When Mass Effect 3 finally landed in our collective hands in March of this year, we were all overjoyed, and then many of us were quickly disappointed when, after playing through the riveting campaign, we were handed an ending that many deemed “cheap” and “lazy”. After promising that the huge save files people had invested so much time and effort in would have a biblical impact upon on the events of the third game, gamers everywhere were let down when, in actual fact, it all came down to one single choice in the final room of the game, where you essentially pick a colour, and sit back to watch the result of that choice.

The fan backlash was huge, with many quite incredulously asking BioWare to change the ending. The negative publicity was such that they eventually released a DLC to “clarify” the events of its climax, though fans still have a bad taste in their mouth over what happened. The announcement yesterday that Mass Effect 4 is going into production has sparked the debate once again, with many wondering whether a fourth game could rectify those problems and make us like BioWare again.

Here are 10 ways they can fix the damage they caused with the last 10 minutes of their previous game; by revitalising the series and breathing new life into it, they can make us forget about all the issues with ME3.

 

1. A New Protagonist

Though Commander Shepard is the much-loved protagonist of the Mass Effect series, one can’t help but feel that, whatever ending you received, his story is near-enough finished, and it’s probably time to hand the reins to someone else. Though Mike Gamble stated a few months ago rather cryptically that we’d best all hang onto our ME3 saves, this doesn’t implicitly state that the same characters are going to show up in a fourth game, and this could have been a coy reference to DLC above all else. Of course, we’ve all been poring over and speculating about the star-gazer cut-scene at the climax of the third game, but there’s enough ambiguity that in the fourth game, Shepard could either be dead, old, or indeed, very much alive and still kicking ass elsewhere in the galaxy.

A new protagonist far away from Shepard would be a key way to revitalise things; perhaps a lowly officer who, throughout what is sure to be a new trilogy, would rise up to become a Captain in the middle of intergalactic war. Of course, we wouldn’t mind a Shepard cameo in that event, but best to keep it low-key.

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This article was first posted on September 19, 2012