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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 form of new journey. However the fan-favorite role-playing sequence’ venture director rapidly put the rumors to relaxation, to which I can solely say: Good. Bringing Shepard again is an abjectly horrible concept.

Although the principle 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 12 months’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Spoilers observe for Mass Impact 3, 10 years outdated as of this 12 months.

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, which means Shepard meets maybe the most definitive finish: demise.

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 underneath your management. A 3rd, accessible provided that you probably did sufficient side-questing, gave you the choice to fuse all artificial and natural life. (Submit-release DLC infamously added a fourth potential ending, which allowed you to easily blow up the Catalyst, condemning the galaxy to demise.) All can be found in Legendary Version, and all present Commander Shepard making that final sacrifice (y’know, demise). However in case you handle to get to a most “navy readiness” rating—that 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 offered on BioWare’s retailer prompt 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 in case you can spot the distinction—to “The specter of the Reapers may need been ended, however at nice value together with Earth itself. Whereas the survivors are left to choose up the items, followers are left questioning what’s subsequent.” And at present, the poster’s product web page doesn’t include 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 venture 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 following Mass Impact is about, the potential ramifications are flummoxing, to say the least.

I imply, if Commander Shepard actually makes a comeback, does that imply time journey is in play? In spite of everything, if this new sport is supposed to hook up with Andromeda, which takes place six centuries after the occasions of the principle trilogy, the narrative would want to do one thing to bridge the hole in time. Or, oh, possibly there’s a multiverse factor occurring, 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 following Mass Impact comes out. (The subsequent sport doesn’t have a reputation or a launch date.)

Provided that we all know subsequent to nothing in regards to the plot of the following sport at this level, I suppose it’s unimaginable to rule out the laziest of all worlds: that Shepard truly survived getting disintegrated in an incandescent flash of heavenly blue mild, or disintegrated in an incandescent flash of heavenly crimson mild, or disintegrated in an incandescent flash of heavenly inexperienced mild, or, uh, trampled by an ageless species of intergalactic machines who’re robust sufficient to stage cities.

Learn Extra: Everybody Makes The Similar Selections In Mass Impact, Apparently

However all hypothesis is, in the end, irrelevant. The return of Commander Shepard would possible come as a disappointment to followers—it will basically dispose of the whole thrust of the unique trilogy, whose enchantment was predicated on making robust decisions at key narrative moments, of dwelling with the implications, 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 cause 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 severely earned some peace and quiet 10 instances over). It’s Thane.

 


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