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Commander Shepard looks dead-eyed into the distance on Virmire in Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Screenshot: EA

If there’s one factor Mass Impact’s Commander Shepard has earned, it’s some goddamned relaxation.

Over the previous 24 hours, taste textual content for a promotional product, as noticed by a YouTuber, despatched followers into a tizzy of hypothesis that the galactic hero could be returning in some kind of new journey. However the fan-favorite role-playing sequence’ undertaking director shortly put the rumors to relaxation, to which I can solely say: Good. Bringing Shepard again is an abjectly horrible thought.

Although the primary Mass Impact trilogy culminated in 2012—and its follow-up, Mass Impact: Andromeda, got here out to middling reception 5 years later—BioWare’s seminal sequence of bang-an-extraterrestrial RPGs is within the midst of a resurgence. The developer teased the “subsequent Mass Impact” on the 2020 Recreation Awards. Although particulars are slim, it purports to attach the threads between Andromeda and the core trilogy. That announcement was adopted by final yr’s Mass Impact Legendary Version, a 4K-resprayed compilation of the unique trilogy, plus like 99.99% of its DLC, which resurfaced its operatic narrative in cultural consciousness.

And if there’s one factor our collective replays drove dwelling—Ah, sorry, one sec…

Spoilers comply with for Mass Impact 3, 10 years previous as of this yr.

A spoiler warning banner prevents readers from accidentally stumbling into spoilers for Mass Effect 3.

Ahem. As I used to be saying, if there’s one factor our collective replays drove dwelling, it’s that Commander Shepard’s story involves a definitive finish. For a lot of, meaning Shepard meets maybe the most definitive finish: dying.

Most of Mass Impact 3’s story focuses on Commander Shepard’s last-ditch effort to defeat the encroaching military of Reapers, a collective of sentient machines who roam the galaxy each 50,000 years and eradicate all traces of reasonably clever life. On the finish of Mass Impact 3, although there are numerous endings, you’re given a sequence of broad decisions as to the way you defeat the risk.

One alternative allowed you to destroy all artificial life within the galaxy, together with the Reapers. One other allowed you to subsume them below your management. A 3rd, out there provided that you probably did sufficient side-questing, gave you the choice to fuse all artificial and natural life. (Publish-release DLC infamously added a fourth potential ending, which allowed you to easily blow up the Catalyst, condemning the galaxy to dying.) All can be found in Legendary Version, and all present Commander Shepard making that final sacrifice (y’know, dying). However should you handle to get to a most “navy readiness” rating—which means you mainly did the entire side-questing, and the collect-a-thons—you’d see a cutscene of Shepard taking in a single breath.

Since-deleted textual content for an N7 Day poster bought on BioWare’s retailer instructed that the hard-to-achieve, 3.4-second lengthy cinematic was canon. (N7 Day is BioWare’s annual fan celebration of the Mass Impact sequence.) As identified in a latest video by MrHulthen, a YouTuber who focuses on overlaying Mass Impact, the flavour textual content initially learn: “Whereas Shepard and the survivors are left to choose up the items, followers are left questioning what’s subsequent.”

That textual content was revised—see should you can spot the distinction—to “The specter of the Reapers might need been ended, however at nice price together with Earth itself. Whereas the survivors are left to choose up the items, followers are left questioning what’s subsequent.” And at the moment, the poster’s product web page doesn’t comprise any reference to plot particulars relating to Mass Impact.

Representatives for EA, which publishes Mass Impact, didn’t reply to a request for remark. Mike Gamble, Mass Impact’s undertaking director, said on Twitter that the unique textual content mentioning Shepard’s survival was put out in error. But when it’s even the barest indication of what the subsequent Mass Impact is about, the potential ramifications are flummoxing, to say the least.

I imply, if Commander Shepard really makes a comeback, does that imply time journey is in play? In spite of everything, if this new recreation is supposed to hook up with Andromeda, which takes place six centuries after the occasions of the primary trilogy, the narrative would want to do one thing to bridge the hole in time. Or, oh, perhaps there’s a multiverse factor happening, although I actually hope not; we’re already at peak cultural multiverse fatigue, and I can’t think about such sentiment subsiding by the point the subsequent Mass Impact comes out. (The subsequent recreation doesn’t have a reputation or a launch date.)

On condition that we all know subsequent to nothing in regards to the plot of the subsequent recreation at this level, I suppose it’s not possible to rule out the laziest of all worlds: that Shepard truly survived getting disintegrated in an incandescent flash of heavenly blue gentle, or disintegrated in an incandescent flash of heavenly purple gentle, or disintegrated in an incandescent flash of heavenly inexperienced gentle, or, uh, trampled by an ageless species of intergalactic machines who’re sturdy sufficient to degree cities.

Learn Extra: Everybody Makes The Identical Decisions In Mass Impact, Apparently

However all hypothesis is, finally, irrelevant. The return of Commander Shepard would doubtless come as a disappointment to followers—it could basically cast off your complete thrust of the unique trilogy, whose enchantment was predicated on making robust decisions at key narrative moments, of residing with the results, and seeing the ramifications during to the finale. That finale was fairly rattling definitive. Followers have had a decade to let it gestate. There’s no motive to rewrite that historical past.

Plus, c’mon, if there’s any supposedly lifeless character who ought to make a comeback, it’s not the great commander (who, once more, has critically earned some peace and quiet 10 instances over). It’s Thane.

 


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