Who is your crew?
As of now, we know of two possible squadmates: a Krogan named Drack and biotic capable woman named Cora. While we don’t have much concrete information regarding the rest crew, we do know there will be seven crew members in total, leading us to believe they want to keep the more intimate character focus of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 3 rather than the large, motley crew of Mass Effect 2.
The implication of intimacy with your crew is also compounded with the knowledge that each character will have specific abilities that will effect a mission, such as biotic shields that can protect your team ala Mass Effect 2’s Suicide Mission. It also stands to reason there will be characters with weapon specialties, tech specialties, and unique class hybrids. Also, it’s safe to assume Cora is an Asari or Human, which leaves Salarian, Drell, Quarian, Turians, and possibly Geth to fill out the seven. Other secondary race possibilities are Hanar (Blasto!), Elcor, Batarians and Volus… though it’s unlikely most people would want a Volus squad mate.
We also know each character will have loyalty missions like Mass Effect 2 that will lead to expanded skill trees. As before, you can interact with your crew between missions and depending on your actions in game you will unlock new narrative and conversational opportunities with them. The loyalty missions were very much missed in Mass Effect 3, so it’s great to see their return.
Lastly, unlike the last two games it seems Bioware is committed to the greater customization they returned to with Dragon Age: Inquisition. You will be able to customize your team mate’s appearances with unlockables. Whether these options extend to off duty clothes or armor we have yet to know.
Speaking of conversational opportunities, how will dialogue work?
The leak states that “the next Mass Effect adds deeper control over your conversations through a great ability to interrupt and change the course of the conversation as it is happening.”
The implication of a greater use of interrupts gives the game a richer feeling of agency. Mass Effect 3 had an excellent use of interrupts, allowing the player to punch, shoot, and hug during normal conversations. However, they were often relegated to plot specific moments or the most important character conversations. With more time and care, interrupts could be applied to smaller conversations, allowing you to kiss the cheek of a love interest or chew out a character who made a poor decision during a mission.
So, what’s the overall story for the game?
Aside from exploring this new section of space and taming it for colonization, you will also come across “the remains of a once powerful and mysterious alien race, the Remnant, whose forgotten technology holds the key to gaining power to this region of the galaxy.”
That sounds familiar…
Whether they are the Protheans or the Reapers, it seems the Mass Effect universe just can’t let go of mysterious ancient races that may or may not be the key to galactic conquest. It seems as you’re conducting your colonization efforts, you will be “drawn into a violent race” to discover their technology with a hostile faction.
It wouldn’t be surprising if a hostile indigenous population of the Helius Cluster is none too happy with your presence in their space and seek to eject you forever. The leak makes mention of a race called the “Khet” who you are often trying to remove from potentially colonizable space, which could very well fill that hostile indigenous role. Who are they? Knowing Mass Effect, they probably aren’t the main antagonists, but a race designed for you to fight most often like the Geth in the first Mass Effect. As the game progresses, it stands to reason we’ll see more Remnant enemies pop up to challenge your leveled character.
Next time, we’ll discuss the gameplay possibilities implied from the leak and how they can play out on next gen systems.