characters. Whatever does happen, it will be a while yet before fans can head out and explore again.

For more on the biggest upcoming releases, check out our pages on some of the most-anticipated games that have been announced:

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