Aside from some cryptic posts and tweets by the series’ producers, news has been very quiet regarding the next installment of the Mass Effect franchise. The game’s developer has taken a very hard-line stance on their initial statements that Mass Effect 3 would the conclusion of the trilogy and the end of the Shepard storyline. “I see people saying ‘well, they’ll have to pick a canon ending.’ No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda,” said Chris Priestly, one of BioWare’s community liasiaons, “wherever, whenever, whoever, etc. will all be revealed years down the road when we actually start talking about it.”
“I do not call the game ME4 when I talk about it ever, because that makes people think of it more as ‘what happens after Mass Effect 3’ rather than ‘what game happens next set in the Mass Effect Universe,'” Priestly added. The next game will indeed take place in the ‘established’ canon that the first three games left in place, Priestly concluded, “which is far more accurate at this point. Obviously fans are going to speculate content, character and story until we actually reveal details in the years or months to come as you have almost no actual details, just don’t get bogged down in ‘well how are they going to continue ME3…'”
Confirming that the game takes place in canon invalidates his earlier comments that it does not have to come after, before, or perpendicular to the original ME trilogy. Unless of course they pull an alternate timeline card a la Star Trek (2009) (hint: I’m not citing that film as a good example).
(I fixed some of Priestly’s spelling/grammar since the BioWare Social Network can be an insanity-inducing unforgiving place.)