The next chapter in the Mass Effect series—for now known as Mass Effect 4—is on the way from BioWare, with the trailer hinting a return to the Milky Way and potentially even the return of Commander Shepard. The next game wasn’t the only big news from BioWare this past year, with the announcement of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition promising to remaster the original trilogy for release in 2021.
The build-up to the release of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition has seen a renewed focus on the first three games. Mass Effect 2‘s Lead Writer Mac Walters recently revealed some of the companion character concepts originally brainstormed for the second game in the series. While many of these character concepts didn’t make it to the final game, there are a few that could be fantastic additions to Mass Effect 4, especially in light of some of the details that have been revealed about the next chapter so far.
The aforementioned document provided insight into some of the earliest ideas Mass Effect 2‘s writers came up with for the companion characters who would accompany Commander Shepard. These included some early concepts for characters that most Mass Effect fans will recognize right away. The concept of a genetically modified “Cerberus Superwoman” whose perfection was also her main flaw would go on to become Miranda Lawson. The Cerberus Bodyguard concept would become Jacob Taylor, while the concept of the Geth Frankenstein would undergo some reworking before turning into Legion.
However, there are also plenty of characters that BioWare cut well before Mass Effect 2‘s retail release, and many of them would be great characters to see finally get their shot at the spotlight in Mass Effect 4. One cut character was the Krogan War Queen. While there isn’t much detail known about this concept, Mass Effect has yet to have a female Krogan companion, and there are reasons this could be a particularly interesting idea in the light of events in Mass Effect 3.
Throughout the original Mass Effect trilogy the Krogan are almost completely infertile due to the Genophage, a biological weapon designed to prevent their extremely fast ability to breed which was originally created to help put down the Krogan Rebellions. In Mass Effect 3, however, players had the option to cure the Genophage. While this was optional, it seems like Mass Effect 4 will be making some major decisions about the canon before its story starts – the dead Reaper in the trailer seems to suggest that the Destroy Ending will be made official, for example. This also makes it very likely that the Genophage will be canonically cured.
This could make the Krogan War Queen a great character to show how the role of female Krogan has changed since the end of the Genophage. It seems likely that such an event could see female Krogan become far more liberated, but also that the character would have known what it was like to live during the Genophage and would be deeply influenced by that experience.
Another great character concept that should return for Mass Effect 4 is the Techno-Hippie. This character was conceived as a 45-year old Salarian with a classic “stoner” depiction based on Tommy Chong. While it may sound silly, there are some reasons this could be a great character in the next game. For a start, 45 is extremely old for a Salarian, as their lifespans are only around 40 human years due to the extremely fast metabolisms. This Salarian’s easy-going attitude may even provide some explanation for his long lifespan when compared to other members of his species.
Mass Effect players haven’t been given much insight into the different factions of Salarian society. Most of the Salarians players meet in the original trilogy are fast-talking, highly logical, and often shrewd. Flipping that stereotype on its head could be a great starting point for one Mass Effect 4‘s companion characters, and a great contrast to the highly organized and logically-minded Mordin Solus who provided some of the original Mass Effect trilogy’s most memorable moments.
The Batarian Gearhead would be another fantastic addition to Mass Effect 4‘s crew. The Batarians didn’t get much time to shine as individuals during the original Mass Effect trilogy, and were almost always portrayed as pirates, mercenaries, bouncers, or bodyguards. The destruction of the Citadel in Mass Effect 3 could see some of the galaxies’ more marginalized species come into the spotlight. The Batarian Gearhead would have been framed as a wanted terrorist when Shepard got their dossier in Mass Effect 2, but the character they would eventually discover a socially awkward nerd with extremely advanced tech skills.
As with the Krogan War Queen and the Salarian Techno-Hippie, this Batarian character would offer a completely different perspective on the species seen in the original Mass Effect trilogy. If nothing else, BioWare should certainly look into opportunities to flesh out some of the species which were less prominent in the original trilogy and to make them more well-rounded by introducing memorable companion characters with strong individual personalities.
Finally, the Fallen Paragon concept could be far more interesting in Mass Effect 4 than they had the potential to be in Mass Effect 2. This character was originally conceived as a doctor who had fallen from grace and ended up in Star Wars-like “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” It’s not clear how they might have fallen from grace in the original trilogy, but Mass Effect 4 opens up a galaxy of possibilities.
This could be a character who was indoctrinated by the Reapers and freed when they were destroyed, but now lives in shame. It could be a high ranking Systems Alliance official who fled earth during the final battle and is seeking redemption for their cowardice. There are plenty of possibilities, which is what makes so many of these concepts so exciting, and why many Mass Effect fans will be hoping to see some of them realized in some form in the next chapter of the series.
A new Mass Effect game is currently in development.