With Mass Effect 4 seemingly set on making the Destroy Ending canon, here are some of the other choices likely to be irrelevant in the next game.
By Charlie Stewart
Published 9 hours ago
Based on Mass Effect 4’s trailer the game will ignore the final choice the player made in Mass Effect 3, making the Destroy Ending canon as the basis for its new story.?Marketing materials released so far show Liara scaling a dead Reaper, imply Shepard’s possible survival, and shows the Systems Alliance rebuilding a Mass Relay, all pointing to the Destroy Ending.
This raises questions about some of the other decisions players made in the original trilogy, which could be rendered irrelevant in Mass Effect 4. Based on the Destroy Ending alone, there are some decisions that are unlikely to have an impact on Mass Effect 4’s story no matter what the player chose to do. Here’s a breakdown of all the choices the next game is likely to leave behind, and why.
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Depending on decisions made across Mass Effect 2 and 3, it is possible to save the Geth from being destroyed in the third game, rewriting their code and giving them the chance to fight the Reapers?alongside the Milky Way’s organic species. It’s also possible to do this without losing the support of the Quarians, although in some cases siding with the Geth will cause the destruction of the Quarian fleet and Tali’s suicide.
In either case, if the Catalyst is to be believed the Destroy Ending will wipe out all synthetic life, including the Geth. This makes it seem unlikely that the Geth will be making an appearance in Mass Effect 4 regardless of whether the player saved them or not. Even if they made peace, the Quarians are unlikely to rebuild the Geth after so much strife between the two groups. It’s possible that some form of the Geth consciousness could have survived somewhere and rebuilt in the interim years, but unless BioWare significantly changes the implications of the Destroy Ending that seems unlikely.
It’s possible Shepard’s own survival could open the window for the survival of some Geth.?As well as talking about the death of the synthetics, the Catalyst?implies that Shepard’s synthetic parts will cause their own death if they choose the Destroy Ending. Liara’s discovery of a piece of N7 armor in the Mass Effect 4 trailer seems to imply Shepard’s survival. Shepard’s own survival is far more likely to have a unique explanation behind it, however, which could be bad news for the Geth as one of the original trilogy’s most interesting enemies-turned-allies.
In one of Mass Effect 3’s most heartbreaking moments, Salarian scientist Mordin Solus can be convinced to cure the genophage he once helped modify, freeing the Krogan from their enforced infertility by sacrificing his own life. It’s also possible not to cure the genophage, and even to trick the Krogan into believe the genophage has been cured in order to maintain their support in the war against the Reapers.
It seems likely, however, that the Krogan genophage will have been cured between Mass Effect 3 and 4 regardless of the decision the player made in that moment. Whether or not the genophage is cured has huge implications for the species, and having to factor in the possibility that players didn’t cure the genophage could make it harder to build a strong foundation to launch the next game’s story from, especially if there are prominent Krogan characters as in all the games so far.
The player’s choice may still be canon, but it will likely be irrelevant. If the player chose not to cure the genophage, there may be a line about the Krogan lobbying for a cure after the events of the third game as compensation for their help during the Reaper Invasion. The longer Mass Effect 4 takes place after Mass Effect 3, the more likely it seems that the Krogan will have been cured in the interim, whether Shepard was directly involved or not.
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There are many ways Shepard’s companions can die over the course of the original Mass Effect trilogy. Ashley Williams, Kaiden Alenko, and Wrex can all potentially die on Virmire in the first game. Mass Effect 2’s famous final suicide mission opens the possibility that literally any and all of Shepard’s squadmates from the second game can die. Mass Effect 3 has a few deaths which will happen no matter what, but also some which will only happen if the player makes certain decisions.
Although Liara is confirmed to be alive, there’s no world state in which she can die in the original trilogy, unlike many of Shepard’s other companions. It seems likely that Mass Effect 4 takes place centuries after the first game.
The Mudskipper image uses Jaal’s silhouette,?implying an Angara companion. The Angara species isn’t discovered until the events of Andromeda, 600 years after Mass Effect 3. The inclusion of species and plotlines from Andromeda is also implied by a shot of both galaxies at the start of the trailer.
As a young Asari in the original trilogy, Liara could easily live up to another 900 years. The shot in the trailer of her uncovering a piece of N7 armor in a snowy landscape may imply that Shepard has been frozen for all that time, perhaps preserved by their Lazarus Project modifications or the Crucible’s energy in a plot point taken straight from Captain America.?If the game takes place long after the natural lifespans of almost all of Shepard’s other companions, the next game can avoid dealing with all the different potential squad deaths throughout the original trilogy. This also has big implications for players who romanced anyone other than Liara, but a time jump could be just the thing the new game needs to kick off a totally independent story that still stars Shepard.
Unlike the Destroy Ending’s canonization, Mass Effect 4’s likely time jump avoids actually prescribing canon for the events of the original trilogy when it comes to companions deaths. It seems likely that, aside from the ending, Mass Effect 4 will distance itself from many of the original trilogy’s events when possible to avoid defining a canonical story for the first three games. How many original trilogy decisions will actually have an impact, however, remains to be seen.
Mass Effect 4?is in development.
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